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 community 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.
All of our reports about the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve, monitoring the health of the reefs and fish populations as well as guiding fisheries policy in the area, use the data that our volunteers collect on their expeditions.
Our expeditions run throughout the year, giving you an opportunity to join us when you have the free-time and ensuring year-round sustainability of our marine research. We host an average of 8-10 volunteers per expedition, and we never have more than three volunteers per staff member to ensure you get the training and support you need.
Expedition volunteers are at the heart of everything we do and we’d love to have you join us! You can read stories of past volunteers as well as our Beyond Conservation blog to learn more.
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.
Find out how we’re leading the field in responsible tourism.
Find out more about our values and what you’ll experience with Blue Ventures.
And counting… We’re extremely proud to have supported so many brilliant volunteers who have actively contributed to our research and conservation work!
We’re delighted to welcome volunteers from all over the world to work with us in Madagascar and Belize.
On average you’ll do 1-2 dives per day after your dive and science training is complete. You’ll be diving up to 5 days a week (weather dependent) so you’ll clock up a lot of underwater time!
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 eco-cabins. 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. The Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve is part of Ambergris Caye, voted by TripAdvisor in 2015, for the second year in a row, as their Travellers’ Choice Awards “Best Island in the World”. In the reserve you will find a palm-studded island shouldered by white beaches and backed by mangroves that fade to the west into Corozal Bay. Our volunteers love the eco-cabins 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 roseate 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 Corozal 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 volleyball 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.
We have spaces for our Belize expeditions starting and finishing on the following dates:
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.
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