Tenerife, Canary Islands

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Volunteer in Tenerife

Join dolphin and whale conservation projects on the megadiverse island of Tenerife.

Few areas match the expanse of sea stretching between the island of Tenerife and the coast of Morocco for diving, swimming and viewing marine megafauna. As a marine conservation volunteer at our research station in Tenerife, you’ll get to spend three days a week on boats –  with the sun on your skin and in the company of dolphins and whales.

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.

Tenerife volunteer projects

Overview
Program types
Species
Ethics and impact
FAQs

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 landscapes of sun-soaked sand and pebble beaches, and its iconic volcanic Mount Teide make it a spectacular location to call your base.

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 25–35 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.

Whether you’re on a gap year, a career break or looking to gain valuable work experience, joining a volunteer program or internship in Tenerife is the perfect move for those looking to make an impact.

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 organisations to achieve the long-term objectives of each project. The main UN SDGs we work on at GVI Tenerife are Goal 14: Life Below Water and Goal 15: Life on Land.

Volunteer programs

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.  You can contribute to volunteer programs with a focus on:

 

 

For those under 18, we offer a highly popular dolphin and whale conservation program for teens in Tenerife. Participants learn about environmental challenges, sustainable travel and have the opportunity to explore the island’s unique habitats and take part in adventure activities. 

Internship

When you join our marine biology internship in Tenerife, you’ll gain hands-on experience in cetacean research and conservation. Gain skills in data collection, analysis and wildlife tracking through dorsal fin photography. You’ll also contribute to  research on the impact of tourism and human activities on marine life, engage in coastal surveys, database management, and environmental policy discussions. 

Research fellowship

On our marine conservation research fellowship, you’ll work closely with our partner organisations to monitor whales and dolphins, and support sustainable tourism. Under expert guidance, you’ll carry out research for ongoing projects or your studies. Living at our research station you’ll gain valuable hands -on experience. This is a chance to elevate your career with international exposure and top-notch qualifications.

Dolphins, whales and more

Tenerife boasts a wealth of one-of-a-kind species, thanks to their long history of being isolated from the rest of the world. And when it comes to watching whales and dolphins, Tenerife is a top destination, with around 30 different types of these incredible creatures calling its waters home.

Joining a program in Tenerife will give you the opportunity to meet the island’s friendliest residents – bottlenose dolphins and pilot whales. These are some of Tenerife’s resident cetacean population, and can be spotted all year round. 

A further 24 migratory cetacean species make their way to Tenerife’s tropical waters throughout the year – this is the perfect spot to volunteer on dolphin and whale conservation projects.

Marine wonders of Tenerife

Let’s talk about the incredible marine life waiting to be discovered in the nearby waters:

  • First up, we have the graceful dolphins – short-finned pilot, bottlenose, striped, rough-toothed, Atlantic spotted, Risso’s, common dolphins and false orcas.
  • Then, there are the majestic whales – Bryde’s, sperm, humpback, fin, blue, pygmy sperm whales and the impressive killer whales.
  • Don’t forget the enchanting turtles – loggerhead and green sea turtles.
  • You’ll also encounter fascinating creatures like the roughtail stingray and the angelshark.
  • And, of course, the diverse fish family – parrot fish, sardines, samas, wreckfish, pollocks, grouper, combers, horse-mackerel, cuttlefish and mackerel.

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. 

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. This is illustrated by our badge of ethics and ten ethical commitments.

Where will I stay in Tenerife?

Participants stay in dorm rooms for 6–8 people at our centrally located research station, a convenient 10-minute walk from the town centre and coastline. Taxis are readily available for easy transportation in low season.

Are accommodation upgrades available?

Private rooms are offered at a nearby hostel, just a 5-minute walk from the GVI research station. Two options are available: a basic room with a double bed and a choice of a shared or private bathroom. While a shared kitchen is accessible, participants can also enjoy complimentary meals at the GVI base.

What kind of training and support will be provided?

At GVI, we offer thorough training and ongoing support in marine biology, conservation techniques and ethical wildlife interaction. Our experienced team ensures you’re well-prepared and safe throughout your volunteer experience. 

Is there free time to explore Tenerife during the program?

Absolutely! During the program, we carefully balance your volunteer commitments with free time. This allows you to explore the island, immerse yourself in local culture, relax on stunning beaches, and even participate in adventurous activities. Whether it’s a hike through the island’s diverse landscapes or a stroll in the vibrant town centres, we encourage you to make the most of your time in Tenerife beyond your volunteer activities.

What safety measures and protocols are in place for volunteers?

Safety is our utmost priority at GVI and we have a robust set of safety measures and protocols in place. Before you begin your program, we provide detailed safety briefings and orientation, covering everything from local customs to emergency procedures. Our experienced staff are trained to handle various situations and are readily available to assist you throughout your journey.

What impact will my volunteer work have on the local environment and community in Tenerife?

Our programs focus on critical conservation needs, including marine conservation efforts and data collection. Your contribution helps preserve the marine ecosystem and influences local policies for biodiversity protection. Our projects involve collaboration with local stakeholders and organisations. By engaging with the community, raising awareness about conservation, and supporting local initiatives, you actively contribute to building a more sustainable and environmentally conscious society.

Your involvement with GVI in Tenerife is a catalyst for positive change, leaving a meaningful and lasting impact long after your volunteer experience.

New epic locations, habitats & species!

Get up to 15% off when you book before 29 February
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Included in your program, at no extra cost

Make the most of our unique programs with these exclusively curated local adventure and wellness experiences.

Offered once a month, expand your adventure with GVI Experiences. These are just some of the activities offered on your program!
Learn to make delicious Canarian dishes
Learn to make delicious Canarian dishes
Tour Old Town Tenerife's 15th century port
Tour Old Town Tenerife's 15th century port
Learn about the our galaxy
Learn about the our galaxy
Camp in Teide National Park
Camp in Teide National Park
Kayak and snorkel in paradise
Kayak and snorkel in paradise
Hike prehistorical micro-climates and laurel forests
Hike prehistorical micro-climates and laurel forests
Cable car up an active volcano
Cable car up an active volcano
Explore an ancient tropical forest
Explore an ancient tropical forest