Restoring Coral Reefs in Bali

Expedition Briefing


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COVID-19 Enhanced Health and Safety Measures

This project has been amended to incorporate several health and safety measures to allow responsible fielding of teams during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please refer to the COVID Disclosure Form for more details. 

Before Fielding 
  • Vaccination against COVID-19 is required for all participants. Staying up to date with your vaccinations, including receiving booster doses if available, is strongly encouraged. 
  • Become familiar with and abide by the local COVID requirements up to date vaccinations, including boosters, mandatory quarantine, or other guidelines. 
  • Do not travel to your Earthwatch expedition or program if you: 
    • are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell), 
    • are confirmed or suspected as having COVID-19 within the past 10 days
    • have been in close contact with someone suspected or confirmed as having COVID-19 in the past 10 days 
  • You are highly encouraged to take a COVID-19 test one day before or the morning of your rendezvous, before meeting up with your team.
While in the Field 
  • Face masks will be required in line with local regulations and/or when instructed by project leadership. In areas or on projects where mask use is no longer required, the use of face masks will be optional. Any individual who wishes to continue to mask will be supported in that decision. 
  • Participants and project staff will continue to wash or sanitize hands frequently and maintain physical distance whenever possible. 
  • All team members will be asked to monitor their own health through daily health checks. 
  • Recreational activities may be limited or require additional face mask requirements to reduce the risk of exposure to team members or to the local community.
  • Meals and activities will take place outside whenever possible. 
  • Ventilation will be increased indoors and within enclosed vehicles whenever possible. 

The Research

The small village of Kubu in northern Bali is home to a large community of fishermen who rely on healthy coral reefs to serve as a habitat for fish species. Previously, these reefs were exploited due to unsustainable fishing practices that degraded the coral and decreased the number of fish. Today, the reefs are part of a Marine Protected Area (MPA) that helps to safeguard them by preventing fishing and other human activities. These protections have enabled the coral communities to recover, and the spillover of fish that wander outside the MPA is supporting the local fishers. The fishers and the community now recognize the importance of the protected area to ensure fish populations stay healthy and have been ensuring the no-take rules of the MPA are followed. However, the reefs face other pressing threats.

According to the 2022 IPCC report, coral reefs around the world will be devastated by warmer and more acidic waters. Coral reefs are essential not only because of their ability to maintain the biodiversity of the world’s oceans but also because of their beneficial role for humans. Reefs provide local communities with food, protection from storms, and revenue through tourism. While artificial reefs won’t completely replace the benefits of natural reefs, implementing them in strategic locations could enhance food security and prevent marine ecosystems from collapsing as climate change degrades existing natural reefs.

The nonprofit North Bali Reef Conservation (NBRC) has implemented over 5,500 artificial reefs in the waters off the shore of Kubu since 2016. These reefs are made from a mixture of cement, calcium carbonate, and sand, and are made to mimic the habitat provided by natural reefs. On this project, you’ll work on an Earthwatch team alongside the NBRC to investigate the extent to which the artificial reefs can mimic the natural communities, ecosystem services, and socio-economic benefits of coral reefs. You’ll snorkel or scuba dive* over both artificial reefs and natural reef communities to conduct coral surveys, camera work, and fish community surveys to assess the communities’ biodiversity, identify predatory fish, calculate the biomass of grazers, and sample nutrient levels.

Coral reefs are very sensitive to the suite of environmental threats facing the world’s oceans⁠— from climate change to overfishing to habitat destruction. This project will help to answer critical questions about how artificial reef structures can help combat both ecological and economic losses, including food instability, as natural reefs deteriorate. 

*Note: Certification is required for participation on scuba teams. See the Essential Eligibility Requirements in this document for detailed requirements.

