Take a marine conservation and scuba diving internship while assisting critical marine conservation projects on the Caribbean coast of Mexico in the Yucatan Peninsula.
The Internship begins with our Marine Conservation Expedition. You will live and work for 12 weeks with a research team, undergoing an extensive training program. Knowledge gained will be put to practice while working to compile crucial research on coral reef and fish species on daily surveying dives.
Applicants will be assessed each week in order to measure progress and suitability for the divemaster programme. Successful applicants will then be offered the opportunity to complete their PADI Dive Master course during a 12 week work placement with a local dive center. This exciting opportunity will provide practical experience in the dive industry. Together with the professional dive qualification, you will practice leadership scenarios and help dive center staff with the day-to-day running of the dive shop.
Our aim on this base is the collection of data in the northern section of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, working with our local partners with the aim to:
Form a comprehensive overview of the ecological health of the reef
Determine the species and breeding success of sea turtles (seasonal)
Develop the expedition base as an “Ecological Research and Awareness Center”
Develop education and awareness programs within the local community
Overall, our monitoring program in Mexico aims to provide a long term record of coral and fish species abundance over time to contribute to the long term survival of the reef.
You will be involved in data collection on targeted fish and coral species, habitat mapping for coral reefs and mangrove management, development of environmental education and awareness programs for local schools and communities, and the development of terrestrial and marine environmental best practice in the area. There are also opportunities to get involved in local bird monitoring, incidental sighting recording, lion fish sighting recording and turtle monitoring (May-Oct).
This expedition requires a full time commitment. You can expect to have a few free weekends to explore the surrounding islands and/or participate on fun dives.
During diveshop placement, your working hours will be dependent on the schedule of the dive shop. You should expect long hours.
During your project dates your accommodation and food are included in the project cost. The base is located on the beach in the Amigo Di Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve just south of Tulum on the Yacatan peninsula. Accommodation is basic and you will be sharing mixed-gender dorm rooms with bunkbeds. There is limited running water and you can expect bucket showers. Food is basic (rice, pasta, potatoes with fresh vegetable orders once a week). You'll take turns preparing the daily meals in the communal kitchen. There is very limited mobile reception. You are allowed to bring your laptop, however charging times are limited and priority is given to communication equipment.
You are welcome to organize side trips for your free time or before/after your project experience. Associated costs and travel expenses are not included in the project fee and need to be factored into your budget. There are endless travel opportunities and adventures along the Yucatan peninsula available to volunteers. Many of these activities involve diving and are located very close to the expedition base; cenote diving near Tulum, diving with turtles in Akumal Bay, wall reed diving off Cozumel island or snorkel with whale sharks off Holbox island between June and September.
Rio Lagartos is also nearby and is home to great flocks of flamingos and river crocodiles, while Bacalar is known as the lake of seven colors and is a must see if you are willing to travel futher afield.
There are also many ruins and archaeological sites in the region which allow you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich Mayan culture; Tulum, Coba, Palenque and Merida.
Volunteers also regularly visit Tulum and Playa Del Carmen on weekends to enjoy the vibrant nightlife, restaurants and shopping.
Staff in the field will provide training on the skills required, but you may benefit from learning more about local history, culture and customs before you travel.
Volunteers complete an initial training phase where they learn to accurately identify locally targeted fish or coral species. Training will involve snorkel and dive point outs with field staff, as well as learning benthic coral and invertebrate.
You need to be at least PADI Open Water (or equivalent) qualified. The PADI Advanced and Rescue Diver qualifications are done on base with the Divemaster course taking place at our local dive shop partner.
You will be assigned either fish or coral and will be required to learn the relevant species before getting to the field.
You need not have any specific skills; just an enthusiasm and passion for contributing to the project and the local partner objectives. You need to be a comfortable and confident swimmer and be physically fit and healthy. In most cases, you will dive twice a day, six days a week, weather dependent.
During the dive centre placement (2nd 12 weeks) food is not included.
A change of environment, climate, food and lifestyle often results in minor, and occasionally more serious, illness.
Please inform staff if you feel unwell at any time. We have emergency procedures for all foreseeable events. The staff are trained in first aid and you will receive a safety briefing on arrival.
Please note that we cannot provide specific medical advice. Please consult your primary care provider (doctor, GP, etc.) or visit a travel clinic for further information leading up to your trip. Please be forthcoming about any health issues before you begin the project as failure to do so may have serious consequences for you, the staff and other participants, including your removal from the program.
A PADI medical form will need to be completed and signed by a doctor should you suffer from any of the conditions listed on the form.
We have a small safe on base for money and passports. Traveling in the area is generally quite safe and there are low crime rates. The biggest risks result from weather related hazards.
Volunteers meet at 10:00AM on the project start date at the Hotel Colorado in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo.
We recommend the following accommodation:
Calle 4 entre Av. 20 y 25
Centro Playa del Carmen, Q. Roo
Hostal Happy Gecko
Av 10 entre calle 4 y 6
+ 984 147 0692
Playa del Carmen Hotel H&A
Av. 20 entre calle 2 y 4
+ 984 873 3177
At the end of the project, you will be transferred back to Playa del Carmen around 3:00PM. We recommend departure flights not be booked before 6:00PM on that day.
Field staff advise that you enter the country using a tourist visa. For most nationalities this doesn’t need to be arranged in advance. Check with the Mexican Embassy for the most current information.