Volunteer in the Caribbean and release your inner predator! Join the hunt to remove the invasive Lionfish and save the reef from an invasive species while learning about marine conservation in Belize. Earn your PADI Open Water certification or further your diving certification while on the island. You will be spearing the invasive lionfish!
Based on a tiny private island in the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve Park, off the coast of Placencia, this award-winning marine conservation project has worked in conjunction with the Belize Fisheries Department for the past 13 years researching issues affecting the world’s second largest coral reef. Focusing on the removal of invasive Lionfish to the Belizean waters, as well as monitoring Lobster populations, Conch migration, coral health, fish species and whale shark identification, volunteers have a great deal of work to do in the blue waters of the Caribbean.
Lionfish threaten the very survival and sustainability of coral reef ecosystems in the Caribbean and Atlantic Oceans as they were accidentally introduced thirty years ago and have no natural predators.
Our project focuses on spearing and eradicating this invasive species. Release your inner predator and help us remove this invasive species to end this ecological nightmare. All research information gathered is given to the Belize Fisheries Department where important decisions rely on the data.
Why choose this project?
It’s a fun and exciting experience!! The project has been developing and working on a wide variety of marine conservation initiatives and sharing their passion for marine conservation with volunteers from around the world for over 13 years. This trip is a unique opportunity to learn about the marine environment and help protect and conserve this precious resource while having a fun holiday. The Marine Conservation in Belize with PADI Certification project is a great way to see marine scientists at work while developing your own diving skills. We encourage everyone to become a part of the community of people who care about the future of our planet’s oceans. The project’s mission is to preserve and manage the Belize Barrier Reef for generations to come by inspiring, educating, and encouraging change via their volunteer citizen-scientists. The volunteers are the change they wish to see in the world and this program makes that possible!
The island is a small picture-perfect Caribbean gem and the maximum number of volunteers the island can hold per week is 18. The groups are always small, friendly, and of like-minded people who love the ocean and conservation. But space is limited and the project often reaches capacity, especially during the busy season of March-August, so don’t wait too long to reserve your spot. You will be able to contribute to ongoing marine conservation efforts as well as gain an international diving certificate that you can use all over the world. Everyone contributes regardless of his or her background and experience. Don’t worry if you are a non-diver or novice diver. The PADI Open Water course is included (a small admin fee applies). In addition, we only take small groups which allow us to focus on individual diving skills. Volunteers help make meaningful environmental contributions towards the reef and go home much happier and better divers.
Role of the volunteer
You will spend each day diving on the reef – generally 12 dives per week – carrying out some of the following activities:
Lionfish removal: using spearfishing techniques. Lobster surveying: locating and measuring lobsters, establishing gender and looking for eggs. Conch monitoring: identifying, registering and tagging giant conch. Reef check: part of a global survey on reef health, including coral bleaching, Whale shark identification: for those lucky enough to see a whale shark, photographing and identifying it for entry onto a global database looking at the species and its migration, Conservation data collection (dissections, and surveys)
Some of the activities will depend on the need of the project at the time of your placement.
To join the Marine Conservation in Belize with PADI Certification project you must be able to swim and you will need a doctor’s dive check to show you are fit to dive. The research methodologies taught are very simple and straightforward and you can learn all you need to know during the training session prior to the dive. You will be spearing the invasive lionfish and participating in our other conservation dives and making a difference!
WHY JOIN THE PROJECT
To obtain an internationally recognised diving certificate
Learn more about the under sea world
To volunteer in an amazing location
The Sapodilla Cayes Marine reserve covers an 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, snorkelling and a busy schedule, you will look forward to early nights and early starts – and even the occasional night dive. Placencia, your weekend destination, is a charming beachside town in the south of Belize. There are bars and restaurants selling delicious Belizean food and opportunities for you to listen to some live music. There are plenty of things to do at weekends such as visiting Mayan villages, hike in the jungle or travelling to Guatemala at weekends.
Details & Costs
- Duration: 2-8 weeks
- Without weekend accommodation:
£1011 / $1769 for 1 week
£1592 / $2785 for 2 weeks
£2212 / $3872 for 3 weeks
£2833 / $4958 for 4 weeks
£3454 / $6044 for 5 weeks
£4075 / $7131 for 6 weeks
£4695 / $8217 for 7 weeks
£5316 / $9303 for 8 weeks
- With weekend Accommodation:
£1095 / $1917 for 1 week
£1607 / $2812 for 2 weeks
£2547 / $4457 for 3 weeks
£3098 / $5422 for 4 weeks
£3650 / $6388 for 5 weeks
£4202 / $7353 for 6 weeks
£4753 / $8318 for 7 weeks
£5305/ $9283 for 8 weeks
- Without weekend accommodation:
- Requirements: 18+
- Location – Sapodilla Cayes Marine National Park, Belize.
- Project activities: Diving, spear fishing lionfish, lobsters surveying, conch monitoring, reef check, whale shark identification, conservation data collection.
- Working hours – 6.00- 17.00 generally 3 dives per day – weather dependent
- Projects availability – All Year Except for the month of September
- Arrival day: Every Sunday
What is included
- Accommodation: In a single or shared room on the island during the week and in a hostel on the mainland (in Placencia at weekends) if you choose the weekend accommodation option
- Meals: 3 meals per day weekdays only
- Airport Pickup: Airport pickup and drop off from Placencia Airport
- In Country Transport: Weekly Transfers to and from the island at weekends
- Diving equipment: BCDs, regulators, fins weight provided – PADI Open Water Course
- Support: 24-hour support
- Training: PADI Open Water Course (small admin fee applies)
What is not included
- Diving equipment: Bring your own mask, booties, wetsuit (dive camera, torch & watches if needed)
- Weekend Accommodation depending on which option you choose
- PADI admin fee – $150 for Open Water Certification (3 days)
- PADI manual for the relevant course
- Additional courses:
- Advanced Diving $200 (1 week)
- Rescue Diver $250 (1 week)
- Dive Master $400 (4 weeks minimum stay required)
- Deep Diver $100 (3 days)
- Fish Identification $100 (3 days)
- Emergency First Response $100 (2 days)
- Coral Fish Identification $100 (3 days)
- Invasive Lionfish $100 (3 days)
- Food while on the mainland (Weekends, Monday morning & Friday afternoon)
- Marine reserve island fees – USD$25 per week or USD$75 per month
Easy 3-step application process
APPLY ONLINE Click here to apply online and pay your deposit to secure your space on your chosen project. Our advisors will then contact you to guide you through the next steps.
TELEPHONE INTERVIEW Once we’ve received your application, we’ll be in touch to arrange your informal telephone interview with your Kaya Placement Advisor.
GET PREPARED When you’ve been accepted onto your project we’ll send you your Welcome Pack and lots of other helpful information to assist you with preparing for your placement.
HAVE A QUESTION?
We pride ourselves on providing you high quality placement information throughout your application process and whilst on the ground. Connect with us if you have any questions.
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