• Mexico
    • Yucatan

Program Details

Dec 31, 2019
Mar 18, 2021

About Program

Enhance your CV, skills, and future conservation or international development career opportunities by joining a GVI internship in Puerto Morelos, a Mexican Caribbean town. With bursts of color between clear blue shoreline waters and diving grounds, this is an ocean oasis beach town.

Home to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the second-largest in the world, you can join a marine conservation program to assist in preserving coral reefs, collect vital data on marine life for local organisations, and gain various PADI diving qualifications. Or, if you join an international community development program, you will partner with Save the Children to assist with education initiatives for youth and adults, improving your teaching abilities, lesson planning, and classroom management skills at the same time.

GVI aligns all objectives with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and has a Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy in place to maintain ethical best practice.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Snorkel and dive in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System and practice your conversational Spanish.
  • Improve your CV and enhance your career opportunities with further developed skills and first hand work experience.
  • Learn about ethical and sustainable practices aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Meet like-minded participants from around the world, and travel together to Riviera Maya, South of Puerto Morelos, to relax on one of many white sand beaches.
  • Earn PADI diving qualifications, or contribute to the development of child motor coordination skills, and health awareness.

Popular Programs

Student SCUBA diving with sea turtle

In Puerto Morelos, earn your PADI Coral Reef Researcher Distinctive Specialty certification and kickstart your career in marine conservation. You will have the opportunity to explore the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the second-largest in the world, with other participants from around the world. Collaborate with GVI staff and partners to develop skills in diving, coral and fish identification, underwater survey techniques, and assist to restore coral fragmentation onto the reef.

Students diving

Take the next step in your PADI diving journey by becoming a qualified PADI Instructor. You will train alongside expert marine conservationists and gain hands-on experience during your work placement at a local dive center. Conduct surveys, research and collect data on marine life found in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the second-largest in the world, and assist to plan and lead dives.

Intern working with students in Mexico

Collaborate with Save the Children, to develop your skills in education and sustainable international development. By working alongside a global non-profit organization, you can learn how to fundraise for similarly structured organizations, while also mastering your skills in lesson planning, teaching, and classroom management. This is an internship program with the opportunity to practice your conversational Spanish too, or book in-country Spanish language lessons.

Program Reviews

9.67 Rating
based on 9 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 100%
  • 7-8 rating 0%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
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  • Growth 8.8
  • Support 8.8
  • Fun 9.3
  • Housing 8.2
  • Safety 9.2
Showing 1 - 8 of 9 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

A brilliant trip!

I’ve had an amazing time since I’ve been here. The location is absolutely amazing, there’s shops and restaurants close by and not to mention the beautiful landscape. The diving is incredible as well, there’s so much biodiversity at all of the sites and so many amazing animals and sea plants everywhere you go. The programme itself is also run really efficiently and well and all of the staff are super friendly and helpful. Additionally, the opportunities to be involved with the community is fantastic, despite Covid-19. We’ve been conducting beach cleans for the community and large scale cleans involving divers and snorkelers from the community where we managed to gather 228kg of waste in a single morning. Overall, it’s such a good programme that I’m extending for an extra 3 months!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Before going on a bull shark dive! Being in Puerto Morelos is brilliant because you are so close to other amazing places where you’re able to do things like bull shark dives and cenote diving. Before getting in the water I was very scared but when I got in it was one of the best experiences of my life!
6 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Hamish, thanks for your great review! I am thrilled to hear that you enjoyed your time with us as much as you did. Your hard work and efforts have certainly impacted this project in a meaningful way. Please do keep on spreading your love for GVI. And obviously, we would love to see you back on base soon!

