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. 

Not able to volunteer with us? Here are some other ways you can experience Cuba with IOI!

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.

Marine and Coastal Habitat Conservation Volunteer

As the Marine 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.

Capturing lionfish is an important part of marine conservation.

Capturing lionfish is an important part of marine conservation.

Your volunteer time will consist of marine and coastal habitat restoration work. On land, this includes, invasive species removal, reforestation, bird diversity counts and data collection. Work in the water includes snorkeling to conduct fish and seagrass surveys, underwater trash pickups, and invasive species removal (lionfish capturing).  

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


  • Intermediate level of Spanish.

  • A genuine passion for marine 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 if you plan to snorkel.

Top 3 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 2 easy steps:

Step 1: Apply Now & Reserve. Fill out an application and pay the reservation deposit. The deposit holds your spot in one of our programs and goes towards your final program fee. The deposit is already deducted from the prices you see below. The application and deposit do not guarantee the dates you anticipate joining us. Once we receive your application, we will contact you with any follow-up questions and confirm your dates.

Not ready to fill out an application but have questions? Contact us.

Step 2: Pay the full program fee 8 weeks before your trip.

Download our Volunteer Brochure for more information