Location
  • Belize
Length
1 to 8 weeks

Program Details

Language
English
Timeframe
Short Term Spring Break Summer Winter Year Round
Housing
Guesthouse
Travel Type
Solo

Pricing

Starting Price
885
Price Details
Fully hosted experience from only $885 for 1 week - this includes accommodation, meals, airport pick-up, orientation and 24/7 in-country support.
What's Included
Accommodation Some Activities Airport Transfers Meals Wifi
What's Not Included
Airfare Travel Insurance Visa
Jun 20, 2021
Dec 21, 2021
17 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Trusted by 114,000+ volunteers, IVHQ offers the world's most popular and unique Marine Conservation volunteer program in Belize.

Your fully-hosted experience includes airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support. You’ll be based on a stunning private island off the coast of mainland Belize and enjoy one-of-a-kind accommodation with five-star meals made by local chefs.

This program is well suited to those who thrive in coastal environments and love being in the water. You’ll participate in daily dive sessions as part of your conservation efforts, and can get PADI Dive Certified at a reduced rate as an IVHQ volunteer.

IVHQ is trusted to support the meaningful adventures of thousands of volunteers, so even before you depart, you’ll receive expert guidance from your IVHQ Program Manager and gain exclusive access to volunteer training and preparation tools.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Programs are available year-round in Belize at an affordable price of US$885 for 1 week
  • The IVHQ Belize program begins every Monday and volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 8 weeks
  • The Belize volunteer program is based on a small private island, 26 miles off the coast of Placencia in Southern Belize
  • You’ll be joining a global network of 114,000+ volunteers backed by the world’s leading team of volunteer travel experts - IVHQ’s outstanding safety systems and track record set them apart, they are the world’s safest organization
  • Flexible booking and free changes so you can register with confidence

Popular Programs

volunteer in Belize with IVHQ

Based on a tiny island 45 minutes from mainland Belize, this is a unique volunteer experience that focuses on conserving and preserving the stunning marine environment of the Caribbean. You'll assist local marine biologists to gather data, conduct surveys and remove invasive species. Volunteers can expect to take part in 13 dives each week to monitor coral reef and identify marine species.

Scholarships

IVHQ Scholarships

You can get your hands on a range of different International Volunteer HQ sponsorships throughout the year, with the money you win going directly towards the cost of one of their two-week programs. You'll also get a flight voucher in the value of up to $1,000 from STA Travel and travel insurance to cover the duration of the program from World Nomads. Recent grants have included an “Alternative Break” scholarship, where Spring, Summer or Winter break programs were fully funded.

Value
$1,000 - $2,000

Program Reviews

9.5 Rating
based on 14 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 92.86%
  • 7-8 rating 7.14%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Impact 8.6
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.7
  • Value 8.8
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 1 - 8 of 14 reviews
Default avatar
Montserrat
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Marine conservation volunteering program in Belize

Volunteering with Reef CI in Belize is truly a magical experience. Everyone on the program, both volunteers and staff members, make it feel like home. The scuba dive certification programs are perfectly designed to make you feel comfortable while learning how to responsibly carry out this activity and be the help that is needed to protect the barrier reef. It was so interesting to learn about the importance of removing invasive species like the lion fish, a species that has no natural predator and is wreaking the coral reefs in the Caribbean and Golf of Mexico. Learning about the importance of joining the fight against lion fish was eyeopening. For us at the Reef CI base lion fish were the bulk of our diet. Additionally, we cut and dried their fins and venomous spines to make jewelry and provide an additional income to locals in affected areas. The accommodation provided in the island was very comfortable and the food was amazing!!!
If you are looking to get disconnected from the world while helping an incredible cause, the volunteering program is Belize is for you.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I have cero complaints about the program, except that it was so amazing that no one wants to leave. It´s such an incredible experience where you get to meet beautiful people that become your family for life.
1 person found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Cliff
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

First time IVHQ volunteer

After our original marine conservation program in Madagascar was cancelled due to the pandemic, IVHQ continued their excellent program management and helped us transfer our fees to a new program in Belize. Our contact with our IVHQ Program Manager Molly was infrequent but when we needed her, she was a short email away. IVHQ's partner in Belize - ReefCI - provided an awesome experience. We learned about lionfish - an invasive fish species around the Caribbean Barrier Reef - and we spend most of our dives hunting and spearing them. What a great experience, and they're tasty too! We also performed beach cleanup and were informed and educated about other relevant environmental topics in the region, specifically plastic pollution in the ocean. Thanks to IVHQ and ReefCI for running first rate operations.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Come prepared to live in spartan quarters while meeting a diverse group of people and eating really well. If you are only doing the program for one week, I recommend you get SCUBA certified before you get to Belize so you can "dive right in" to the conservation efforts instead of spending most of your week in training. If that's not practical, the staff at the IVHQ partner - ReefCI - is top notch and you will learn well.
4 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Amy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Unforgettable Experience!

