VOLUNTEER IN MEXICO
When you volunteer with GVI in Mexico, you’re provided with the opportunity to work on ongoing marine conservation and community development projects in collaboration with the local community, all while being free to explore one of the most culturally diverse and rich regions in the world.
Whether you choose to take part in an internship, take a formal career break, gap year or simply want to do something adventurous with your upcoming summer holiday, Mexico provides a host of options for an experience to remember.
Volunteer opportunities in Mexico
There are a wide variety of volunteering opportunities available in Mexico, such as:
- Contributing towards the conservation of coral reef and marine life on our expedition.
- Spending time on our hub in Puerto Morelos while contributing to childhood development and teaching projects.
- Earning your PADI Divemaster while contributing to other valuable marine conservation initiatives.
GVI does not support orphanage volunteering. For more information see our stance on orphanage volunteering. We also support ChildSafe, a global child protection initiative, and regularly review our comprehensive Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection policy. All our staff and participants are required to complete a police background check before arrival on the program, and on-site child protection training is provided once they arrive in the host country. We also protect children from cyber and real-world threats by ensuring that our marketing follows child protection best practices.
Where Does GVI Work in Mexico?
GVI operates out of a single base in Mexico, on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, in a port town called Puerto Morelos.
Puerto Morelos is on the Riviera Maya and is the oldest porteño community in the Mexican Caribbean. The Riviera is known as one of the most spectacular diving and snorkeling locations in the world. Its shores encompass a vast coral reef, home to various marine species, including tropical fish, stingrays, and whale sharks. Currently, fishing is the second commercial activity after tourism in the area and the port has, like all urban centres on the Yucatan, has seen rapid growth in recent years. Participating in a marine conservation program promotes longer term sustainability for the industry as well as for the local community in general.
What makes this location unique, is that we offer both marine conservation and community development programs out of a single hub, giving participants the opportunity to meet an even bigger network of global citizens when they participate in a program. You may sign on for a conservation program, but will also be exposed to and learn from other volunteers who could be on various other healthcare, teaching or childhood development programs at the same time. This is a unique opportunity not available on many volunteering programs around the world.
The Guide to Volunteering in Mexico
Intro to Mexico
Mexico is the 14th largest country in the world by total area, making it a vibrant country with a variety of cultural influences. Volunteering in Mexico will allow you to better understand these influences as well as the country’s history, and how culture impacts the modern day landscape.
Our activities in Mexico are coordinated from a central hub located in Puerto Morelos. This location offers different program focuses, local attractions and activities. The area is perfect for people wanting to learn to speak Spanish in Mexico whilst participating on a program, participants who wish to take part in marine conservation or community development in Mexico, those who wish to gain practical experience in a classroom or workshop environment, or even just those who want to get their open water qualification or refine their diving skills.
By participating on a program in Puerto Morelos, you could be:
- Working in a national research center for fisheries and marine research, along with our partners;
- Contributing to the coral reef restoration national project in the Mexican Caribbean;
- Working alongside other organizations to preserve the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef in the State of Quintana Roo;
- A part of the conservation work done inside the largest National Marine Biosphere Reserve in the Caribbean;
- Improving your diving and research skills if you have an interest in a career in the marine field;
- Improving your Spanish (a language spoken by 480 million people around the world);
- Mingling with and raising awareness to tourists, local people and local fishermen, to promote longer term sustainability of the region;
- Gaining teaching experience on one of our community development program;
- Contributing towards improvement of the quality of education in the region;
- Increasing in-country capacity by providing training sessions with the locals;
- Raising awareness of environmental issues and educating others about the local goals in the region, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Mexico uses the Peso as its currency, and the cost of living in Mexico is fairly low in comparison to the United States. It isn’t difficult to plan an affordable trip to Mexico, but like with any travel plans, it is important to consider your budget and do some financial planning beforehand. GVI recently launched a brand new fundraising platform, which can assist you with this.
Travelling outside of the Puerto Morelos base is reliant on taxis, costing anywhere upwards of US$40 one way per taxi. Group trips are generally less expensive, so chat to your fellow participants, volunteers or interns about heading out on further travels together (which is not only more fun, but safer too). Public transport is easy and relatively cheap if you are travelling regularly between major towns.
During your downtime from the program, you could travel to a number of beautiful locations in and around the area. In your time off you could do day trips such as visiting Tulum or Coba Mayan ruins, do some cenote diving or explore nearby cities in the area. Before and after your program you could go to Merida, Chichen Itza, Chiapas or Central America – the possibilities are endless.
Volunteer work in Mexico is a great way to make a difference and to see a what can only be considered a majestic and culturally rich area. The beauty of the jungle, water, and the warmth of the weather, along with the hospitality of the community, will make for an unforgettable experience.
Download our program brochures