How to choose a marine conservation vacation

From the Maldives to Mexico, Canada to Costa Rica, the locations that host marine conservation vacations are as diverse as the work you'll do on them, so it's essential that you have an idea of the trip that you want and are clear on the kind of work that each trip involves before signing up

On the land or in the water?

All projects will accept that you are giving up your free time and that you want to make a valid contribution to their initiative, but how you make that contribution depends mainly upon whether you want to work under the water, or outside of it. First, ask yourself if you’re a diver, and if you’re not then ask yourself if diving is something that you’ve always wanted to do.
If you’re already a diver, do you want to build on that that skill and use it to do something that will really benefit the environment? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions then it’s likely marine conservation in the water – helping out with reef protection work, collecting data, fish ID sessions and surveys – is the right vacation for you. These trips largely involve early morning starts, up to three dives a day and lectures, presentations and talks in the evening.

Research, research and research again

The accommodation, level of involvement with the local community and amount of time you’ll spend working throughout the day or night varies greatly with each different trip, so the most important thing you can do when choosing a marine conservation vacation is research as much as you can. Speak to your tour operator in detail and find out what the aims of the project are and what activities you will be doing on a daily basis, but also what they’ve already achieved, so you can get an idea of what past volunteers have helped to make happen. It’s also a good idea to ask where the data is going – is it being fed into local marine fisheries departments, or being used in collaboration with local or international universities? You want to ensure that your time, money and energy is being made the most of and that the initiative is making progress in a conservation area that you feel passionate about.

Finding a marine conservation trip that matches both your own interests and your skill level is as important as your enthusiasm and commitment while you’re there – match the vacation to your own expectations and not only will you learn and achieve loads, but you’ll also have lots of fun with a group of like minded people while doing it.

Our top Marine conservation Vacation

Peloponnese turtle conservation holiday, Greece

Peloponnese turtle conservation vacation, Greece

Sea turtle volunteering on stunning Greek beaches

From 850 9 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2022: 31 Jul
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Marine conservation or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Expert advice from our suppliers

Anne Smellie, from our supplier, Oyster Worldwide, shares her advice on how to choose a marine conservation vacation: "If you are looking to do a project, you need to go with a company or organisation that thoroughly briefs you on all aspects of the trip, so that your expectations are managed and correct from the outset. If that doesn’t happen you could think you’re booking something completely different to what it actually isn’t and you’ll arrive disillusioned and unhappy, plus the project won’t be happy with you because you will have turned up with all of the wrong expectations. It’s the tour company’s responsibility to make sure you’re prepared, so it’s essential to ask as many questions as you like and find out why the conservation is happening and what sort of things you’ll be doing to support the work."
Written by Polly Humphris
Photo credits: [Page banner: USFWS - Pacific Region] [On the land or in the water: Henrik Hedegaard] [Research: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast] [Getting your hands dirty: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast]