Based on a tiny private island in the sapodilla Cayes, off the coast of Punta Gorda, this marine conservation project has worked in conjunction with the fisheries department for the past 7 years researching issues affecting the world’s second largest coral reef. Focusing currently on the invasion of alien lion fish to the Belizean waters, as well as monitoring Lobster populations, Conch migration, coral health, fish species and whale shark identification.
This internship works alongside the project leaders to prepare reports with the data collected by volunteers, liaise with the fisheries departments and local fishermen looking at sustainable fishing practices and conduct educational sessions for tourists and locals.
The weekends are spent back on land, relaxing and enjoying the local Belizean life. PADI qualifications are provided for non-divers or those wishing to improve skills.
View more of Kaya's environmental conservation volunteer abroad projects around the world.
Data gathered by volunteers has to be processed and submitted with recommendations and analysis. Interns are needed to work alongside the project leaders to carry out this important element of the conservation work, and it is a great opportunity to get an insight into the bigger picture in the issues surrounding marine ecology and conservation.
Punta Gorda is a charming beachside town – the most southern in Belize. With its wooden houses and waterfront promenade, it has a laid back and friendly population with a thriving Saturday market. You can visit Mayan villages, hike in the jungle or easily travel into Guatemala at weekends.
The Sapodilla Cayes Marine reserve covers and area of about 125 sq. km with fourteen sand and mangrove cayes. Waters are generally crystal clear with great visibility and the waters are home to nesting turtles, migrating whale sharks, manta rays and thousands of other fascinating fish and coral species. The island where you will stay is less than an acre, but with a volleyball court, a covering of palm trees with hammocks to relax in, snorkeling and a busy schedule, you will look forward to early nights and early starts - and even the occasional night dive.
• Duration: 4 weeks
• Cost: £2540 ($4445)
• Requirements: 18+
• Location – Sapodilla Cayes Marine National Park, Belize
• Project activities: Diving, spear fishing, species identification, documenting shell measurements. writing reports
• Working hours - generally 3 dives per day – weather dependent
• Projects availability - January and August
• Arrival day:Sunday
• Airport pick up and drop off from Punta Gorda Airport
• Accommodation: In a single or shared room on the island during the week and on the mainland (in Punta Gorda) at weekends
• Weekly Transfers to and from the island each week
• Food: 3 meals per day on the island (Monday to Friday only)
• All diving equipment (we recommend you bring your own mask and wetsuit)
• PADI Open Water or Advanced course
• Flights (internal flights from Belize city to Punta Gorda can be arranged for $145 each way per person)
• PADI admin fee- $50 for each cert.
• PADI manual for the relevant course
• Meals in Punta Gorda at weekends, Mon breakfast and Friday dinner
• Marine reserve island fees - $25 per week or $75 per month
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