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Costa Rica Marine Gap Year Programme

PADI + Yoga + Spanish


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Help regenerate coral reefs

Whilst learning to scuba dive, speak Spanish and a few yoga poses.

Welcome to our action packed 3-week programme which combines learning to scuba dive (up to advanced level), contributing to coral regeneration, speaking Spanish, and practicing your yoga poses before exploring the magic of Manuel Antonio National Park, and the adrenaline of white-water rafting.

You will be based in Quepos, a pretty harbour town on the Pacific Coast, about 2 hours from San Jose, and nestled under Manuel Antonio’s jungle canopy. From here you have quick access to explore the National Park, the beautiful white beaches, and the mangrove estuary which is home to caimans, monkeys, and iguanas.

This programme is perfect for those looking for a team experience where you will learn new skills in a picture perfect setting. Throughout the 3 weeks you will be experience a dynamic and contrasting mix of, PADI diving courses, Spanish, yoga and adventure.

This is what we have planned...

Costa Rica Marine Gap Year Programme

Costa Rica Marine Programme Itinerary

You will be based in the hip little town of Quepos, where you will help the dynamic NGO called Marine Conservation Costa Rica, who are making a huge difference to our ocean.

The following is a sample itinerary.



Welcome to Quepos

A tropical inlet backed by rainforest, Quepos is a pretty harbour town on the Pacific Coast, famous for being one of the best places in the world for scuba-diving and fishing as well as being the gateway to the spectacular Manuel Antonio National Park.

Manuel Antonio National Park is abundant with mangroves, lagoons and beach-lined rainforests, home to howler, white-faced and squirrel monkeys – so binos at the ready.

While you are in one of the greatest locations of Costa Rica, it is only right that you make the most of where you are on your free time at weekends - horse riding, deep sea fishing and whale watching all available. Your team leaders will be on hand to advice you when you get there.


Local homestays all personally chosen by Geo and Kat (our programme co-ordinators). Expect a homely, cozy vibe and they have been looking after our leapers for several years now.


Breakfast and supper in the homestay.
Lunch is not included. Most volunteers eat in one of the local cafes near the dive centre.

Costa Rica Marine Gap Year Programme

Scuba diving and coral restoration PADI Training and conservation dives

PADI training and conservation dives
The heart of this programme centers around completing your open water and advanced PADI diving courses, so you can contribute to a sustainable, and effective coral restoration project, set up by the dynamic NGO called Marine Conservation Costa Rica.

The team will teach you about the complex eco-systems and how to harvest, and replant the baby corals back on the reef.

Open water and advanced PADI
You will need to be able to dive up to advanced level to contribute to the reef programme. This is so we can guarantee you have good buoyancy techniques. Academics for both PADI courses will be conducted online, over the first couple of days in Costa Rica.

Week 1: Base training program to get students up to Advanced open water level. If you already hold these base certifications, there are options to complete buoyancy and other training instead, just let us know.

Week 2 and 3: Coral restoration dives.

Costa Rica Marine Gap Year Programme

Spanish + Yoga Mind, Body and soul

Interwoven into your 3 weeks will be conversational Spanish and yoga lessons.

Having the basics of Spanish up your sleeve is invaluable to help you get around Central and South America, as English is not wildly spoken. Throughout the 3 weeks - informal, yet effective conversational Spanish lessons will be interwoven into the itinerary but practicing will be nonstop as you will be living with a local family who only speak very basic English.

6 lessons included

Yoga and a healthy living life style is an integral part of Costa Rican life – yoga studios, fresh smoothies and delicious food are everywhere. It doesn't matter if you have never done yoga before, you will be guided through the lessons and you will reap the benefits to help you stretch out and decompress post diving.

5 lessons included

Costa Rica Marine Gap Year Programme

Adventure Whitewater rafting + canopy tour

White-water rafting + canopy tour

You are living right beside the world-famous Manuel Antonio National Park so the plan is to take you inside the park to experience the jungle in all its glory, seeking out thundering waterfalls, elusive wildlife and the spectacular native birds.

It is a breath-taking environment, so be prepared.

On another day you will head off to white water raft down the Savegre River, which is a grade 3 - 4 depending on the time of year. Please note this is included but entirely optional.

Costa Rica Marine Gap Year Programme
Costa Rica Marine Gap Year Programme

Did you know?

Onward travel has never been so easy

Book a programme with us and you will receive a complimentary 12 month subscription to our Backpacking Advice Hub. This Hub is your one stop shop for all things travel advice, itineraries, handy insider hints and tips to really get the most from your travels. It is a must-have resource for independent travel post-Leap.

Our teams never want to come home post-programme and often choose to add on a phase of independent travel with their new found friends - making the most of their gap year. Costa Rica is perfectly placed to add on a phase in Guatemala, Mexico and Panama.

