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Marine Conservation Expedition in Mexico

Learn to scuba dive in the Caribbean conserving coral reef and marine life

Program Details

Program Type

Volunteering

Program Focus

Marine Conservation

4 weeks from

$3,590.00

Code: MXPM0066E
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Program Information

Earn your PADI diving certificate when you discover Mexico’s Mesoamerican coral reef and its abundant wildlife. As a member of an international team of volunteers in partnership with highly regarded organizations, you can be sure your marine conservation efforts are making a serious and valuable impact.
Overview
Project Life
Project Details
Free Time
The Team
Dates & Costs

Overview

Travel to the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea and join forces with GVI’s marine conservation expedition, earn your PADI diving certificate while working on and monitoring the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world.

Our team works directly on monitoring the overall health of the reef and you will contribute to coral reef and fish monitoring, among many other tasks, developing an impressive knowledge of this fascinating underwater environment.

Please note, this program offers durations up to 24 weeks. Speak to your Country Expert for more details of extending your stay in-country

Highlights Include

Immerse yourself in a tropical paradise, live in a beautiful part of a different country, with the opportunity to experience a new culture, food and way of life; learning about the Mesoamerican coral reef and how to identify the wildlife it supports; participating in monitoring dives that explore different sites along the coast; seeing mega-fauna such as dolphins and sharks; snorkeling in cenotes or waterways; joining in with community programs; teaching English and raising the environmental awareness of the local community; and joining fun-dives.

This project works in conjunction with several highly regarded organizations such as Amigos de Sian Ka’an, a Mexican NGO famous for their conservation work. Through such partnerships, volunteers can be sure their efforts are making a serious and measurable impact under the water.

Scuba Diving Requirements and Additional Courses

You will spend the majority of your time on this expedition scuba diving and as such you need to be qualified to at least PADI Open Water, or equivalent. Non-divers can join for 8- and 12-week durations, GVI will supply you with all the training you need to be certified up to PADI Advanced Diver. The 4-week duration is only open for divers already qualified to PADI Open Water Diver or equivalent. For non-divers wishing to attend for 4-weeks, we can recommend local dive centers that will help you qualify before your intended start date.

Also, if you wish to add to your scuba diving skillset, why not take an extra course at a discounted rate?! Check out available Add-ons under the Book Now button on the right-hand side, or mention to your Country Expert if interested in finding out more.

Testimonials

"Life at Pez Maya has an odd tendency of filling itself with very rich and otherworldly experiences that one would be lucky to encounter in a year. Our work here is primarily for the purpose of preserving the biodiversity of a region with forests, lagoons, mangroves, and coral reefs, all within a few miles of each other, an area extremely valuable in natural capital. More specifically, we are working to achieve a stable balance between the built and the natural world. Given that we at least share a significant awe and admiration for the wilderness, it is natural that we also find ourselves enjoying other, tangentially related experiences: The mellow strumming of a guitar, the fresh taste of a good meal after our hard work, a riveting conversation, a cold beer, some good body surfing. People here seem very alive, every hour full with activity and learning, often proactive and always positive. It is a good place to be. The days here are simple but busy, natural, and held together by the ideal we believe in to restore the natural world."

- Doug Coughran, (USA)

GVI Live

These updates cover all programs in this location

GVI Mexico

Our resident ospreys, Oscar and Olivia, are always keeping an eye on base here at #PezMaya… https://t.co/szrDaoseBA
July 7, 2015

GVI Mexico

Next monday the summer course starts at invasores, today volunteers and @cocosclinic staff helped informing locals http://t.co/pHZHjpbOO8
July 6, 2015

Yucatan Video

GVI Blogs

Students

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality
  • PADI Open Water (for 8 and 12 week volunteers) and Advanced Open Water
  • Coral reef ecology
  • Use of O2 equipment workshop
  • Diving compressor training workshop
  • Community work workshop
  • Transfer to base location
  • Live and work in a protected reserve surveying deserted reefs under GVI’s research permit

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Personal Equipment
  • Some equipment is not included

Parents

Why Study Abroad

GVI Difference

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality
  • PADI Open Water (for 8 and 12 week volunteers) and Advanced Open Water
  • Coral reef ecology
  • Use of O2 equipment workshop
  • Diving compressor training workshop
  • Community work workshop
  • Transfer to base location
  • Live and work in a protected reserve surveying deserted reefs under GVI’s research permit

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Personal Equipment
  • Some equipment is not included

Course Life

While your experience on the expedition will be rewarding, days can be long and tiring which you should be prepared for.

