Volunteer in Latin America

Make an impact in a vibrant region

Contribute to rainforest, wildlife and marine conservation research programs in Mexico, Costa Rica and the Caribbean Sea.


Welcome to Latin America, a continent filled with natural wonders, an incredible array of wildlife and a mix of vibrant cultures. Are you ready for adventure? Let’s go! 

Whether you’re taking a gap year, a summer volunteer holiday, a career break or are looking for an internship program, this is your chance to experience this diverse region while gaining practical experience, developing valuable skills and contributing to vital conservation efforts. 

Where can you volunteer in Latin America?

From our two bases in Costa Rica and Mexico we run a range of programs with a focus on:

  • Wildlife and marine conservation
  • Sea turtle conservation
  • Rainforest conservation
  • Jaguar and wild cat conservation
  • Coral reef restoration 


In Costa Rica, you can get involved in our wildlife conservation projects from our conservation base located in the Kekoldi Indigenous Reserve, home to some of the richest jungle habitats in the world and species like frogs, sloths, ocelots and toucans.

In Mexico, we dive into the tropical waters of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System off the coast of Puerto Morelos. Here you can earn PADI diving qualifications while contributing to valuable marine conservation initiatives.

A partnered approach

At GVI, we prioritise collaboration with local organisations and communities. This ensures our volunteer programs have a sustainable impact, support local initiatives and work towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Together, we create long-lasting change.

In Costa Rica our conservation base is situated in the Kekoldi Indigenous Reserve, with the permission of the local community. From here we work in collaboration with the following organisations:

  • Turtle Rescue Cahuita
  • Kekodi Hawkwatch


In Mexico we have partnered with the following organisations:

  • Centro Regional de Investigacion Pesquera (CRIP)
  • Healthy Reefs for Healthy People
  • National Commission of Natural Protected Areas Mexico (CONANP)
  • Amigos de Sian Ka’an, Comunidad y biodiversidad (COBI), and University of Queensland (Coralwatch)

Our programs

Wildlife Expedition in Costa Rica
Marine Conservation Expedition in Mexico
Under 18
Rainforest and Wildlife Conservation Teen Volunteering In Costa Rica
Sea Turtle Conservation in Costa Rica
Jaguar and wild cat conservation in Costa Rica
Under 18
PADI Advanced Open Water and Marine Conservation Teen Volunteer Program in Mexico
Bird Research in Costa Rica
Sea Turtle Conservation in the Mexican Caribbean
Research Fellowship
Conservation research fellowship in Costa Rica
Marine Conservation Internship in Mexico
Under 18
PADI Diving and Marine Conservation Teen Volunteering in Mexico
Conservation Internship in Costa Rica
Professional Apprenticeship
Wildlife Conservation Apprenticeship in Costa Rica
Sea Turtle Conservation Internship in Mexico
Research Fellowship
Marine conservation research fellowship in Mexico
Jaguar and Wild Cat Conservation Internship in Costa Rica
Sea Turtle Conservation Internship in Costa Rica
Professional Apprenticeship
PADI Divemaster and Marine Conservation Apprenticeship in Mexico
Rainforest Exploration and Biodiversity in Costa Rica
Reptile and Amphibian Diversity Research in the Costa Rican Rainforest
Citizen Science Program in Costa Rica
Professional Apprenticeship
PADI Divemaster and Marine Conservation Dive Shop Apprenticeship in Mexico
Professional Apprenticeship
PADI Divemaster and Marine Conservation Apprenticeship in the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea
Coral Reef Ecology and Conservation Internship in Mexico
Professional Apprenticeship
PADI Instructor Apprenticeship in Mexico
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 cook traditional Yucatán food
Learn to cook traditional Yucatán food
Visit a Mayan ruin
Visit a Mayan ruin
Take a beach yoga class
Take a beach yoga class
Dive through the cenotes
Dive through the cenotes
Stand-up paddleboard at sunrise
Stand-up paddleboard at sunrise
Climb rock formations in the jungle
Climb rock formations in the jungle
Learn the unique geography of the Yucatán Peninsula
Learn the unique geography of the Yucatán Peninsula
Explore the ancient city of Coba
Explore the ancient city of Coba

We get it – everyone has their own unique interests and passions when it comes to protecting the environment. That’s why we offer a range of programs in Latin America, allowing you to choose the conservation focus that resonates with you. Our programs are designed to be immersive and hands-on, giving you the opportunity to develop practical skills and knowledge while making a positive difference in the world. 

