Join our award winning dive expeditions to Belize

Based in the fishing village of Sarteneja and the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve, our diving expeditions offer volunteers from around the world a unique opportunity to get involved with Blue Ventures’ marine research and conservation work.

Join our team surveying the second largest barrier reef in the world (a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site), and contribute to our efforts to conserve this spectacular ecosystem, including combating the threat of invasive lionfish.

From gap year students and university graduates to career breakers and retirees, our expeditions attract a diverse range of people from around the world, who share an interest in diving with the purpose of supporting our marine research and conservation work.

You’ll be immersed in the full breadth of Blue Ventures’ programmes in Belize, including underwater marine research at our dive camp in Bacalar Chico and environmental education with local children in the seaside village of Sarteneja. Expedition volunteers are at the heart of everything we do and we’d love to have you join us.

My expedition was one of the most memorable and important experiences of my life. Your ideas are valued, your participation is appreciated, and English teaching at the local school is received with great enthusiasm.

Monika Calitz

The diving expertise of Blue Ventures' staff is excellent and I now feel more confident in the water.

Jodi Burley

I would highly recommend an expedition with Blue Ventures - the diving was awesome and I met some fabulous people! The locals in Belize made me feel so welcome and I was very sad to leave.

Sandra Cheung

Within six weeks, I made about 20 new friends, got to know a different culture very closely, learned a lot about Carribean reefs, felt that I made an impact on marine conservation, experienced amazing diving adventures and relaxed as much as never before in a great dive camp!

Sarah Kleinschumacher

All of our volunteers complete an intensive two-week science training programme run by our field scientists at the beginning of each expedition, involving numerous snorkelling and diving excursions as well as informal lectures, small group discussions and practical exercises on coral and fish species identification.

Both qualified and non-qualified divers are welcome to join our expeditions. All divers must be trained to at least PADI Advanced Open Water or equivalent and we provide training to this level as part of the expedition fee. Dive training is carried out during the first two weeks of expeditions, so that all volunteers are qualified to participate in underwater surveys once they have successfully completed their science training.

Experienced divers who have not dived in the six months prior to their expedition are required to take a refresher course with us, to ensure that they are confident and well trained. We also offer the PADI Emergency First Response, Rescue Diver and Dive Master courses for those who wish to advance their diving qualifications.

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Volunteers

And counting… We’re extremely proud to have supported so many brilliant volunteers who have actively contributed to our research and conservation work.

1

Nationalities

We’re delighted to welcome volunteers from all over the world to work with us in Madagascar and Belize.

1

Survey hours

On average you’ll do 1-2 dives a day after your dive and science training is complete. You’ll be diving up to 5 days a week (weather dependant) so you’ll clock up a lot of underwater time!

Get our Volunteer Guide

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Our volunteers in Belize split their time between the fishing village of Sarteneja (during the first and last weeks of their expedition) in local homestay accommodation, and our beautiful dive camp in the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve (during the middle four weeks of their expedition) in beach-front bungalows. Volunteers are given regular Spanish lessons by our staff, and staying with local families in Sarteneja provides the perfect opportunity for language learning exchange!

Located on the shore of the Corozal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, Sarteneja is the largest fishing community in Belize, near to the spectacular Shipstern Nature Reserve where our volunteers spend time experiencing the flora and fauna through day and night walks. The Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve is a large, palm-studded island shouldered by white beaches and backed by mangroves that fade to the west into Corozal Bay. Our volunteers love the communal bungalows that face out onto the Caribbean sea!

Turtles, rays, nurse sharks, dolphins and giant moray eels are all regularly spotted on dives, and manatees are frequently spotted in the mangroves between November and January. Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve is also a nesting site for many birds, including rosetate spoonbills, white ibis, boat-billed herons and magnificent frigate birds.

