Belize – Private Island Marine Experience

Discover a new world by helping to conserve the diverse 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 the 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 2-4, Tuesday-Thursday: Volunteers will begin each morning at 6:30 AM with a morning snack of coffee and fruit. The first dive will be at 7:00 AM followed by a hearty breakfast at 8:00 AM. A second dive will be at 11:00 AM followed by lunch served at 1:00 PM.  The third dive of the day is at 3:00 PM, followed by dinner at 7:00 PM and free time afterwards. Student-divers will continue with their training and complete their certification by Wednesday evening. Newly scuba certified volunteers will take part in all conservation dives on Thursday and Friday.

Day 5, Friday: All divers will take part 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 an 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.


Location icon Location of the Project: Placencia, Belize

Project length Project length: Minimum 1 week – Maximum 8 weeks

Arrival Airport Arrival Airport: Placencia Airport (PLJ)

Volunteer Work Volunteer Work: Marine preservation

Age 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.

Number of Volunteers Number of Volunteers: Up to 18 international volunteers

Important Note Important Note: We recommend Non-certified divers to sign up for a minimum duration of two weeks so they can partake in over two conservation dives. There is a $190 USD fee for the PADI Open Water course. The program includes all dive equipment except: diving mask, booties and fins, and a wetsuit. Anyone with an Advanced PADI certification who plans to take part in our optional night dives MUST bring their own dive light/torch.


What’s Included

Accommodations 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 Food: Three meals per workday (Monday-Thursday) are included, as well as a hearty breakfast on Fridays.

Airport Transfers 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: Orientation and a brief tour of the island is included on Monday.

Support 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 comprises a mainland plus a variety of cays. 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.

Most 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 because of 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 take part in the eradication of the invasive Lionfish species, the data collection of various native species and the assessment of the local coral reef.

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


Marine Conservation Education: 
During the volunteer week, the program offers multiple presentations on practical marine conservation. Learn about protecting coral reefs, identifying marine species, and the effects of plastic pollution.


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.


2022 Program Accomplishments

Although the pandemic hampered our conservation efforts, thanks to our 2022 volunteers, we still made a difference! We are proud to share the 2022 marine conservation achievement numbers:

  • 8662 Invasive Lionfish removed from the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve Park waters
  • 14,701 pounds of plastic and trash removed from the ocean via our volunteer beach cleanups
  • 391 baby sea turtles successfully hatched and returned to the sea
  • 354 marine conservation presentations by our staff to increase awareness and knowledge of reef ecosystems

Internet icon Internet: There is currently no Wi-Fi available on the island.

Laundry icon Laundry: Some hotels on the mainland have laundry services for their guests. There are also laundromats within walking distance of most hotels that volunteers can use for an additional fee.

Accommodations icon 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 book their own hotel rooms at their own cost.

Food icon Food: Volunteers will receive three home-cooked meals per workday (Monday-Thursday) and a hearty breakfast on Fridays. Meals include fresh fruit, vegetables and a meat dish. Most diets, including peanut allergies, can be accommodated if requested in advance.


Please note this project’s minimum requirements:

  • Minimum age of 18 (16-17 with parental consent)
  • Completed Student Diver Medical Declaration self-assessment
  • You must bring your own mask with snorkel, fins, booties and wetsuit
  • BCD’s, tanks, regulators and weights are available for rent for $25 USD per week. You are also welcome to bring your own dive gear.
  • Anyone wishing to take part in our optional night dives MUST bring their own dive light/torch.
  • In order to take part in night dives, one must be a certified Advanced Open Water diver.

During free time on mainland Belize, volunteers can explore all that Belize offers! 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 the Monkey River! Enjoy a pleasant 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 zip lining 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

Volunteer Experiences

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