Tuesday, 26 of May of 2015

Dates & Info for Volunteers

Mission Group Photo

Friends of Cozumel Mission Team Feb. 2012 - These 20 full-time volunteers served as a core team + 15 visitors and island residents volunteered 1+ days

For visitors and island residents

Winter: Fri. Feb. 1-8, 2013

The winter mission week is for adult volunteers age 18+. There may be selected activities for youth volunteers. Our winter mission week tends to be a more intense schedule of activites planned for 5 1/2 of the 7 days. Full-time participants should attend the evening welcome event 2/1/13. Come vacation early and/or stay later. Cozumel’s “Carnaval” begins Febuary 9.

Summer: Late July & Early Aug. 2013
Friends of Cozumel will not host a mission trip for visitors. Our informal leader group, family members and island resident volunteers will participate in selected projects to benefit the community like packing and distributing school supplies. Visitors who may be on the island for these project dates are welcome to join us.

Participation options:

Volunteer full-time (all days) or Part-time (any # days you select) or volunteer for just 1 activity.

Click here to learn more about Options for Participating, Volunteer Roles Needed & Projects
Click here for General Trip Planning Information for Visiting Volunteers

Optimal group size: Total of 20 full-time volunteers including visitors and island residents. Additional part-time volunteers as well as those who volunteer for one or more activities may participate as space allows. Returning volunteers will receive preference if the number interested exceeds the limit. Sign up now! Potential volunteers are listed by date they request their name be placed on the participant list.


Interested in volunteering? Email: Karen@friendsofcozumel.com to request info or place your name on the list of potential participants. Karen or one of our Friends of Cozumel leaders will be glad to arrange a phone call at your convenience to discuss questions you may have about mission weeks.

Mission weeks are hosted by our informal Friends of Cozumel leader group:
Karen & Larry Pedersen (Cozumel/Iowa); Phyllis & Gary Larsen (Nebraska); Ilene & Byron Kendrick (Texas); Sandy & Ray Ham (Cozumel); April Koss DiPasquale (Cozumel)

General Trip Planning Information for Visiting Volunteers

Choose the participation option that best fits for you: Full-time (all days projects are scheduled); Part-time (any # of days you select) or just for one or more activities.
• You can arrive earlier or stay later than scheduled mission week dates. If your time is limited, join us any day(s).
Winter Mission Week Feb. 1-8, 2013: Full-time volunteers are requested to arrive by the afternoon of February 1 to participate in orientation, project planning and a welcome event that evening. Part-time visiting volunteers who will participate for 3+ days are encouraged to come at the beginning of the mission week to benefit from the orientation and get acquainted with mission team members. Island residents who plan to participate for 3+ days are invited and encouraged to come to the orientation and welcome event on February 1. We usually have a closing event the evening before the last scheduled day, so please reserve the evening of Feb. 7th.
Why do mission weeks begin on a weekday vs. weekend? It works best for local organizations to allow volunteers to do projects and activities only available on the weekends. It doesn’t require volunteers to be absent from their workplace or other commitments for an entire week (Monday – Friday). It is also less expensive for visiting volunteers to fly to the island on weekdays vs. arriving on the weekend.
Visiting volunteers are responsible for their own travel arrangements (flights, lodging, transportation, food).
What will it cost? Approximately $1,000 – $1,500. There are many variables depending on your travel/living preferences. The cost could definitely be less with a good deal on airfare and using shared/discounted lodging as these are the two largest expenses in addition to personal entertainment like diving or other excursions.

Estimated cost per mission trip volunteer traveling to Cozumel: $1,000 – $1,500 for 7 nights
$500 – $700 Flight + opt. trip insurance, airport transfers (See Transportation to/from Cozumel below)
$200 – $400+ Lodging (Dbl occ. for 7 nights in mid-town location—See Location Info & Lodging below)
$130 – $200 Food (See Food & Restaurants below)
$ 30 – $ 50 Taxi transportation in town (more to/from beaches or for car rental but not necessary)
$ 30 – $ 50 Misc. expenses (i.e. tips, purchase cell phone minutes, other items)
??????????? Personal entertainment (snorkeling, scuba diving, shopping, tours/excursions)

Transportation to/from Cozumel
Airport code for Cozumel: CZM; Airport code for Cancun: CUN
An online tool used by several Friends of Cozumel volunteers to research the most economical flights on different days is http://matrix1.itasoftware.com Use the option of “See calendar of lowest fares” (not “Search for exact dates”). Put in a range of days for length of stay i.e. 7-10 nights. It will display a calendar showing the least expensive airfare for all airlines departing on various days for a month following the departure date entered. Moving the cursor over a specific date will show prices for different lengths of stay. You can click to get details about flight itineraries. This is a research and monitoring tool that is a GREAT source to combine fares from all major airlines. Tickets can’t be purchased on this site. When you find a flight you like, you can book online at the airline’s website or give the info to your travel agent.
Flight info as of mid-April 2012: Midwest flights (Omaha & Des Moines) ~$595-620 for winter mission week. Watch carefully—not all connections between Midwest locations and Cozumel are same day connections. Texas (DFW direct) ~$500-580 for winter mission week. East coast (Charlotte, NC) ~$860 and west coast (SFO/LAX, CA) ~ $690/$515.
• Although it is more convenient to fly in/out of Cozumel, you may want to consider a multi-city option to fly to Cozumel and out of Cancun if you plan to spend some time on the mainland or if there is significant cost savings. Some volunteers fly roundtrip to/from CUN because there are more flights. It requires a one hour drive to Playa del Carmen and then a 35 minute ferry ride to Cozumel. We can provide you the ground transportation options and approximate costs if you are interested.
Airport transfers: ~$10pp for airport transfers from the Cozumel airport to mid-town locations via the required transportation union vans; more for locations north or south of town. You may return by taxi to the airport at the end of your stay.
We recommend purchasing trip insurance that covers flights and pre-paid expenses like lodging deposits in certain circumstances (i.e. health, weather) for canceling or interrupting travel. This may also be an important resource to provide medical insurance needs while you are traveling.

