Volunteering Solutions, in association with a local organization in Portugal, is aiming to protect the marine life with the help of the volunteers. As a part of the Marine Conservation Program, you will have the opportunity to join a variety of conservation efforts focused on the protection of the marine ecosystem in the Coastline of Portugal. Discover this new underwater world and contribute to clean up the Atlantic Ocean by bringing trash out during your dive.
Cascais is a fisherman village a few km from Lisbon. The meeting point of many tourists for its beaches, culture, and entertainment is also the ideal place for eco-diving, given its vast coastline rich in fauna and flora. The Marina de Cascais is a port, situated near the Bay of Cascais, which has a series of restaurants, commercial spaces and sailing, and diving schools. This where you'll be spending your time while volunteering for the Marine Conservation Program.
Being associated with this highly recommended program, you can:
- Take internationally recognized Diving certification courses.
- Explore the underwater world of Portuguese coastline (fish, caves and sunken ships are some of the examples!).
- Learn about the marine ecosystem and how you can protect it. Collect trash from the Ocean to recycle it etc.
- Work with the local community - educate the local community about environmental issues, conservation and protection of biodiversity and marine resources.
This program would be perfect for high school and college students, as well as gap year travelers who are keen to learn something new and contribute effectively towards social change. Observe fish of all colors, touch weird seaweeds, explore underwater caves and discover boat wrecks and much more. You will discover wonders hidden underwater, a Portuguese treasure unknown to many but loved by those who are brave enough to take this challenge.
Note: You will always be supervised by an experienced diver instructor and will receive comprehensive training on the marine conservation subject. Any person can participate, from beginners (that will start with the Open Water Dive Certification) or more experienced divers as the program is adapted to your diving experience.
Volunteers should be at least 18 years of age at the beginning of the project. Participants must be physically fit and prepared to work outdoors and know swimming. You must be fit to dive and be enthusiastic about marine conservation. Participants need not have prior diving experience as on-site training is available. You must be flexible and open-minded.
Volunteer Roles & Responsibilities
- In this program, you will have not only the opportunity to learn and share insights about the importance of the marine ecosystem, but you can also actively participate in its protection!
- During your stay, you will learn how to dive and how to collect trash from the Atlantic Ocean to be recycled outside. You will understand how to sort it and how to record every step of the process, so a report can be created over time to create awareness for this problem.
- Over the last one year alone, our divers collected 588 kgs of trash and started the report that will be more and more complete as more divers join the project.
- Our main aim is to clean as much trash as possible and to raise awareness of this issue so we don't have anything to collect in the future!
- You can also contribute to educating children from local schools about environmental issues, conservation, and protection of the local biodiversity and marine resources.
Volunteer Work Schedule
The day to day itinerary depends on the diving experience of the participants and weather conditions. A general overview would be:
Day 1: Transfer from the airport to the accommodation.
Day 2: Introduction presentation about the Portuguese culture and program specifics + Guided tour in Lisbon.
Remaining days: According to the table attached below:
Weekdays: After the initial orientation in Lisbon, you will spend the rest of your program in Cascais with other volunteers.
8:00 AM - Breakfast at the volunteer house
9:00 AM - 12:30 PM - First dive of the day. You will start by learning the fundamentals and after a couple days you will start diving in the Atlantic Ocean
1:30 PM - Take the train back to the volunteer house
2:00 - 2:30 PM - Lunchtime
2:30 - 5:00 PM - Relaxing & Travel time Usually, the afternoons are free to travel around the city, learning Portuguese or to relax. Sometimes you can also dive during the afternoons depending on the specialties or certification you are doing but the instructor will tell you on the first day.
7:30-9:00 PM - Dinner at the volunteer accommodation together with the other volunteers.
Volunteers in Lisbon are accommodated at a sustainable hostel accommodation. Located in one of the oldest Lisbon neighborhood, Restelo, the hostel is just 20 minutes away from the best custard tart in the country ! You can find local shops, traditional restaurants, the stunning Belém area, supermarkets, ATMs and most utilities you will need just around the corner.
The Hostel is surrounded by several connecting options to the city center, such as a big option of buses (20 minutes away from the center), and the Algés train station that leads you to Lisbon or Cascais (25 walking distance from the hostel). The airport is just 8.2 km away from the hostel.