Research Aims

The main goals of this project are to:

  1. Assess the development of ecological communities on artificial reefs and monitor the time until these communities become stable;
  2. Compare stable, established communities on artificial reefs to nearby natural reefs and determine the connectivity of the artificial reefs to other ecosystems;
  3. Compare the levels of organic carbon in sediment and assess the cycling of carbon through the community;
  4. Estimate the abundance of functional groups on artificial reefs and assess the short and long-term roles of predators on overall abundance to determine if predators can affect the carbon budget of ecological communities

How You Will Help

As an Earthwatch volunteer, you will spend much of your time snorkeling or diving over coral reefs to assist in three main types of fieldwork: snorkel/dive surveys, video deployment, and data analysis.

Snorkel and Dive Surveys

You’ll snorkel (or scuba dive) over both artificial and natural reefs to record the coral, algae, sponges, gastropods, and urchins in quadrats on the reefs. You’ll record these data either on underwater slates or by taking photographs. These surveys will help monitor how quickly communities are established on newly introduced artificial reefs and compare communities on established artificial and natural reefs. You may also collect water and sediment samples at different points along the reef structures, which will be used to analyze the available nutrients within the different communities.

Video Deployment

On this project, you’ll help deploy underwater cameras, known as remote underwater video (RUV) to monitor mobile marine animal communities. The RUV cameras will be placed near natural and artificial reef units. After 30 minutes the cameras will be retrieved. The videos will be analyzed for the number of species and number of individuals recorded. This will help researchers to compare the biodiversity and community structure of natural and artificial reefs.

Data Analysis

Volunteers will be taught to analyze the images they take along the reefs and identify the species they see. They will also analyze videos to determine the number of species present. Additionally, volunteers may assist in analyzing the nutrient samples collected while surveying.

Life in the Field

You will spend portions of the first two days becoming familiar with core fieldwork and analysis techniques, including photogrammetry, quadrat sampling, and the use and analysis of remote underwater videos (RUVs) to assess mobile reef communities. Other educational opportunities will be offered throughout the expedition, covering topics such as climate change and its impact on coral reefs, methods to restore coral reefs, ecosystem services associated with coral reefs, coastal management, and basic reef species identification. On some teams, there may also be opportunities to visit local university laboratories to see how some of the collected samples are analyzed.

While Earthwatch participants are the sole supporters of scientific data collection, NBRC hosts several volunteer groups that will very likely overlap with Earthwatch groups, including those assisting with the construction and deployment of artificial reefs or teaching English at the onsite school. 


Weather and research needs can lead to changes in the daily schedule. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding. 

For One-Week Teams:

Day 1: Arrival

  • Rendezvous at Ngurah Rai International Airport, Denpasar 
  • Travel to Tianyar, North-East Bali and settle into the accommodations
  • Project introduction and safety overview
  • Team dinner 

Day 2: Orientation & Training

  • Orientation to research objectives including a first-hand look at the reefs
  • Training in field research tasks & identification of reef species 
  • Afternoon fieldwork

Days 3–6: Data Collection

  • Fieldwork training (if new techniques)
  • Morning & afternoon fieldwork sessions, which may include:
    • Snorkel OR dive surveys (team dependent) on natural and artificial reefs
    • Deployment of remote underwater video (RUV) cameras
    • Conducting biomass surveys at offshore fish aggregation devices (FADs)
    • Collection of sediment & water samples (SCUBA teams only)
  • Video analysis & sample processing
  • Down-time or evening research lecture 

*Note: Teams may participate in a group recreational outing on one afternoon. Possible activities include a visit to a local research institute, waterfall, or temple.

Day 7: Departure

  • Depart Tianyar for the airport 
For Two-Week Teams:

Day 1: Arrival

  • Rendezvous at Ngurah Rai International Airport, Denpasar 
  • Travel to Tianyar, North-East Bali and settle into the accommodations
  • Project introduction and safety overview
  • Team dinner 

Day 2: Orientation & Training

  • Orientation to research objectives including a first-hand look at the reefs
  • Training in field research tasks & identification of reef species 
  • Afternoon fieldwork

Days 3–13*: Data Collection

  • Fieldwork training (if new techniques)
  • Morning & afternoon fieldwork sessions, which may include:
    • Snorkel OR dive surveys (team dependent) on natural and artificial reefs
    • Deployment of remote underwater video (RUV) cameras
    • Conducting biomass surveys at offshore fish aggregation devices (FADs) 
    • Collection of sediment & water samples (SCUBA teams only)
  • Video analysis & sample processing
  • Down-time or evening research lecture 

*Note: Two-week teams will have a recreational day mid-way through the team. The group will participate jointly in one of several potential activities, which may include a visit to a local research institute, waterfall, or temple.  

