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Mexico Marine Conservation Short Term Internship

Earn your PADI Coral Reef Researcher Distinctive Speciality and gain work experience in marine conservation

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Develop your diving skills to the next level while discovering Mexico’s Mesoamerican coral reefs and abundant wildlife. As a member of the advanced diving team in partnership with highly regarded organisations, you will be able skip go and dive right into vital marine conservation projects.

Time Commitment

Monday through to Friday

Active Periods

January - October


Work and Activities Description

Typical Day

You will spend the majority of your time on this expedition gaining and improving your marine conservation and scuba diving skills, helping our partners carry out their marine conservation work. We are collecting 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 education and awareness programmes within the local community

You will be divided into either fish or coral study groups by our onsite Science Officer. The 4 to 8 week volunteers will be allocated to learn Fish families and the appropriate methodology, they may also be able to help with and learn Coral Watch. If you progress quickly you may also learn both. Coral is divided into the study of sessile organisms on the reef and coral diseases, this will be done on base once they have learned the coral species list.

Other programmes which will run throughout the year as and when they are needed to be completed:

  • Coral restoration nurseries
  • Turtle photo ID and monitoring
  • Sea grass monitoring and mapping
  • Tourist impact assessment
  • Turtle nesting (seasonal) monitoring around the area
  • Incidental sightings recording
  • Lionfish population studies and rat eradication program (as needed in other locations)
  • Weekly beach cleans
  • Teaching in the local schools in Puerto Morelos each week, and outreach work to assist the community and promote conservation practices.

You will also complete a Leadership course (endorsed by ILM, and internationally recognised body) where you will be paired with a mentor whilst on project and have the opportunity to put this theoretical knowledge into practice by leading presentations, workshops and other projects.

Free Time Activities

You will be 2.5 kilometers (1.59 miles) away from downtown Puerto Morelos within the National Park Reefs of Puerto Morelos. You can travel outside of base using the local taxis – one way to downtown Puerto Morelos costs about US$15 one way. Larger taxis are cheaper depending on number of people going out. Public transport is easy and relatively cheap, travelling regularly between major towns.

In your down time you will be free to travel in the local area and you will have 2 free days per week. Every 4th week you will have a 3 day weekend. In your time off you could do day trips such as visiting Tulum or Coba Mayan ruins, do some cenote diving, visit Playa del Carmen, etc. Before and after your programme you could go to Merida, Chichen Itza, Chiapas or Central America – the possibilities are endless!



Accommodation Options

Mixed Dorms

Accommodation Description

Accommodation is in shared (mixed sex) dorm rooms with shared bathroom facilities. There is bottled water available for cooking and drinking only. Cold water for showering and flush toilet facilities. Participants share base duties including cooking, cleaning, gear and equipment maintenance, and other chores.​


Facilities Description



Whenever travelling you should be aware of the risk of opportunist crime and take common sense precautions to minimise the chance of becoming a victim. Project staff are on base & on project with you at all times to facilitate and ensure safety & security of all participants. Upon arrival to field you will cover a healthy & safety and risk assessment training to mitigate any potential risks.

Food & Drink

Volunteers prepare their own breakfast from our choice of cereals. During work days lunch and dinner is prepared by a local cook, on weekends participants cook their own meals. Food is a very basic, mostly vegetarian diet, with meat available about once a week. Breakfast could be porridge, fruit or cereal, lunch is beans, vegetables, pasta and sauce, etc. and a typical evening meal may include lentils, pasta, beans, rice and vegetables. Local restaurants are also an option at your own cost during weekends.

Internet Access

Phone Signal

Mobile/cell phone reception is available on base depending on your phone carrier.

Nearest Facilities

Airport Pickup

We provide an airport pick up day prior to program start from 8:00 to 20:00.


Language Requirements


Document Requirements

Passport, Criminal Background check, Medical form, PADI Medical Form

Nationality Requirements

Qualification Requirements

Must be PADI Advanced in order to join the project

Medical Requirements

Please note that GVI cannot provide specific medical advice. Please consult your primary care provider (doctor, GP, etc.) or visit a travel clinic for further information Please be forthcoming about any health issues before you begin the expedition as failure to do so may have serious consequences for you, the staff and other participants, including your removal from the expedition. It is also recommended that you take a credit card to ensure you can get immediate treatment in the event of a medical emergency (if suitable insurance is held, you will be reimbursed by your insurance company). 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. Expedition Participants: Your doctor must sign the PADI & GVI medical forms confirming you are fit to dive if you answer YES to any of the questions on the form.

