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Environmental Scuba Diving Volunteer Project in Portugal - Lisbon

Environmental Scuba Diving Volunteer Project in Portugal - Lisbon

Protect & preserve precious marine life
Start dates
Programs start every Monday
Choose from 1-12 weeks
Volunteer hours
Up to 6 hours a day
Volunteers aged 16+ or 10+ accompanied
Dormitory-style hostel
Program fees
From AU$1867 for 1 week
What's included
Find out here
Apply for free
'Who is going' users image
Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

This program is ideal for:

Fit and healthy volunteers who enjoy scuba diving or want to learn how. Volunteers with no diving experience must learn the basics of scuba diving and vital safety measures before engaging in any conservation activities. This can be achieved as part of the project.

Project details

Want to slip on some fins and kick off a new adventure as an Environmental Scuba Diving volunteer in Portugal? International Volunteer HQ’s Environmental Scuba Diving project is an exciting opportunity for volunteers to assist with marine conservation efforts in Portugal. Volunteers gain scuba and environmental protection experience while learning about the challenges marine ecosystems face and what can be done to help overcome them, helping ensure this unique natural environment and all its wildlife survives long into the future.

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

Reducing underwater pollution and conserving marine life is an issue that’s largely overlooked in Portugal. Volunteers on the Environmental Scuba Diving project have the opportunity to help with underwater clean-up efforts and the protection of the marine ecosystem off the coast of Portugal.

As an Environmental scuba diver you will be based at a diving school with a focus on local environmental protection. You’ll always be supervised by an experienced dive instructor and will receive on-site training. Volunteer duties may vary but often include:

  • Helping to clean rubbish off the seafloor
  • Learning about the marine ecosystem and how to protect it
  • Observing and identifying fish and other marine wildlife
  • Collecting data on fish numbers

You’ll need to complete dive training or already be an experienced diver before undertaking any conservation activities. Scuba Schools International (SSI) diver certification training is available and included as part of this project. Therefore, please expect the first week to be focused on obtaining your diving certificate, as volunteers need to acquire a minimum set of skills so they can safely pick up trash from the ocean.

Due to the diving school being located at the volunteer accommodation, you will meet at the volunteer accommodation each morning and then commute to where you will be diving in a van together. This commute can take anywhere between a 5 minute walk to a one and a half hour drive, depending on the location of your diving site.

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #14: Life Below Water

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #14: Life Below Water

The ocean regulates and drives global systems that make the Earth habitable for humankind. Marine biodiversity is critical to the health of people and our planet. Preserving threatened ecosystems, as well as tackling marine pollution and overfishing through conservation activities is key to saving our ocean.

Why do Environmental Scuba Diving volunteering in Lisbon with IVHQ?

When you scuba dive in Portugal you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Preserving and protecting local marine ecosystems
  • Learning about marine conservation
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining scuba certifications and dive experience
  • Immersing yourself in Portuguese culture
  • Exploring Lisbon, Portugal’s capital city

Volunteer requirements

  • Volunteers with previous scuba experience will need to supply proof of any certifications and their dive log book.

  • It is mandatory that all volunteers provide a medical certificate that clears them for scuba diving in order to join the program.

  • Volunteers must be at least 10 years old to join this project. Volunteers between the ages of 10 and 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

  • Volunteers aged 16-18 are required to provide IVHQ with a signed statement from their parents giving them permission to dive and participate on the program, and may be asked to provide additional documentation to the local team.

  • All volunteers aged 13+ are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure. Those aged 13-17, if unable to obtain a criminal background check, can provide two character reference letters instead.

  • All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance

Are you eligible to volunteer?

Submit a free application so we can confirm your eligibility and check availability for your preferred dates.

Apply for free

Not sure which program to join?

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'Who is going' users image
Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

Lara Calvo
08 Apr 2024

This Program was phenomenal! The instructors and local team were super kind and helpful. They made this experience incredible and very comfortable.

Heather Staples
03 Nov 2023

It was the best decision I have made! I have become so much more confident and everyone I met along the way was so lovely and inspiring. I would highly recommend this to anyone as I experienced so much and I loved every minute!

