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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.

Program Accomplishments:
This project is the leader in lionfish removal in all of Belize and estimates that they will remove 7,000 lionfish this year and dissect 1,585 for research purposes. The conch population in Belize is endangered form overfishing, but this project has been able to locate two important new breeding grounds. Whale shark photos taken on this project are entered into the public Whale Shark Sightings Database that is accessed by researchers and scientists for preservation.

Join this program now and do your part for the Oceans! 
Location of the Project:  Tom Owens Caye, Belize and Placencia, Belize
Project length:  Min 1 week- Max 4 weeks
Arrival Airport:  Placencia Airport (PLJ)
Volunteer Work:  Marine preservation
Age:  Min. age of 18. Age exceptions: Volunteers aged 16 & 17 may apply with parental consent
Number of Volunteers:  Up to 17 international volunteers
Important Note:  Non-divers should apply for a minimum of two weeks and must pay a $100 administrative fee upon completion of the PADI Open Water Dive course. Advance dive courses are available for an additional fee.

What's Included

Accommodations:  Volunteers will stay in shared cabanas during the week and in a hotel on mainland Belize on weekends
Food:  3 meals per workday (Monday-Thursday) are included, as well as a hearty breakfast on Fridays
Airport Transfers:  Volunteers can fly or travel by bus from Belize airport (BZE) to Placencia airport, where pick up is provided. Round trip boat transfers between the island and the mainland are included.
Insurance:  Comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage
Orientation:  Orientation and a brief tour of the island is included on Monday
Support:  Local in-country team and 24-hour emergency support

What's not Included

Flights, visas (if required), airport transfers, personal expenses, some dive equipment, lunch and dinner meals on Fridays, all meals on weekends, $25 weekly marine park fee.
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
Native species tasks:
  • Lobster surveys
  • Queen conch surveys
  • Species identification dives
  • Whale shark photography
Coral Reef Tasks:
  • 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, Saturday 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.

Internet:  Wifi is available on the island, but a connection cannot be guaranteed at all times due to island conditions.
Laundry:  There is a laundromat located within walking distance of the mainland hotel that volunteers can use for an additional fee.
Accommodations:  Volunteers will be staying in stone cabanas around the island. There will be up to 3 volunteer per room, and bathrooms are shared. On weekends volunteers will stay in shared hotel rooms in Placencia, mainland Belize.
Food:  Volunteers will receive 3 home cooked meals per workday (Monday-Thursday) and a hearty breakfast on Fridays. Meals generally include fresh fruit, veggies, and a meat dish. Most diets can be accommodated, if requested in advance.
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. 
Volunteer Experiences
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