Depending on weather conditions, we aim for everyone to have 1 or 2 dives/snorkels each day, 5 days a week, during which you will conduct underwater surveys after you complete your training. Besides diving, you should expect to be involved in additional projects and activities, including training sessions, marine debris surveys and removal, environmental education session or alternative income training, depending on local and project needs. You will also be required to complete base duties.

While your living conditions will be basic, our base is located on a white sand beach within a protected reserve. When not working, you can take the opportunity to brush up on your knowledge of the reef and marine species, relax with your fellow volunteers or just take in the stunning sunsets that have to be seen to be believed.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality
  • PADI Open Water (for 8 and 12 week volunteers) and Advanced Open Water
  • Coral reef ecology
  • Use of O2 equipment workshop
  • Diving compressor training workshop
  • Community work workshop
  • Transfer to base location
  • Live and work in a protected reserve surveying deserted reefs under GVI’s research permit

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Personal Equipment
  • Some equipment is not included

Course Details

GVI is 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.
  • Develop the expedition base as an “Ecological Research and Awareness Centre.”
  • 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.

How this program makes a difference:

Over time and with the contributions of volunteers, we have been able to amass one of the largest databases in existence on the condition, health and changes of any section of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.

As a result of our work, our partners have been able to continue with the protection of the Sian Ka’an reef system and local fisherman are now trained in diving and monitoring skills and partake in marine surveys with the park and Amigos de Sian Ka’an staff.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality
  • PADI Open Water (for 8 and 12 week volunteers) and Advanced Open Water
  • Coral reef ecology
  • Use of O2 equipment workshop
  • Diving compressor training workshop
  • Community work workshop
  • Transfer to base location
  • Live and work in a protected reserve surveying deserted reefs under GVI’s research permit

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Personal Equipment
  • Some equipment is not included

Life on the Internship

While your experience on the expedition will be rewarding, days can be long and tiring which you should be prepared for.

Depending on weather conditions, we aim for everyone to have 1 or 2 dives/snorkels each day, 5 days a week, during which you will conduct underwater surveys after you complete your training. Besides diving, you should expect to be involved in additional projects and activities, including training sessions, marine debris surveys and removal, environmental education session or alternative income training, depending on local and project needs. You will also be required to complete base duties.

While your living conditions will be basic, our base is located on a white sand beach within a protected reserve. When not working, you can take the opportunity to brush up on your knowledge of the reef and marine species, relax with your fellow volunteers or just take in the stunning sunsets that have to be seen to be believed.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality
  • PADI Open Water (for 8 and 12 week volunteers) and Advanced Open Water
  • Coral reef ecology
  • Use of O2 equipment workshop
  • Diving compressor training workshop
  • Community work workshop
  • Transfer to base location
  • Live and work in a protected reserve surveying deserted reefs under GVI’s research permit

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Personal Equipment
  • Some equipment is not included

Program Details

GVI is 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.
  • Develop the expedition base as an “Ecological Research and Awareness Centre.”
  • 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.

How this program makes a difference:

Over time and with the contributions of volunteers, we have been able to amass one of the largest databases in existence on the condition, health and changes of any section of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.

As a result of our work, our partners have been able to continue with the protection of the Sian Ka’an reef system and local fisherman are now trained in diving and monitoring skills and partake in marine surveys with the park and Amigos de Sian Ka’an staff.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality
  • PADI Open Water (for 8 and 12 week volunteers) and Advanced Open Water
  • Coral reef ecology
  • Use of O2 equipment workshop
  • Diving compressor training workshop
  • Community work workshop
  • Transfer to base location
  • Live and work in a protected reserve surveying deserted reefs under GVI’s research permit

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Personal Equipment
  • Some equipment is not included

Project Life

While your experience on the expedition will be rewarding, days can be long and tiring which you should be prepared for.

Depending on weather conditions, we aim for everyone to have 1 or 2 dives/snorkels each day, 5 days a week, during which you will conduct underwater surveys after you complete your training. Besides diving, you should expect to be involved in additional projects and activities, including training sessions, marine debris surveys and removal, environmental education session or alternative income training, depending on local and project needs. You will also be required to complete base duties.

