Published: November 1, 2022

Location: Mexico


Closing Date: Ongoing

Marine Conservation Expedition in Mexico

Programme overview

Learn how to dive and conduct coral reefs research before conducting a series of underwater surveys. The data you collect will be used by local authorities to inform decisions about preserving Mexico’s Caribbean coast. You will also be contributing to the objectives set by the United Nations under Sustainable Development Goal number 14, Life Below Water.


Marine Conservation Expedition in Mexico_GVIMarine Conservation Expedition in Mexico_GVI


About the organisation

At GVI, we have been connecting thousands of change-makers, like you, with impactful environmental projects in some of the most vulnerable habitats all over the world, for over two decades. We offer an extensive range of nature conservation programs through which people from all walks of life can volunteerintern and study. Our programs are led by our partners who are local to the communities we’re based in, and focused on making a data-driven, sustainable impact. With GVI, you get access to real-life practical experience to kick-off or advance your career. We also offer immersive social development programs in communities and cultures all over the world.

We know that creating lifelong connections with like-minded global change-makers is important to you. That’s why we go to great lengths to set the scene for you – so you can enjoy the most memorable experiences together. Just ask our alumni. You’ll see that we’re serious about ethics and sustainability – we partner with expert locally-led organisations and align ourselves to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

Over the years, we have been moved, educated and impelled by our many conservation partners. Our work with them has won numerous awards and has been featured across global media. Whilst you’re immersed in the abundant ecosystems of our locations, we don’t want you to worry about a thing. That’s why our team offers support every step of the way, taking care of the admin, logistics and health and safety on your behalf. You’re in good hands.

With the climate crisis intensifying, GVI is more determined than ever to follow our mission. By joining a GVI program, you’re not only contributing to positive change on the planet, but also within yourself. This we can guarantee: you will never be the same again.


About the programme

Are you passionate about protecting the world’s oceans and preventing environmental issues like plastic pollution and coral bleaching? The Mexican coastal area known as the Riviera Maya, is one of the most unique and important habitats in the world. It is home to one of the largest coral ecosystems around the globe as well as critically endangered species such as the Hawksbill sea turtle. Human factors affecting this habitat include unsustainable fishing methods, unregulated property development along the coastline, unchecked tourism activities, and climate change. Since 2018, a new coral illness, known as white band, has caused fatalities in over 40% of Caribbean coral in one year.

Volunteers on this program will contribute to conserving the reef by conducting surveys to determine the health of the reef and growing coral fragments in a laboratory for transplantation onto the local reef to assist with recovery. They will also assist with minimising marine plastic pollution by collecting waste from local beaches and the ocean floor and then recording data on the waste collected. From May to October, they might also participate in a sea turtle monitoring program, depending on the needs of our local partners at the time. Engaging local students, businesses, and community groups, as well as international visitors in environmental education workshops is also an important year-round component of this program.

Your program will start with our professional diving staff and marine conservation experts providing you with the necessary training. Learn how to conduct underwater survey while preventing any harm to the reef. During this time you will be earning your PADI Advanced Open Water Diver and receive the PADI Coral Reef Restoration Diver (CRRD) Distinctive Speciality segment of the PADI Divemaster course. This unique offering by GVI & PADI teaches you about best practices when conducting underwater coral reef surveys. This is offered to participants staying for longer than 2 weeks on the program.


  • Preserve the unique ecosystem of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.
  • Participate in a range of other impactful marine conservation initiatives.
  • Contribute to UN SDG #14, Life Below Water.
  • Learn to dive in the tropical waters of the Caribbean sea.
  • Earn your PADI Advanced Open Water Diver certification.
  • Complete GVI & PADI’s unique qualification, the PADI Coral Reef Restoration Diver (CRRD) Distinctive Speciality.
  • Make new friends when you work with a group of like-minded individuals from around the world.
  • Immerse yourself in Mexican culture, learning the language and sampling authentic Mexican cuisine.



Live on the beach at our base which is situated just 80 metres from the Puerto Morelos Reef National Park and a 15-minute drive from downtown Puerto Morelos. One of the best-kept secrets in the Yucatán, the small town of Puerto Morelos is incredibly safe and has a laid-back vibe with a friendly and welcoming local community. There are no big resorts or casinos here.

Mexico, while culturally diverse, is also one of the most biodiverse countries in the world.
From mariachi bands to Mayan temples, Mexico is best known for being the birthplace of the iconic taco. Puerto Morelos is the oldest port community in the Mexican Caribbean. Home to the northernmost tip of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (the second largest barrier reef in the world), Puerto Morelos is a spectacular diving location. You’ll spot sea turtles and various rays – from the famous Caribbean stingray to the spotted eagle ray. If mammals are more your thing, west Indian Manatees have been seen and a pod of bottlenose dolphins are frequent visitors. The mangroves offer the chance to see a variety of animals and waterbirds, including protected species like the American crocodile.

Your typical day includes diving, lab work, training on base, beach cleanups, and community work. Rounded off with evening debriefs followed by dinner and time to relax – taking in a beautiful sunset, and sharing stories with your fellow team members.



2 – 12 weeks.


Costs and pre-requisites

Starting from 2 weeks –£3,095.

No prior knowledge or experience is required – our trained field team will provide you with all the training you need when you join your project. Some of our diving programs require participants to be PADI Open Water certified prior to joining, please contact your enrolment manager for more information. There is no age limit to join our projects and in fact, our oldest participant to date was 80! Our projects do have a minimum age of 18, with the exception of our under 18 projects that are specifically designed for 15-17 year olds and our family programs for 14+ when accompanied by a guardian.


What’s included

  • 24-hour emergency desk
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All project equipment
  • Food (except on long-term internship placements
  • Safe and basic accommodation (usually shared)


How to apply

To find out more and apply, please visit the GVI website: Marine Conservation Expedition in Mexico | GVI Planet