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Marine Conservation Volunteer Program in Barcelona - Spain

Environmental forecasts are painting a bleak picture for the long term health of the ocean, and it’s predicted that by 2050, there could be more plastic than fish in the sea. Marine Conservation volunteers in Spain have the unique opportunity to provide support to underwater clean-up efforts that reduce ocean pollution and conserve marine life.

As Marine Conservation volunteer, you’ll be based at a local dive club, using and improving your scuba diving skills while being actively involved in restoring the natural state of the marine ecosystem of Catalonia and the wider Mediterranean. You’ll help to collect trash from the sea, log information on items collected, learn more about the marine ecosystem and how to protect it and observe and identify fish. If you’re volunteering in summer, you can also help children from disadvantaged backgrounds to dive and learn about helping the environment.

Marine Conservation volunteers in Barcelona

All volunteer efforts on the project work towards the vision of healthier oceans, thriving ecosystems and a clean coastline. You don’t need to have prior diving experience; however, you will have to gain dive certification before engaging in any underwater conservation activities.

The Program Fee covers the cost of the required online and in-person training, the use of full scuba equipment and volunteer supervision from an experienced dive instructor. For safety, all diving is weather dependant. Volunteers are required to be flexible if diving cannot be carried out due to bad weather.

All volunteers complete internationally-recognized CMAS diving certifications. The diving certification you complete will depend on your current diving experience and the length of your stay. The courses range from Open Water Diver through to Advanced Open Water Diver, and specialties such as marine ecology and fish identification.

When applying for the Marine Conservation project, please note any current dive certifications you have. If you do have certifications already, you will need to send a copy of these along with your diving log book through to our local team in Barcelona prior to your program starting. All volunteers are also required to provide a medical certificate which clears you for diving.

You can choose to give back on this project for 1-12 weeks.

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Project Highlights
What you need to know
  • Affordable fees from $625 for 1 week
  • Help to preserve and conserve the marine ecosystem off the coast of Barcelona

  • Assist a local dive club with environmental protection efforts

  • Suitable for fit volunteers who enjoy scuba diving

  • Inexperienced divers can earn certifications before volunteering

  • Maximum duration of 12 weeks

  • Volunteering for up to 6 hours per day

Destination Highlights
Spain at a glance
  • Based in the bustling Spanish city of Barcelona

  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support

  • Accommodation in a dormitory-style volunteer hostel

  • Between 5 and 15 volunteers start in Spain each month

The IVHQ Spain Program is located in Barcelona, the capital city of Spain’s Catalonia region.

It’s a coastal city with a vibrant atmosphere. The dedicated local team supports volunteers 24/7 as they’re immersed in local life, helping you to develop an authentic understanding of this iconic destination. Volunteer placements are located throughout the wider city area of Barcelona. Some placements are up to a 90 minute commute, which can be on different means of public transport.

The Spain program begins on the second and fourth Monday of every month. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 12 weeks. The Youth Support and Special Needs Support projects have a minimum duration requirement of 2 weeks.

The program orientation begins on the second and fourth Monday of every month, and volunteers need to arrive in Barcelona on the Sunday before orientation.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Barcelona–El Prat Airport (BCN). Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee.

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

If you are traveling in Spain prior to your volunteer program and arriving overland, we will provide you with a time and place to meet the local team in Barcelona on the day before your program orientation.

Orientation is hosted by our Spain team in Barcelona. 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 Spain – Introduction to Spain and Barcelona, Culture and Customs, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities, Introduction to Project and Placement as well as a tour of the local area and a basic Spanish language lesson. The orientation will also give you a chance to sign up for additional Spanish language lessons and to meet other volunteers with whom you can swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.

Weekdays: After the initial orientation, you will have a morning, afternoon or evening shift at your placement and will work for approximately 3 to 5 hours per day. Please note that start times and daily workload depends on the specific project that you are participating on.

A typical daily schedule is as follows:

8:00 AM Breakfast at the volunteer accommodation.

9.00 AM Volunteers with a morning shift travel to placement to join local placement staff and begin work on your project.

12.00 - 2:00 PM Lunch is served at the accommodation.

2:30 PM Volunteers with an afternoon or evening shift travel to placement to join local placement staff and begin work on their project.

8:00 - 10:00 PM Dinner at the volunteer accommodation. After dinner you will have the remainder of the evening free to relax and use as you wish.

Please note this schedule will vary depending on the needs of your particular project.

Volunteers are accommodated in a dormitory-style hostel close to the airport and about 45 minutes from the city center of Barcelona. You can expect to share a room with between three to nine other volunteers of the same gender. Every volunteer will have access to their own locker to store valuables and other personal belongings. The hostel has shared bathrooms equipped with western toilets and showers. Bedding and towels are provided for each volunteer. Volunteers can also enjoy a shared living room, a small library and a pool during the summer months. There is staff who clean the accommodation throughout the week; however, volunteers are required to keep their rooms tidy.

WiFi is available in the volunteer accommodation and can be accessed from many cafes and restaurants in the area. A local SIM card with data can also be purchased for unlocked phones.

Private rooms in the hostel with shared or private bathrooms can be arranged upon request for an additional cost, subject to availability.

