Marine Conservation Expedition

founded in 2017
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Coordinator | Laura
Coordinator | Laura
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.


Get trained and certified in Marine Conservation with our profesional biologists and instructors.
Dive in one of the most biodiverse place on Earth: 10 dives on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, a paradise in pristine waters.
Learn every day about marine conservation, biology and all of our research projects during our daily lectures.
Make memories you will never forget with your co-expeditioners and live an experience full of adventure, laughter, and purpuseful work.
Enjoy our delicious menu 3 times a day of organic vegetarian/vegan food made by our incredible local chef. Conservation is also about what you eat!
Join us in Costa Rica to get certified in Marine Conservation with our biologists and professional instructors. Have a positive impact while diving in paradise! This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 14+
Are you a certified scuba diver or dream of becoming one? Join us in Costa Rica to get certified in Marine Conservation with our biologists and professional instructors. 

The Marine Conservation Expedition is seven days full of adventure, learning, laughter, and hard purposeful work. This expedition is for experienced and non-experienced divers alike. It creates space for the everyday person to tap into the world of marine conservation and all the wonders it has to offer through our facility called the Marine Conservation and Education Center (MCEC). 

Each day, the expeditioners are taught a new subject which they will apply the next day during their underwater dives. These captivating lectures range from invertebrate theory, to sea turtle migration studies, to 3D Coral Modeling – providing a subject that will surely resonate with each person. By the end of the week, the expeditioners will leave with an abundance of knowledge, skills, friends, and memories.

During this week, we will dive in: 
  • Caño Island has been a biological reserve since 1978, meaning it has the highest level of protection possible. This pristine island is situated in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 50 km away from the Sierpe River (90 min by boat). Known to host the biggest variety of hard coral species in all the Pacific of Costa Rica, it is the perfect place to dive. Naturally, with an abundance of corals comes an abundance of marine life. While diving it is not uncommon to see sea turtles, reef sharks, eels, many types of beautiful fish and so much more. Most of the island is highly protected and solely open for research and conservation work.
  • Marino Ballena National Park. Named after the Humpback Whales that migrate here each year, Marino Ballena National Park is located in the south pacific coast near the town of Uvita, in the province of Puntarenas, Osa, Costa Rica. The park was officially declared as a Marine National Park in 1992 and is a very important area for conservation in the Osa region. Since this area is protected, there is an abundance of life found here including Humpback Whales, Olive Ridley and Hawksbill turtles, spotted dolphins, corals, sponges, anemones, and an important population of sea birds using the park for nesting.
We will also visit a beautiful indigenous community: The Boruca community is composed of around 2660 indigenous people living in the South Pacific of Costa Rica, close to the border with Panama, following the Rio Terraba. They are known for their art and artesania: weaving, paints, or wood masks. But their culture is also amazingly rich with legends and myths that they love to share with their visitors. Innoceana has been working in collaboration with the Boruca community for the past few years on reforestation programs, education programs with the kids, and cultural activities. Land and Ocean are more connected than you could ever imagine. The conservation of the Ocean starts on land and with local communities.

There are 2 expeditions you will get to choose from: 
  • Fish, Sea Turtles, and Elasmobranch (Rays and Sharks): 
Fish Survey, Water Quality studies, Turtle ID, Elasmobranch Survey, Microplastics, Fish ID, Turtle Migration Studies, Elsamobranch ID.
  • Corals and Marine Invertebrates
3D Models of Corals, Coral Restoration, Invertebrates survey, Water Quality studies, Reef Monitoring, Coral Taxonomy, Invertebrates ID.

Typical day

6:30 – Breakfast and preparation of conservation material

7:00 – Microbus drive to sierpe where the boat is waiting for us

9:30 – 2 Dives in Caño Island or Marino Ballena national park

2:00 – Lunch on the boat

4:00 – Back at the marine conservation center for a shower and chill time

6:00 – Theory class and data analysis

7:30 – Dinner

Free-time activities

You will have 2 days free during the week which can be spent on the beach, in the waterfalls around, hiking, shopping, or even resting in a hammock, as you prefer of course. 



