IOI : Intercultural Outreach Initiative

IOI : Intercultural Outreach Initiative

About

Mission: To provide international education programs that support the education, conservation, and social development of isolated communities by assisting local institutions in sustainably handling the human-environmental intersection.

The location
Join us, on a once in a lifetime opportunity to practice conservation through education and social development in some of the most exotic and significant wild places on Earth. From the virgin shores of Cuba, to the cradle of evolution in the Galapagos; we offer up memories, like no other.

Website
www.ioi.ngo
Founded
2006
Headquarters

2103 Coral Way
Suite 202
Miami, FL 33145
United States

Summer special

Sign up to volunteer with IOI in any of our sites during June, July, or August and receive 15% off!

Reviews

Default avatar
holly
9/10

This was one of the best experiences I've ever had, and I've traveled to over 20 countries. Besides the helpful work on coral reef restoration, the beautiful and remote location of this work made it worthwhile. Our small group was taken into this community where we learned all about Cuba, its people, and its customs. For a short 10-day stay, it was one of the most immersive trips I've ever been on. I would say 10 days is the minimum! Stay longer if you can!

We spent each day scuba diving in the reef, led by an expert master diver who educated us on the reef and the work that they're doing. While sometimes we didn't feel as effective doing the hands-on reef work, I think it's more important as an educational tool for travelers to bring with them.

Not only was this some of the most beautiful diving, the food they cooked was incredible! Freshly caught seafood every day, the freshest juice, and served three times a day. It felt like a resort more than volunteer service.

We want to come back, to spend more time in Cocodrilo, to visit our far-away Cuban family, and to work more with a brilliant and fledgling program.

How can this program be improved?
Our Spanish wasn't the best (but did it get better!), but a bit more information and transparency about the coral reef work and the long-term work IOI has been doing would go a long way. We found this out gradually, and again, there was a bit more of a language barrier than we expected. Knowing a decent amount of Spanish would make things so much easier!
Response from IOI : Intercultural Outreach Initiative

Holly, thank you very much for your review and thank you so much for your kind words about our program. We are happy to hear that this was a great experience volunteering with us! It is amazing how one's Spanish improves as we are immersed - we're so glad to hear you had a great experience practicing your Spanish. We agree that the longer people stay, the better. We hope you join us again in the future!

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Jamie
10/10

I had such an incredible, life changing experience on my trip with IOI to Cocodrilo. Pre-Trip communication was clear and my pre-trip questions were quickly responded to. I felt extremely prepared and well informed for my trip.
During my trip I felt well taken care of and supported by the IOI Cuba staff. More specifically, my time spent in Cocodrilo was a perfect mix of beautiful, safe, and exciting. The volunteer opportunities were very accurately advertised and the diving and snorkeling were breathtaking. I gave the social scene a 10 because I loved interacting with locals, heading to the "circulo" to listen to music and talk with locals.
The house in Cocodrilo (Villa Arrecife) is very comfortable, the community is nice, safe, and engaging. The food was really amazing - delicious, filling, and healthy!
It felt so empowering to be a part of this program and to be able to help. There is so much to do and so much to see in this small town! I was in Cocodrilo for 3 weeks and could have stayed longer. I cannot wait to be involved in another program with this organization!

How can this program be improved?
There is really nothing I can think of in the realm of improvement.
Response from IOI : Intercultural Outreach Initiative

Thank you very much for your review, Jamie! We are happy to know that our communication with you before the trip was clear and that you felt prepared to travel to Cuba. We are also happy to see that you felt empowered and that your experience was a blend of conservation and cultural experiences. That's exactly what IOI strives for. Please come back any time. The community of Cocodrilo missed you!

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Richard
10/10

IOI's project at EL Jobo, Costa Rica is the perfect opportunity to learn about marine conservation, marine wild life, birds, and support a sustainable sea turtle project. One of the best parts of the experience in my opinion is the possibility of getting involved in community activities and work beside communities in their efforts towards marine conservation. Furthermore, getting to see the sea turtles is awesome!

The location is perfect! you can get to see the sunrise and the sunset since you can easily go up to the hill.

In general, the experiences is perfect for people from different ages and backgrounds.

Thanks for everything!

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Alexandra
10/10

If you are looking for a really meaningful opportunity to gain experience with on-the-ground community-based conservation in Cuba, I highly recommend going to Cocodrilo with IOI! I had the opportunity to be involved in and learn firsthand about the innovative marine conservation/education programs being led by local community members in conjunction with IOI. Cocodrilo is an incredibly unique place with a really special potential to serve as a model for eco-tourism benefitting both the community and the environment. Not only was it wonderful to get to know such a great town, but also once you see what's underwater you will be mesmerized. A truly beautiful place.

How can this program be improved?
Have more vegetarian options at meals.
Response from IOI : Intercultural Outreach Initiative

Thank you for the positive feedback, Alex! It's true as a volunteer in Cocodrilo, you'll see firsthand the exciting marine conservation initiatives and be able to participate in them. I can speak for the community members when I say they loved getting to know you! And since you've been there, the chef has really expanded the option for vegetarians. You were probably one of the first vegetarians Cocodrilo has seen (!) but now the chef can accommodate all restrictions--from vegetarians to vegans.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Delaney
10/10

I was able to volunteer for six weeks through IOI at the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center, and it was by far one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. IOI was extremely supportive and helpful leading up to my arrival and made every effort to ensure I had the best experience possible. Transitioning into life on Isabela was a breeze with the help of IOI and the welcoming community, and I was so sad to leave. Working with the giant tortoises was an adventure every single day, and I was able to work alongside the staff in taking care of the tortoises and collecting data for the National Park. The things I learned through this program translated so well into my university classes upon returning home, but the hands on experiences enhanced my education far more than my university lectures ever could. The staff at the breeding center were so knowledgeable and such amazing people to work with every day. Overall, I would highly recommend this program to anyone, and I hope I will have the opportunity to return in the future!

Response from IOI : Intercultural Outreach Initiative

Delaney, thank you for the wonderful review. We're elated to hear you had such a good time, learned a lot, and want to come back. When you do, we got a 20% discount waiting for you (and all other returning volunteers and students) - hopefully soon!

Yes, I recommend this program

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