+506 8617 2491 mcec@innoceana.org

Marine Conservation Internship Program

Get actively involved!

The internship program at the Marine Conservation and Education Center (MCEC) Innoceana Costa Rica is one of the best ways to get involved in marine conservation, research, protection, and restoration projects.

Interns are an integral part of our program. We have hosted dozens of interns over the last three years, and believe that each person brings something valuable to our team.

Throughout this program, you will not only receive training and plenty of hands-on practice in diving and conservation techniques, but you will also help to lead and engage new students in our activities.

General information
  • Job Title: Marine Conservation Program Intern and Research Assistant
  • Location: Ojochal, Costa Rica
  • Stipend: Unpaid (School credit, thesis assistance, work experience, and other opportunities are available).
  • Starting Date: January, April, July, or November
  • Time Frame: 3 months (extension programs also available for qualified interns)
  • Internship Hours: 5 days a week, 8am-3pm (30 hours a week)
  • Internship Supervisor: Laura Vanopdenbosch, Program Director MCEC Costa Rica
  • Mentors: Laura -Science & Technology, Yulian -Photography & Dive Operations, Julia -Education & Marine Biology, Flavio-Marketing & Social Media
    Profile & requirements

    Here at Innoceana Costa Rica we have a high demand for 2 kinds of interns.

    Social Media & Marketing Intern

    This intern position is open to many different kinds of profiles and people with different backgrounds. Perhaps you’re a photographer, videographer, web designer, illustrator, marketing-guru, artist, social media wizard, or something else. In any case, you’re already skilled.

    Science & Research Intern

    This intern position is open to applicants who have a suitable academic background in science or technology, and who have the ability to develop their own project as part of the goals of a larger organization.


    • Be at least enrolled in your 2nd year of a bachelors program OR have relevant experience
    • Commit to a minimum of 12 weeks 
    • Hold at least an Open Water Diver certification before or at the start of your internship (you can do it with us)
    • Display proficient English written and verbal skills
    • Bring your own laptop for work and data entry
    What we offer
    • Onsite mentorship from professionals in marine biology, engineering, marketing, conservation & diving
    • Weekly meetings with your mentor & supervisor to assess and provide feedback on project direction
    • Training on safe conservation diving practices and monitoring methods
    • 2 guaranteed dive trips per month; all dive gear and marine park fees included: a total of 4 dives a month
    • 10% discount on expeditions, additional dives, and dive courses
    • 2 recreational trips per month during the work week, i.e. waterfalls, secret beaches, river swimming hole, other local NGOs
    • Accommodation including, bed in shared mixed dormitory (8 beds), linens, towel, weekly cleaning service, washing machine, high speed wifi
    • Full kitchen including appliances, pots, pans, silverware, fridge space, dry food storage
    • A weekly trip to the supermarket to purchase food of your choice
    • 1 Innoceana t-shirt or tank top
    • An inspiring and fun working environment of local and international conservationists, volunteers and scientists.
    • Letter of recommendation, reference for CV, etc. at the end of the internship
    Internship cost

    The weekly fee for our internship program is $306

    This cost does not include flights, transport to and from airport/MCEC, insurances, and food.

      * Minimum commitment of 12 weeks.
    Get the Handbook

    Download our Marine Conservation Internship Handbook for more information.

    Internship Handbook – English

    Frequently asked questions

    What is the internship schedule like?

    During the high season the MCEC is open 7 days a week. Interns will work 5 days a week with 2 days off. Which days you work may depend on the activities going on at the center. We will try to put your two days off together but occasionally it will not be possible. We will also try to overlap your days off with other interns so that you may enjoy your time off together.

    What project can I expect to work on?

    We highly recommend browsing through the website to get familiar with our ongoing research. Projects priorities and needs can change very quickly. The assigned work will then very much depend on the MCECs current priorities and, of course, on your skills as well.

    Are we required to stay at the MCEC?

    Interns are required to stay at the MCEC for logistical reasons.

    Is the MCEC in Uvita or Ojochal?

    The MCEC is located in Ojochal. Uvita is the closest and most famous town to live, eat, grocery shop, etc. It is 15 minutes away by car.

    What is the location of the MCEC like?

    The MCEC is located right off the highway and just outside Ojochal. It is possible to walk to a nearby gas station and a few restaurants within 10-15 minutes. You will have to walk along a busy highway with a narrow walking area so we recommend doing this with caution.

    What is transportation like around the MCEC?

    At the moment there are not many options for public transportation between Uvita and the MCEC. We are working on providing a timetable for the buses that pass by the MCEC on a regular basis. You can take a taxi one way for around $16 USD to Uvita. Rental cars are around $800-$1,000/month. We recommend this option and splitting the cost with interns in your cohort.

    Is the MCEC close to the beach?

    The two closest beaches to the MCEC are within 15-25 minutes walking distance: Playa Tortuga north and south.

    Can I use my phone in Costa Rica?

    You can purchase a chip from a Costa Rica cell phone service. We recommend Kolbi as it works best in our area of the country. There is a Kolbi store located in Uvita that is open 8am – 5pm Monday – Friday. There are specific plans that are designed for tourists that you can pay for on a one-time basis and recharge when needed.

    Is there an ATM in Uvita?

    Yes, Banco de Costa Rica has an ATM located in Uvita. Most places also accept credit/debit cards. Like in most situations when traveling abroad there is at least a 3% fee when taking out cash from an ATM. Depending on your local bank or credit card company there may also be transaction fees when using your card.

    I am vegan, can I find vegan food in Uvita?

    There are several restaurants with vegetarian and vegan food options. You can find many options at the local stores to make vegetarian and vegan meals.

    What are the electrical outlets like?

    Costa Rica uses 110 volt, 60 cycle electricity, same as the US. Plugs are typically the 2-pronged flat type, so US travelers will not typically need a converter or adapter. Please research what adapters you will need according to what country your electronics are from.

    What do I have access to in the kitchen?

    You will have access to pots, pans, baking pans, rice cooker, tico coffee maker, stove, oven, microwave, fridge, cupboards, food containers/tupperware.

    How do I pay for my internship?

    You will be required to pay the first four weeks in advance in order to reserve your space in the team. For the second and third month, you will be able to pay here at the MCEC either by cash, or by card (VISA/MASTERCARD).

    Join our program

    Fill out the form on the bottom of this page!



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