Our marine and wildlife conservation programs are an opportunity to gain valuable field experience, learn scientific research techniques, and actively contribute to the preservation of endangered species and ecosystems – from monitoring sea turtle populations to studying jaguars in their natural habitats.

Volunteer programs in Latin America

Our volunteer programs are an excellent choice if you’re looking to contribute to critical global issues while enhancing your employability. We provide comprehensive pre-program training and support, and you can grow your leadership skills with our optional Leading Teams for Impact online course.

Internships in Latin America

Elevate your career with a GVI internship. You’ll receive mentoring, advanced training, job portal access, career coaching and four University of Richmond endorsed courses to boost your CV. And if travelling isn’t an option, you can join a virtual internship from anywhere in the world.

Research fellowships in Latin America

When you join one of our research fellowships, you have the opportunity to get published as a co-author in a scientific paper, complete your thesis or dissertation, and gain practical work experience in conservation and sustainable development. With support from a team of qualified staff and PhD-holding scientists and access to unique data sets, this is an incredible opportunity to contribute to real conservation projects and boost your academic profile.

Professional apprenticeships in Latin America

With a guaranteed job placement, our professional apprenticeships combine three months of comprehensive training with three months of hands-on field experience, where you’ll work with our partners to support local conservation. And with our exclusive career-readiness program, you’ll develop your leadership skills and build industry contacts. 

Costa Rica programs

On our wildlife conservation programs in Costa Rica you’ll live in the rainforest of the Kekoldi Indigenous Reserve. Your work here contributes to the protection of an abundant variety of wildlife species and habitats, and contributes to species monitoring, habitat restoration and community education initiatives that support long-term conservation efforts.

In Costa Rica we offer a wide variety of conservation programs:


Mexico programs

Dive into the vibrant world of coral reefs, protect marine species and promote sustainable ecosystems. But it’s not just about doing good – it’s also about having fun while you’re at it! With our PADI certification courses, you can take your diving skills to the next level while working on projects that make a positive impact. 

In Mexico we offer the following marine conservation programs:


Community development volunteering in Latin America

We also offer the opportunity to work on several community development projects in Costa Rica. These projects are focused on:

  • Teaching English
  • Community development
  • Women’s empowerment
  • Early childhood development


Join us in Latin America and become part of our global network of changemakers.


Let’s explore the remarkable destinations where you can volunteer in Latin America. 

In Costa Rica, you’ll be living the Pura Vida lifestyle while working to conserve the region’s amazing biodiversity. 

In the laid-back coastal town of Puerto Morelos in Mexico, you can join our marine conservation projects and work towards preserving the world’s second-largest barrier reef system. 

Costa Rica – Kekoldi Indigenous Reserve

This remarkable reserve is located in the southern part of Mexico, near the border with Guatemala. It’s a place where lush rainforests, pristine rivers and diverse plant and animal species create an ecosystem like no other. Living and working in the reserve, you’ll have an amazing chance to actively protect and preserve this invaluable ecosystem. And when you’re not working, get ready for some unforgettable adventures. 

Kekoldi is a haven for nature enthusiasts. Explore the hidden trails that wind through the dense rainforest, leading you to hidden waterfalls and picturesque landscapes. Keep your eyes peeled for exotic wildlife, from colourful birds to elusive mammals. Cahuita National Park and Manzanillo Reserve are around the corner, and absolutely worth checking out. The nearby tourist centres offer activities like snorkelling tours and surfing lessons.

Beyond the borders of Kekoldi, take the time to visit nearby towns and cities in the southern region of Mexico. Take a trip to see ancient Mayan ruins and take in their rich history. And of course, make sure you indulge in the delicious local food that will leave your taste buds wanting more.

Mexico – Puerto Morelos

Travel to the coastal town of Puerto Morelos, Mexico, located in the Riviera Maya region of Mexico, and discover its thriving marine life. Here you’ll have the chance to spend your days scuba-diving and helping to conserve the delicate coral reefs and marine species that call this place home. From our base in Puerto Morelos you can gain a number of PADI diving qualifications, including Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Divemaster, Rescue Diver and the Coral Reef Researcher Distinctive Speciality. Working with our partners on the ground, you’ll get to work on coral nursery projects that cultivate and reintroduce corals back into the ocean.

