Sustainable and Ethical Ecotourism in the Canary Islands

Gain experience in ethical and sustainable marine ecotourism in the turquoise waters off Africa's Atlantic coast.

Durations:  1 - 4 weeks

Program information

Gain experience in both hospitality and marine conservation on this volunteering program based in Spain’s Canary Islands. Your volunteer work in Tenerife will focus on environmental education aimed at some of the many international tourists who visit the island each year. You’ll help these visitors to understand why they should choose an ethical whale and dolphin watching tour operator, and how they can do so. You’ll also educate the tourists about a range of other marine conservation topics such as why and how to keep beaches free of plastic.

undefined 30 June 2022
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Program overview

Do you love the sea and want to contribute to conserving the world’s oceans and marine life? Are you not a fan of science or research-heavy tasks? Maybe you’re more of a people person and are considering a career in something like hospitality? Our Sustainable and Ethical Ecotourism volunteering program based on the island of Tenerife might be the right choice for you. 

As a popular tourism destination, the island of Tenerife receives an estimated five million international visitors annually. Given the island’s natural resources and proximity to Europe it’s no wonder this island attracts so many visitors. Visitors like its subtropical climate, year-round warm waters and sunshine. Not to mention its beaches, 400 metres of coastline, and whale and dolphin watching tours where you might spot up to 28 different species. But while these resources attract visitors, the visitors put a strain on these resources. Effectively managing both international tourism and conservation is what sustainable, ethical and responsible ecotourism is all about. 

Part of your volunteer work in Tenerife will be to educate tourists about the importance of choosing an ethical whale and dolphin watching tour provider. You’ll also teach them how to do that. Many of these ethical boats can be spotted because they are marked by the Blue Flag, a certification granted to them by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). Certain beaches in Tenerife are also given these certifications. 

You might also have the opportunity to engage with tourists over other topics related to sustainable, ethical and responsible ecotourism. For example: Why is it important to keep beaches clean? Or, why is swimming with dolphins unethical, and now illegal in Spanish territories such as the Canary Islands? 

You’ll also participate in an ethical whale and dolphin watching program with a purpose – by studying the impact of environmental threats on these marine animals. Cleaning beaches of plastic pollution, fishing nets and other debris is also a part of this program. 

Please note that this is not a diving program, although you can go for a recreational dive during your free time.


  • Learn what working in sustainable ecotourism is really like and get hands-on work experience in this field without needing any prior experience or a specific qualification. 
  • Earn transferable skills, such as intercultural collaboration, that are important in hospitality, marine conservation as well as a host of other professions. 
  • Contribute directly to effective mar