Marine Conservation Expedition in Belize
If you are passionate about marine conservation or marine biology, are looking for a unique and authentic cultural exchange or have dreamed about diving the crystal clear waters of the second largest barrier reef then our marine conservation expedition in Belize should be exactly what you are looking for!
As marine conservation volunteer you will be immersed in the full breadth of Blue Ventures’ integrated conservation programmes whilst living in homestay and on a remote palm-studded island. The focus of your time volunteering with us will be to collect critical marine inventory data on an extensive coral reef during daily underwater research dives. Data collected by volunteers feeds into published reports and scientific papers, which help guide the fisheries management in the area. In addition to that, you will learn how to survey, hunt, and dissect the invasive species of lionfish helping to combat the threat it imposes on the reef system.
Before heading to Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve, where all diving related activities take place, you will spend a week in a homestay in the small fishing village of Sarteneja. You will get to know the welcoming Belizean culture, learn Spanish or improve your foreign language skills, go on manatee and bird surveys and take part in the science training, which provides you with all relevant skills and knowledge to carry out underwater surveys once at dive camp. You will return to your homestay family after your time at Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve and input the data you’ve collected alongside community work for another week.
Experienced SCUBA divers as well as novices can join the expedition as dive training from PADI Open Water up to PADI Dive Master can be facilitated as part of your expedition. Every volunteer will be trained to PADI Advanced Open Water, which is the minimum requirement for research dives.
“Within six weeks, I made about 20 new friends, got to know a different culture very closely, learned a lot about Caribbean reefs, felt that I made an impact on marine conservation, experienced amazing diving adventures and relaxed as never before in a great dive camp!”
Country Information and Project Goal
Belize is situated in Central America and boarders the Caribbean Sea. It’s the only Central American country with English being the official language and not Spanish. Belize is home to a unique and spectacular ecosystem, which has been declared as a UNESCO Natural World Heritage site. The people of Sarteneja, where the homestay takes place, are highly dependent on the sea for income and food. Due to a drastic decline in fish stocks and a lack of alternative sources of income, the project was initiated 5 years ago and continues to develop in collaboration with the local community, local NGOs and governmental bodies.
In your spare time you have the opportunity to go on leisure dives, snorkel on nearby reefs, go sailing with locals or take walks in the nearby reserve. Other activities include beach volleyball or simply relaxing in a hammock and enjoying a good book!
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More information about this gap year opportunity...
Sarteneja village and our dive camp in the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve. Shorter Lionfish projects are held at our dive camp
Transport to and from site
The quickest way to get to Sarteneja is from Belize City. From there you can either take a water taxi or bus to Sarteneja. Transport from Sarteneja to Bacalar Chico Dive Camp and back is facilitated by Blue Ventures
All volunteers involved in diving related activities need to be aged 17 or older.
We welcome volunteers from all over the world but English language skills are a prerequisite to take part in the expedition
Standard marine conservation expeditions run for a period of six weeks, however volunteers can join us for a minimum of three weeks and as long as 18 weeks. If you cannot stay for three weeks, we have lionfish expeditions which run from 9 – 14 days. Volunteers joining this specific expedition have to certified to Advanced Open Water level or above at the time joining
The start dates of our six week marine conservation expeditions are: 4th January 2016, 18th February 2016, 12th April 2016, 28th May 2016, 13th July 2016, 15th September 2016, 10th November 2016, however we have flexible start dates if you can’t make these.
The start dates of our lionfish expeditions are 25th January 2016 (14 days), 10th March 2016 (14 days), 27th August 2016 (9 days), 29th October 2016 (9 days)
Accommodation and Food
During your time in Sarteneja you will be staying in a homestay family, typically with one other volunteer. Your homestay mum will cook you a tasty Belizean breakfast and dinner and lunch will be taken with the team and volunteers at the Blue Ventures office. At our dive camp you will share an eco-cabin, overlooking the white beaches and the Caribbean Sea, with a maximum of three other volunteers. Three meals are prepared for you daily by our local chef using fresh, locally sourced produce
Indicated prices are for volunteers at PADI Advanced Open Water level. Should you be an unqualified diver when joining the expedition, please add another £200 to the prices. For any other length of your stay, please inquire with us.
9 day lionfish trip: £800
14 day lionfish trip: £1100
3 weeks marine conservation expedition: £1950
6 weeks marine conservation expedition: £2525
- In-depth pre-departure information
- Recommended travel agency for flights
- Health and safety briefing
- Pastoral care prior to expedition and on site with a volunteer staff ratio of 3:1
- Three meals per day
- Transport between Sarteneja and dive camp
- Dive equipment (BCD, regulator, weights, tanks)
- Science and dive training
- 1-2 dives a day (weather dependent)
- Financial protection
Blue Ventures develops transformative approaches for catalysing and sustaining locally led marine conservation. We work in places where the ocean is vital to local cultures and economies, and are committed to protecting marine biodiversity in ways that benefit coastal people. Blue Ventures run award winning marine conservation expeditions in Belize, Madagascar and Timor-Leste. We have a team of highly dedicated researchers and volunteers who study all aspects of the marine environment.
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