During your free time, there’s so much to see and do in Puerto Morelos. You can wander around the charming streets, check out the local markets, and treat yourself to some delicious Mexican cuisine. And of course, don’t forget to hit the beach! For water enthusiasts, snorkelling in the nearby coral reefs is an absolute must. 

And here’s a little secret: Puerto Morelos makes a fantastic base for further travels. You can’t miss the opportunity to visit the stunning cenotes – natural sinkholes filled with crystal-clear freshwater. They’re perfect for a refreshing swim or an unforgettable diving experience. Plus, don’t forget to plan a trip to famous archaeological sites like Tulum and Chichen Itza, where you’ll get to learn about ancient civilizations.

Whether you choose to work in the Kekoldi Indigenous Reserve in Costa Rica or contribute to marine conservation in Puerto Morelos, Mexico, your volunteer experience will be transformative, rewarding and unforgettable.


Latin America is renowned for its incredible biodiversity and the presence of numerous endangered species. We are dedicated to the protection and conservation of these iconic and vulnerable creatures. Join our programs in Latin America and become an advocate for the preservation of these invaluable species.

Sea turtles

The coastal regions of Latin America provide important nesting grounds for various sea turtle species, including the majestic leatherbacks, green turtles, and hawksbills. As a volunteer, you can contribute to sea turtle conservation efforts by monitoring nesting sites, protecting eggs and ensuring the safe release of hatchlings into the ocean. By participating in sea turtle conservation programs, you play a vital role in safeguarding these magnificent creatures and their fragile habitats.

Jaguars and big cats

Latin America is home to the elusive jaguar, as well as other big cat species such as pumas and ocelots. By joining a wildlife conservation program, you can help collect data on these felines, study their behaviour, and assist in habitat restoration initiatives. Your efforts contribute to preserving the delicate balance of ecosystems and protecting these iconic big cat species from threats such as habitat loss and poaching.

Birds and tropical rainforest species

In this region the rainforests are teeming with a colourful array of bird species and around a hundred species of frogs and reptiles. You can contribute to bird surveys, study avian behaviour and engage in reforestation efforts to protect the habitats that sustain these animals. In Costa Rica you’ll get to participate in research on various raptor species during migration season (when Kekoldi is home to one of the world’s largest raptor migrations). Your work will help preserve the biodiversity of Latin America’s rainforests.

These are just a few examples of the incredible species that you can work with and help protect in Latin America through our programs. Each location offers its own unique opportunities to contribute to species conservation efforts.

Research and conservation impact

At GVI, we believe in the power of research to drive conservation efforts and make a lasting impact on the environment. Our programs in Latin America provide opportunities for volunteers to contribute to important research initiatives while gaining valuable insights and skills.

Data collection and analysis

Our research-focused programs allow you to actively collect data that contributes to scientific understanding and conservation efforts. Whether you’re conducting biodiversity surveys, monitoring species populations or analysing environmental data, your contributions will help generate valuable insights that inform conservation strategies and promote sustainable practices.

Habitat restoration

Conservation is not just about preserving existing ecosystems – it also involves restoring degraded habitats. On a GVI program you can participate in habitat restoration projects, including reforestation, mangrove conservation and coral reef rehabilitation. These initiatives are crucial for restoring biodiversity and creating resilient ecosystems that can thrive in the face of environmental challenges.

Community engagement and education

Conservation goes beyond environmental efforts – it also involves engaging and educating local communities. Our volunteer programs in Latin America emphasise community involvement, allowing you to work closely with local stakeholders, raise awareness about conservation issues and promote sustainable practices. By fostering collaborative relationships and sharing knowledge, you contribute to building a more environmentally conscious society.

Partnerships and collaborations

We value partnerships with local organisations, research institutions, and conservation agencies. Through our extensive network of partners, we are able to maximise the impact of our programs and ensure that our efforts align with regional conservation priorities. When you join a program, you become part of a broader network of organisations and individuals working together to achieve shared conservation goals.

We understand the importance of research and its role in driving effective conservation strategies. That’s why our volunteer programs offer you the opportunity to contribute to ongoing research initiatives, collaborate with experts in the field, and gain hands-on experience in scientific data collection and analysis. Your contributions will support evidence-based conservation and help shape a more sustainable future.