Other Requirements

Recommended Gear

A list of essential equipment will be provided upon booking confirmation

Included Services

Before Journey Services / Support

Once you have confirmed your spot on this program, you will be allocated to a dedicated program expert who will assist you as you prepare for your program.

On-Site Support

Project staff on base who facilitate the project, run training’s & assist with any additional health & safety needs if required. 24 Hour emergency phone. Please ask your program expert for more information.


Pricing Breakdown

You will be given the option to pay in instalments for an Instalment Fee of £125 per booking. If you select this Instalment Fee option, a non-refundable deposit payment of £350 is due within 48 hours of notice of acceptance onto the program, 50% of the balance will fall due 16 weeks before departure and the remaining 50% of the balance will fall due 12 weeks before departure. If you the Participant cancel this agreement, the Participant shall not be entitled to a refund of any monies paid.

If you do not select the Instalment Fee option, the full cost of your booking is due within 48 hours of notice of acceptance onto the program. If you the Participant cancel this agreement more than 16 weeks prior to departure, the Participant shall be entitled to a refund of the full amount paid minus £350.
If you the Participant cancel this agreement between 16 and 12 weeks prior to departure, the Participant shall be entitled to a refund of 60% of the full amount paid. If you the Participant cancel this agreement less than 12 weeks prior to departure, the Participant shall be entitled to a refund of £100.

Not Included in Price

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal items and toiletries
  • Police or background check
  • Visa costs (where necessary)

Reviews & Ratings

One of the most rewarding experiences of my life







I can say without hesitation that the GVI Mexico Marine Conservation was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The opportunity to work as a volunteer on a coral reef to survey and help maintain the overall reef system and knowing you are making a difference was such a satisfying aspect of my trip. I met friends I will have for a lifetime and I learnt more in the 4 week program than I have in my 4 years at university studying marine science. My time in Mexico was a time I will cherish forever and look forward to doing again in the very near future (literally as soon as international travel allows me to).

Review by:

Katelin Giuliano

Awesome time with GVI







Staff members were super cool but still professional when it comes to diving. The community was so awesome. I met so many new people there and immediatley became friends with them. On the weekends you can go visit the other cities and party there. The staff can always give you some recommodations. The accomodations are good and clean. There are no hot showers, but who needs a hot shower when it has 30°? ;) (and the water in the shower is still not cold). WiFi is available at base. Definitely recommended to stay longer then four weeks. All in all an amazing experience which I can recommend to everyone.

Review by:

Michael Zimprich

learning in a fun yet challenging environment







At the beginning of this year, I embarked with GVI on the Marine Conservation short- term internship in Puerto Morelos, Mexico. I was lucky to find out about our project on a university page, as I was required to complete an internship for academic credits. Life on base was exceptional; I liked to get up a tad earlier than the bulk of us to go on the beach and admire the sunrise, then we would all have breakfast together and start gearing up for ‘Wave 1’, the morning dive. We used to dive once or twice a day and practiced fish and coral identification, buoyancy skills and first aid skills. When not in the water, the staff held workshops, we helped local marine researchers at the coral nursery, or we simply appreciated the Mexican vibes from base, the beach or the town. Our staffs were a handful of legends that not only were fun to hang out with but knew their stuff like champs. I could ask them for advice on anything; from diving and scientific skills to where to get a drink in town. The best about this program was the quality of learning and the opportunity to apply it all in real life. As all volunteers lived together on base we got to know each other pretty quickly and I felt supported throughout. My favourite part was collecting data for Coral Watch. I’m proud that my work contributed to this global database and to the researchers that assess the effects of climate change on the reefs. I’m an international student doing a Bachelor's Degree of Environmental Science at Deakin University. I joined GVI to see what it feels like to be a marine conservationist and the project provided me with some valuable answers. I came out convinced of my career choice and more motivated than ever to make it happen. I definitely recommend this program to anyone who’s up for loads of learning in a fun yet challenging environment.

Review by:


5 years







This is a great place to earn your PADI open water! I went to Mexico 5 years ago and I remember it so fondly. The coral and fish were so diverse and made the diving so much more enjoyable. In this internship you get to immerse yourself in the diving world whilst also developing your knowledge of marine conservation. You also get to create lifelong friends on this trip by connecting through mutual interests and incredible shared experiences.

Review by:

Millie Onslow

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