Shark Research Internship

founded in 2010
Pelagios Kakunja
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Coordinator | Dr. Darren Andrew
Coordinator | Dr. Darren Andrew
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.


Learn scientific monitoring techniques of sharks
Interact with many different shark species
Learn what it takes to be a shark researcher and help with data collections
Increase your knowledge of marine conservation
learn about local Mexican culture and have a fantastic time doing it.
We are offering internship opportunities and they are a once in a lifetime chance to learn what it takes to be a shark researcher!
This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+

We at Pelagios Kakunjá are now offering volunteer opportunities that give participants the chance to work hands on with shark alongside our team and learn what it takes to be a shark researcher! 

Our internship program is open to absolutely anyone and we welcome people of all ages, capacities, and nationalities, as we have found that it is the diverse skills that different people bring that make a huge impact on the research and its involvement with the community. 

By signing up to participate in this Shark Program you’ll be contributing in a major way to the data we collect, which in turn is used to update both local and regional conservation measures for sharks and rays in this region 

As an volunteer how do you fit in to all this? 

Volunteer participation is essential to the successful running of our shark monitoring programs and you can be assured that you will be making a huge contribution while gaining a great educational experience. There are a number of tasks we will be asking you to participate in across all aspects of the monitoring from in-water and observational data collections of sharks, to helping us accurately transcribe this information in an office based environment. 

Where is our program located?

We are based in the beautiful city of La Paz located in heart of Baja California Sur, Mexico. This part of the world is renowned for its unique mixture of desert landscapes, untouched beaches, and mountainous zones that are a sight to behold. The marine life here is second to none and was once described by the famous Jacques Cousteau as the aquarium of the world. Whether its sharks, whale, dolphin or sea turtles Baja has it all and La Paz bay holds the flag as the hot-spot for its marine diversity in this region.

So what do we expect from our volunteers? 

Your involvement in our program will require appox. 6 hours a day, five to six days a week.  Volunteers should also expect to be involved with out of hours events and should be willing to lend a hand wherever necessary. You will have a chance to learn and be involved with Terrestrial surveys of sharks, Passive & active acoustic telemetry tracking of sharks, Morphological & visual estimation techniques, Diet & nutritional analysis of sharks, Habitat sampling (Plankton sampling, eDNA sampling), Visual underwater surveys, Photo Identification techniques and assist with shark tagging trips. Volunteers will also have the chance to be involved with our community outreach program with the local community supporting educational workshops and public events to raise awareness of sharks and rays.

What to bring?

Baja California Sur is a desert environment and during certain times of the year you will feel the change between day and night and bringing the right clothing and items is recommended to suit these conditions. The temperature can differ significantly so please check weather predictions prior to your departure for the time of year you wish to join our program. Water temperatures in the summer range from 25–29 degrees Celsius (77–84 Fahrenheit) and in winter drop to around 20–22 degrees Celsius (68–71 Fahrenheit). Below is a list of suggested items you might want to consider when you’re packing, it is not however exhaustive. The most important thing to mention in this section is that if you require specialist personal items (cosmetics, medicines, etc.) these may be difficult to buy here in La Paz. At times imported goods can be expensive, although general items are readily available at supermarkets and stores so no need to worry too much about personal toiletries, sunscreen, insect repellent, but if you do wish to save money bring what you need.

General Clothing 

• Swimwear (at least 2-3 sets) 

• T Shirts it is recommend to bring longs during the field work 

• Shorts 

• Board Shorts/Quick Dry Shorts or Long pair of trousers (in case of bugs and mosquitoes or going out)

• Jumper/Sweater (although it doesn’t get cold very often, but can definitely be chilly in the evenings) 

• Flip flops

• A pair of trainers/closed shoes (there are some really interesting hikes and exploring to do on free time)

• Wind jacket 

• Sun Hat & Sunglasses (polarized recommended)

Water Based Stuff 

• Fins  • Mask • Snorkel • Waterproof watch (if you have one)

• Full light wetsuit (optional), although this is recommended in the winter months, as the water could be between 20 and 22 Celsius (68–71 Fahrenheit) on chilly days and you may need it 

• Skin suit or rash vest • Underwater camera (if you have one)

Other Useful Stuff (but not essential)

• Camera and charger/spare batteries with additional memory cards 

• Laptop 

• USB Memory Stick

• Small day rucksack 

• Sunscreen at least SPF 30 although we recommend SPF 70

• Torch 

• Mosquito Repellent 

• Other toiletries (shampoo, conditioner etc.)