The hostel runs on the unique sustainability concept through which they have developed innovative projects based on circular economy and in partnership with local non-profit partners. These projects are integrated into the very basis of the way the hostel works. Some examples are the compensation of 100% of its CO2 emissions; the upcycling and wooden waste usage as furniture of the room; the social and sustainable shop; the ecologic and biodegradable cleaning projects and the vegetable garden.
Breakfast is generally self-made at the hostel with different supplies provided at the accommodation. Lunch and Dinner are also provided either at the placement or in the form of a packed meal.
Please Note: -An application fee of $199 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment) Please Note: -An application fee of £149 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment) Please Note: -An application fee of $259 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment) Please Note: -An application fee of €169 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment)
What are you Paying for?
- Accommodation at a dormitory at a sustainable hostel in the city center (Private rooms with shared bathroom are also available for an extra cost upon request)
- Three meals a day, every day: breakfast, lunch, dinner cooked by a Portuguese cook (Vegetarian, gluten-free and meals for lactose-intolerant are also available upon request)
- Pick-up at the airport and transfer to the accommodation (At any time)
- Guided city tour of Lisbon (2 hours)
- Placement coordination with each non-profit
- Diving certifications appropriate to your diving experience
- All diving equipment necessary
- 24/7 In-country Support
- Insurance Limited coverage
- Certificate Of Completion (Upon Request)
What's NOT included?
- International Flights
- Transportation from the accommodation to the diving school in Cascais
- Visa Fees
- Personal expenses
Return Airport Drop
FAQ's Application and Program Details
Once you complete your application, your individual 'My Account' will be active in which you will receive your placement confirmation after which you can pay the program fees. You can pay the program fees later as well in installments, but 45 days before the program starts.
- Volunteers must be 18 years or older at the beginning of the program. The minimum age requirement for Food Waste Management program is 17 years. Participants under 18 need to provide signed parental consent prior to joining the program.Volunteers need to have an open mind and flexible attitude for working in a new and different environment.The volunteer should bring energy and enthusiasm to make a difference. The participant must be in good health.
The volunteering programs in Portugal are located in Lisbon, Porto and in Miranda do Corvo, a quaint town in the district of Coimbra. You can choose to be a part of the Marine Conservation Program in Lisbon, Food Waste Management Program in Porto, Youth Support Program in Porto or Wildlife and Animal Care Project in Miranda do Corvo
Health and Safety
If you already have a valid Travel and Medical insurance, you can email us a copy of the same. It is also advised to bring along the Insurance documents during your trip.
Flights and Visa
Once you arrive at the airport, our in-country coordinator will be there to be in touch with you. You'll be taken to your accommodation where you can rest before kickstarting your amazing journey.
Connect with Past Volunteers
We encourage volunteers to get in touch with former Volunteering Solutions program participants and also other program participants joining our projects. You are recommended to join the Volunteering Solutions Facebook Page or Facebook Group to communicate with other participants.
To read alumni interviews from past participants, visit the Meet a Volunteer page on our website.
Accommodation and Living
Accommodation in Porto:
Volunteers in Porto are accommodated at a centrally located hostel.Located right at the city center, the hostel, provides a wide range of rooms, from dormitories to private rooms, a spacious and friendly lounge area where you can hang out, chill, listen to music, enjoy the atmosphere, play some games, and get to know other fellow travellers while enjoying a nice cold beer, a tasty cocktail or a glass of the famous Porto wine! The welcoming staff will always be there to make the guests experience to the fullest! All the guests can count on the best tips about the city, an endless energy and a welcoming smile!!
Accommodation in Lisbon: Volunteers in Lisbon are accommodated at a sustainable hostel accommodation. Located in one of the oldest Lisbon neighborhood, Restelo, the hostel is just 20 minutes away from the best custard tart in the country ! You can find local shops, traditional restaurants, the stunning Belém area, supermarkets, ATMs and most utilities you will need just around the corner.
In Lisbon, breakfast is generally self-made at the hostel with different supplies provided at the accommodation. Lunch and Dinner are also provided either at the placement or in the form of a packed meal.
Accommodation in Miranda do Corvo : The volunteer apartment has rooms with a private bathroom & TV. There is a kitchenette with a microwave and fridge. It is very central in the town and is within walking distance from the project.