Location Info & Lodging Options

Location: Friends of Cozumel does not have a formal mission “headquarters”. We work from homes of two volunteers in the “mid-town” area on Calle 13 and Av. 55, approximaforly one mile inland from the T-intersection of Melgar (ocean front road) and Calle 11 (near Margaritaville, Rolandi’s, and the Municipio park). Winter mission week volunteers gather here for brief morning devotions and planning meetings; for project supplies; for lunches, Happy Hours and special events.

Mission project sites: 1+ mile(s) inland from the central downtown plaza area.
Volunteers are responsible making their own lodging arrangements to ensure they find the best option for their unique needs. This represents a change from previous years when we encouraged mission volunteers to reserve rental villas in a designated mission “headquarters” complex to simplify logistics (i.e. communication and transportation).

  • Hotels, rental villas, hostels, B & B’s—Cozumel has it all! Full-time mission volunteers have found it more economical and comfortable to stay in rental villas with kitchen facilities in order to prepare some meals (i.e. breakfasts) and have cold beverages handy. Villas have more room to relax than most hotel accommodations. Although some mission volunteers combining vacation with mission projects prefer the service amenities of a hotel for family/friends who may be involved in non-mission activities. Where you stay is not a problem . . . just be sure you have a way to easily communicate with Friends of Cozumel project coordinators once you reach the island and you can arrange your own transportation to mission activities. We do not have transportation resources to pick you up from your lodging.
    Friends of Cozumel will provide recommendations upon request for various types of lodging, online sources to search, and help facilitate individuals, families or friends interested in sharing rental villas during their stay. Request information by identifying your preferences of amenities (refer to list below) via email to Karen: Karen@friendsofcozumel.com We have drafted a list of rental properties in close proximity to mission activities as well as other locations that may be a fit for mission volunteers. If you identify a property online you are interested in knowing more about, we can check it out for you if we are not familiar with the property.
    Lodging amenities: There are always trade-offs when considering the mix of price, value, amenities and location. Decide the 3-5 highest priority items for you to use as search criteria. What do you really need vs. “nice-to-have” options? Examples: Bedding size/configuration (king? two individuals/twins? queen?); AC (need throughout in common areas? only in bedrooms? cross-ventilation/no AC OK?); Stairs OK or need ground floor accommodations?; Wi-fi; access to pool (winter? summer?); laundry facilities; cable TV; full kitchen vs. frig only or kitchenette or shared kitchen privileges?; phone (for local calls? use of cell phone? Vonage line? In unit or only available in common area?); outdoor living area (patio? rinse tank? scuba storage area?); security; location (in walking distance of mission activities? Easy access to catch taxis? plan to rent a car? oceanfront? close to downtown? close to diving?)
    Lodging costs: Be sure to clarify what is/is not included in quoted price. Most properties are priced as a base weekly or nightly cost PLUS 14% lodging tax extra; some rental properties charge for actual use of electricity in addition to quoted price and/or cleaning deposits and/or required maid gratuities. Note rates may differ for high/low seasons. Discounts may be available upon request for extended stays greater than 7-10 days, booking less than 30 days in advance or some owners may provide a modest discount to support your efforts as a mission volunteer if you explain your purpose in visiting is to benefit the community. IF you are staying for 2-4 weeks, it may be significantly less expensive to request and pay for a monthly rental rate even if you will be staying for less than four weeks vs. a nightly or weekly rate.

    Food & Restaurants
    Cozumel has wonderful restaurants . . . everything from high end/pricier tourist spots $15-$50US to local taco places where you can eat for $2-$5US. Cost of alcoholic beverages in tourist bars/restaurants can really add up so food/drink costs can vary a great deal based on your choices. Upon arrival, volunteers receive a list of food and restaurant options. Many rental villas also provide information.
    Winter mission week involves ongoing daily projects so group lunches are available on most project days. Friends of Cozumel does not have a sponsoring organization that funds mission trip expenses. We don’t charge an administrative fee for participating. One or more host volunteers shares cooking for the group but we need $s to buy groceries. Visiting volunteers as well as resident volunteers who do not provide transportation to/from projects are requested to contribute $50 per person to the food/project transportation “kitty” (helps defray cost of ~10 “food/beverage events” such as 1-2 evening meals, 4-5 lunches and several Happy Hours that serve as light suppers). Volunteers who have a vehicle and transport supplies and/or volunteers in addition to themselves to/from projects are already paying for gas and related costs so they are not expected to contribute to the food/project transportation “kitty”. Breakfasts and suppers are on your own other than the first night orientation and last evening closing event. Part-time volunteer’s contributions are adjusted based on the number of days they participate. Volunteers who serve for one activity are invited to participate in a group lunch and/or Happy Hour on the day they participate.
    • Volunteers may decide to eat at local taco places and inexpensive restaurants during mission activities to take advantage of local food. These are Dutch Treat, optional opportunities.

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