This exclusive program set on an island off of Belize is suitable for experienced and beginner divers alike. Tailored to suit all levels, whether you have a couple of dives under your belt or you have always wanted to learn how to scuba dive, this program has it all. Learn to dive or hone in on your diving skills all while assisting with the important, underwater preservation and research program. Discover a new world set in the unique underwater ecosystem of the Caribbean islands and see how you can help.
Coral reefs provide various marine animals with food, protection and shelter, but due to various factors, these ecosystems are under threat. Volunteers will be able to use their dive skills to contribute to the preservation of these ecosystems and will gain experience and knowledge that they can pass on to others. This way volunteers can continue to leave a positive impact, even after they have left the project.
Do your part for the Oceans!
What's not Included
Belize lies on the eastern Coast of Central America and consists of a mainland plus a variety of cayes. The Belize Barrier Reef is one of the largest coral reef systems in the world, second only to the Great Barrier Reef, making it a popular diving destination.
The majority of this project takes place on a beautiful, private island which is 25 miles from the Belize mainland. Surround yourself with hammocks and explore the tropical, Belizean waters surrounding the island! This 1.5 acre island is home to bright, colorful beach cabanas and alluring palm trees and is a secluded paradise for volunteers.
On Fridays and Saturdays volunteers will return to mainland Belize. Accommodations are at the tip of the peninsula in a quaint town named Placencia, once called Punta Placencia, or Pleasant Point. Placencia has become a beach resort destination, desired for its sparkling beaches.
As a volunteer on this project you will be engaging in various marine preservation tasks. These range from survey dives to identification dives and possible whale shark photographing. Volunteers will be participating in the eradication of the invasive Lionfish species, the data collection of various native species and the assessment of the local coral reef as a whole.
Invasive Lionfish species tasks: Lionfish are originally from the Indio-Pacific Ocean, but were accidentally released into foreign waters. The lionfish population feeds on key marine life, wreaking havoc on the indigenous Belize Barrier Reef ecosystems. They can lay twenty thousand eggs every four days, which is causing a nearly uncontrollable invasion. Volunteers on this project will partake in the eradication of this devastating, non-indigenous species by assisting with the following tasks :
- Lionfish hunting
- Lionfish spearing
- Lionfish dissection
- Lobster surveys
- Queen conch surveys
- Species identification dives
- Whale shark photography
- Coral data collection (disease recording, coral reef mapping)
- Habitat surveys
Please note: Specific tasks may vary and are subject to change .
Sample schedule for Certified Divers:
Volunteers will arrive to Placencia, Belize on Sunday and stay overnight in a hotel. On Monday morning, volunteers will take a boat ride to the island, where they will settle in and have an orientation before their first dive in the afternoon.
Monday -Wednesday: Volunteers will begin with a bountiful breakfast at 6:00 AM. The first dive will be at 7:30 AM and the second at 2:30PM, with lunch served in between. Dinner will be served at 7:00 PM and will be followed with free time.
Thursday: Volunteers will participate in 3 dives on Thursdays.
Friday: Volunteers will participate in their morning dive, and return to mainland Belize at 10:30 AM.
Weekends: Weekends are free for volunteers to explore Belize. For additional fees, volunteers can go on a wide array of tours. For those departing, Sunday is departure day.
For those staying longer than one week, there will be another boat transfer from the hotel dock back to Tom Owens Caye on Monday morning.
Sample schedule for Non-certified Divers (Two-week minimum):
Volunteers will arrive to Placencia, Belize on Sunday and stay overnight in a hotel. On Monday morning, volunteers will take a boat ride to the island, where they will settle in and have an orientation before their first dive lesson in the afternoon.
PADI certification will take 3-4 days of the week to complete, and the remaining day or two will be volunteer work. It is recommmended that non-certified divers sign up for at least two weeks so they can have more time dedicated to research.
Please take note of this project’s minimum requirements:
- Minimum age of 18 (16-17 with parental consent)
- Completed self-assessment Student Diver Medical Declaration
During free time on mainland Belize volunteers will have the opportunity to explore all that Belize has to offer! For an additional fee, volunteers can venture to any of the following destinations and more!
Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary
Also known as the first jaguar preserve, this wildlife sanctuary is a must-see for wildlife enthusiasts!
Tikal Mayan Ruins
History-lovers must venture into Guatemala for the day to explore these ancient Mayan temples and ruins, including the Lost World Pyramid and the Temple of the Grand Jaguar.
Monkey River Nature Tour
Enjoy a boat tour of Monkey River! Enjoy a nice boat ride while being on the lookout for howler monkeys.
Cave Tubing and Zip Lining at Jaguar Paw
Adventure-seekers will get a thrill out of a day trip to Jaguar Paw and participating in the jungle hike, tubing through dark caves and ziplining through the Belizean rainforest.
Bocawina Zip Line & Waterfall Rappelling
Adventure can be taken up a notch at Bocawina Zip Line and Waterfall Rappelling. Zipline on the largest zipline in Belize and/or repel down the 500-foot Antelope Falls or the smaller Bocawina Falls.