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Ilili’s Shark and Ray Research and Conservation Expeditions

in Utila, Honduras

Did you ever dream of being a  marine biologist when you were younger? Were you always fascinated with sharks and their relatives? What if you were offered the chance to make it happen? Well, now you can do just that  by joining Ilili for a once in a lifetime opportunity. We have teamed up with Utopia Village, in Utila, to offer you a unique expedition. As a research assistant, you will be working alongside Ilili’s small but mighty team and get hands-on experience working with sharks and rays. 
Activities will include longlining for shark tagging, dives to photo-id eagle rays and deploying Baited Remote Underwater Video cameras. You will work alongside our team of experienced biologists and fishers each day during our monitoring, experiencing the stunning landscape of Utila, above and below the water.


What to expect

As part of this expedition, you will be an integral part of our team. During the week we will teach all the necessary skills to properly deploy longlines and baited cameras, photograph eagle rays and, if we are very lucky, whale sharks for photo identification projects, safely tag and release sharks including taking length measurements, determining sex, and acquiring DNA samples. In the evenings, we will have interactive presentations where you will learn more about sharks and rays, and our research in Honduras. These will be long days in, at times, uncovered, small boats where you will be working as a marine biologist directly contributing to our research efforts. Our field site is in Utila, so you will have to plan to arrive in Roatan (neighboring island) one day or more before our departure date.

Who can join?

This trip is open to anyone with a genuine interest in learning more about sharks and rays. Previous experience in field work is not required. All participants are required to be open water diver if they wish to participate in our survey dives. Alternatively, you are welcome to snorkel or freedive. Being comfortable in the water would be a useful asset.

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Pricing and particulars

  • Price per volunteer: 2,500 USD

  • Total number of spaces for volunteers: 4

  • 2 travel days

  • 1 night in Roatan (at own expense)

  • Number of monitoring days in Utila: 7 days/6 nights/5.5 days of activities

What is included?

  • Lodging: double occupancy room with private bath for 6 nights at Utopia Village

*Private rooms are not available at Utopia Village, rooms do not have AC.

  • Transfers: Transfer from West End to Ferry terminal Roundtrip, Round-trip ferry between Roatan and Utila. Round trip boat transfer between Utila Ferry Station and Utopia Village. 

  • Meals: 3 meals daily, including arrival lunch/dinner, breakfasts, daily lunches, daily dinners accommodating dietary restrictions if needed. Meals include water, tea, or coffee. *Meals are basic and include traditional Honduran staples such as beans, corn/flour tortillas, plantains etc. Full menu available upon request. There is a grocery store available on site for any additional items you wish to purchase.

  • Four boat/shore dives 

  • Marine conservation donation. Your tax-deductible donation will enable us to carry out our work and support local Honduran fishers’ salaries and enable us to train up and coming Honduran biologists in future expeditions! 

What is not included?

  • International air flights

  • First night in Roatan

  • Transfers between Juan Manuel Gálvez International Airport and hotel in Roatan

  • Travel, health, or cancellation insurance

  • COVID tests

  • Alcoholic beverages

  • Snorkeling gear rental

  • Dive gear rental if needed

  • Personal items and incidentals



Want to learn more? Send us a message and we’ll
get back to you shortly with all the details.

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