• Ample supply of personal medications, (in case local pharmacies near to the expedition area don’t stock what you need)

• Personal 1st Aid kit- make sure you include waterproof tape, dressings, good antiseptic cream and a generic anti-biotic. 

• Sea sickness tablets (if you get sea sick or think you might especially get used to being on the boats) 

• Any Dive Cards/Certifications if you want to get in the occasional dive

• I-Pod/ Personal Music and portable speakers 

• Any other luxuries you can’t live without... good chocolate, good coffee etc.

Typical day

A typical day in the life of a volunteer

A day in the life of a volunteer can vary throughout the year as we work with many different species of sharks that visit our study sites. But most days filed based days look like this for the most part. 

A typical day start with eating a good breakfast at our volunteer facilities which is provided free of charge throughout the entire duration of a volunteer experience. After breakfast we make our way to the office facilities to collect all the field based equipment ready for the days work. After that we head for the boat and set off to begin our daily monitoring of the whale sharks in La Paz Bay. Once we encounter a whale shark we record its GPS position and its behavior. Then we enter the water using our mask, fins and snorkels and swim alongside the shark and take photos of shark for photo identification. After that we estimate its size and determine if its a male or female. Lastly we record any visible scars or injuries is has and photograph any associated fauna swimming along with it. Once we have all of our information we make our way back to the boat and pass all of that information to the other team members on board who will write it all down on our field data sheets. We will continue to survey the entire whale shark area before heading back to the marina to clean all equipment. After cleaning the equipment and boat we make our way back to the office to download all of the information from our camera and data sheets ready for data analysis. We take lunch, then return for a few hours in the afternoon to go through the days data and process the animals photographed. Finally we prepare all of the equipment for the next days monitoring.

Free-time activities

There is a number of free time activities you can get involved in whilst you are here in Mexico. Whether is water based stuff like SCUBA diving, kite surfing, Kayaking or paddle boarding to land based stuff like visiting local museums, hiking or relaxing at the beautiful beaches in our area.

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)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
No previous experience in marine conservation or any scientific background? not a problem for us! We welcome people of all ages, capacities and nationalities. We are not prejudice to race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 08:30 - 14:30

What's Included

Services by Pelagios Kakunja

Breakdown of Donation fees:

Field based expenses (Boat expenses, National park fees, Equipment, Gasoline) 50%

Accommodation (general accommodation costs, drinking water, A.C, breakfast, Washing of bed sheets)20$ 

Office based expenses (Office utilities, gas, water, electricity, internet, A.C) 15 %

Administration fees 10%
Airport transfer 5%

Airport Pickup at Los Cabos International Airport
Yes both arrival and departure airport transfers are provided in the program fees 
Volunteers will be housed at our affiliated accommodation, which is only 5 minutes’ walk from our office facilities. The accommodation offers bunk bed style rooms with a private bathroom, A.C and personal curtains for your space.

The facility has a common space protected from the sun by a beautiful handmade Palapa roof which offers a great space to work, relax, contact family and friends back home and also a chance to meet other interesting people who are either on our internship program or just traveling through La Paz
Dorm Room
Food & Beverages
Free breakfast is included for the entire duration of your stay with us and there is a full kitchen facility for making your own lunch and evening meals at the accommodation. 

We offer to transport our volunteers to the local markets and stores to get any essentials once a week and we also provide all volunteers with a number of reusable bags for transporting shopping items.

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 Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) in San Jose Cabo. We assist you to find cheap flights to Mexico.
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 Mexico provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Mexico you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Mexico.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

We do ask a minimum stay of at two weeks for our interns, as we work with wild animals and we can have the odd day where we don’t see them (although it is very rare during peak seasons). Plus the skills we train you in takes a couple of days to learn and we really want all interns to have a full hands on experience.

Throughout the entire year we have shark-based activities but if you are looking to interact with a certain shark species it is best to contact our internship team and they can guide you on which time of the year is best for you.


Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2 - 12 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
2 weeks (min. stay)
3 weeks
4 weeks
5 weeks
6 weeks
7 weeks
12 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$423 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. Pelagios Kakunja 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 Pelagios Kakunja 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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Shark Research Internship

We are offering internship opportunities and they are a once in a lifetime chance to learn what it takes to be a shark researcher!



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