Diving will not be permitted on the recreational day such that the team can observe a mandatory 24-hour de-gas period between consecutive dive days. Team activities will be planned such that participants also observe a 24-hour de-gas period prior to boarding onward flights. 

Day 14: Departure

  • Depart Tianyar for the airport 

Accommodations and Food

* Please note that not every expedition has couples’ or singles accommodations available. Please call or email Earthwatch to check for availability prior to reserving your space(s) on the team. 


The team will stay at the volunteer accommodation in Tianyar which is owned by the non-governmental organization ‘North Bali Reef Conservation.’ Volunteers will stay in dormitory-style rooms, each with a shared en suite toilet and shower. The accommodation is just a short walk away from the beach. Your accommodation is a clean and friendly environment that you can call home during your time on site.  

Here is what you can expect:

  • Shared dorm room with 2–4 other same-gender volunteers
  • Shared western-style bathroom with toilet & shower
  • Table fans
  • Bed sheets provided (changed weekly)
  • Free onsite Wi-Fi access 
  • 24-hour security
  • Laundry service (extra volunteer cost)

* Earthwatch will honor each person’s assertion of gender identity, respectfully and without judgment. For both teen and adult teams, where logistics dictate single-sex accommodations or other facilities, participant placements will be made in accordance with the gender identity the participant specified on their Earthwatch Participant form and/or preferences indicated in discussions with Earthwatch.


Bathroom facilities include flush toilets and cold-water showers (hot water is not available). Toiletries are not provided but can be purchased at nearby shops.


There is regular 24-hour electricity at the accommodations, and you will have access to outlets to charge cameras, cell phones, and other personal electronic devices. Indonesia uses the 2-pin socket (standard European plug), and you should bring an adapter with you.


Wi-Fi is available for use during downtime on personal electronic devices, though connectivity can be unreliable at times given the remoteness of the site. Cell phone reception in the area is generally good, and local SIM cards may be purchased for low-cost at the airport on arrival if desired.  

Please note: Personal communication with outsiders is not always possible while participating in an expedition. Earthwatch encourages volunteers to minimize outgoing calls and immerse themselves in the experience; likewise, family and friends should restrict calls to urgent messages only.


The accommodations are a three-hour drive from the airport and volunteer pick-up/drop-off is provided using 7-seater cars or minibuses. The accommodations are only a short walk from the research site and shops which sell day-to-day supplies. A vehicle and driver are always available onsite in case of emergencies. 

Some research trips may involve short boat rides (less than 15 minutes). The boats used are small traditional Indonesian fishing boats with outriggers. Generally, sea conditions are calm at the research site. If you are known to get motion sickness, we recommend bringing medicine as recommended by your local medical professional. If you are on a diving expedition, you should check with a medical professional that any motion sickness tablets are compatible with diving.


A dedicated team of local chefs will prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner for volunteers. Meals will be eaten communally at the accommodations and will include both local Indonesian and international cuisine. The communal eating space is outdoors (under cover of thatched huts) and hosts Earthwatch volunteers as well as other volunteer groups present at NBRC. Hot water is not available from the kitchen tap, but boiled water is provided for hot beverages. 

The following are examples of foods you may find in the field. Variety depends on availability. We appreciate your flexibility.

