Give Back in Cuba

Thirty air-minutes from Cuba’s mainland lies an island with an amorphous historical identity and a vast array of endemic species. From treasure seeking pirates to a booming lumber and marble industry to our coral gardens - the island hides intriguing political, cultural, and ecological secrets. Today, it is known as the Isla de la Juventud, the island of youth, and its beaches and protected waters are home to some of the most vibrant ecosystems in the Caribbean. 

This is where you come in

Cuba is modernizing quickly. With this comes an influx of new perceptions and ideologies that greatly impact the local landscape and communities. As an organization focused on the human-environmental intersection, IOI is uniquely poised to support Cocodrilo, a small community on the Southern coast of the Isle of Youth, to grow and thrive in sustainable ways.

Reef and Coastal Habitat Conservation Volunteer

As the Reef and Coastal Habitat Conservation Volunteer, you will contribute to an ongoing initiative to improve and monitor marine and coastal ecosystem health. The data collected will help guide the environmental planning of this protected area. This will include:

 Capturing lionfish is an important part of coral reef reef restoration.

Capturing lionfish is an important part of coral reef reef restoration.

  • Coral reef monitoring
  • Coral gardening
  • Fish & seagrass surveying
  • Lionfish monitoring and capture

Volunteers will snorkel to conduct this work, with the exception of the coral gardening and lionfish monitoring, which will require volunteers to scuba dive (certification required). If certified, you can expect to dive about one hour per day. The rest of your volunteer time will consist of other habitat restoration work, such as invasive species removal, reforestation, snorkeling to conduct surveys and pickup trash, and environmental education work with the community. 

Volunteers will also have the opportunity to conduct sea turtle monitoring on a nesting beach near Cocodrilo during sea turtle season (May-October).

Your specific tasks will depend on the needs of the community.

Requirements

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  • Intermediate level of Spanish.
  • A genuine passion for animal conservation.
  • Ability to work independently as well as in a team.
  • Flexible schedule that accounts for the day to day needs of working with a local institution
  • Physical ability to work outdoors with potentially high sun, element, and temperature exposure.
  • Ability to independently collect and register data.

Must be an experienced snorkeler, or a certified diver if you plan on diving.

Top Three Reasons to Become an IOI Volunteer in Cuba

1)    The time to hesitate is through! Cuba’s changing quickly. If ever there was a moment to dig your heels in, and directly affect positive change, it’s this one. Right. Now.

2)    Built-in, profoundly rooted community. Cocodrilo has a population of 320 and is cut off from the world by a National Park. As a visitor committed to supporting its biodiversity, you will become part of a tightly-knit group of people bonded around protecting the life in, and around, their incredibly secluded village.

3)    A brilliant, turquoise sea so breathtaking you’ll never look at the ocean the same way again.


Interested in volunteering in Cuba? Follow these three easy steps.

Step 1: Fill out an application. Once we receive you application, we will contact you with any follow-up questions.

Step 2: Once we confirm your acceptance and approve dates, make a deposit of $200 to confirm your position. The deposit goes towards your final program fee and is already deducted from the prices you see below.

Step 3: Pay full program fee.

Download our Volunteer Brochure for more information