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Volunteer in Tenerife


Tenerife is the largest of seven islands located off the south-west coast of Spain and north-west coast of Africa. These islands form the Atlantic Ocean archipelago known as the Canary Islands. 

Tenerife’s diverse landscape of sun-soaked sand and pebble beaches, and towering snow-capped mountain peaks makes it the perfect location to volunteer.

Volunteer in Tenerife with GVI and get the opportunity to enjoy the warm, tropical climate that the Canary Islands is so well known for. With average temperatures of 18–24 degrees Celsius in the winter and 24–28 degrees Celsius in the summer, you’ll be treated to near-perfect conditions no matter what time of year you choose to volunteer in Tenerife.

But this destination offers more than just wandering the narrow streets of Old Town and sipping sweet Sangria in the Spanish island sun. Tenerife volunteering will give you the opportunity to meet the island's friendliest residents – bubbly bottlenose dolphins and pilot whales. These are some of Tenerife’s resident cetacean population, and can be spotted all year round. 

And a further 24 migratory cetacean species make their way to Tenerife’s tropical waters throughout the year, making it the perfect spot to volunteer on dolphin and whale conservation projects.

Whether you’re under 18 or over 50 and in Europe on a gap year or career break, becoming a volunteer in Tenerife is the perfect move for those looking to make an impact.

Marine conservation

When volunteering in Tenerife with GVI, you’ll make an impact by contributing directly to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). You’ll assist local people and organisations to achieve the long-term objectives of each project. The main UN SDG we work on at GVI Tenerife is Goal 14: Life Below Water. 

Choose from a variety of volunteer work in Tenerife with GVI. You can contribute to projects focusing on:

  • whale and dolphin conservation 
  • marine biology research and conservation. 

Because of its tropical climate and varied topography, Tenerife is the most biologically diverse island in the Canaries – making it a popular tourist destination that sees upwards of five million tourists a year. 

And, while this is great for the economy as tourism is the island’s largest source of income, there are definite environmental downsides to the massive influx of tourists that Tenerife has started to attract. 

Boat traffic, overfishing, and excess waste are just some of the side effects that have pointed to a greater need for marine, and whale and dolphin conservation efforts on the island.  

Our impact

GVI Tenerife works with local organisations and whale-watching companies to monitor the effects of tourism on the surrounding marine environment. Data collected by our volunteers in Tenerife is submitted to help with local decision-making and resource management on the island.  

Each day offers a different learning experience when you volunteer in Tenerife. Participants could start their day with early morning project-specific training, whale and dolphin conservation surveys, or work on base with the data collected on previous days. Other days could be spent doing beach surveys and cleanups, or cetacean conservation and environmental awareness work with tourist groups. It all depends on the local stakeholder needs at the time of your project. 

GVI is committed to upholding ethical best practice on all of our programs and focus areas, including Tenerife volunteering. This is illustrated by our badge of ethics and child and vulnerable adult protection policy.

Why volunteer in Tenerife?

Watch the sleek, streamlined figure of a bottlenose dolphin and her calf as they dance in and out of the calm Tenerife waters alongside your boat. But don’t get too drawn in, or you might miss the bulging forehead and short snout of one of the largest members of the dolphin family – the pilot whale – as it emerges on the other side of the boat.

Sightings like these are just one of the many reasons to volunteer in Tenerife, which is one of the most sought-after travel locations, not only in the Canary Islands, but also in Spain. This is because of the large populations of cetaceans and other marine life that live in its waters, paired with near-perfect weather year-round.

The most commonly spoken language in Tenerife in Spanish. So as a volunteer in Tenerife you’ll get to listen to and gain a greater understanding of this language. Being immersed in the culture and language of Tenerife locals will take your volunteer in Tenerife experience to a whole new level.

By volunteering in Tenerife, not only will you witness the friendly resident dolphin and whale species, but you’re likely to spot a few other cetaceans too, all while you contribute to whale and dolphin conservation and marine research. And you’ll have all of the island to enjoy during your free time too.