  • Breakfast: Pancakes, toast, french toast, egg selection, fresh fruit, fried banana, coffee & tea
  • Lunch and dinner: Fried rice, fried noodles, pasta, redang (Indonesian slow-cooked meat dish that can be made vegetarian), gado-gado (salad with peanut sauce), soto (broth-based meat & vegetable soup), fried chicken, satay, noodle soups, potato wedges/ French fries, vegetable fritters, western style salad. Note: Red meat is not commonly on the menu.
  • Beverages: Clean drinking water, coffee and tea are available on site for free. There is also a nearby canteen which sells other drinks and local snacks. 

Please alert Earthwatch to any special dietary requirements (e.g., diabetes, lactose intolerance, nut, or other food allergies, vegetarian or vegan diets) as soon as possible, and note them in the space provided on your participant forms.

This project can cater to a variety of diets, including vegetarian, vegan, lactose-free, gluten-free, and Kosher. Soy and/or peanut allergies are difficult to accommodate. Peanuts, peanut oil, and soy are very common in Indonesian cuisine, and thus it is impossible to guarantee peanut and/or soy free food. 

Project Conditions


For weather and region-specific information, please visit and search for your project location.

Essential Eligibility Requirements

Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age and should not have a phobia of water or marine life. All participants must be able to:

  • Comfortably swim 800m in calm open water
  • Dive/swim/snorkel two times a day for ~1–2 hours in areas where it is not possible to stand on the bottom
  • Duck-dive to a depth of 4m for a maximum of 10–15 seconds 
  • Utilize all equipment recommended or required by industry standards, including mask, fins, and snorkel 
  • Maintain a seated, cross-legged, and upright position within a narrow-outrigger boat during transit, which can sometimes be bumpy. Although boat trips will usually last less than 15 minutes, this can be uncomfortable for individuals with back and joint problems.
  • Comfortable riding in a boat seated at the level of the deck without exterior supports. 
  • Comfortable entering and exiting the boat from land and water, which includes the ability to step up onto the boat platform 1m off the ground and climb up and down a ladder to enter and exit the water. 
  • Walk short distances in sand or uphill with a light pack
  • Stoop, bend, or kneel multiple times during the day
  • Spend long hours in the field in hot and sunny conditions
  • Tolerate insect bites (mosquitos, no-see-ums, and coconut bugs) and tropical wildlife (including lizards, bats, and insects), and comfortable around free-ranging outdoor dogs (these are abundant around the research accommodations)
  • Follow verbal and/or visual instructions independently or with the assistance of a companion.
  • Take an active role in your own safety by recognizing and avoiding hazards if and when they arise (including, but not limited to, those described in Earthwatch materials and safety briefings). Always comply with project staff instructions and recommended safety measures.
  • Effectively communicate to the staff if you are experiencing distress or need assistance.
  • Get along with a variety of people from different backgrounds and ages, often in close proximity, for the duration of your team.
  • Be comfortable being surrounded by a language and/or culture that is different from your own.

Additional Requirements for SCUBA Teams: 

To participate as a scuba diver on this project, you must meet the below additional requirements:

  • Hold at least a PADI Advanced Open Water certification (or equivalent qualification from a recognized certification program) and supply a copy of such certification to Earthwatch 
  • Must have completed at least one dive within the 12 months prior to participation, or complete a refresher course at your own expense prior to participating in dive activities 
  • Submit a signed Earthwatch Diver Medical Form prior to participation (this is in addition to the Earthwatch Participant Form)
  • Provide proof of dive insurance (through DAN, or equivalent)
  • Comfortable diving for an hour at depths up to 18m (excellent buoyancy control is required), & able to monitor own dive data using a dive computer
  • Lift 35 lbs. of equipment (for example research equipment and/or dive gear) and carry it 200m to the shore-entry point
  • For boat-based dives, divers must be comfortable diving from a narrow outrigger boat, which necessitates entering/exiting the water using a ladder and putting on gear while in the water. 

Health and Safety


Field staff are equipped with mobile phones to communicate to and from the field. A vehicle and driver are always accessible in case of an emergency.  

Earthwatch has a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week emergency hotline number. Someone is always on call to respond to messages that come into our live answering service.


Please be sure your routine immunizations are up to date (for example: diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella) and you have the appropriate vaccinations for your travel destination. 

