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Environmental Scuba Diving Volunteer Project in Portugal - Lisbon

Environmental Scuba Diving Volunteer Project in Portugal - Lisbon

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.

  • Programs start every Monday
  • Affordable fees from AU$1690 for 1 week
  • Includes accommodation, meals, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
  • Scuba dive to protect Portugal’s amazing marine life and environment

  • Enjoy Lisbon’s lively, vibrant atmosphere

  • Stay in a sustainable hostel only a short walk from the beach

Key information

Protect & preserve precious marine life
Based at a local diving school
Dormitory-style hostel
Volunteers aged 16+ or 10+ accompanied
Fully hosted experience from AU$1690 for 1 week
Durations from 1 - 8 weeks
Scuba certifications and training included
Up to 6 hours volunteering a day

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.
Who is this program suited to?

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.

Please note that the commute from volunteer accommodation to the dive site can take 45 mins to 1 hour via public transport, depending on the traffic.

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 Portugese 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 16 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.

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Read reviews from Environmental Scuba Diving volunteers in Lisbon

”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 more

Read reviews from Environmental Scuba Diving volunteers in Lisbon

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. 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.

Bedding and towels are provided, and there are shared western bathrooms. 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$264 (approximately AU$439). 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$16) a week for this.


  • USD
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 AU$1690 Equivalent to AU$241/day
2 weeks AU$2892 Equivalent to AU$207/day
3 weeks AU$4094 Equivalent to AU$195/day
4 weeks AU$5297 Equivalent to AU$189/day
5 weeks AU$6499 Equivalent to AU$186/day
6 weeks AU$7701 Equivalent to AU$183/day
8 weeks AU$10106 Equivalent to AU$180/day
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Airport pick-up
  • 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.

  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately AU$547) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services. IVHQ fees are priced in USD but you may elect to pay in AUD.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, public transport to and from your placement each day and return to the airport when your program finishes.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers on Lisbon based projects and on the Wildlife 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.

Portuguese language lessons

Portuguese language lessons are available to all Lisbon-based volunteers, regardless of your Portuguese language ability. Volunteers are strongly encouraged to take advantage of these lessons to allow you to work and communicate more effectively during your program.

If you would like to sign up for the language lessons, simply let your Program Manager know and they will be happy to help you arrange them. The language lessons are tailored to each volunteer’s current level of Portuguese and are taught by a professional Portuguese language teacher. Classes run Monday through Friday, the cost is very affordable and offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers. They are paid for prior to your arrival and the local team will help you arrange a suitable time to complete your lessons during your program orientation.

10 Hours: US$315 (approximately AU$524)
20 Hours: US$630 (approximately AU$1049)
30 Hours: US$943 (approximately AU$1570)
40 Hours: US$1258 (approximately AU$2094)
50 Hours: US$1571 (approximately AU$2616)

Please note, Portuguese lessons are held at the Lisbon accommodation and are not available to volunteers on the Wolf Conservation project.

Check what's required to visit Portugal

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

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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