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This program is now open and accepting volunteers from November 1st 2020

Sustainability Initiative: Apply to receive your 3rd week of volunteering for free. Stay longer, make a stronger impact, reduce your carbon footprint. Schedule a call with us to find out how! 


Discover a new world by helping to conserve the unique, underwater ecosystem of the Belize Barrier Reef from your home base on a private island!

Program Highlights:
  • Live and volunteer on a private, island paradise off the coast of mainland Belize
  • Assist in various marine preservation tasks in turquoise waters
  • Become PADI Open Water certified or enhance your current dive skills with select PADI Specialty courses (listed below under "Travel Highlights")
  • Explore mainland Belize on weekends through eco-resort stays or other exciting adventures

Program Schedule:

Arrival Day, Sunday:
Arrive at Placencia Airport (PLJ) on Sunday. Volunteers must arrange for their own hotel accommodations for this night (not included in program fee). 

Day 1, Monday: On Monday morning, volunteers will travel by boat to the island, where they will settle in and have an orientation before their first dive in the afternoon. Non-divers will begin their PADI Open Water training.

Days 2-3, Tuesday-Wednesday: Volunteers will begin with a bountiful breakfast at 6:00 AM. The first dive will be at 7:30 AM followed by the second at 2:30 PM, with lunch served in between. Student-divers will continue with their training and be complete their certification by Wednesday evening. Dinner will be served at 7:00 PM and will be followed by free time. 

Day 4, Thursday: Experienced divers will participate in three conservation dives on Thursday, and recently certified volunteers will participate in one.  

Day 5, Friday: All divers will participate in one morning dive, and return to the mainland at 10:30 AM. 

Days 6-7, Saturday-Sunday: Weekends are free for volunteers to explore Belize. Weekend hotel accommodations are at volunteers' own expense. For an additional fee, volunteers can join a wide array of tours. For those departing, Saturday is departure day from Placencia Airport.

Remaining Weeks: For those staying longer than one week, there will be another boat transfer from the mainland back to the island on Monday morning. The schedule will repeat itself with volunteer work Monday-Friday and weekends on the mainland. 

Please note: Non-certified divers are recommended to join for a minimum duration of two weeks so they can participate in more than two conservation dives. There is a $150 USD fee for the PADI Open Water course. 

You must bring your own dive mask with snorkel, booties, fins and wetsuit. BCD’s, tanks, regulators and weights are available for rent for $25 USD per week. You are welcome to bring your own dive gear if you prefer. Anyone wishing to participate in our optional night dives MUST bring their own dive light/torch. Please note that in order to participate in night dives one must be a certified Advanced Open Water diver.

Program Accomplishments:
This project is the leader in invasive lionfish removal in all of Belize! In 2019, we removed 7,841. Also in 2019, 11,645 pounds of plastic and trash was removed from the ocean via our volunteer beach cleanups, 454 baby sea turtles  were successfully hatched and returned to the sea and 86,400 hours of conservation dives were logged. The local staff also gave 104 presentations to increase awareness and knowledge of reef ecosystems.

The conch population in Belize is endangered from 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, which is accessed by researchers and scientists for conservation efforts.

Check out what our past volunteers had to say!
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Location of the Project:  Placencia, Belize
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Project length:  Minimum 1 week - Maximum 8 weeks
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Arrival Airport:  Placencia Airport (PLJ)
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Volunteer Work:  Marine preservation
Age:  Minimum age of 18. Age exceptions: Volunteers aged 16 & 17 may apply with parental consent. This program welcomes families with kids aged 12 and above.
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Number of Volunteers:  Up to 18 international volunteers
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Important Note:  Please inquire with us about availability before booking, as spots are limited. All volunteers who wish to participate in diving courses while on the island should join for a minimum duration of two weeks or more. Fees will vary according to the course chosen. Most courses have an additional fee of $190 USD for the online portion, which must be completed prior to arrival. Volunteers must bring their own dive mask, booties, fins and wetsuit. All other dive gear is included for a weekly $25 USD fee. Anyone with an Advanced PADI certification who plans to participate in our optional night dives MUST bring their own dive light/torch.