My time spent volunteering with ReefCI in Belize is one I’ll never forget. Booking with IVHQ ensured that I had all the necessary information and equipment ready for the trip. My point of contact within IVHQ kept in touch with me ahead and during my trip, and responded swiftly when I had any follow up questions.

Over the three weeks on Tom Owen's Caye, my experience just got better and better. Having been certified for diving 12 years prior, I hadn’t dived since so I was nervous to return to it, however I had no reason to be. The diving instructors on the programme were incredible. They were supportive and patient with the various diving experience of all the volunteers and made me feel at ease. Their knowledge of the marine life was extensive, which they shared during various lessons, and their passion for what they do genuinely shines. Learning to spear the invasive lion fish species was incredible, and surprisingly fun! We also spent time on a nearby island doing a beach clean up which felt very rewarding and has increased my awareness of my single use plastic consumption.
The rest of the staff on the island programme were great, including the chefs, housekeeping, boat captain - some of who became great friends. It almost felt like I was part of a big family, rather than volunteering. I learnt a huge amount during my time, I completed my advanced open water diving and lion fish specialism certifications during my time there. You truly feel like you’re making a difference.

This experience has inspired me to continue volunteering in marine conservation and explore other projects through IVHQ.

11 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Courtney
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

ReefCI Trip To Belize was amazing!!

We did 12 dives over the course of the week. Everyone was super nice, the island was beautiful, the food was great and I felt like I was actually making an impact. The staff was very helpful and accommodating. Logistically, it was very easy to get to and once you were picked up, you did not have to worry about planning anything else. The staff took the time to debrief everyone prior to each dive. By the end of week one, I felt very confident in what tasks we had to accomplish. I think doing more than one week would be better since you can spend most of your time learning the first week and then implement all of your learnings the next week. I would definitely recommend to anyone who is passionate about scuba. I can't wait to sign up again next year!

What would you improve about this program?
I think they could "work" the volunteers a bit harder during the dives. We only had one surveying dive a day.
11 people found this review helpful.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Courtney, I am so glad to hear that you felt well supported by the local team in Belize. Your time on the Marine Conservation Project sounds amazing! We would love to have you volunteer with IVHQ again anytime! Grace - IVHQ Program Manager.

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

A new world travel experience making a positive environmental impact

As a world traveler and Sustainability professional, passionate about protecting our environment, I have been looking for a way to start incorporating volunteer work with my travel. Volunteering with Reef CI at Tom Owens Caye, Belize was the perfect way to start! I researched many programs, but this one was perfect for me as Reef CI allowed me to volunteer for only a week (many volunteer programs require at least a 2-3-week minimum time commitment) and use and expand upon my diving skills. I enlisted through IVHQ, as I found they had the best price. Grace, my IVHQ contact, was extremely helpful before the trip to help me prepare. Her correspondence was always timely and IVHQ's enlisting process was very thorough - IVHQ wants to help you prepare for your best volunteer experience possible. In addition to Grace, I also worked with Anthony, my U.S. Reef CI contact, who also helped answer my many questions and sign me up for the Coral Reef Conservation and Fish Identification PADI Specialty courses I was wanting to take in order to get my SSI Advanced Diver certification while in Belize.

In Placencia, Belize I knew exactly what to expect and where to meet the Reef CI group for the boat ride to Tom Owens Caye. Upon arriving to the island on the first day, all volunteers pitched in to help carry supplies up to the main house. Sleeping assignments were then made. Assuming I would be much older than most in my group, I had requested in advance that I have a bungalow on the island to allow for some quiet time, and they completely accommodated me. Next there was a review for the new people while returning volunteers were diving, and all dive equipment was assigned for the week. Later, the new volunteers did an introductory dive followed by a delicious meal - just one of the many you'll have on the island. You'll eat very fresh food every day, including the lion fish you kill. The cooking staff also worked within my dietary restrictions by providing me gluten free meals!

You're given the daily island schedule prior to arriving in Belize, but the schedule is also posted in the main house, and the highly organized Reef CI staff follow it to a tee! I was so impressed with how they ran the program on the island, especially juggling with new and returning volunteers, volunteers just learning to dive and getting certified, to those who were working on their Advanced Diver certifications and/or taking PADI Specialty courses. This, of course, is on top of providing daily coral reef and Belizean marine life presentations and getting the volunteers in the water to partake in lion fish spearfishing, conch and lobster surveys, and coral reef and fish identifications. There was a lot to juggle and Willie, Luis, and Peter, and rest of the Reef CI staff, handled it very smoothly. And did I say friendly? The entire Reef CI staff were a pleasure to be with and fun to hang out with playing cards or backgammon.

