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 £778 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 near museums and monuments
This program is ideal for:
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.
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
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 15 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
Portugal photo gallery
Scuba diving certification
As part of the Environmental Scuba Diving project you will complete internationally recognized SSI (Scuba Schools International) diving certifications. The certifications you complete will depend on your current diving experience as well as your program duration and the weather conditions. The courses range from Open Water Diver through to Advanced Adventurer. Specialties such as Buoyancy, Marine Ecology and Fish Identification are also available.
Your IVHQ Program Fee covers the cost of the required SSI online and in-person training, full scuba equipment hire and supervision from an experienced dive instructor. Beginners with no experience can join this project, but will have to learn the fundamentals and safety measures before engaging in any type of conservation activities.
It is recommended that you participate in this project for at least 2 weeks in order to take part in the conservation activities, as you will spend your first week on the program gaining a diving certification.
”Take the risk. You won’t know until you try it and can never experience anything exciting until you do take that leap. I wouldn’t regret anything and am so glad I took this opportunity.”
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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.
Start by visiting the many historical sites, attractions, monuments and museums and maybe see the Torre dé Belem - a gorgeous old tower by the sea. Then try a delectable pastéis de nata while sipping espresso at one of the many café bars or simply exploring parts of Lisbon by wandering through the beautiful streets and alleys or taking a tram ride through the oldest parts of the city.
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, can be arranged at an additional cost of US$264 (approximately £227), and payment can be made in cash directly to the local team upon arrival. 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 £8) a week for this.
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
|1 week||£778 Equivalent to £111/day|
|2 weeks||£1382 Equivalent to £99/day|
|3 weeks||£1986 Equivalent to £95/day|
|4 weeks||£2590 Equivalent to £93/day|
|5 weeks||£3194 Equivalent to £91/day|
|6 weeks||£3798 Equivalent to £90/day|
|8 weeks||£5006 Equivalent to £89/day|
- 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
- Discounts on travel and tour add-ons
- Certificate of International Volunteering
- All programs attract a Registration Fee of £257 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 GBP.
- 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.
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$360 (approximately £309)|
|20 Hours:||US$627 (approximately £539)|
|30 Hours:||US$866 (approximately £745)|
|40 Hours:||US$1112 (approximately £956)|
|50 Hours:||US$1248 (approximately £1073)|
Please note, Portuguese lessons are held at the Lisbon accommodation and are not available to volunteers on the Wolf Conservation project.
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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.
Protecting against COVID-19:
Volunteers tested for COVID-19 upon arrival
Health & safety information provided during orientation
Strict disinfecting standards for programs & accomodation
Greater physical distance between volunteers
Essential country information
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.