What's Included

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Accommodations:  Volunteers will be on the island Monday through Friday, and will stay in shared cabanas during the volunteering placement. Weekend accommodations on the mainland are not included.
Food:  Three meals per workday (Monday-Thursday) are included, as well as a hearty breakfast on Fridays.
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Airport Transfers:  Volunteers can fly or travel by bus from Belize Airport (BZE) to Placencia Airport. Boat transfers between Placencia and the island are included.
Orientation:  Orientation and a brief tour of the island is included on Monday.
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Support:  Comprehensive and professional pre-departure travel guidance, 24/7 GoEco emergency hotline, experienced local field team.

What's not Included

Flights, airport transfers, cost of weekend accommodations, visas (if required), travel health insurance, personal expenses, mask with snorkel, booties, fins and wetsuits, $25 USD weekly fee for diving equipment rental, any dive courses (including $190 USD fee for online course), lunch and dinner on Fridays, all meals on weekends, $25 USD 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 in Australia, making it a popular diving destination.

The majority of this project takes place on a beautiful, private island which is 25 miles from the mainland. Relax in a hammock 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 the mainland. 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 popular beach resort destination, desired for its sparkling beaches. 
 
Coral reefs provide various marine animals with food, protection and shelter, but due to various factors, these delicate ecosystems are under threat. Volunteers will use their diving skills to contribute to the preservation of these ecosystems and will gain experience and knowledge that they can pass on to others. In this way volunteers continue to leave a positive impact, even after they have left the project.

As a volunteer on this project you will engage in various marine preservation tasks. These range from survey dives to identification dives and may include whale shark photography. Volunteers will participate 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.

Volunteers can choose how much they want to get involved. All dives are voluntary, so you can choose to relax in our hammocks with a good book, fish from the island, or do a bit of sea kayaking or stand up paddle boarding or immerse yourself in conservation volunteering. The choice is yours!

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

Weekly Beach cleanup tasks:
  • Remove harmful plastic and trash from the ocean
  • Patrol hundreds of small islands within the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve to keep beaches clean and oceans healthy 

Please note: Specific tasks may vary and are subject to change.
Internet
Internet:  There is currently no WiFi available on the island.
Laundry
Laundry:  Some hotels on the mainland have laundry services for their guests. There are also laundromats located within walking distance of most hotels, that volunteers can use for an additional fee.
Accommodations
Accommodations:  Volunteers will stay in stone cabanas around the island. There will be up to three volunteers per room, and bathrooms are shared. On weekends volunteers are responsible for booking their own hotel rooms at their own cost.
Food:  Volunteers will receive three home-cooked meals per workday (Monday-Thursday) and a hearty breakfast on Fridays. Meals generally include fresh fruit, vegetables and a meat dish. Most diets, including peanut allergies, 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 Student Diver Medical Declaration self-assessment
  • Mask with snorkel, fins, booties and wetsuit
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 visit 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 visit 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 to take a jungle hike, tube through dark caves and ziplinine through the Belizean rainforest.

Bocawina Zip Line & Waterfall Rappelling
Adventure can be taken up a notch at Bocawina Zip Line and Waterfall Rappelling. Fly on the largest zipline in Belize and/or repel down the 500-foot Antelope Falls or the smaller Bocawina Falls. 

Select PADI Certifications are available for an additional fee:
  • PADI Open Water 
  • PADI Advanced Open Water 
  • PADI Rescue 
  • PADI Dive Master (minimum four-week program duration required) 
  • PADI Specialty Course: Deep Diver 
  • PADI Specialty Course: Fish Identification 
  • PADI Specialty Course: Invasive Lionfish
  • PADI Specialty Course: Coral Reef Conservation
  • PADI Specialty Course: Emergency First Response
  • PADI Specialty Course: Underwater Photographer 
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