If traveling from countries or regions where yellow fever is endemic, you must have a certificate of vaccination.  

Rabies is present in Bali and can be transmitted by bats and free-ranging dogs, amongst other mammals. Free-ranging dogs are present at the project site and are prevalent in Bali. Pre-exposure vaccination does not eliminate the need for post-exposure medical attention and treatment, but it does provide additional protection against the disease in event of a delay in treatment. The nearest medical facility providing post-exposure treatment for rabies may take two hours or more to reach from the project site, and availability of vaccines can vary. 

Medical decisions are the responsibility of each volunteer and his or her doctor. Visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization for guidance on immunizations.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is required for all participants. Staying up to date with your vaccinations, including receiving booster doses as applicable is strongly encouraged.

Project Risks and Precautions


Participants will be driven in a car from the rendezvous to the field site and sometimes to other activities. There is a risk of road traffic accidents. Only vehicles with seat belts will be used, and vehicles will only be driven by staff with an international or Indonesian license and approved by the PI. Drivers will practice safe driving practices including limiting speeds to 40 mph on narrow mountain roads, cautious passing, and safe following distance. Participants will not drive under any circumstance. A cell phone and first aid kit will be carried in vehicles at all times. There will be no driving at night except in the case of an emergency. Participants will not drive or ride on motorbikes.

Small local fishing boats may be used for research activities. There is a risk of a boating accident, as well as injury or drowning from falling overboard. Boats will be operated only by people approved by the PIs. Participants are required to wear personal floatation devices while aboard the boats. Boats will be equipped with appropriate safety equipment including a throw ring, spare mobile phone, first aid kit, emergency oxygen kit (for SCUBA teams), emergency contact list, and life jackets for each person. Staff will brief participants on boating risks and precautions onsite, including proper protocols for entering and exiting the boat and donning any necessary dive/snorkel gear. Participants are advised to avoid dangling their arms and legs over the boat's edge, to hold onto the sides of the boat with both hands while in transit, and to take caution in the water when passing underneath the boat's outriggers to avoid head and other injuries. In the event of bad weather, the use of boats will be prohibited.


Due to the climate and weather, there is a risk of fire in the accommodations. All rooms are fitted with smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. A fire blanket is available in the kitchen. Participants are briefed on the procedure if there is a fire. Any electrical equipment used by participants must be compatible with the electrical system (voltage/outlets abroad may be different).


There is a risk of adverse allergic reactions while on the expedition, including from food, insect, or environmental allergens. Participants with known allergies must bring appropriate medications (at least two Epi-pens, antihistamines, etc.) in case of an allergic reaction. Participants who utilize Epi-pens must notify staff of their locations while fielding. Field staff will be briefed on dietary requirements through participant forms.


Snorkeling is a physically demanding activity with inherent risks. Safety procedures are established to minimize the risk associated with snorkeling and outlined during the safety briefing prior to commencing the research activities. Duck-dives will be limited to depths of 4m. Snorkelers must be able to use the appropriate technique to equalize as they duck-dive to avoid eardrum injuries and demonstrate the proper use of snorkeling equipment (including how to clear masks and snorkel, appropriate techniques for fin use, and tips for safe breath holding). Participants’ abilities and stamina will be assessed in a shallow water environment before beginning fieldwork. Personal flotation devices will be provided as needed, and PI or support staff will be present in the water during all research activities. Swimming/snorkeling is only done in calm seas and with a buddy. Participants may do recreational swims, but they must swim with a buddy and inform a staff member of their route and expected time of return. Participants must always remain within 5m of their snorkel buddy. 


