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Written by The Leap on 09 / 08 / 2018

Gap Year Advice

Here at The Leap we have 24 different gap year programs on offer for you, all contain the perfect combination of volunteering, adventure, travel and culture.

If you’re struggling to decide what to do on your gap year then don’t worry, I’ve put together a highlight reel of our best gap year programs of 2018 so far

Like what you see? Book your spot here


In a nutshell… 8 weeks of community development, teaching and elephant conservation in a country that is truly in need of your time and dedication.

What has been achieved so far in 2018?

This year volunteers joining our Cambodia gap year program have achieved the following:

  • Construction of 2 wells in villages without access to clean water
  • Completed 2 toilet blocks in villages with little sanitation
  • 90 hours teaching English to year 6 – 13 kids
  • Painted and refurbished a school
  • Taught healthy living and hygiene to primary school kids
  • Assisted in the care of elephants at the sanctuary in Mondulkiri

It’s one of our best because… Cambodia has a recent, violent history and volunteers are able to make a positive difference in the slow recovery, the kids are incredibly grateful and engaging, the beaches are stunning, and getting up close to elephants is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Coming to Cambodia?

Costa Rica

In a nutshell… 10 weeks of Spanish, surfing, turtle conservation, reforestation, recycling and environmental education with a snappy adventure into the cloud forest in search of sloths.

What has been achieved so far in 2018?

To date volunteers taking part in our Costa Rica gap year program have:

  • Set up a recycling system in the town, including a depot with infographic signs
  • Overseen the safe release of over 1,500 hatchling turtles
  • Maintained a flourishing nursery and replanted many saplings back into the forest
  • Taught classes of local kids about water safety and how to swim
  • Conducted numerous street, forest and beach cleans maintaining the blue flag status of Santa Teresa’s beaches

It’s one of our best because… the project work is diverse, the location is stunning, volunteers actively see the benefit of their work, lives are being saved – both human and turtle – and the surfing is some of the best in the world.

Live the Pura Vida life in Costa Rica


In a nutshell… 10 weeks of indigenous community development in the Andes and Lowland Jungle, adventure down the Ruta de los Volcanes, conservation in the Galapagos and relaxation in the Amazon rainforest.

What has been achieved so far in 2018?

To date volunteers participating in our Ecuador gap year program have worked hard from start to finish achieving the following:

  • Taught English to adults and kids throughout the communities
  • Refurbished schools in Agato
  • Completed a spa to boost tourism for the Tsachila tribe
  • Planted plantains and bananas
  • Harvested beans, corn and cacao
  • Created and maintained a protected area for the endangered Galapagos giant tortoise
  • Continued work of previous volunteers with riding therapy for disabled children in the Galapagos

It’s one of our best because… you get to experience the jungle, Andes and Galapagos all-in-one, projects are working to actively preserve ancient traditions in indigenous communities and the generosity, spirit and openness of the Ecuadorian people is hard to find anywhere else.

Learn more about Ecuador


In a nutshell… 10 weeks living on a remote tropical island working on marine conservation, forest conservation and teaching projects with a 10-day island outreach adventure as part of the mix.

What has been achieved so far in 2018?

Volunteers joining our Madagascar gap year program have contributed to existing projects being run at the camp and have got involved in the following:

  • Monitoring of the coral reef inside and outside of the local Marine Protected Area
  • Turtle ID and nesting projects
  • Many beach cleans
  • Environmental education with communities across the island
  • Conservation and research of black lemurs and numerous species of reptile, amphibian and bird
  • Agroforestry promoting sustainable subsistence agriculture across the island
  • Planted over 1000 mangrove saplings
  • Taught English across 4 adult and 6 kids classes weekly
  • Started the construction of a clinic in a remote coastal village on the mainland

It’s one of our best because… volunteers have such a high impact within the community, the projects are hands on making a valuable difference, the wildlife is unique, the scenery is breathtaking and it’s a place you just couldn’t see in the same light as a tourist.

Madagascar is the one for me


In a nutshell… 4 weeks living in the remote Namibian desert working to create a national park out of an old hunting ranch. Overnight trekking and rafting expeditions are a standard weekly adventure.

What has been achieved so far in 2018?

This year volunteers on our Namibia gap year program contributed to the conservation of the reserve in the following ways:

  • Many game counts
  • Biodiversity, botanical and bird surveys
  • The set up of camera traps in search of leopards
  • Construction of a bird hide
  • Construction of a dam and water point
  • Removal of scrap and invasive species

It’s one of our best because… of the 3-day rafting adventure down the Orange River, the incredibly important mission of the project, the camp life including homemade pizza and sundowners, the stunning scenery and Andrea and Ed - our awesome scientist leaders who make the program what it is.

I need to go to Namibia


In a nutshell… 10 weeks taking in all of what Peru has to offer, from community development in Lake Titicaca and the Sacred Valley to conservation in the Amazon and hiking Colca Canyon and the one-and-only Machu Picchu.

What has been achieved so far in 2018?

Volunteers joining our Peru gap year program this year have worked hard to help each project, achieving:

  • Teaching over 60 hours of English to kids and adults in each community
  • Planting over 60 trees and hundreds of seeds on the community farms
  • Harvesting potatoes, cut wheat and corn
  • Preparing clay for brick making
  • Helping with moving cattle and sheep on the community farms
  • Replanting many native species in the Amazon

It’s one of our best because… you visit diverse and unique environments, help to preserve traditions that pre-date the Inca, you are able to explore the largest rainforest in the world and of course visit the unique and historic Machu Picchu.

Picture yourself in Peru?

And that’s not all…

In addition to the project achievements, life-long friendships have been made, eyes opened to possibilities outside the norm, languages and cultures learnt, new food eaten, new experiences tried, hours of fun had and unforgettable memories made.

It’s not too late to sign up to join our September or January teams… get planning now.

See our programs in action

Like the sound of these and want to get a feel for volunteer life on the ground? Watch the videos our Leapers have created of their time away across the world.

Check out our videos

Need inspiration and direction?

Get in contact with the gap year travel specialists.

Here at The Leap we can help both team traveller through our programmes and/or the backpacker.

Jot a message below or call us on +44 1672 519 9222

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