Program Details

Mexico Marine Awareness Experience

Earn your PADI stripes and discover the world of marine conservation in Mexico

Program Information

Travel to Mexico and earn your PADI diving qualification while learning about marine conservation in the crystal Caribbean waters of the Yucatan Peninsula. Learn about the Mesoamerican coral reef and the myriad of life it supports while you immerse yourself in a new culture in this tropical paradise, which is one of the last remaining unspoiled environments in the world.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals



GVI has been operating in the area for over 12 years and is well respected and valued by our local partners. In the region, GVI is involved in marine conservation, providing critical marine research data to our local partners Amigos de Sian Ka’an and the national parks agency CONANP. GVI routinely train divers through all levels of the PADI system who then spend their time in the field monitoring a portion of the spectacular Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, focussing on fish and coral surveys and reef mapping. In Playa del Carmen GVI works alongside Save the Children, Quintana Roo Mexico, contributing to community development initiatives while focussing on childcare, teaching English, arts and crafts,

GVI routinely train divers through all levels of the PADI system who then spend their time in the field monitoring a portion of the spectacular Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, focussing on fish and coral surveys and reef mapping. In Playa del Carmen GVI works alongside Save the Children, Quintana Roo Mexico, contributing to community development initiatives while focussing on childcare, teaching English, arts and crafts, healthcare and animal rescue.

Project Aims and Objectives

GVI’s long-term involvement, capacity building and commitment to our projects, ensure that the service elements of your students’ trips are contributing to long-term sustainable projects helping to achieve our partners’ objectives. These local partnerships along with stakeholder discussions drive the service elements of our trips to ensure they are fully focussed on the most prevalent issues and produce the results required locally.

As a group, students will get a taste of the issues surrounding marine conservation and multiple resource use of this beautiful region, whilst experiencing life on the Riviera Maya. Students will be exposed to various underwater environments while learning or improving their snorkelling skills. As their skills and understanding improve, there will be time to reflect on what they have learnt and achieved and finally a fun side trip to round off the experience


Scuba diving in the Caribbean Sea, immersing yourself in a truly remote tropical paradise, one of the world’s only remaining truly pristine environments; living 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.


Our projects in Mexico are located south of Cancun on the Yucatán peninsula, close to the beautiful resort towns of Playa del Carmen and Tulum. The peninsula comprises the Mexican states of Yucatán, Campeche, and Quintana Roo; the northern part of the nation of Belize; and Guatemala's northern El Petén Department.

Pez Maya's short, mid, and long-term objectives:

All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualize their contribution to the UN SDGs.

Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.

Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfill our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.

Learn about the long-term objectives you will be contributing to in Pez Maya:

1. Provide data to our partners on the overall health of the reef, to be used for coastal management within the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, and to have a better understanding of the Mesoamerican barrier reef system.
2. Raise environmental awareness within the reserve.
3. Minimise the environmental impact that Pez Maya visitors and other people have within the reserve.
4. Increase in-country capacity within our partners and community members in the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve
This experience has made me change my career to what I love and I’m currently now looking for marine research/science work throughout the world.
- Lynsey Wheater (UK)

Program Details

Program Type Schools , University

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Health & Safety

At GVI we take health and safety very seriously. We run comprehensive risk assessments for each of our activities, in each of our locations, and are prepared for any eventuality, no matter how unlikely.

We have over 150 expertly trained staff members who live alongside the local communities in our locations year-round. This means that we know the areas intimately, and have dedicated, experienced professionals available to you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

We keep in regular contact with relevant embassies and foreign offices, ensuring that we’re able to give you the most up-to-date information and travel advice regarding our locations.

Our Risk Assessments and Emergency Action Plans follow a comprehensive quarterly review process and can be provided to you upon request.

Teacher Info

Additional Teacher Info

GVI runs curriculum, CAS and experience focussed service learning opportunities around the world on multi-award winning trips. With over 25,000 travellers since inception, GVI’s know how to ensure safe, life-changing challenges that make a real difference, fostering global citizenship and intercultural understanding. Staffed and resourced by GVI all year round, our projects offer unique opportunities to engage in long-term, high impact work, whilst experiencing deep cultural immersion and some adventure.

A teacher travels free with groups of ten or more students!

GVI provides 24/7 support from our experienced staff who are based full-time on the ground, as well as support from HQ. An experienced group leader will accompany the group, taking overall responsibility for the safety of the group.

Please note prices are subject to seasonal fluctuation and will vary depending upon the needs of the group.

**Optional extras include travel insurance and flight services

Example Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival at Cancun Airport and Transfer to Base

Your team will be met at Cancun International Airport by a GVI staff member or appointed representative. The group will travel immediately to the project location near the town of Playa del Carmen on the beautiful Yucatán Peninsula. Students will be accommodated in dorm-style rooms and will have a chance in the afternoon to relax and settle into their rooms and new surroundings. During the day the group will sit down to a presentation on GVI's health and safety requirements while in the country. The group will be introduced to the field team and will gather again in the evening for a sit down meal and a chance to chat about what’s to be expected in the coming days.