Scuba diving is a physically demanding activity with inherent risks. Safety procedures are established to minimize the risk associated with diving and should be adhered to closely. As with all diving activities, there is a risk of decompression illness (DCI). It can take up to 5 hours to arrange transport to the nearest hyperbaric chamber, details of which are provided in the Emergency Response Plan. Only participants who are in good health and have appropriate insurance, experience, and certifications can participate on Earthwatch dive projects. A divemaster supervisor is always present with divers, and project staff are first aid qualified. Participants are guided down and up slowly to prevent descending and ascending too quickly. There is a diver response plan in place, and participants are advised on the protocol for a lost buddy. For activities split across more than one habitat type, a staff member trained in rescue diving will be at the surface to receive divers in distress. Oxygen is kept on board the boat, and diver-down flags are employed for snorkeling and diving. Dives will not exceed a depth of 18m and will have a maximum time of one hour.


Contact with fire coral is a potential risk during fieldwork and recreational swimming that causes a red, swollen, and potentially painful rash. Participants will be trained during the initial safety briefing about the appearance of fire coral and the impact of touching stinging organisms. Volunteers will be shown fire coral in the water when it is present. Protective gear, including a long-sleeved rash vest/legging or a wetsuit, is advised when working near fire coral, and gloves are to be worn when installing sediment traps on the benthic substrate. Participants should indicate if they have an anaphylactic reaction to insect stings and consult with their physician before participating to determine if a similar reaction might occur because of being stung by jellyfish or other marine organisms (small cnidarians can also be present in the water column and cause discomfort). There may also be venomous fish present in the water, including stonefish, which cause extreme pain, headaches, and breathing difficulties if touched. Participants will be shown stonefish if they are present, and all staff are briefed on steps to treat envenomation.


Shark and other large fish attacks are extremely rare but possible. Volunteers are to exit the water in a calm manner in the event of an animal acting aggressively.


High temperatures and long days in the sun can cause sun exposure, dehydration, and sunburn. Participants should wear breathable clothes that cover their skin, reapply sunscreen throughout the day, and consistently drink water. Participants must communicate with field staff if they are not feeling well due to the sun and temperature.


Falling, getting cuts, or twisting an ankle are potential risks while hiking. Although not a required part of the expedition, hiking may be offered during recreational time. Participants should wear proper footwear, have good endurance, and at times have protective clothing in the thick bush to avoid cuts and scrapes. Participants must make research center staff aware of the route and expected time of return. 


The nearest rural medical clinic is about a 10-minute drive from the project accommodations. However, it can take two hours or more to reach the nearest hospital and five or more hours to arrange transport to top-tier private hospitals in Denpasar—including the nearest facility with a hyperbaric chamber. Local emergency services, such as police and fire services, can be unreliable. If you have a chronic condition that could require immediate medical care (e.g., heart conditions, kidney problems, severe asthma, etc.), or if you are pregnant, please discuss your participation on this expedition with your physician. 


Mosquitos, no-see-ums, and coconut (blister) bugs are present and bite. Mosquitos in Bali can carry a range of diseases including Japanese encephalitis, malaria, Zika, dengue fever, and chikungunya. Participants especially sensitive to insect bites should not attend this project. Participants should bring insect repellent and wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants during the evening hours. Participants are advised to keep doors and windows closed during the early morning and evening hours. Domestic animals, including semi-stray dogs, are present in camp. Participants should not approach or touch any domestic animals, including dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, or any pet in the camp or town. There is also the potential risk of coconuts falling from the trees. Trees are regularly maintained, but participants should not stand under coconut trees whenever possible.


In entering a new community with a different culture than your own, there is a risk of offending the local culture and beliefs. Participants should learn about the local culture ahead of time and will be advised on behaviors that may offend local people. Participants should cover their shoulders and knees when visiting local public areas including the beach, temples, and local shops. Beach wear should be modest.


Monsoon season runs from November to March. Earthwatch expeditions will not be scheduled during monsoon season. Seismic activity, including earthquakes and tsunamis, are a concern throughout Indonesia. Bali is also home to active volcanoes, including Mount Agung which is visible from the project site. Field staff will monitor local media and be vigilant for alerts of natural hazards, and participants are advised to monitor local media when traveling to stay informed of any alerts and to avoid dangerous areas. 


