Overview

Live in the beautiful Yucatan Peninsula, gain valuable career experience and all while contributing to vital marine conservation projects.

Start your career the right way: with an adventure! Located in the stunning Yucatan Peninsula, enter the marine conservation industry by gaining valuable first-hand experience and contributing to the largest databases in existence to the condition, health and changes of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. In partnership with highly regarded organisations, the skills and knowledge you will learn during your Internship will help contribute directly to the future of this unique eco-system. Sign up here today and get 12 months of Lion membership with Conservation Careers included.

Overview

Dive straight into the world of marine conservation with our Internship program situated on the Caribbean coast of Mexico in the Yucatan Peninsula. Our base is situated travelling south along the peninsula coastline, past white sands, palm trees and deep blue waters.

You will live and work in this tropical paradise with the research team. Participants will undergo an extensive training programme, designed to test and improve your diving skills and take your knowledge of the marine eco-system to another level. The theory will be met with practical application, as you and your team work to compile crucial research on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world, its local fish species, as well as seasonal turtle nesting surveys.

As with all our Internship programmes, there will be a strong focus on developing your professional skills and teaching you how to apply them with a holistic approach to marine conservation. Participants will also receive specific leadership responsibilities, a weekly evaluation from your mentor who will be monitoring your progress, as well as a professional reference on completion of the programme.

After a successful internship, qualifying candidates may be given the opportunity to work forour selected partner organisations in Mexico, or in other countries around the world where they operate. Over 50% of their staff are recruited from our alumni database. Qualification for positions is at the sole discretion of Global Vision International.

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

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; possibly seeing mega-fauna such as dolphins and sharks; snorkelling in cenotes or waterways; take part in community development and environmental awareness programs; and enjoying fun-dives.

Scuba Diving Requirements and Additional Courses
You will spend the majority of your time on this Internship scuba diving and as such you need to be qualified to at least PADI Open Water, or equivalent before you start the Internship.
Non divers can join for 8- and 12-week durations. 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 centres that will help you qualify before your intended start date.

Also, if you wish to add to your scuba diving skill set, 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. Please note that extra dive training might take time away from monitoring dives and training.

Our Award-winning Partner

Conservation Careers has teamed up a family-run organisation with an amazing culture and an awesome team of people across the world who are passionate experts in their chosen field and will make your experience a truly unforgettable one (in a good way).

Their award-winning projects receive over 2000 participants every year, and we’re proud to say that the vast majority of them describe their experience with us as ‘life changing’. Our approval rate from over 20 000 participants since 1997 is over 95%.

A key component of the success of their community development and conservation projects is the participants who join our programs. Opportunities include high impact volunteering from one week and up, internships for those looking for career development opportunities, Challenges that allow a one week adventure all for a good cause and a range of programs for school groups and younger volunteers.

If you register your interest below, you’ll put you in touch with our partner to take the booking and to plan your trip!

To see all our Internship opportunities, please click here.

Testimonial

“The experience I gained during my time training has allowed me to go on to work within the conservational research field. This has been a stepping stone into a career in conservation that I would not have had access to without this Internship program.” – Heather Gilbert (Canada).

Location – Yucatan

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

Life on the Internship

Situated in the stunning Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve in the heart of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the reserve allows for some fantastic diving! Working days can be long and tiring but extremely rewarding. A typical day will start off with a team boat push followed by a short journey to one of the research dive sites. Other days may involve training on base, community days, beach cleans and bird surveys. Days are rounded off with evening debriefs, followed by dinner and time to relax, taking in a beautiful sunset and sharing stories with your fellow team members.

The main focus of the programme is to equip you with professional survey techniques for underwater data collection on the health of the reef. You will specialize in either fish or coral research techniques during your initial training to prepare for your dives. Training will include learning to identify the various species and learning how to take measurements underwater as well as an introduction into marine conservation. After training has been completed and dependent 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 your underwater surveys.

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.

As part of the internship programme, there will be a lot of focus on developing leadership and teamwork abilities with the Leadership course. After returning to base from your daily field work, you will undergo extra training with your mentor during the evenings or afternoons. This may involve watching presentations on certain theory topics which you will then need to base an assignment upon as well as weekly written assessments and oral and field discussions with your mentor. The Leadership course enables you to get more involved by equipping you with the skills to lead teams and supporting logistics. At the end of the internship, there will be a final evaluation, which will assess your competencies against the criteria set out.

