Volunteer to protect coral reefs and marine life in the Yucatan, Mexico – 5% off with Sea Fans.


Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, GVI are offering you the opportunity to transfer your program to a new date free of charge should you not be able to start on your proposed date due to travel restrictions. There are also flexible payment plans available, reach out for more information! 

Who: Global Vision International (GVI)

Where: Puerto Morelos, Mexico

Focus: Learn to scuba dive in the Caribbean conserving coral reef and marine life

When: Open all year round with set start dates, expect for early December to mid January when the base is closed.

Duration4 – 12 weeks | For non-certified divers the min. stay is 8 weeks. If joining for 4 weeks, volunteers must already be PADI Open Water certified (or equivalent).

Suitability: Over 18s

  • Under 18? GVI runs a Marine Conservation Expedition for 15-17s in Mexico. Simply fill in the form below to find out more.

Cost: 4 weeks from GBP 2445
The price per week gets cheaper the longer you stay:

Get 5% off your booking (subject to conditions). Simply complete the form below.

As a volunteer, you will:

  • Monitor the health of coral reefs through surveying the different corals and fish. Volunteers are divided into fish or coral by the onsite Science Officer:
    • Fish: IDing and surveying either adult or juvenile fish
    • Coral: IDing coral and surveying the sessile organisms on the reef and coral diseases. 
  • Take part in a variety of marine conservation programmes which run throughout the year as and when they are needed to be completed:   

a) Coral restoration in a laboratory and in marine coral nurseries

b) Sea grass ecosystem monitoring 

c) Assessing the impact of tourism on coral reefs

d) Recording sightings of marine mega fauna 

e) Lionfish population studies

  • Get involved in weekly beach cleans and outreach work to assist the community and promote conservation practises.

Before Departure: Volunteers must complete their field training online, 8 weeks before departure. This is in order to maximise the time spent in the field. The training includes:

  • Pre-departure Orientation (1 hour)
  • Program Specific Training (1 – 5 hours)
  • Marine Conservation course (10 – 15 hours) – optional 

Internships are available. All interns are required to complete the marine conservation online course, as well as a leadership and careers course. Get in touch below to find out more.

Scuba Diving

Dive Training: All volunteers are trained up to PADI Advanced Open Water before beginning the science programme.

PADI Certifications: Emergency First Responser course is available for an additional fee.

Conservation Certifications: Volunteers receive the PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality.

Divemaster Internship: Min. 24-week placement, broken into two 12 week periods. The first is spent on the marine conservation expedition. The second half is spent working in a local dive centre learning leadership scenarios, and gaining real-life experience.

Water Temperature: Below are the water temperatures for Mexico throughout the year and a suggestion for the type of wetsuit:

  • Jan – March: 24-26 degrees – 3 or 5mm wetsuit.
  • April June: 27-28 degrees – 3mm wetsuit
  • July – Sept: 28-30 degrees – rash vest and shorts or a 3mm wetsuit or shorty.
  • Nov – Dec: 26 – 28 degrees – 3mm wetsuit

The Base

  • Accommodation: Basic living with cold water showers and flush toilet facilities. Bottled water available for cooking and drinking only.  Volunteers share base duties including cooking, cleaning, gear and equipment maintenance, and other chores.​
  • Sleeping: Shared (mixed sex) dorm rooms with shared bathroom facilities.
  • Food: Volunteers prepare their own breakfast from our choice of cereals. During work days lunch and dinner is prepared by a local cook, on weekends participants cook their own meals. Food is a very basic, mostly vegetarian diet, with meat available about once a week. Breakfast could be porridge, fruit or cereal, lunch is beans, vegetables, pasta and sauce, etc. and a typical evening meal may include lentils, pasta, beans, rice and vegetables. Local restaurants are also an option at your own cost during weekends.
  • Working week: 5 days a week with weekends free.
  • Transport: Airport pick up (unless otherwise stated) and transfer to base.
  • Support: 24-hour emergency phone, 24-hour in-country support. All necessary project training done by experienced staff. Welcome meeting on arrival.

Get 5% off with Sea Fans

Fill in this enquiry form, and a member of GVI will get in touch to answer all your questions. Plus, you’ll get 5% off your booking (subject to conditions).