Petty and opportunistic crime is a risk in Indonesian urban centers, including in the tourist centers of Bali. Participants are advised to keep valuables hidden and to avoid excessive drunkenness, illegal drug use, and overtly suggestive behavior. Participants should take care to use reputable transport services while traveling in Bali and avoid using unmarked or freelance taxis. A 24-hour security guard is stationed at the camp in Tianyar, and the dorms are equipped with locking doors.


Diseases present in Indonesia include Japanese encephalitis, malaria, Zika, dengue fever, chikungunya, leptospirosis, schistosomiasis, rabies, measles, hepatitis, typhoid, cholera, tuberculosis, avian/bird flu, and hantavirus. Travelers’ diarrhea is common in visitors to Bali. Participants should speak with their medical care provider or a travel health provider, take appropriate precautions, and have appropriate inoculations and up-to-date immunizations, including tetanus. Ample potable/treated water will be made available for consumption. Participants are advised to be vigilant in the use of insect repellent and mosquito nets and wear appropriate clothes.  

Rabies is present in Bali and can be transmitted by stray dogs, bats, and other animals. Free-ranging dogs are prevalent at the project site. Whether you have been vaccinated or not, always avoid loose and stray dogs. The pre-exposure vaccination does not eliminate the need for post-exposure medical treatment, but it does provide additional protection against the disease in the event of a delay in treatment. In addition, bites or scratches should be immediately and thoroughly washed with soap, clean water, and a topical povidone-iodine solution or ethanol. If you feel ill once you return from your trip, make sure you inform your doctor that you have recently returned from a tropical region.

Please see the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( or the World Health Organization ( websites for more information on these diseases and how to avoid them.


COVID-19 is an infectious coronavirus disease, which has caused a worldwide pandemic since its discovery in late 2019. Although most people who have COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness, COVID-19 can also cause severe illness and even death. Some groups, including older adults and people who have certain underlying medical conditions, are at increased risk of severe illness. The COVID-19 virus spreads from person to person via close contact, primarily through exposure to the respiratory droplets of an infected person.

Projects and participants approved to field during the COVID-19 pandemic commit to a number of enhanced safety measures described in the COVID Disclosure Form, including physical distancing, wearing face masks, regular hand washing and surface sanitizing, adjusted accommodations and transportation logistics, and daily health checks.

Travel Planning


Ngurah Rai International Airport (also known as Denpasar International Airport), Bali, Indonesia

* Additional information will be provided by Earthwatch to meet your team. Please do not book travel arrangements such as flights until you have received additional information from Earthwatch.


Earthwatch strongly recommends that travelers investigate their destination prior to departure. Familiarity with the destination’s entry/exit requirements, visas, local laws, and customs can go a long way to ensuring smooth travel. The U.S. Department of State's Traveler’s Checklist and Destination Guides are helpful resources. For LGBTI travelers, the U.S. Department of State's LGBTI Travelers page contains many useful tips and links.


You are responsible for reviewing and abiding by the local COVID guidelines and regulations for your destination. This may include proof of testing upon arrival or departure, up to date vaccinations against COVID-19, including boosters, mandatory quarantine, or other requirements. 

For information regarding Indonesia, please visit: COVID-19 Information—U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Indonesia (

Entry visa requirements differ by country of origin, layover, and destination, and do change unexpectedly. For this reason, please confirm your visa requirements at the time of booking and, again, 90 days prior to travel. Please apply early for your visa if one is needed (we recommend starting six months prior to the start of your expedition). Refunds will not be made for volunteers canceling due to not obtaining their visa in time to meet the team at the rendezvous. You can find up to date visa requirements at the following website: 

Generally, passports must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry and a return ticket is required.

If a visa is required, participants should apply for a TOURIST visa. Please note that obtaining a visa can take weeks or even months. We strongly recommend using a visa agency, which can both expedite and simplify the process.

As of the time of publication of this briefing document, participants from 60 countries can obtain a ‘Visa On Arrival’ when they arrive at the airport in Bali. This costs $35 USD and can be paid in USD. Please Note: Participants are responsible for understanding and complying with visa requirements based on their origin. 






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