Our base is situated about an hour and a half from the nearest town in a secluded area within a protected reserve. Although living conditions will be basic (there is no running water or electricity), you will be staying on a protected reserve that is not open for diving to the general public. The seclusion of the area means that you will be able to experience a unique and untouched marine eco-system that few people can access. You will also be required to complete base duties on a rotational basis.

When not working you, you can take the opportunity to brush up on your knowledge of the reef and marine species, enjoy the beautiful beaches or take one of the many exciting side trip options such as visiting the ancient Mayan ruins.

Project Details

Our work on this Internship aims to assess the health of the Mesoamerican barrier reef system. The work will be focused around data collection for fish and coral species. The goal for this programme is to increase local and global awareness of marine issues and to be able to provide data that will play a key role in policy-making decisions regarding the future of this marine eco-system.

The Leadership course has a main focus of developing the participant’s teamwork and leadership skills. Interns will be completing weekly written assignments as well as oral and field discussions. The course will involve the participants watching presentations to learn theory or working on their assignments during the evenings or afternoons after having completed their field work. A mentor will be assigned to the intern and there will be weekly one-on-one meetings to provide feedback and weekly assessment on their progress. After successful completion of the internship and the final evaluation, a certificate and professional reference will be given to the qualifying participants.

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 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 Project Makes a Difference

Over time and with the contributions of volunteers and interns alike, 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.

The presence of our partner helps to reinforce the protection of the reserve. They are also affiliated with The Kanan Kay Alliance, which is involved in the process of identifying and decreeing non take zones in the region.

As a result of our work, our partners have been able to continue with the protection of the Sian Ka’an reef system and some 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.

Free Time

Internships with our partner not only allow you to participate on programs assisting disadvantaged communities or endangered ecosystems, but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your down time or further afield either before or after your program. Many decide to travel after their internship, solidifying the lifetime friendships established on 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 our partner. 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 explore a stunning underwater world. You could start with snorkelling with turtles of all sizes in Akumal Bay, where they are protected and come to feed; dive or snorkel within the unique cenotes (the underground 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 snorkelling alongside them while they filter feed is a truly breath-taking 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 colours 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. Colourful buildings, historical architecture, and impressive nearby ecological sites with fun activities will easily keep you entertained for days.

Neighbouring 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 travelling 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!

Dates and  Costs

The programme lasts between 6 and 24 weeks as follows:
  • 6 weeks – R41,650 (ca. £2,500)
  • 8 weeks – R48,450 (ca. £2,900)
  • 12 weeks – R62,050 (ca. £3,700)
  • 16 weeks – R75,565 (ca. £4,500)
  • 20 weeks – R89,165 (ca. £5,300)
  • 24 weeks – R102,765 (ca. £6,100)

What’s Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Certification and summary of training and experience received
  • Community work workshop
  • Confidential professional reference
  • Coral reef ecology
  • Diving compressor training workshop
  • Final evaluation
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Introduction to teaching techniques
  • Live and work in a protected reserve surveying deserted reefs
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Teamwork and leadership experience
  • Transfer to base location
  • Use of O2 equipment workshop
  • Weekly evaluation with your mentor
  • Welcome meeting
  • 12 months of Lion membership with Conservation Careers

What’s Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal kit
  • Police or background check (where necessary)
  • Some equipment is not included
  • Visa costs

Reserve your place or ask a question

About Conservation Careers - Internships

Conservation Careers has teamed up a family-run organisation with an amazing culture and an awesome team of people across the world who are passionate experts in their chosen field and will make your experience a truly unforgettable one (in a good way).

Their award-winning projects receive over 2000 participants every year, and we’re proud to say that the vast majority of them describe their experience with us as ‘life changing’. Our approval rate from over 20 000 participants since 1997 is over 95%.

A key component of the success of their community development and conservation projects is the participants who join our programs. Opportunities include high impact volunteering from one week and up, internships for those looking for career development opportunities, Challenges that allow a one week adventure all for a good cause and a range of programs for school groups and younger volunteers.