While your living conditions will be basic, our base is located on a white sand beach within a protected reserve. When not working, you can take the opportunity to brush up on your knowledge of the reef and marine species, relax with your fellow volunteers or just take in the stunning sunsets that have to be seen to be believed.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality
  • PADI Open Water (for 8 and 12 week volunteers) and Advanced Open Water
  • Coral reef ecology
  • Use of O2 equipment workshop
  • Diving compressor training workshop
  • Community work workshop
  • Transfer to base location
  • Live and work in a protected reserve surveying deserted reefs under GVI’s research permit

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Personal Equipment
  • Some equipment is not included

Project Details

GVI is 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.
  • Develop the expedition base as an “Ecological Research and Awareness Centre.”
  • 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.

How this program makes a difference:

Over time and with the contributions of volunteers, we have been able to amass one of the largest databases in existence on the condition, health and changes of any section of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.

As a result of our work, our partners have been able to continue with the protection of the Sian Ka’an reef system and local fisherman are now trained in diving and monitoring skills and partake in marine surveys with the park and Amigos de Sian Ka’an staff.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality
  • PADI Open Water (for 8 and 12 week volunteers) and Advanced Open Water
  • Coral reef ecology
  • Use of O2 equipment workshop
  • Diving compressor training workshop
  • Community work workshop
  • Transfer to base location
  • Live and work in a protected reserve surveying deserted reefs under GVI’s research permit

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Personal Equipment
  • Some equipment is not included

Free Time

Volunteering with GVI not only allows you to participate in programs assisting disadvantaged communities or endangered ecosystems, but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your downtime or further afield either before or after your program. Many decide to travel after volunteering, solidifying the lifetime friendships established during the program.

Our long-term field staff are a great source of advice and are here to help you make the most of your time abroad. Remember to ask about discounts on local activities and side trips through your association with GVI. Our Yucatan field teams have helped us put together the following information on trips and travel options in Mexico!

Optional Side Trips

As a large and vibrant country, Mexico can seem daunting at first, but here are a few ideas to get you going in the Yucatan Peninsula on your weekends off:

In this region, you are spoilt for choice in the number of opportunities to try out different dive sites away from the expedition. You could start with snorkeling with turtles of all sizes in Akumal bay, where they are protected and come to feed; dive or snorkel within the unique cenotes (underwater river systems); dive Cozumel, where the wall dives along the island have been voted as part of the world’s best top ten diving locations; or, for a full weekend, try Isla Holbox, a small island off the north of the peninsula. It’s a beautiful, tranquil place, great for a quiet weekend away. Whale sharks (the world’s largest fish) migrate up near the island from June to September and snorkeling alongside them while they filter feed is a truly breathtaking experience!

Alternatively, if you are looking for a break from the water, make your way to Río Lagartos where flamingos flock and river crocodiles abound; visit Bacalar – known as the lake of seven colors due to the various shades of blue; or visit prime breeding areas for the hawksbill, loggerhead, leatherback, and green turtle (May to October).

Immerse yourself in the surviving Mayan culture of the area and visit remote and untouched Mayan archaeological sites, such as the famous and easily accessible sites of Tulum and Coba, or visit the beautiful and majestic Mayan ruins of Palenque in the Chiapas region. And finally, the colonial city of Mérida is the peninsula’s cultural capital and the local artisans of Izamal will be sure to offer you some souvenirs of your trip.

Further Travel Opportunities

If you want to travel throughout the rest of Mexico either before or after your time with us, there is more than your fair share of interesting places that are well worth a visit. Take a trip to the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve and experience lowland tropical forests and have an opportunity to try and seek out threatened species; the island of Espíritu Santo offers kayaking with whale sharks (seasonal) and sea lions; if you are keen to try surfing, Puerto Escondido is rated as one of the world’s best surfing spots.

Oaxaca is a beautiful city to visit on the Pacific Coast, a colonial city with some of the nation’s most magnificent architecture, also offering several archaeological sites including the Zapotec ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Further south, San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, is definitely worth a visit. Colorful buildings, historical architecture, and impressive nearby ecological sites with fun activities will easily keep you entertained for days.

Neighboring countries to the south, Guatemala and Belize offer something different yet again. In Belize, island hop all the way down the coast, stopping to dive the Blue Hole, another world-class dive site. Guatemala can be reached easily by bus and offers everything from the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Antigua, to volcanoes, the beautiful Lake Atitlan, adventure sports such as mountain biking, and the majestic Mayan ruins of Tikal.