Leilani Janes
19 Sep 2023

Everything was great! I felt safe and welcomed in the accommodation and it felt like a great way to connect with other people and the culture I was in!

Antonia Lestariadi
14 Sep 2023

I gained the ability to create new friendships abroad. I've never done this before and I am so thankful to be able to experience such an enriching trip. Advice I'd give to someone who is hesitant about joining this program is to definitely put yourself out there and give it a try!

Defne Cokluk
26 Apr 2023

The local team were the best! So helpful and nice they helped me in every way. I met wonderful people and made wonderful memories that I will never forget! :)

Valentina Velazquez
05 Apr 2023

IVHQ was very helpful to guide me throughout the application and preparation process for my trip. They also helped me find projects that were connected under my interests. The local team were both helpful and friendly. I knew I could trust them with any questions or concerns I had. Being able to see all the different creatures that live under the water, and being able to help clean up their environment meant allowing them to continue living a safe life was my favourite moment. I learned that even one small action can lead to a large change in helping the world and the people on it. If you are considering volunteering, go for it! Stepping out of your comfort zone can be scary, but you will find that it will leave a good impact on your life and teach you many new things!


To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Academic course credit

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

Academic course credit

Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!

Learn about course credit


Volunteer Abroad in Portugal with IVHQ


The IVHQ Portugal Program is located in and around Lisbon - the capital and largest city in Portugal. It’s a veritable treasure trove of history, culture, breathtaking scenery, exciting nightlife, gorgeous beaches and great places to eat and drink.

Portugal and Lisbon have risen from poverty only this century, so while it is a fantastic and affordable destination to visit, local communities are still facing the lingering effects of previously being one of the poorest countries in Western Europe. Volunteers can have an impact on these communities by supporting local initiatives which aim to improve the lives of Lisbon’s residents and make sure they have access to all of life’s basic necessities.

Arrival and orientation

The program orientation begins every Monday, and volunteers need to arrive in Lisbon the day before their orientation.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Lisbon Airport (LIS). Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee, however, if you arrive outside of Sunday between 9:00AM - 9:00PM, your pick-up will incur an extra cost of US$65. Volunteers under the age of 18 are required to travel with written consent from both parents or guardians in order to enter Portugal. Volunteers under the age of 18 who require a pre-arranged visa will also need their visa application to be signed by a parent or guardian.

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation in either Lisbon. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.

If you are travelling in Portugal prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up from a prearranged location in Lisbon on the day before your program orientation.

Orientation is hosted by our Portugal team at the accommodation. It begins the morning of your chosen start date and lasts for a full day. The orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Portugal – an introduction to Portugal, culture and customs, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities, an introduction to project and placement as well as a tour of the local area. The orientation will also give you a chance to sign up for Portuguese language lessons if you’re on a Lisbon based project, and to meet other volunteers with whom you can swap contact details for weekend travel and socialising.

Volunteer schedule example


You will have a morning, afternoon or evening shift at your placement and will work for approximately 3 to 6 hours per day. Please note that start times and daily workloads depend on the project that you are participating on.

8:00 - 10:00 AM Breakfast is available at the volunteer accommodation
8:30 AM Travel to placement to join local placement staff and begin work on your project.
1:00 - 3:00 PM Lunch is served at the accommodation or at your placement. After lunch, you will continue your volunteer work.
2:30 PM Volunteers with afternoon or evening shifts travel to placement and begin work on their project.
7:00 - 9:00 PM Dinner at the volunteer accommodation. After dinner you will have the remainder of the evening free to relax and use as you wish.


Volunteers have the weekends free and Portugal and Lisbon are full of interesting things to do, see, visit, eat and learn.

Explore the old city of Lisbon and get yourself lost in the small alleys that are seeped with music and delicious food. Be sure to try the local pastry - pastel de nata and listen to traditional folklore music - fado. Lisbon is a vibrant city with many cultural and music events, you can’t possibly be bored here. If it’s nature you’re looking for - it has that too! Sintra Natural Park is only a short drive away and boasts wonderful castles and palaces. Come for a day trip to Arrabida beach and try the well-known local wines.

