Infografia Cartagena Reef Check 2019
Corales de Varadero Cartagena
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Cartagena Reef Check


Let’s visit, evaluate and save Varadero! The Cartagena Reef Check is your opportunity to help protect the only coral reef in Cartagena Bay. Varadero is a reef that has survived more than 500 years of human pressure. With your participation, you contribute to the management and research that seeks to protect this surviving heroic reef in the area.


Let’s visit, evaluate and save Varadero!

As a Reef Check expedition team member you can expect to:

See, experience or learn how we assess the health of Varadero´s Reef, a Hope Spot in the Caribbean,  while you enjoy Cartagena, a recognized World Heritage Site.

Monitor coral reefs under the leadership and guidance of experienced coral reef scientists, and assist with updating national and international databases (e.g. INVEMAR, Reef Check) with information on the condition of surveyed coral reefs.

Participate in various cultural and socio-ecological activities such as a visit to the local community of Tierra Bomba, walks around the walled old city, enjoy the local, the rich gastronomy and music, and join Salvemos Varadero!

Meet more people like you who are committed to improving their diving experience and making of their passion an opportunity to leave a legacy.

The Reef Check EcoDiver Program
¿WHERE DO WE MEET?Downtown Cartagena. Venue TBA.
¿WHAT DOES THE EXPEDITION COVER? Field training and supervision by team scientist according to level

Five Reef Check SCUBA dives

Dive equipment for members

Dive insurance


¿WHAT IS NOT COVERED? Accommodation and meals

Airfare to/from Cartagena

Dive equipment for non-members

¿WHEN DOES IT TAKE PLACE?13 – 16 Aug 2021 | 11 – 15 Aug 2022 | 107- 21 Aug 2021
¿WHAT´S THE DURATION?3 Nights/4 Days
¿ONLY FOR SCUBA DIVERS?Yes. You need to be SCUBA certified. If you are not yet a certified divers contact us to discuss your options.
¿WHAT REEF CHECK LEVELS CAN JOIN?Certified Reef Check EcoDivers | Discover Reef Check EcoDivers | Reef Check EcoDiver candidates (who have completed and approved the Reef Check EcoDiver online training and will conduct their in-water training and receive their certification).

¿Not an EcoDiver Yet?

If you are not one yet, you can start your training today by signing up for the Reef Check EcoDiver Course and then join as a Reef Check EcoDiver candidate to complete your certification in coral reef monitoring during the expedition. However, you must complete and pass the knowledge component before joining this field program. Sign up for the Reef Check EcoDiver e-learning program today! 


I would like to receive more information before registering.

Send us your question now to WhatsApp !

To update information on coral reef health of at least 5 sites within Varadero´s Reef to be used as input for conservation management measures by interested parties including, but not limited to, the managing environmental authority CARDIQUE

The Varadero reef is the only surviving marine ecosystem in the entire Cartagena area. Rediscovered in 2013, they comprise 1.12 km2 of reefs, seagrasses, mangroves, and islands of extraordinary beauty. The coral reef survey at the Reef Check Cartagena is carried out with the support of the Ecotono Corporation and its Salvemos Varadero initiative. Likewise, it has the endorsement and support of CARDIQUE. It is a pleasure for Corales de Paz to know that our work supports their management and contributes to the conservation and monitoring of the marine ecosystems of their interest.

The Reef Check Cartagena promises to be an intense citizen science experience for all, which supports the protection and management actions of Varadero coral reef, Colombia´s heroic reef.

If you are interested in participating in a Reef Check expedition, don’t hesitate and sign up! You would not feel any regret. Remember that you don’t need to be a scientist or a biologist, you just need your passion and love for the ocean and all the incredible living creatures that inhabit it. Our team of scientists will provide all knowledge and training to engage you adequately in the process of collecting coral reef health data.

3D Modelling of Colombia´s Reefs

In this expedition Corales de Paz and DeepCo pilot the UMapTool, a project collaboration to use digital imagery – photomosaics – to produce two-dimensional and three-dimensional benthic images, spatially georeferenced with high resolution, of Colombia´s coral reefs.


Day 1: Arrival and setup in Cartagena

18:00 – 18:30 Meet at designated point*

18:30 – 19:30 Registration and briefing for tomorrow´s activities*

19:30 – 20:30 Health and safety briefing


Day 2: Let´s recap and monitor those reefs

07:30 – 08:30 Preparation of diving equipment and briefing

08:30 – 10:30 Dive 1: Practice Reef Check  survey**

10:30 – 11:30 Surface interval

11:30 – 13:30 Dive 2: Reef Check survey**

13:30 – 14:30 Surface interval/

14:30 – 16:30 Dive 3: Reef Check survey**

18:30 – 19:30 Data capture and validation


Day 3: Last day to survey reefs

07:30 – 08:30 Preparation of diving equipment and briefing

08:30 – 11:00 Dive 4: Reef Check  survey**

11:00 – 12:00 Surface interval

12:00 – 14:30 Dive 5: Reef Check survey**

14:30 – 17:00 Lunch break

17:00 – 18:00 Conference “Salvemos Varadero – Hope Spot”

20:00 – Team building activity


Day 4: Clousure and return

09:30 – 011:00 Data capture and validation

11:00 – 12:00 Varadero´s coral reef status and trends

12:00 – 15:00 Lunch Break

15:00 – 18:00 Closure and free time on Cartagena

* Itinerary and times subject to change without prior notice due to weather and logistics.
**The objective of the dives is for the main Reef Check EcoDiver plan. For the other plans i.e. Reef Check EcoDiver Course and Discover Reef Check, the dives will be simultaneous but will have other objectives.

We invite you read some notes about our previous Reef Checks in Cartagena and Varadero´s reef. These are notes, reports and experiences from our previous participants, staff and others.  You can also find the results and infographics made with the information on coral reef health that participants help to collect. If you want more in-depth information please visit Reef Check´s online database.

Latest Notes from the Field

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These are infographics made with the information on coral reef health that participants help to collect. If you want more in-depth information please visit Reef Check´s online database.

Infografia Cartagena Reef Check 2019

Additional information




4 Days

Join as

Discover RC Full, EcoDiver, EcoDiver Candidate

Program Reviews

5.00 based on 1 review
June 1, 2020

Durante el fin de semana del 22 al 25 de agosto pasado, tuve grata oportunidad de vivir una primera vez en cuatro años de labor voluntaria en defensa y gobernanza ambiental de los Corales de Varadero. Es que es, y sigue siendo extraño, que un no-biólogo, con temor al agua, haya estado defendiendo algo que jamás había visto de frente durante sus 39 años de edad cronológica. Como quien dice: cree y confía en lo que quieres, sin necesidad alguna de verle o sentirle. Eso mismo ocurrió en Varadero: el equipo de Ecodivers de Corales de Paz liderados por Phanor y la bióloga Ángela Alegría-Ortega, en medio de su experticia y cientificidad, hizo un invaluable espacio para yo (siquiera) pudiera re-aprender a patalear en el agua.

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