If you do decide to spend time traveling through Central America, make sure to allow yourself time to take it all in, because this region will pull you in and not let go!

The Team

Michala Devečková
Field Staff, Playa del Carmen

Meet Michala, our resident polyglot and Field Staff member at our Playa del Carmen base in Mexico. Michala is fluent in English, Spanish, Czech and Slovak (!), has a Masters Degree in Psychology, and when she’s not being a lingual genius she’s traveling and racking up experience living abroad.

Prior to joining the GVI team, Michala worked at a well established Czech NGO, where she was in charge of one the centers there working with Roma children and youth. She’s also lived and studied in Spain and worked in Ireland.

Michala’s main highlights since working with GVI change daily as “every day brings a highlight on its own! I do admire the work of our partners and I really enjoy every moment spent working with them”.

What’s Michala’s most memorable travel experience to date? “I think it would have to be getting lost in Fez and not being able to contact my Couchsurfing host! Luckily, I was invited by a local family to spend the night with them.”

Kerry Passingham
Dive Officer

Meet Kerry, our IDC Staff Instructor in Pez Maya, Mexico! Kerry’s diving adventure began in 2008 in Coffs Harbour, Australia, where she managed a hostel with an onsite dive shop. After attempting a 9-5 lifestyle, Kerry decided the ocean was calling and joined our Divemaster Internship in Mexico. She completed her work placement at XTC, which led onto her completing her Instructor Development Course as well!

Kerry went on to use her qualifications to work as an instructor at a PADI Career Development Center in Vietnam, where she progressed to an IDC Staff Instructor whilst managing two of their dive centers.

Since leaving GVI it was always Kerry’s aim to return as a staff member and we are thrilled to have her back! “I am excited to see many new Divemasters and Instructors as a result of these internships and see them on the road towards an exciting and rewarding career path.”

Andrea Ezeta Watts
Science Officer

Meet Andy, one of the Science Officers and also one of our newest staff members in Pez Maya Marine conservation program. Andy holds a degree in Biology and is a certified Dive Master and boat driver. Originally from Mexico city Andy worked in a Science communication office, where she was in charge of designing board games, writing TV scripts and collaborating in a radio program.

Meet Andrea or Andy as she is affectionately known around the Pez Maya hub. She is one of our awesome Science Offers, is a certified Dive Master and holds a degree in Biology. Originally from Mexico City, she used to work in a Science Communication Office, where she was in charge of designing board games, writing TV scripts and colloborating in a radio programme.

Lucky for us, Andy got fed up with her life in the city and started looking for a way to develop her biology skills in the field. She came across GVI and volunteered as one of our National Scholarship participants. Having impressed everyone by the end of the programme, Andy was offered a temporary staff position on our turtle monitoring programme and is now the newest edition to our growing team in Mexico.

Andy is also a professional fencer! She has traveled the world competing in international tournaments and was one of the best fencers in Mexico before she retired. So if you fancy testing your fencing skills while visiting our Pez Maya base, don’t forget to challenge her to a friendly dual!

Samuel Wilson
Science Officer

Meet Samuel, one of our newest staff members and Science Officer at our Pez Maya hub in Mexico! Sam is a Conservation Biologist graduate, a qualified Dive Master, a very skillful boat driver and an occasional violin player.

Same started his journey with GVI after getting tired of the 9-5 routine in England and decided our programmes were the perfect mix for him. He began his adventure in Costa Rica, where he worked for 6 months as a conservation intern before heading out to Mexico to complete our Divemaster Internship and eventually being offered a position on the team.

Being a huge animal lover, a lot of Sam’s highlights since starting work with GVI include seeing manatees, eagle rays and turtles swimming with a pod of dolphins! One of his most interesting discoveries to date includes finding a turtle on the beach with bio-luminescence on its shell! “That could not have been cooler, unless it talked.”

What’s Sam’s most memorable travel experience? “Going to an atoll called Chinchorro while I was doing my dive master training. The reef was perfect, pristine but shallow, so the colours really shone. The diversity of fish and coral was incredible, not to mention the nurse sharks!”

Rachel Parry
Community Officer

Meet Rachel, our Community Officer in Pez Maya, Mexico. Rachel is a qualified Dive Master and English teacher with a degree in Linguistics and Spanish. Rachel participated as a volunteer on a Marine Expedition in Madagascar and then decided to move down to the Seychelles and complete GVI’s Divemaster Internship. She loved working with GVI so much that decided to stay on as staff and ended up at our beautiful base in Mexico.