Volunteers can make travel arrangements further afield once in Lisbon, with the advice and guidance of our local staff.

Accommodation and WiFi

Volunteers on Lisbon based projects will be accommodated in a dormitory-style hostel with other volunteers in Estoril which is a 5 minute walk from the beach. You can expect to share a room with between 3 - 13 other volunteers of the same gender however, male volunteers may share mixed-gender rooms with other guests if the male dormitory room reaches capacity.

Bedding and towels are provided, and there are shared western bathrooms however, they are not separated by gender. Staff will clean the accommodation throughout the week, however volunteers are required to keep their rooms tidy. Please note that there is a 10:00 PM curfew in place at the hostel for volunteers under the age of 18.

WiFi is available at the volunteer accommodation, as well as many cafes and restaurants in the area. To keep connected, the local team will provide you with a free local SIM card that you can activate to purchase mobile data for an unlocked mobile phone.

Private double rooms in the hostel, with the use of the communal bathrooms, are available at an additional cost of US$384 (approximately AU$607). These can be purchased as an add-on via your MyIVHQ account once you have registered for the Portugal program. All accommodation upgrades are subject to availability.

Volunteers travel to their placements from the volunteer accommodation via public transport or by foot.


Portuguese food is delicious and during your time in Portugal, you will be sure to receive some incredible treats.

Most volunteers are provided with three meals a day. Breakfast is self-serve at the accommodation and generally includes tea, coffee, bread, cheese, ham, spreads, cereal, yoghurt and fruit. Lunch and dinner usually include local staples such as fish and chicken, as well as rice, pasta, vegetables, and salad. If your placement requires you to be away from the accommodation during lunch or dinner, these will be provided at your placement or you will take a packed meal.

Tap water is fine to drink in Portugal, however bottled water is readily available if you prefer and you should budget US$10 (approximately AU$15) a week for this.


  • USD

Spots are limited. For a Registration Fee of just US$329 (approximately AU$520) you secure your spot and unlock all our preparation and training tools.

You don't need to worry about paying your Program Fee until you get closer to your start date.

Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
1 week $1,180 Equivalent to $169/day
2 weeks $1,990 Equivalent to $142/day
3 weeks $2,800 Equivalent to $133/day
4 weeks $3,610 Equivalent to $129/day
5 weeks $4,430 Equivalent to $127/day
6 weeks $5,250 Equivalent to $125/day
8 weeks $6,890 Equivalent to $123/day
10 weeks $8,530 Equivalent to $122/day
12 weeks $10,170 Equivalent to $121/day
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately AU$520) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers on Lisbon based projects and on the Biological Park Conservation project generally find US$65 to be sufficient for basic weekly expenses. For those on the Wolf Conservation project, we recommend a weekly budget of US$150.
  • Any changes or cancellations within 14 days of your start date are subject to a US$200 late change/cancellation fee.
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Airport pick-up
  • Accommodation
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Personalised preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Discounts on language lessons
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • Transport to and from your placement each day
  • Return to the airport when your program finishes
  • Flights
  • Visa (if required), travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check.
  • Personal spending money for snacks, laundry, public transportation, drinks and leisure activities during your free time.

Free-time experiences & tours in Lisbon

Take your volunteer experience to the next level with IVHQ's affordable activity and tour add-ons in Lisbon! Explore your options below and learn how to book them once you've been accepted onto the IVHQ Lisbon program.

Language Lessons
Language Lessons

Enhance your Portuguese language proficiency at the most affordable rate while volunteering in Portugal.

From AU$498

Check what's required to visit Portugal

Safety and support

Safety and support with IVHQ

Safety and support

IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.

  • All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
  • All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
  • All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
  • All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Essential country information

Capital Lisbon
Population 10.46 million
Languages Portuguese
Currency Euro (EUR)
Time zone UTC+00:00

Weather and climate: Lisbon has a Mediterranean climate with dry hot summers and mild winters. During winter, from December to February, temperatures are mild and vary from 8°C to 14°C (46°F to 57°F). Summer, from June to September, is dry and hot with temperatures ranging between 18°C and 29°C (64°F and 84°F). Rainfall is heaviest in December/January and driest in July/August.

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