Volunteers are provided with three meals per day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Breakfast is self-serve at the volunteer accommodation and includes fruit, bread, jam, cereal, milk, tea, and coffee. Lunch and dinner are provided in the accommodation according to a fixed menu. Meals will include pasta, rice, meat, seafood, vegetable and salad dishes as well as some typical Spanish dishes. Volunteers who wish to spend the day in the city and require a packed lunch, just need to request this the day prior.

Tap water is fine to drink in Spain; however, bottled water is readily available if you prefer and you should budget approximately $5 per week for this.

Spain - Barcelona

Length of Program Program Fee $USD
1 week $625
2 weeks $1,010
3 weeks $1,395
4 weeks $1,780
5 weeks $2,165
6 weeks $2,550
8 weeks $3,320
10 weeks $4,090
12 weeks $4,860
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee (from US$299) on top of the Program Fee (partially refundable until 60 days before your program start date*). A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • To see prices in your local currency, use this currency converter.
  • Discounts on language lessons
  • * Terms and Conditions do apply
What extra costs will I have?
  • Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, souvenirs, in-country trips or tours, transport to and from your placement if required.
  • Transfer back to the airport at conclusion of the program
  • Barcelona city tax paid directly to the accommodation - budget about US$10 for this
  • Spending money - Volunteers in Spain generally find US$80 to be sufficient for weekly expenses

Spain - Barcelona: Marine Conservation Project

Length of Program Program Fee $USD
1 week $950
2 weeks $1,550
3 weeks $2,150
4 weeks $2,750
5 weeks $3,350
6 weeks $3,950
8 weeks $5,150
10 weeks $6,350
12 weeks $7,550
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee (from US$299) on top of the Program Fee (partially refundable until 60 days before your program start date*). A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • To see prices in your local currency, use this currency converter.
  • * Terms and Conditions do apply
What extra costs will I have?
  • Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, souvenirs, in-country trips or tours.
  • Transfer back to the airport at conclusion of the program
  • Barcelona city tax paid directly to the accommodation - budget about US$10 for this
  • Spending money - Volunteers in Spain generally find US$80 to be sufficient for weekly expenses
Registration Fee
What it covers
  • Most affordable program fees
  • Expert support from a program specialist
  • Full MyIVHQ account access
  • Online volunteer training
  • Comprehensive preparation tools
  • IVHQ alumni rewards
Program Fee
What it covers
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • Airport pick-up
  • Program orientation
  • Volunteer placement
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Discounts on language lessons

Volunteers have the weekends free and there is no shortage of great things to see and do in Barcelona and throughout Spain! History, art, culture, cuisine and natural beauty - Spain has it all! As a volunteer in Spain, you can fill your free time in Barcelona visiting the many historical sites and attractions, swimming and sunbathing at the incredible beaches and dining on local delicacies such as Paella.

Volunteers staying for longer durations, or who wish to travel before or after their program, can visit areas further afield in Spain including; Granada, Valencia, Madrid and so much more! Volunteers can make travel arrangements once in Barcelona, with the advice and guidance of our local team.

See our Spain Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in Spain!

Capital Madrid
Population 46.7 Million
Languages Spanish
Currency Euro (EUR)
Time zone UTC+01:00

Weather and climate: Being such a large country, the climate of Spain is very varied. Barcelona and its metropolitan area has a Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and hot summers. Its average annual temperature is 21.2 °C (70.2 °F) during the day and 15.1 °C (59.2 °F) at night. In the coldest month – January, typically the temperature ranges from 12 to 18 °C (54 to 64 °F) during the day and 6 to 12 °C (43 to 54 °F) at night. In the warmest month – August, the typically temperature ranges from 28 to 32 °C (82 to 90 °F) during the day and about from 20 to 24 °C (68 to 75 °F) at night. Large fluctuations in temperature are very rare.

Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate on this program. If you are under the age of 18, IVHQ offers alternative volunteer opportunities for teens. Visit our High School Volunteer Abroad page to to learn more.

Volunteers must speak fluent English or Spanish. Volunteers must have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a recent criminal background check. Marine Conservation volunteers must provide a recent medical certificate or doctor’s note showing medical clearance for diving. Volunteers on the Creative Technologies project must have a minimum of 2 years training and/or professional experience in website development, graphic design, videography or photography.

Spanish is not a prerequisite for the IVHQ Spain program, however we recommend volunteers take advantage of the highly affordable Spanish lessons offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers by our local team in Spain.

Free Interactive Volunteer Training - All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.

Language Lessons: Spanish language lessons are available for all volunteers regardless of their ability. Volunteers are strongly encouraged to take advantage of these lessons to allow them to work and communicate more effectively during their program. The language lessons are organized upon arrival in Spain during the program orientation. The language lessons are tailored to each volunteer’s current level of Spanish and are taught by professional Spanish teachers. Classes run Monday through Friday, the cost is very affordable and offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers. Spanish lessons must be paid for once in Spain to our local team and prices are available upon request after you have registered for the program.

How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
Meet your personal volunteer travel expert
Pay the registration fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
Get ready to volunteer abroad, we’ll support you every step of the way!