The Pull of Tropical Tides

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Volunteer in Mexico

Fall in love with the warm, diverse Mexican coast – and culture – while you learn, live, and dive in the balmy Caribbean.

GVI Mexico, Puerto Morelos, is one of our most vibey locations. You’ll regularly spot our Mexico volunteering participants wandering through town and down to the beach, preparing for data dives, or working on their Spanish – all with a chilled soundtrack playing and blue skies covering this special stretch of Mexico’s Caribbean coast.   

Volunteer in marine conservation

As a volunteer in Mexico, you’ll choose from a range of marine conservation programs centred around the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. This is the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere and a deeply fragile ecosystem, requiring urgent intervention to protect it against the dangers of the climate crisis and overtourism, among many. 

Launch your career

Pour your energy into critical marine conservation projects and design your career path as you go. You could complete a marine conservation internship and explore professional diving opportunities. Some of our Mexico volunteer programs include placement opportunities, too. Scroll down for more program-specific information.

Critical science

Critical science

You'll contribute to vital conservation research targeted at protecting the earth's most valuable ecosystems.
Ethical engagement

Ethical engagement

Using the UN's SDGs as a framework, we've made a commitment to positive, constructive and sustainable impact.
Beautiful adventures

Beautiful adventures

You'll spend your days exploring some of the world's most breathtaking, exhilarating and remote wildernesses.

Overview
Programs
Location
FAQs

Mexico volunteer programs

Volunteering in Mexico means living in the laid back coastal town of Puerto Morelos on the Yucatán Peninsula. You’ll experience exciting attractions while making a positive contribution to global sustainable development goals.

Volunteer in marine conservation

You could choose to volunteer in Mexico on programs in marine conservation. 

Our marine conservation programs also offer the opportunity to begin, or further, your Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) certification. While volunteering in Mexico, you could earn your PADI Coral Reef Researcher Distinctive Speciality, PADI Open Water Diver, or PADI Advanced Open Water Diver certification. 

You can choose to take part in our marine conservation expedition and work towards conserving the second largest barrier reef system in the world. Working with our local partners, the projects done are instrumental in allowing us to make a sustainable impact while volunteering in Mexico. This means that GVI can make a positive impact that can last long into the future, and be maintained by the local community. 

Connect with community and culture

All our programs are community-led, meaning you’ll get to work with GVI’s expert local partner organisations and community members on projects, and connect with local people in your day-to-day life. 

Working and living alongside your fellow volunteers and community members makes your story distinctly unlike the typical tourist experience. Rather, choosing a volunteer program in Mexico means you make a commitment to the community. You are guided by the organisations who know the community best, and you help to meet the community’s and habitat’s needs head on. This gives your experience of the culture much more meaning, a sincere and responsible cultural immersion.

Learn about Mexico’s history

Mexico is home to more than 30 World Heritage Sites, which have been set up to preserve Mexico’s cultural heritage. Modern Mexicans have preserved many of the cultural practices of their ancestors, and each region has different cultural traditions. The culture of Mexico is as diverse as the types of terrains you’ll find here. 

Develop your Spanish speaking skills

Spanish is the most commonly spoken language in Mexico, and while volunteering in Mexico you’ll get to listen to, learn and try this language. Being surrounded by the culture and language of Mexico can take your experience to a whole new level while volunteering abroad.

Join expert local partners
  • GVI’s primary local partner organisation is Centro Regional de Investigacion Pesquera (CRIP), a division of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Institute. Your time as a volunteer in Mexico could include joining CRIP’s coral aquaculture and restoration project, which supports the conservation and sustainable support of coral reefs throughout the region.
  • We also collaborate with Healthy Reefs for Healthy People, a global initiative that drives collaboration between coral researchers and conservationists worldwide. Our Mexico volunteering participants support Healthy Reefs for Healthy People as they focus on conserving the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System in Mexico specifically.
  • With our partner the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas Mexico (CONANP), the government agency overseeing natural protected areas, we monitor and collect data that contributes to the ongoing support of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System.
  • GVI Mexico also operates in partnership with other national and international partners, including Amigos de Sian Ka’an, Comunidad y biodiversidad (COBI), and University of Queensland (Coralwatch).

Volunteer in marine conservation in Mexico

With Mexico’s abundance of marine life, it’s the perfect place to learn about marine conservation. Choose from a range of programs that are tailored to your interests and goals. Whether it’s a program for teens, sustainable conservation experience or a career in diving you’re after, Puerto Morelos is your best bet. You’ll make a positive impact on our oceans while learning new skills. 