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

A Lifechanging Experience

I undertook the community development internship in Puerto Morelos, Mexico. It was an unbelievable and lifechanging experience that really broadened my horizons. I learnt so much about the local community and the developmental challenges to the region; I underwent Spanish lessons and was immersed in a vubrant and welcoming culture, and I successfully completed an ILM-endorsed leadership course. More than all I gained though, the GVI community at the base is so homely and family-like, it felt like I never left home and I was able to make friends for life. I would highly recommend to anyone and look forward to my next program.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
Getting the bottom bunk in my room when i first arrived!
6 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Omar, thanks for your great review! I am thrilled to hear that you enjoyed your time with us as much as you did. Your hard work and efforts have certainly impacted this project in a meaningful way. Please do keep on spreading your love for GVI. And obviously, we would love to see you back on base soon!

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Great experience with GVI

I had only done 5 dives before I went however with a lot of support from the team in Mexico I left as a fully qualified Divemaster with 98 dives. It was incredible to be a part of marine conservation specialising in juvenile fish and then later in adult fish. I had the amazing opportunity to be able to help monitor the recruitment of fish on the coral reefs as well as be a part of an international coral watch project to monitor bleaching. Out of the water we also got to assist at a coral laboratory, cleaning coral microfragments for restoration of the reef.

We lived in a "ware-home" with 3 rooms of 8 people and a large communal space. There was also plenty of space to store both the GVI BCDs and regulators along with personal kit.

Having done this internship as part of my university placement year it has made me want to go into marine conservation when I graduate and I wouldn't have found this passion without GVI

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would go for longer... I was there for 6 months and it didn't feel like enough
6 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

I'll do it again!

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 the 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 favorite 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 Bachelors 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.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Keep an open mind and be ready for the unplanned - it's all part of the fun
6 people found this review helpful.
Hang loose
Yes, I recommend this program

A lifetime experience

I had no expectations! The only thing I did know, was that I would be living under very primitive conditions in a jungle and doing research diving. What’s not to like? 
Basically, I came for the diving, but I left with so much more! I was really inspired by living and working closely with people from so many different cultures and backgrounds who all shared the same passion for protecting the environment.
We were diving twice a day, studying fish and corals, learning about aquatic life, spotting birds, collecting trash on the beach and working hard in order to make the base run smoothly.
The GVI staff taught me so much, they’re working so hard with such great passion. 
Everybody on base was family, we shared everything, especially many great experiences.
I would like to encourage everybody to go help out, to save the coral reefs before it's too late and we loose them forever! 
Have you ever dived with a whale shark? Have you ever helped a baby turtle to safely reach the ocean? Have you ever tried to make a difference for the natural world surrounding us?
- It’s never too late and I’m sure GVI will gladly help you!

6 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

My Unexpected Mexican Adeventure!

My decision to go to Mexico was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I wanted to gain experience of community development in order to be able to work within the charity sector in the UK. By doing this 24 week program, I not only got the volunteer experience I needed but so much more. Once I had completed my 12 weeks volunteer phase, I had helped to teach children English, inform them about the environment, helped with different types of physical therapies and helped out within a spay and neuter clinic. I also received training on leadership and other very useful skills. During the final 12 weeks, I became an intern member of staff and I got the opportunity to help with volunteer management, support staff with administration and help with program related activities. As well as this, having the opportunity to live abroad and experience another culture and learn a new language was a great bonus. If you are thinking about how to go about having an experience abroad I would highly recommend this program.

What would you improve about this program?
To be honest during my experience there was not a lot that could have been improve.
7 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Life Changing

This was a life changing experience. From the travel and adventure, to the friends I made along the way, I wouldn't change a thing. This experience truly changed my perspective and expectations for the world, and I leave with life long friends! While, the housing was sometimes quite rustic, you quickly saw past it to the beauty all around you. The diving was amazing, the friends were amazing, and the adventures were everything. Truly, changed my life at its core. 100% recommend.

6 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Best thing I have ever done.

Mexico was the most amazing trip I have ever done in my life. To be a part of something really important and hard working program is really inspiring and you grow a lot as person. To able to dive everday and live your days on a beautiful beach next to a crystal clear water, that is life. Not only is it an amazing experience, but you meet people from all around the world, that you will be friends with for the rest of your life.
I would glady go back.

8 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers