Marine Protection and Conservation

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


Complete your PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water qualifications
Become a PADI Divemaster (10-week program only)
Contribute to international coral and fish surveys
Learn Marine Conservation techniques
Only PADI Centre in Central America offering training and certification in unique marine conservation specialties
Ready to take your scuba diving to the next level? Passionate about the world of Marine Conservation and Marine Science? Become a professional PADI Divemaster now! This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+
Ready to take your scuba dive training to the next level? Passionate about the world of Marine Conservation and Marine Science? Based at a Five Star PADI centre on the beautiful Pacific coast of Costa Rica, this 4 & 10-week course trains you up to become a professional Divemaster while also teaching you practical marine science survey techniques. During the course, you will be able to contribute to the ongoing reef surveys which collectively help monitor the health of the ocean, and also master an impressive set of dive training skills. 

We will train you in three different areas to make sure you get all tools needed to support us in our work:

  • Comprehensive dive training to become a PADI Advanced Open Water diver in our 5-Star PADI dive centre
  • Conservation and research methods to practically help us doing research underwater
  • PADI speciality courses to learn about selected topics crucial for a healthy ocean

A more detailled description of the 4 and 10-week program can be found below:

Week 1: PADI Open Water and Advanced

On arrival in San Jose you will be met by our local staff and transferred to the laid back coastal town of Quepos on the Pacific Coast. During your first week you undertake both your Open Water and Advanced Open Water PADI dive training with experienced professional trainers from the dive school. An emphatic way to start your course!

Week 2: PADI Marine Conservation and Research 

Take part in the only centre in central America offering training and certification in these unique marine conservation programs. Armed with your new certifications, week two marks the beginning of your conservation training when you will learn different research and survey techniques including fish and reef biology. This is the only PADI centre in Central America offering training and certification in these unique marine conservation programs. You will also have the chance to put your new skills to the test this week as you help on one of the many reef surveys taking place in the local marine parks.

Week 3: PADI Nudibranch Awareness specialty and reef surveys

This week you will develop your science training further with Nudibranch awareness. Nudibranchs are some of the smallest most interesting inhabitants of the reef and you will learn about their different behaviours and identification of some local species. As part of this week you will head out onto the reef and complete dives looking for local nudibranch species, as well as continue with the reef surveys from the previous week.

Week 4: PADI AWARE Shark specialty and REEF surveys

Always a favourite topic - sharks are crucial to marine ecosystems, yet are in a global decline. This course teaches you about the value of sharks and what is causing the rapid loss of shark populations. By the end of this week you will also complete your reef surveys and help input the date into the international database which collectively helps monitor the long term health of the reef and the marine life it supports!

Week 5: Dive Safety Training and Emergency First Response 

Continue your training this week with all things safety and security. Knowing what to do in the event of an emergency is crucial to your dive progression. This week you will complete both your PADI Emergency First Responder and Rescue Diver certifications. This training will complete your recreational dive training and prepare you for your first step into the world of being a professional diver! 

Week 6: Marine Scientist Specialties 

Your marine science training is about to come full circle as you continue with ongoing conservation work this week.  Additionally, you will expand upon what you have learned, completing two distinctive PADI certifications. 

PADI Sponge ecology - From the ecology, to life cycle and identification, this is a fun program highlighting an important integral member of any reef.  Hit the coral reef, locating and identifying local sponge species in the area. 

PADI Juvenile Fish ecology - Discover the life of Juvenile fish on the reef. From thir behavior, life cycles and independent roles. Go out and examine the juvenile fish on the local reef, survey and identify for international research.

Weeks 7-10: Divemaster (4 weeks)

With a variety of PADI skill sets and certifications already earned, you are now qualified to begin your Divemaster training, the first professional dive qualification and an absolute must for all budding marine scientists. Your training during this phase will become much more hands-on as you learn to become a leader and take charge of activities. A large part of your training at this stage will include assisting live clients at this 5 Star PADI Centre, as you develop your teaching skills. 

On completion of the full 10-week course, you will be a fully qualified Divemaster with a focus on Marine Science and Conservation, ready to act as an ambassador for the ocean as you develop your chosen career! 


During your time in Costa Rica you will be staying with locals in a homestay. This is a great way to get to know people who live there and the way of life authentically. In this homestays you will get two meals a day (breakfast and dinner), WiFi is available and a laundry service. You don`t need to be able to speak Spanish to participate in this program. Our common language in the program and with participants is English - even though the locals are always happy if you learn some words on the way.

Costa Rica as a country is the perfect choice for a program like this as it is very active in nature protection. Within a fantastic surrounding it is a true paradise for everyone who loves nature. You will swim with turtles, rays, sharks, dolphins and even whales! In your free time there is plenty to do: visit volcanos, rivers, rain forests, endless beaches or - if you are adventurous - optional activities like surfing or ziplining!

Typical day

You will be active in this program 6 days a week with one day off (usually a Sunday). Your day typically either starts early in the morning and ends in the afternoon (7 am - 2 pm) or starts a bit later in the morning and ends later in the afternoon (10:30 am - 6 pm). This mostly depends on the phase and week of the program you are in. You will have theoretical classes during the day as well as dives to learn for your dive qualifications first and later for the reef surveys. As you will be busy during the day your host family will serve you a breakfast in the morning and a dinner when you return home.

Free-time activities

In your free time there is plenty things to do as Costa Rica is famous for its beautiful and diverse nature: Visit volcanos, rivers, rain forests, endless beaches or – if you are adventurous – try optional activities like surfing or ziplining. For all other activities you might like to do just ask our staff there - a lot of them live there since a very long time and will be able to give you recommendations for anything you have in mind.
Water Sports


In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Required Documents
Medical Document, PADI document and Copy of ID
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
You should be passionate about the ocean and protecting it actively, keen to learn about this intersting field, open-minded to meet new people and be able to communicate in English on a daily basis. Besides that we just want you to have a great and informative time in Costa Rica!
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday

What's Included

Services by Gapforce

Included in this price is:

  • Pre-departure briefing
  • San Jose Airport Pick up and return (flights excluded)
  • Local co-ordinators
  • Homestay accommodation including breakfast, dinner, Wi-Fi and laundry
  • PADI Open Water certification
  • PADI Advanced Open Water certification
  • PADI Emergency First Response certification
  • PADI Marine Conservation specialty
  • PADI Nudibranch Awareness specialty
  • PADI AWARE Shark
  • Survey dives
  • 24/7 emergency back-up
  • Financial bonding

Airport Pickup at Juan Santamaria International Airport

Pick up and return to San Jose Airport (SJO).


We have some local guest families we work together with for a long time now. You will be staying with them in an authentic home, getting home-made breakfast and dinner and also WiFi is available here. Besides that the guest family offers a laundry service for you. The accommodations are all in walking distance.

Guest Family
Food & Beverages

You will get breakfast and dinner in your guest family.

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.
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 run our program four times a year. Typically in January, April, July and November. The start date is the day you need to arrive at the airport in San Jose. We will pick you up there so the next day we all start our program together.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
4 - 10 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
4 weeks (min. stay)
5 weeks
6 weeks
7 weeks
10 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$973 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. Gapforce 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 Gapforce 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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Marine Protection and Conservation

Ready to take your scuba diving to the next level? Passionate about the world of Marine Conservation and Marine Science? Become a professional PADI Divemaster now!


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