  • Visit Teide National Park  

Located in central Tenerife, Teide National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s located on Mount Teide, which is the highest mountain and volcano in Spain. The volcano is still regarded as active even though it hasn’t erupted since November 1909. 

Teide National Park is one of the oldest national parks in the country, offering a panoramic view of the whole National Park and the Teide crater. It has a unique volcanic landscape of rugged peaks formed by sedimentary lava, paired with pine forests and green valleys. This forms the backdrop for a scenic, but tough 24-hour hike for seasoned hikers. For those who have less time or hiking skill, but are still eager to take in the views, a cable car trip to the top of the mountain, or at the very least a drive through the park, is a must.

  • Explore the Old Town of Puerto de la Cruz

Like most Spanish cities, this 16th century Old Town is the beating heart of Puerto de la Cruz, located in the north of the island of Tenerife. 

Bars and cafes line the narrow streets inviting local people and tourists alike to mingle, making it the perfect location to unwind and get to know your fellow Tenerife volunteers.

  • Visit Macizo de Anaga 

Macizo de Anaga is a mountain range in the northeastern part of Tenerife. This group of mountains was formed as a result of a volcanic eruption more than seven million years ago, and was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2015. 

This UNESCO site contains the largest number of endemic species in Europe, making it a perfect location for volunteers in Tenerife to enjoy a weekend hike.

Tenerife volunteering FAQs

Before you leave on a trip to begin volunteering in Tenerife, there are a few questions you might want answered.   

Q: Which volunteer program can I join?

A: GVI offers a range of volunteering programs and internships in Tenerife. Choose from a variety of programs focused on either whale and dolphin conservation or marine biology research. 

Q: How do I know if the volunteering I am doing is ethical? 

A: GVI is committed to ethical best practice in every area, including Tenerife volunteering. We’ve developed and are committed to upholding ten ethical principles and five human empowerment principles. Our badge of ethics represents our dedication to always uphold, revise and improve our policies. Improvements to our policies are made in collaboration with our ethics officers and outside experts. 

Q: What time of year is best to join a Tenerife volunteering program?

A: Tenerife has a tropical climate with temperatures between 18–24 degrees Celsius in the winter and 24–28 degrees Celsius in the summer, making any time of year the best time to volunteer in Tenerife.

Q: How long can I stay on as a volunteer in Tenerife?

A: Tenerife volunteering program durations can range anywhere from two weeks of participation.

Q: What requirements do I need to meet in order to become a volunteer in Tenerife?

A: You don’t need to meet any specific requirements to become a volunteer in Tenerife with GVI, so long as you’re over 18. So whether you’re fresh out of high school, over 50, or anywhere in between – you can still make an impact as a volunteer in Tenerife with GVI.

All training required for the specific Tenerife volunteering program you have chosen will be provided in the field. All our volunteering in Tenerife programs include health and safety and child and vulnerable adult protection training. 

Q: Where will I be staying in Tenerife?

A: When you volunteer in Tenerife with GVI, you’ll stay on base with your fellow volunteers. The base is in Calles Virgen de Fatima, Santa Cruz De Tenerife. The Tenerife volunteer house is basic, but still has all the necessities and is comfortable, large and suitable for remote working – perfect for training, working through program data or even just relaxing after a busy day of Tenerife volunteering.

Q: Who will I be volunteering in Tenerife with?

A: GVI volunteers come from all over the world, and have a range of different backgrounds. You’ll leave your Tenerife volunteering experience with new lifelong friendships.

GVI Tenerife volunteering programs

All of our Tenerife volunteering programs have short-, mid- and long-term objectives that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). 

When you arrive on base as a volunteer in Tenerife, you’ll be taught the history of the UN SDGs and learn about the specific goals of our Tenerife programs. This training makes sure our participants are aware of issues on both a local and a global scale, and are equipped to be a part of long-term impact.

Choose to make an impact in one of the following project areas when you volunteer in Tenerife with GVI:

Download our program brochures