Her number one highlight since working with GVI has been diving with a whale and helping baby turtles make their way to the sea. Rachel loves teaching English and environmental education in the community, and teaching volunteers about the reef and especially coral (‘cause coral is awesome!). She loves witnessing volunteers beginning to fall in love with the ocean and having her students come up to her and tell her proudly how they have used their new English language skills.

Believe it or not also while she was in China she used to be the lead singer in a band that was adeptly called MSG! How cool is that!

Eugene Beery
PADI Master Instructor

Meet Eugene, our PADI Master Instructor at Pez Maya,Mexico hub! Four years ago Eugene joined GVI’s Divemaster Internship and completed his work placement in Xcalak and continued on to complete his Instructor Development Course.

After a briefly returning to the real world, he quickly realised it wasn’t for him and traveled to Vietnam, where he spent two years working at a local five center as an Instructor and Manager whilst completing his PADI Master Instructor. Fast forward to the present day and Eugene is back on our conservation team doing what he does best! “My time with GVI was one of the best experiences of my life and I’ve wanted to come back ever since I left”

Before the exciting world of the scuba life, Eugene used to be a snowboard instructor and even worked on oil rigs before discovering his interest in conservation and diving. Around base he is known for easy going vibe, phenomenal teaching skills, great hair days and a up close and personal encounter with a hammerhead shark in the Sian ka’an Biosphere Reserve!

Jodie Savage
Base Manager

Meet Jodie, our base manager in Pez Maya, Mexico. Jodie’s love for diving and marine conservation began way back in 1990, when she dived on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. It was this experience that led her onto complete a BSc in Marine Geography at the University of Cardiff, an MSc in Tropical Coastal Management with a thesis focussing on Marine Protected Areas in Kenya, in combination with the WWF and another BSc in Environmental Education in Australia.

Between studying, Jodie has gained her PADI Open Water and Advanced qualification in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, contributed to a marine conservation project in the Phillipeans where she gained her Divemaster, completed her PADI Open Water Scuba instructor Course and worked as a PADI Instructor in the UK and taught marine identifications and AGRRA protocol research at the Research Center on the Turks & Caicos Islands.

After a stint ‘Down Under’, where she taught some more and worked in Coastal Management / Environmental Education, she moved to Central America and has been here since. A research Assistant on marine sea turtle projects in Costa Rica later, Jodie completed her Captain’s license in Utila, Honduras, and then got the job as GVI’s Base Manager in Mexico, running our marine conservation programs.

James Clark
Science & Dive Officer

Meet James, a certified Dive master, EFR Instructor and a graduate in Environmental Science. James is our second person in command and a very skillful boat driver, teacher and maintenance guy at our Marine conservation program in Pez Maya, Mexico!

Before joining GVI James worked with various NGO’s around the World and has even lived in Madagascar! “It’s such a massive country! There’s so much to do and see and the biodiversity on land and in the ocean is incredible!”

What’s James’s favorite aspect of his job? “The point when volunteers have been here for a few weeks and start to remember the names of things in the sea, seeing that extra bit of excitement when they see something and can name it – that’s when I know I’m doing my job right.” The most interesting discovery up to date was when he found an anchor which they have lost a few months previously, with a fairly large octopus attached underneath.

Random fact about our James, he can sing All The Countries of The World by the Animaniacs! Make sure you request a rendition when you visit our Pez Maya hub!

Alejandro Vazquez
Community Program Manager

Meet Alejandro, Our Program Coordinator in Playa del Carmen. He started out with GVI as one of our National Scholarship Program participants in 2007. With a degree in Tourism Management and a passionate commitment to improving our world, we just had to keep him!

Alejandro’s favorite aspect of his job? Our Partners. “The opportunity to partner with organizations that share our goal to make the world better is amazing, also seeing the way volunteers connect with the children and the huge effect they have on their development, even over a short period of time. They’re a great resource for the children’s education.”

When he’s not working, Alejandro likes to explore the local area, visiting the Mayan ruins and national parks, or relaxing at the beach.

Cynthia Arochi Zendejas
Program Coordinator

Meet Cynthia, our Program Coordinator in Mexico. She started out with GVI as one of our National Scholarship Program participants in 2006. Her skills and enthusiasm just made it too hard to let her get away!