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2 reviews

  1. Good vibes

    At the beginning of this year, I embarked with GVI on the Marine Conservation short-term internship in Puerto Morelos, Mexico. I was lucky to find out about our project on a university page, as I was required to complete an internship for academic credits. Life on base was exceptional; I liked to get up a tad earlier than the bulk of us to go on the beach and admire the sunrise, then we would all have breakfast together and start gearing up for ‘Wave 1’, the morning dive. We used to dive once or twice a day and practiced fish and coral identification, buoyancy skills and first aid skills. When not in the water, the staff held workshops, we helped local marine researchers at the coral nursery, or we simply appreciated the Mexican vibes from base, the beach or the town. Our staffs were a handful of legends that not only were fun to hang out with but knew their stuff like champs. I could ask them for advice on anything; from diving and scientific skills to where to get a drink in town.
    The best about this program was the quality of learning and the opportunity to apply it all in real life. As all volunteers lived together on base we got to know each other pretty quickly and I felt supported throughout. My favourite part was collecting data for Coral Watch. I’m proud that my work contributed to this global database and to the researchers that assess the effects of climate change on the reefs. I’m an international student doing a Bachelors of Environmental Science at Deakin University. I joined GVI to see what it feels like to be a marine conservationist and the project provided me with some valuable answers. I came out convinced of my career choice and more motivated than ever to make it happen. I definitely recommend this program to anyone who’s up for loads of learning in a fun yet challenging environment.

  2. This trip is the first step I am making down my path studying biology

    Looking back on my trip to Mexico I find it incredible how much I learnt and experienced in just two weeks. We started by focusing on getting our PADI Open Water Diving Certificate which allows you to dive up to eighteen metres anywhere in the world. This qualification is the first step necessary in acquiring further more advanced qualifications which are required for certain fields in marine biology. I had never dived before, going in the sea for the first time with our bcds and tanks was very daunting descending down into dark blue not being able to see the bottom. The feeling of swimming along the coral reef was completely unique it is incomparable to anything I have done, it was both extremely terrifying and completely wonderful, staying underwater for an hour weightless and serene. In total we did 7 dives, each dive learning new things. On our second week we visited Pez Maya, GVI’s permanent over eighteen reserve in Sian Ka’an, it was originally a private fishing shack but it was destroyed by a hurricane. It is a massive reserve and has many amazing dive sites which only Pez Maya volunteers are allowed to go to. Sea turtles played a leading role on this trip. We first saw them in Akumal, a sea turtle reserve, where we went snorkelling and watched them graze on seagrass. I had never seen sea turtles in the wild before; they have an overwhelming presence of calmness. Over the two weeks we were given a variety of different lectures by our guides and guest speakers and even presented our own to the rest of the group for us to develop our understanding of the organisms we were seeing, the declining state of the ecosystem in the Yucatan Peninsula and the measures NGOs were going to to educate communities and improve the condition of the local environment. I learnt so much from them because I could immediately relate what I was learning about to the things I was seeing. We were taught about sea turtles, whale sharks, coral reefs, fishing sustainability, biorock, the issue of lionfish in the caribbean, conservation projects and organisations. On this trip we were immersed by Mexican culture. Our trip leader Lluvia was Mexican and had been living in Playa del Carmen and working for GVI Mexico for many years. On one day we began by going to El Grande Cenote, a beautiful turquoise underground reservoir with small fish and tiny turtles. After having a typical Mexican lunch by a lagoon filled with alligators we went to visit Mayan ruins in Coba. The ruins were surrounded by jungle and some even covered by them. We climbed to the top of the pyramid and overlooked the vast expanse of green. Later we visited a Mayan village whose residents spoke Mayan rather than Mexican. A family demonstrated a ritual song for us, burning incense, drumming and singing. What these experiences taught me is how rewarding travelling is, being able to get acquainted with completely different cultures. Marine biology can unlock this opportunity of travel, in a very unique way. This project allowed me to experience what life could be like if I became a marine biologist. We took a boat for an hour to go and see whale sharks to snorkel with them. A National Geographic boat passed us on the way, a coincidence that showed me the possibility of my future. Whale sharks went to this spot in the sea to feed off tuna eggs. We were expecting to see only a handful of whale sharks but nature is amazingly unpredictable and we ended up swimming with more than one hundred and fifty. The whale sharks’ speckled grey-blue forms swam around me moving their tail slowly and intentionally with power which propelled them deceivingly quickly. Being so close to the largest fish in the sea is an indescribable feeling and completely humbling. That experience summarises how I feel about the whole trip, it made my ideas about a future in biology and conservation seem more than just fabrications but realistic possibilities. I pushed myself in Mexico to do things that initially I would have been too scared to do and I am so glad I did. This trip is the first step I am making down my path studying biology, I now have a better understanding of what both working with biology and conservation requires and what rewarding fields they can be.

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