The diving certainly did not disappoint. There was opportunity to see amazing marine biodiversity. If you're not an experience diver, do not let this dissuade you from trying this trip. Where else can you get certified in such a coral reef setting, not to mention for a very reasonable price?

The island itself is well maintained. The palm trees were cleared out just enough to allow sun and plenty of shade. In down times, you could take a nap in a hammock or play volleyball. Or just keep your course work and dive log up to date. Unfortunately, there was no internet for the entire week. However, it was nice to be off the grid - it made it more relaxing. If you're looking for fancy accommodations, then this is not for you. However, if you're looking for comfortable lodgings, in a very relaxed, minimal setting (yes, you have to get used to minimal water shower usage since you are on an island), and a place to meet great people and make new friends while making a positive, environmental impact, then this IS the place for you. I would definitely recommend taking an eco-volunteer trip to Belize and do it through Reef CI. All in all, I was very impressed. I would go back for sure!

What would you improve about this program?
It would be helpful to let people know in advance if there is not going to be internet service. I didn't miss it, but some people may have scheduled business or correspondence they may need to conduct while on the island.
10 people found this review helpful.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Gwen, it's great to hear that you had such a wonderful experience volunteering in Belize! Thank you for giving your time to an awesome and impactful Marine Conservation Project. We hope to have you volunteer with IVHQ again! Grace - IVHQ Program Manager

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

Making a Tangible Difference

Belize is a beautiful and friendly place whose unique barrier reef has been invaded by the destructive lion fish. ReefCI works to preserve the reef by educating volunteers on Lionfishers eradication and preservation of coral, conch and lobster.

The program educated me about local fish, types of reef coral and the part they play . My diving knowledge was tested and improved by the competent dive masters and guides. I learned about the physiology of the lion fish, it’s poisonous spines, their location and how to find the stomach and determine what the fish consumed. I learned how to fillet the lion fish so the kitchen staff could include it in our meals.

The food was freshly prepared and plentiful, nutritious and well presented.

The atmosphere on the isolated island of Tom Owens is calming and magical. Safe environment, friendly staff, comfortable, simple accommodations and a worthwhile project make this project memorable in EVERY way!

What would you improve about this program?
The program is perfect! I personally rate it perfect!
10 people found this review helpful.
Read my full story
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Georgette, thank you for your informative review! It sounds like you had an amazing time on the island and learnt a lot about the local ecosystem and how to help protect it! I am glad to hear you enjoyed the relaxed island lifestyle, tasty meals and felt supported by the local team. We would love to have you back anytime! Grace - IVHQ Program Manager.

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

Reef Conservation International

This was a great program for our family to participate in! We were looking for an opportunity to make a difference in the world, learn and have fun. This was it! Reef CI and IVHQ made the details easy to navigate and understand with great communications before, during and after our trip. Online training before the trip was meaningful. The conservation portion of the trip was great, diving was excellent and the instructors were safe, knowledgeable and cared about the environment and the program. From the first day, we were given classes on exactly what we would be doing and why it was important. Instead of just diving to look at the environment, we felt like we were helping the environment and making a difference. We wished we had stayed for another week!

What would you improve about this program?
It would helpful to have had some additional online training pertaining to all aspects of the program. A quick couple of slides on each of the 4 types of surveys (lionfish, conch, coral and commercial fish) would have helped us understand better before we arrived. (totally not needed, but I had to add something)
10 people found this review helpful.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Thank you for your lovely review Heath! I am so glad to hear that you and your family enjoyed your time volunteering through IVHQ. It sounds like you guys made the most of your time on the island and the expertise of the local team. Thank you for contributing to such an amazing conservation program! We would love to have you back anytime. Grace - IVHQ Program Manager.

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

Marine Conservation in Belize

What an experience! This was my first time doing a diving trip and was unsure about it but when I met with the group, I felt very welcome and part of someone interesting.
We stayed in this small island and it was very comfortable. The staff was very welcoming and helpful. They taught us many things such as how to use the spearfishing and how to measure the corals under water. They would first explain and demonstrate on land what we would be doing under water.
On the first day at the island we were educated about the impact of the plastic and other issues in our oceans and it made it very real. Everyone should have this experience so they could bring home more wisdom to share with friends and loved ones and help change the course of our oceans.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Lion fish was very tasty and it was nice to eat a fish that we cough ourselves.
9 people found this review helpful.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Thais, it sounds like you had a transformative experience on the Island, and really took advantage of everything the team in Belize has to teach. Thank you for giving your time to volunteer with IVHQ on an incredibly important environmental project. We really appreciate it! Grace - IVHQ Program Manager.

Questions & Answers