In order to join the program you need to be at least 14 years old on the program start date.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Education Requirements
Scuba Diving at Firsy level of Scuba Diving (Open Water or equivalent) level
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
If you are not a diver yet, no worries! You can do your Open Water certification with us just before the expedition. It will take 3 days (1 day in the pool and 2 days in the Ocean).
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

What's Included

Services by Innoceana

For 7 days Expedition, everything is included (except for flights and dive insurance): 

  • Accommodation for 8 nights (private room shared with 1 other person, private bathroom)
  • 3 Vegetarian meals a day 
  • Dive equipment 
  • Theory classes 
  • Certification of completion 
  • 10 dives 
  • Conservation material 
  • 1 Yoga class
If you wish to stay longer after the 7 days expedition, it is totally possible! In this case, we have prices per week extra which include: 
  • Accommodation (shared dorm, shared bathroom, fully equipped kitchen)
  • Stocked fridge with ingredients for vegetarian meals (you will need to cook)
  • Training on all our research/education/conservation projects (bring your computer!)
  • You will participate in the projects and work in the MCEC with us 5 days a week (2 days off to explore the area)
  • Equipment for diving (1 day a week of diving with 2 dives)
  • High-speed wifi
  • Laundry Machine
  • Access to all theory classes
  • A lot of fun!!


For the first week, you will stay in a double room (2 individual beds), sharing with 1 other expeditioner. This room has a private bathroom (hot water shower!), a common room with a big table to share meals, high-speed WIFI, hammocks, chill area and couch. 

If you stay longer than the 7 days expedition, you will stay in a shared dorm (8 individual beds), with 2 shared showers and 2 shared bathrooms, 1 fully equipped kitchen, a common area to chill, hammocks, deck to practice sport, high-speed WIFI, 20 away from the beach by foot, 13 minutes away from the supermarket by foot. 

Dorm Room Bedroom (Double)
Food & Beverages

During the first week (7 days expedition), you will receive 3 meals a day, all vegan/vegetarian with local products! Please let us know if you have any food restrictions or allergies!

If you stay longer, we will stock the fridge with all the basic ingredients necessary to eat vegetarian meals. You will need to cook and of course can adjust your diet complementing with meat or other products if needed from local supermarkets. 

Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San Jose. We assist you to find cheap flights to Costa Rica.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Costa Rica provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Costa Rica you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Costa Rica.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival


We will meet on Sunday (before the start of the expedition) at 4pm at the UVITA Bus Station. Make sure you arrive at the airport in San Jose on Sunday in the morning latest as you will need to arrive in Uvita before 4pm. 

How to get from San Jose Airport (SJO) to Uvita? 
BUS: From San José Airport you will need to take a TAXI or UBER to San José center: about 1 hour for about $20. You can then take a direct bus called TRACOPA. It will take you 4 hours to arrive to Uvita and will cost around $10 for the bus ride. 
CAR: You can also rent a car in the airport. The ride will take you around 3-4 hours to Uvita. Make sure to use WAZE to find the fastest route.

We have expeditions every month. Here are the next dates available: 

December 2022 5th – 11th – Corals and Invertebrates

January 2023 2nd – 8th – Fish, Turtles and Elasmobranchs

February 2023 6th – 12th – Corals and Invertebrates

March 2023 13th – 19th – Fish, Turtles and Elasmobranchs

April 2023 3rd - 9th - Corals and Invertebrates

May 2023 8th - 14th - Fish, Turtles and Elasmobranchs

June 2023 5th - 11th - Corals and Invertebrates

July 2023 3rd - 9th - Fish, Turtles and Elasmobranchs

August 2023 7th-13th – Corals and Invertebrates

September 2023 4th-10th – Fish, Turtles and Elasmobranchs

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1 - 24 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
1 week (min. stay)
2 weeks
4 weeks
8 weeks
12 weeks
16 weeks
20 weeks
24 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$1,158 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. Innoceana will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Innoceana during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

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We refund your fees if Innoceana cancels your trip
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All program fees are charged directly by Innoceana.

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Marine Conservation Expedition

Join us in Costa Rica to get certified in Marine Conservation with our biologists and professional instructors. Have a positive impact while diving in paradise!


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