Manatees (grazing marine mammals, living in shallow water where seagrass is the dominant vegetation) are common in the shallow waters between the Belize mainland and the barrier reef. Manatees are one of the flagship species of Corazol Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, and we help to gather opportunistic sightings data and monitor their activity at resting holes.

In their spare time at our base in Bacalar Chico, our expedition volunteers can be found exploring the mangroves, playing games on the beach, snorkelling or relaxing in their hammocks. While in Sarteneja, there are opportunities to visit nearby Mayan ruins and the Shipstern Nature Reserve.

You can use the interactive map to zoom in and out of the region, including Sarteneja and the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve.

Meet our Belize team

Field Scientist
Belize
Country Coordinator
Sarteneja, Belize
Expedition Manager
Belize
Field Scientist
Bacalar Chico, Belize
Field Scientist
Belize
Boat Captain
Bacalar Chico, Belize
Boat Captain
Bacalar Chico, Belize
Cook
Bacalar Chico, Belize
Caretaker and Night Watchman
Bacalar Chico, Belize

Belize Expedition Dates

We have spaces for our Belize expeditions starting and finishing on the following dates:

Expedition Years:

If you can’t commit to 3 weeks or more, why not consider joining our 7 day or 16 day lionfish trip instead?

Belize Expedition Costs

Expedition prices vary according to your current diving qualification and length of stay in Belize. Half of our volunteers have never dived before and our PADI dive courses represent excellent value for money.

Expedition lengthYou are a PADI Advanced Open Water (or equivalent) diverYou are a PADI Open Water (or equivalent) diverYou have no diving certificationNon-diving under 17Expedition medic
3 weeks£1,950£2,050£2,150£950
4 weeks£2,150£2,250£2,350£1,150
5 weeks£2,350£2,450£2,550£1,250
6 weeks£2,525£2,625£2,725£1,400£1,850*
7 weeks£2,825£2,925£3,025£1,600
8 weeks£3,125£3,225£3,325£1,800
9 weeks£3,425£3,525£3,625£2,000
10 weeks£3,725£3,825£3,925£2,200
11 weeks£4,025£4,125£4,225£2,400
12 weeks£4,325£4,425£4,525£2,600£3,000*
12+ weeks£300 per additional week£300 per additional week£300 per additional week£200 per additional week12+ weeks

What is included in the price?

Our expedition costs include:

  • Transfers between the village of Sarteneja and the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve
  • Accommodation for the duration of your stay in Home stays whilst in Sarteneja and beach-front eco-cabins whilst at our dive camp, with a maximum of four volunteers per cabin
  • Three meals per day including tea and coffee at breakfast and lunch – all meals are prepared by local chefs using fresh local ingredients
  • Science training with our team of field scientists and researchers
  • Scuba diving training and certification to PADI Advanced Open Water level (depending on your existing qualifications)
  • Use of our scuba diving equipment including buoyancy control devices (BCDs), regulators, weights and cylinders
  • Comprehensive logistical support and pastoral care from our large team of permanent field staff
  • Health and safety briefings and support from our expedition medics and dive managers

What is not included in the price?

Our expedition costs do NOT include:

  • International flights to Belize City or Cancun in Mexico
  • Domestic travel to the expedition starting point in Sarteneja; there a regular public buses from Belize City and other travel options that we advise you about
  • Entry visa for Belize and any visa extensions
  • Any medication or vaccinations that you require
  • Travel and dive insurance
  • Personal diving equipment: wetsuit, mask, snorkel, fins, watch or dive computer, dive torch and underwater slate – we provide detailed guidance on what you need to buy for your expedition
  • Personal field equipment: e.g. sleeping bag and torch
  • Scuba diving training manuals
  • Additional dive training; costs are detailed below
  • Spending money for drinks, snacks and souvenirs
  • Hotel accommodation before and after your expedition dates
  • More information about all these costs can be found in our volunteer guide

Next steps...

Download our Expedition Guide

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Read our Belize Expedition FAQs

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Then, when you're ready...

Apply Now!

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