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Coral Reef Restoration in Cuba
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Coral Reef Restoration in Cuba

Overall Rating

6/ 10

  • Day to Day Life

    3

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Program Administration

    3

  • Volunteer Placement

    1

Coral Reef Restoration

Overall I very much enjoyed Cuba, however I was expecting to learn and experience coral reef restoration or at the very least get more dives under my belt considering the cost of the program. I feel that the program description is incorrect.

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Day to Day Life

    5

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Volunteer Placement

    4

Great experience

I think this is a great experience if you're interested in hanging out on a small beach town in a culturally interesting place. Make sure you go November - March (outside of hurricane season and before getting into the rainy season) as this will make it much easier to avoid the hot/humid temperatures as well as the mosquitos. The house in Cocodrillo doesn't have air conditioning which means you have to leave the windows open in order to avoid overheating. Unfortunately the high number of mosquitos there will enter the room where you sleep and no amount of mosquito repellant will to keep them from biting you.

Another thing to note is that although I would highly recommend the village and the overall experience I can't say that I perceived this to be a highly impactful volunteer opportunity. If you go into this looking for a good time I think this is a great place to do it!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Cocodrilo

I had a marvelous time in Cocodrilo. This is a unique opportunity because tourism isn't developed here. I loved the whole experience and miss the wonderful people I met. The diving was beautiful. I definitely want to go back!

  • IOI Adventures responded to this review February 23, 2018 at 7:18 AM

    Glad you enjoyed your time, Dena! You're right in that there is little foreign presence in Cocodrilo making it a genuine Cuban experience for our volunteers.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Cocodrilo

Excellent trip! I had an amazing time in Cocodrilo because I was able to learn about coral reefs and the different kinds of conservation methods that are being used in this area. I also got to meet local people and understand Cuba in a way that I had never thought of before.

  • IOI Adventures responded to this review February 23, 2018 at 7:21 AM

    Thanks for your review, caengber! Cocodrilo is the perfect place to learn about coral reefs and conservation methods since there is so much happening in the small community. It's amazing what can be done with so few resources.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

An Excellent, Life-Changing Experience

I had such an incredible, life changing experience on my trip with IOI to Cocodrilo in Cuba. Pre-Trip communication was clear and my pre-trip questions were quickly responded to. I felt extremely prepared and well informed for my trip.

During my trip I felt well taken care of and supported by the IOI Cuba staff. More specifically, my time spent in Cocodrilo was a perfect mix of beautiful, safe, and exciting. The volunteer opportunities were very accurately advertised and the diving and snorkeling were breathtaking. The house in Cocodrilo (Villa Arrecife) is very comfortable, the community is nice, safe, and engaging. There is so much to do and so much to see in this small town!

I was in Cocodrilo for 3 weeks and could have stayed longer. I cannot wait to be involved in another program with this organization!

  • IOI Adventures responded to this review February 19, 2018 at 9:59 AM

    Thank you for your review, JamieP! Few volunteers are able to spend 3 weeks in Cocodirlo--I'm glad you had the experience and I know the community enjoyed getting to know you. You're welcome back anytime and remember, we offer all of our return volunteers a discount!

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    7

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Amazing cultural experience and diving in small coastal Cuban town

My experience with IOI in Cuba was great! They were very organized and I was well prepared for my trip. Their partners in Cuba were outstanding. The leader of the dive program in Cocodrillo is very warm, friendly and confidence-inspiring. All the drivers they partnered with were nice and professional.

I absolutely loved Cocodrilo! The volunteer house there was clean and comfortable, the food INCREDIBLE, and the village people so friendly and FUN!

My only disappointment was not being quite as useful as I was maybe hoping. However, I was there for only 4 days, which is 3 days less then the one week minimum, so it's partially my fault. :p We counted fish, planted coral and picked up trash. I felt like my main contribution was cultural exchange and supporting the reef monitoring program on Cocodrillo.

  • IOI Adventures responded to this review January 11, 2018 at 8:50 AM

    Thank you for your comments, Ataipale! Glad you found Cocodrilo to be warm and friendly--we agree :) Unfortunately your travel plans did not allow you to stay for the entire week we recommend. The week minimum allows volunteers to feel like they've made an impact in the community. But I wouldn't worry, I'm sure the few days you were there left an impact on the community and helped promote the cultural exchange IOI feels is so important. You're welcome back anytime!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

Amazing experience

My friend and I who are both scuba certified decided to do this program as we are both interested in keeping our oceans healthy, Cuba and to be honest wanted more scuba experience with a more meaningful purpose. This program did not disappoint. Katie the organizer was incredibly helpful in making sure we felt safe and secure in coming to Cuba despite changes in US Cuba regulations. Our dive master renaldo was knowledgeable, excited and caring. His sister who was our housekeeper/ cook was incredible sweet and a very fun dancer. The ocean life was amazing and the town very small and friendly. Bonus: my Spanish improved tremendously over the week. I would advise though to have at least intermediate Spanish as no one speaks English and some terms in the work are more technical. Overall an amazing experience, I can’t wait to go back.

  • IOI Adventures responded to this review January 11, 2018 at 8:53 AM

    Thank you, Atirismar! That's wonderful that your Spanish skills improved. It's true your hosts in Cocodrilo do not speak much English, which forces volunteers to practice their Spanish (an advantage to the program, we believe!). Learning each others languages is an important part of cultural exchange. And please come back! We offer returning volunteers a discount :)

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    8

Coral reef restoration Cuba

This was a great program, in part for learning about the slow but necessary process of preserving, protecting and restoring a coral reef. But more than that, we learned so much about Cuba, a mysterious country to those of us from the US but one that is so full of life, music, and the best people, especially in Cocodrilo.

  • IOI Adventures responded to this review January 11, 2018 at 8:55 AM

    Thanks, hollyschwarz! By traveling to Cocodrilo you learned more about Cuba than most people do when they visit. Thanks for volunteering with us. We would appreciate any feedback you have about how we can improve. And please come back soon!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    7

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Cocodrilo

It was absolutely amazing! Reinaldo basically knows the answer to any question having to do with Cocodrilo's environment both land and sea. The program was great, you could tell that it's in it's beginning stages but it has so much potential. I'm looking forward to how it'll be in the future!

  • IOI Adventures responded to this review October 13, 2017 at 7:58 AM

    Thanks so much for your positive feedback, Lorely! I'm glad you had a great time and we couldn't agree more--our staff are very knowledgeable and love to teach visitors. Thanks for being one of our first volunteers and we can't wait to have you back!

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    6

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    5

  • Health & Safety

    7

  • Day to Day Life

    7

Rewarding and fun, but wish we could have more cultural interaction and more impact

We were one of the first volunteer groups at this site, so IOI is still getting the program fully organized. We enjoyed our volunteer activities - cleaning the coral scaffolding, coral cleaning, ocean trash removal, invasive species removal - but there was not enough of these activities. They only occupied a few hours each day at most. We also would have liked to interact with local people more during our stay.

  • IOI Adventures responded to this review August 04, 2017 at 8:50 AM

    We try to provide volunteers with a balance of activities and free time. Usually we have volunteers work for a few hours in the morning and provide them with the afternoons free to explore. But we are happy to adapt that based on the volunteers' desires if they wish to work full days.

    The people of Cocodrilo are very excited to host volunteers, but because the town has only recently open to foreigners (and in general the insular nature of Cuba), having volunteers from other countries in their community is very new. This makes for a unique experience for volunteers and as Cuba continues to open up, volunteers' interactions with locals will improve. Cubans are known for being extremely nice and genuine, and the people from Cocodrilo are no exception!