A leap volunteer scuba diving in Costa Rica
Volunteers white water rafting in costa rica.
Accomodation in Costa Rica.
sloth in costa rica.
Quepos beach in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica's Details & Costs

We have several departures to Costa Rica throughout the year, which run independently or combine nicely with the other Costa Rica programmes.

Please note you need to be 18 years old or over at the time of travel.

Max team size of 12 per departure.

Download Itinerary

Options and costs

Whats included?


Flights: £1000 (depending on time of year and availability)

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Learning A New Skill

Gain your PADI Advanced and Open Water certificates, something you can use for the rest of your life.

The Bigger Picture

Be part of a flagship project doing vital work to regenerate Costa Rica's fragile coral reefs.

Bitesized Programme

At only 3 weeks long this is perfect to kick off your gap year travels, especially with the Spanish lessons - perfect if you're continuing your travels around Central/South America

Small Teams

Team sizes are usually 4-8 so great if you want a more intimate environment.

Weekends will generally be free time. There are many amazing activities to be enjoyed in and around Quepos on the beaches and National Park. Kat and Georgia will advise when you are there.

Please note

Travel at the weekend, or any of these extra activities, is at your own expense and risk. We cannot be responsible but, if anything happens, we will of course be there to assist.

Costa Rica Marine Gap Year Programme

Marine Conservation Costa Rica was founded in 2019 by Katharine Evans and Georgia King, who met in 2005 in Costa Rica. Over the years they have worked together, as scuba diving instructors and on various conservation projects.

Together they will run this program with the help of their conservation diving team and are passionate about regenerating the reefs around this coast line. They are an inspiration.

Costa Rica Marine Gap Year Programme

Watch our videos

Costa Rica Scuba Gap Year Programme

Life underwater

Costa Rica Scuba Gap Year Programme

Padi + reef + turtles

Costa Rica Scuba Gap Year Programme

Reef regeneration + padi courses

" I felt really enriched by the end of it"

I just wanted to let you know that I'm safely back in the UK, and missing Costa Rica already! A huge thank you to you though, as I had an absolutely wonderful time - everything was so well organised, and so comprehensive. All the volunteering was great, and I felt really enriched by the end of it, and well prepared for the little bit of solo travelling I did. I'm so so glad that I went and I will really treasure the time I spent there (especially in the months until lockdown ends!).

- Rose

"This experience was life changing."

Although this is from a personal point of view, I wanted to share the great personal development this trip gave me. I believe travel and unknown/unusual environments affect and shape any individual.

It altered my being in a way i find hard to articulate, it changes you and challenges you that no 9-5 working existence ever could.

- Olivia

"You changed my life"

I love Jakera more than anything and you guys changed my life so much. I am forever in debt to all the things I have learnt here and the people I have been lucky enough to meet. Thank you to every single person at Jakera.

- Jack R

"An amazing group of leapers"

Hi Milly,

I got home last week from 2 months in Costa Rica. I did the Adventure programme and just wanted to send you a quick message to say thank you, I and everyone enjoyed it so so much. We were so lucky to have an amazing group of leapers, we all agreed that 24 was the perfect amount. It was enough to have a party and have a variety of people but not too big so we couldn’t get to know everyone really well. The trip set me up so well to travel independently with friends afterwards, in fact, 18 of us all travelled together for a while after! I will definitely be recommending The Leap to friends.

Thank you for your speedy replies and always picking up the phone!

- Georgina Lound

"The best experience of my life!"

Thanks to everyone involved as they have managed to make the trip a once and a life experience! I have learnt so much about the local community which will stay with me forever, this has shown that at home we are so privileged in every aspect of life and that anything we have done for the community has and could change lives. Also helping the fish community and restoring the ocean has opened my eyes.

- Niamh Anderson

"I would say 100% I was able to make a positive contribution"

I was helping the community by making the beach cleaner and also helping protect the turtles from poachers and plastic in the ocean.

- Kit


Hi to all at The Leap,

This is a bit late but a huge thank you to everyone who was involved in organising Herbie Purces Costa Rica trip. In his own words “it was insane”.

So wonderful they had a “normal” experience in abnormal times.

Our thanks again

- Gwen Purce

"The Leap were very thorough"

I spoke to The Leap and they gave me thorough information regarding what to take and what to expect. If I didn't have anything Chris at Jakera would always help me get what I needed.

- Kit P

"So reliable"

In one of the most complicated spaces in time, Milly and team stresslessly organised the trip to Costa Rica and Guatemala giving our son a wonderful opportunity and set of memories he would otherwise not have had. And when the regs changed again while they were out there the well oiled machine that is the Leap just reconfigured and continued!

I simply can't recommend them more highly!

- Henry

"Unstinting & cheerful help!"

Just to say Ollie got to CR & has now met up with his friends! Quite a journey! Thanks to you & all The Leap team for your unstinting & cheerful help! I fear I may be in touch in due course about exiting CR but meanwhile best of luck with all your current trips & I’ll leave you in peace!

- Julia Rooth

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