Cynthia is a certified Veterinarian, an EFR Instructor and holds a Master’s degree in International environmental Science.

The most interesting things she’s experienced during life in the field? “Watching the turtles hatching! Also finding jaguar tracks and being able to participate in community tours.” Apart from those, Cynthia also loves arranging and participating in the fun Charity Challenges with volunteers.

What does Cynthia think volunteers bring to the projects? Since our goal is to provide support to local organizations which don’t have the human or economic resources to achieve their conservation or sustainable development objectives, our volunteers play a key role by being the hands needed, or helping to fund raise for those projects.”

Lluvia Soto
Country Director

Meet Lluvia, our Country Director for Mexico. With a history in environmental education, she initially joined GVI as a participant in our National Scholarship Programme, and we just couldn’t let her go!

Lluvia is a qualified Dive Master and Biologist, who she spent 3 years working as field staff and base manager in Pez Maya.

Her favorite experience since she joined GVI? Diving with dolphins. ”We were on our way to a dive site when a pod of dolphins came along and started jumping in and out of the water alongside the boat. They stayed with us for the entyre dive, getting really close and were looking at us. It was of course, my best dive ever!”

What does Lluvia think volunteers contribute to the projects? “The work that the volunteers do is extremely important; if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be able to run the projects. The different activities they do like collecting data on the reef, delivering environmental education lessons, helping out running the toy libraries, all help our partners to achieve their goals.”

Daniel Ponce-Taylor
Director of Programs

Meet Danny, our Director of Programs. Although he’s based in Playa del Carmen, Danny oversees the development and running of all of our field operations. He started out with GVI as our Country Director in Mexico and quickly became an invaluable part of the team.

Although being Director of Programs is a pretty demanding job, Danny manages to find time to do the other things he loves in-between. He’s an avid photographer and is always training for a triathlon or ironman.

What’s Danny’s favorite aspect of his job? “Starting new projects – we get lots of request for assistance and it’s difficult to decide when funds are limited. The evaluation process and those initial talks with local partners are very interesting. Seeing projects grow from an idea to full programs is very exciting. I also love the relationships you create with local organizations, they become friends and we jointly work to achieve the project aims.”

Select a Duration

Select a Departure Date

2015
2016

Select Add-ons

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Charitable Trust Climate Offset Contribution

Donate money to GVI’s Chartiable Trust Carbon Offsetting initiative and help reduce the impact of climate change and help communities who are most affected.
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GVI Biological Survey Techniques - Mexico Yucatán

This course provides training and experience needed to start planning and running independent surveys in the field and can be applied to any environment around the world.
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GVI Internship Training Fee - Mexico Yucatán

Only available for volunteers who are staying for a minimum of 4 weeks. By doing so, volunteers will receive additional training specifically designed to develop leadership skills and prepare volunteers for a career in the field.
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Mexico Yucatan EFR and PADI Dive Rescue Training

Only available for volunteers staying on a minimum 8 week duration. This certification combines both EFR and Rescue courses providing skills for anyone wanting to progress in their diving career and be better prepared to deal with emergency situations.
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Mexico Yucatan EFR Training

Only available for volunteers staying on a minimum 4 week duration. First Aid and CPR certification is covered and is an important component for the PADI Rescue Diver course.
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Mexico Yucatan PADI Dive Rescue Training

Only available for volunteers staying on a minimum 8 week duration. This course expands on preventing and managing problems if they occur while diving or getting to/from the dive site. EFR (or equivalent) certification is a prerequisite.
$0.00

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality
  • PADI Open Water (for 8 and 12 week volunteers) and Advanced Open Water
  • Coral reef ecology
  • Use of O2 equipment workshop
  • Diving compressor training workshop
  • Community work workshop
  • Transfer to base location
  • Live and work in a protected reserve surveying deserted reefs under GVI’s research permit

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Personal Equipment
  • Some equipment is not included

Our Impact

Location

Yucatan

GVI run a number of research bases on the Yucatan Peninsula from the remote jungle to stunning tropical beaches. Bases are situated traveling south along this beautiful peninsula past white sands, palm trees and deep blue waters.

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Come Meet Us

Every year we host a number of our very own open days and you are invited!
July 2015
22nd July
Chicago
16:00-20:00
September 2015
12th September
New York
13:30-16:30
October 2015
15th October
San Diego
16:00-19:00
November 2015
21st November
Boston
16:30-19:00

WE WILL CALL YOU!

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