Day 2: Welcome and Orientation

The next day will include a welcome presentation and introduction to the history and background of the conservation efforts GVI is involved in, in Mexico. We will explore the local area and learn a bit about the culture and language.

In the afternoons, the group will take part in various team building beach activities, cementing their bond for the coming week.

Day 3-5: Snorkelling and marine conservation awareness

Over the next two day's the group will learn the art of snorkelling. Guided by GVI field staff they will learn the do’s and do nots as well as handy techniques for looking a little closer at creatures, coral and fish without the advantages of a dive tank. They will snorkel in a number of environments and be exposed to a variety of coastal marine ecosystems.

The group will be immersed in various areas of conservation and environmental awareness. The group will be exposed to different conservation issues concerned with the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, learn basic fish and coral identification, as well as techniques used in marine research and monitoring, take part in beach cleans, listen to lectures and workshops by GVI field staff and local partners on the effects of tourism and development on coastal ecosystems.

Each evening there will be time for group and individual reflection and a debrief of the day's activities and highlights

There is also the option for groups to gain further knowledge of diving, by taking the PADI Open Water Diving Course.

Day 6: Exploring Mexico

At the end of the busy week, the group will have a chance to do some sightseeing and enjoy a few local attractions. To continue the marine awareness focus of the trip, we suggest a snorkelling adventure at Akumal. Students will have a chance to snorkel alongside turtles feeding on sea grass; a truly unforgettable experience! If arriving in season, there may also be a chance to learn about nesting turtles and hatchlings as well as the conservation issues surrounding their protection.

There may also be an opportunity to visit a Cenote; natural swimming holes formed by the collapse of porous limestone bedrock, which have revealed a secret subterranean world of groundwater pools. Most cave cenotes have fresh water that has been meticulously filtered by the earth, making them so clear and pure that you can see as if not underwater at all. The team will learn about the system of cave cenotes that spread through southern Mexico and hear why Mayan’s regard them as ‘sacred wells’.

We will end the day at a local Mayan Ruin, taking a peak view into the lives of the ancient civilisations that inhabited the region and relishing the gorgeous views of the Yucatán coastline before heading out for a last traditional Mexican meal.

Day 7: A Fond Farewell

GVI field staff transfer the team back to the airport and bid them a fond farewell! GVI will endeavour to keep the group informed of any updates there might be in the field and with particular reference to the projects volunteers contributed to during their time in Mexico, through "GVI LIve" on social media.

**Your trip can be extended to include additional side trips and / or further service work.

What's Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • 24/7 back up and support
  • A dedicated trip co-ordinator
  • Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
  • Access to local medical facilities
  • Accomodation
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Comprehensive health and safety procedures (Emergency Action Plans and Risk Assessments)
  • First aid equipment
  • Flight bookings service on request
  • Food and drinking water
  • Group leader
  • Highly experienced and well qualified GVI field staff
  • In-country support
  • In-country transport costs
  • Insurance on request
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Pre-departure information
  • Risk assessments
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Up-to-date safety and country information
  • Welcome meeting

What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Additional spending money
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal kit
  • Police or background check (where necessary)
  • Vaccinations
  • Visa costs
  • Visas

Why Choose GVI?

There are many reasons why you should consider GVI for your group trip. Allow us to take you through some of the important points:

  • GVI has over 15 years of experience - Since we began in 1997, we have sent over 20,000 young people on trips all over the world. Most describe their experience with us as life-changing with a 95% approval rate from our customers

  • We are a ground operator - We run and staff our projects 24/7, all year round which means we understand and know the area you will be visiting enabling us to deliver a high quality level of support, safety and training at very competitive prices

  • Our variety of programs is unique and unrivalled - We offer language courses, community and conservation projects, leadership programs, cultural immersion, adventure activities and mountain trekking.

  • Peace of mind - You know that our projects make a real and positive impact on the local communities you visit. Since we started we have developed over 150 projects around the world.

  • Project ownership - We run our projects in partnership with local communities, according to the needs on the ground, so you know they are genuinely worthwhile

  • We are different from most other school providers - We already have projects and programs in place. We have been working in these countries for over 15 years and are working hand in hand with the host communities to ensure their needs are being met.

  • Teachers/Educators travel free

  • Safety is our priority - We have comprehensive safety and back up procedures in place.

  • Flexibility - Our trips are available all year round so you tell us when you want to travel.

  • The GVI Charitable Trust - Enables your school to stay involved with your program after you return home.

  • Students will automatically become GVI members, enabling them to benefit from discounts on any future GVI trips.

  • There are opportunities for students to be GVI Ambassadors – excellent for university and college applications.


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Enquiry Details

Speak to us about Scholarships, available if you book before the end of August.