Join an award-winning project and become part of an active research team. Learn to dive or develop current your skills whilst carrying out surveys and data collection. These research findings are used to enforce government preservation of the beautiful reefs. Live on an idyllic private island in the Caribbean.
Each day will differ but volunteer tasks can include:
There are 2-4 dives per day which are structured with opportunities to do a mix of reef check survey dives and species dives and wall dives. There are fun dives too, so the schedule is relaxed and not too regimented.
The early morning and night recreational dives are a great way to begin or end your day. On the reef, along with the more common marine life, volunteers frequently spot hawksbill and loggerhead turtles, spotted eagle rays, dolphins and manta rays. If you are lucky, at full moon you may also see whale sharks and the bioluminescence water light show from the String of Pearls.
It is a great location for beginners divers to gain their PADI Open Water qualification during their first week (which is required for the conservation work), since there are no strong currents, great visibility (15-40 metres) and is a safe non-challenging location. Divers who have already have their Open Water certificate can start on the conservation role straight away.
Whilst on the island you can improve your diving skills by doing additional PADI courses. PADI Open Water is included in the placement cost but the following courses can be done for an additional cost:
Advanced Diver: 2-3 days
Rescue Diver: 4 days
Emergency First Aid: 1 day
You will volunteer for 5 days per week (Monday to Friday) between 7.30am and 6pm with breaks throughout the day.
There are usually around 6-10 volunteers at one time with a maximum of 15.
The project is closed to volunteers between 3rd - 30th September.
Read about volunteer experiences and challenges in our Belize Reef Conservation reviews.
Volunteers’ primary role is to contribute towards the projects on-going surveys, data collection and conservation work. They make a major contribution to the understanding of the reef ecosystem in the Sapodilla Cayes.
Volunteers help to raise awareness of the importance of the marine life and the research collected by the project team helps inform government decisions, particularly in regard to the department of fisheries.
“Coral reefs are home to 25% of all marine fish and the scientific community recognizes the need to work with non-scientists in order to help collect important data on these reefs. Volunteers do just that, help us collect the valuable data needed to help us monitor the health of the reef itself and its inhabitants"Jo, Project Director
The project’s primary objective is to encourage the Belizean Government to enforce preservation zones in the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve. The team carry out marine surveys, collecting data on the local fish & invertebrate population and this is submitted internationally to Reef Check headquarters for inclusion in global coral reef status reports, and locally to the Belizean Department of Fisheries.
They have been very active in the monitoring of local fish populations, particularly the lionfish, and have been instrumental in the increase in community awareness campaigns.
In recognition of the fantastic work they are doing, the project was granted a Highly Commended award by the World Responsible Tourism Awards in the Best Responsible Wildlife Experiences category.
The project is located on a small, idyllic island off the coast of Placencia. The surrounding area is abundant in marine life and you can take a kayak out, fish (hook and line) or snorkel around the island.
During the week volunteers live on the island, staying either in the main building in a shared room or in one of the small, private, simple cabanas overlooking the sea. All rooms are clean and comfortable and have fans. The bathroom facilities are shared and there are communal areas to relax, eat and socialise in. WIFI internet is available on the island.
Weekend accommodation is not included but there are a number of guest houses for various budgets in the town of Placencia.
Whilst you are on the island you can spend your free time in the hammocks, using the island kayaks, snorkelling, playing volleyball or just soaking up the Caribbean atmosphere. At the weekends you can enjoy the laid back Belizean life in the small town of Placencia. With 16 miles of sandy beaches, it’s a beautiful spot to relax in at the weekends. You will find yourself becoming part of the local community in Placencia.
Not included: Flights, travel insurance, visa (if required), PADI admin fee, PADI Dive Manual(s), World Heritage National Park fee, weekend accommodation and food, airport transfers. Budgeting guidance is provided in our Volunteering Guide which we will email you when you apply.
|1 week (not available for beginner divers)||£895||GB Pounds|
|2 weeks||£1495||GB Pounds|
|3 weeks||£2095||GB Pounds|
|Extra weeks||£595||GB Pounds|
Fees in currencies other than GBP are indicative only and volunteers are invoiced in GBP. For current exchange rates please see www.xe.com
lionfish removed from waters
"Pod is a no nonsense volunteer organisation looking to change lives"Cian
Erin has visited the project, apply and you'll hear from her soon!
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“The Reef Conservation project was an incredible experience!! I felt so well looked after, as it was my first time diving. But also the project itself was really fun. It was great to learn so much about the ocean as well as dive. Feeling that you were contributing was great!”Read more volunteer reviews
“We were so impressed with the whole experience. It was everything we expected and more. We learned; contributed; laughed; met incredible people from all over the world; and felt part of something greater than ourselves.”Read more volunteer reviews
“Absolutely amazing project! The island is paradise and the dives are so much fun! All the research is really interesting and it doesn't feel like work at all. Knowing you are helping conserve the reef is such a great feeling. The marine life is outstanding and every dive you see something new.”Read more volunteer reviews