GVI’s volunteer programs in Mexico are centred around marine conservation. Our Mexico volunteering participants assist the local community in planning and implementing sustainable practices aimed at making a positive impact on ecosystems in and along the ocean. This could include:

  • Assisting the local community with beach cleans to reduce environmental pollution. 
  • Contributing to marine conservation by running environmental awareness workshops with school children and the broader community. 
  • Conserving the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System and other marine life. 

These programs look to find the balance between the usage and maintenance of natural resources in Puerto Morelos.

By contributing to sustainable development efforts on land and in the sea, this volunteer work in Mexico can go a long way in contributing to the sustainability of the Puerto Morelos community.

Volunteer in Mexico for teens

Diving volunteer programs

Volunteer in Mexico for professional divers

Each program can get you skilled up and participating in marine conservation in a meaningful way. You can take part in these programs from April to October.

Search our full list of Mexico volunteer programs here.

Welcome to the Yucatan

Volunteering in Mexico with us means living in the town of Puerto Morelos, situated on a stretch of the Caribbean coastline on the Yucatan Peninsula known as the Riviera Maya. 

Choose laidback living

Puerto Morelos is the oldest town on the Mexican Caribbean coast. It presents a beautiful sense of history and a throwback to a chilled, fishing village lifestyle. It’s also located right in between two major resort hotspots on the Riviera Maya, Cancun and Playa del Carmen, but its ambience is far more relaxed. The community is close and welcoming, particularly to those who volunteer in Mexico with us. 

While the biggest industry in Puerto Morelos is tourism, fishing comes in a close-second. The fishing trade is essential to the economic well-being of this Mexican community. 

Explore marine and coastal biodiversity

Volunteer in Mexico and explore the Riviera Maya coastline, a prime snorkelling and diving location due to its proximity to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. This is the second largest barrier reef in the world, extending from Isla Contoy on the North of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, through Belize and Guatemala to the Bay Islands of Honduras. It’s home to an immense amount of fish and coral biodiversity.

In Puerto Morelos National Reef Park, you can dive among the coral reefs. Sea turtles, rays, West Indian manatees and bottle-nosed dolphins are just some of the species living in these waters. On land, ancient mangroves house brilliant biodiversity, including the protected American crocodile. 

Connect with ancient history

This region is also known for significant archeological sites. Some Mexico volunteering participants choose to take the short trip to nearby Tulum and experience the Mayan ruins. The broader Riviera Maya coast is famed for its history. Many who volunteer in Mexico strike a deep connection with the culture here – being immersed in the community’s lifestyle every day and then understanding its centuries-old history during their downtime

Volunteering in Mexico FAQs

Q: What’s the weather like in Mexico?

A: The weather in Puerto Morelos fluctuates little throughout the year with an average annual temperature of 24 degrees Celsius. The warmest months in this temperate climate are June, July and August. Since Mexico is a large country, the weather can vary significantly from one region to the next. 

Q: Do I have to speak Spanish to volunteer in Mexico?

A: It’s not essential to be fluent in Spanish when volunteering in Mexico. GVI’s staff and partners are all able to communicate in English and will provide support before, during and after your volunteer experience. However, being able to speak some Spanish when travelling to Mexico will go a long way in assisting you to communicate with local people, and you’ll have the opportunity to grow your Spanish skills during your program.

Q: Is it safe to volunteer in Mexico?

A: As with travel to any country, when volunteering in Mexico, volunteers should take the same precautions they would back home. Higher crime rates tend to be concentrated in the bigger cities. Puerto Morelos is a small town where crime is much less of a concern. Volunteers are expected to take reasonable precautions to ensure their own safety when they travel outside of the base. GVI’s staff offer 360 degree support during your stay in Mexico.

Read more on GVI’s health and safety policies here.

Book by 30 September 2022
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New and Exclusive: GVI Experiences

A locally curated selection of extra activities are now included across our programs.

Learn to cook traditional Yucatán food

Learn to cook traditional Yucatán food

Visit a Mayan ruin

Visit a Mayan ruin

Take a beach yoga class

Take a beach yoga class

Dive through the cenotes

Dive through the cenotes

Stand-up paddleboard at sunrise

Stand-up paddleboard at sunrise

Climb rock formations in the jungle

Climb rock formations in the jungle

Learn the unique geography of the Yucatán Peninsula

Learn the unique geography of the Yucatán Peninsula

Explore the ancient city of Coba

Explore the ancient city of Coba