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Jamaica Gap Year Programme

Community, environment and adventure

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Jamaica Travel and Contribution

Community, Culture and Environment

Currently on hold.

Spend your gap year in Jamaica - on a perfectly formed Caribbean Island, in the West Indies – home to the famous Blue Mountains, rolling plantations of bananas and coffee, glorious beaches, waterfalls, coral reefs, the blue lagoon, creole food and of course reggae music – the heartbeat of the people. The capital Kingston has a lively night life with bars, clubs, and restaurants, and has been declared a "Creative City of Music" by UNESCO.

This 4-week gap year programme in Jamaica aims for you to explore the contrasting elements of the island, deep dive into their fascinating history, and embrace Jamaican life whilst contributing to community and environment.

Welcome to Jamaica, this is what we have in store for you...


Jamaica Gap Year Programme

This 4-week gap year programme in Jamaica explores the contrasting elements of the island, deep dives into their fascinating history, and embraces Jamaican life whilst contributing to community and environment.

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Jamaica's Program Itinerary

You will all be picked up from Kingston airport and taken to ‘Smokey Manor’ - your home from home for the next 4 weeks.

Smokey Manor is an old colonial house nestled on top of the picturesque hill of Smokey Vale, in the district of St. Andrew. Prepare yourself for breath taking views of the Blue Mountains to the East and Kingston to the South. You will love it here – green, lush with ferns, towering fruit trees, a cool breeze, and panoramic mountains. Heaven.

Your 4 week itinerary will include the following elements all interwoven together to create a fascinating and diverse mix of activities.

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Community Development Renovation

Jamaica has become synonymous with crystal clear waters and stunning beaches. However, there is so much more to it than that and like all shiny things there is always another side, and we want to show you just that.

Inland especially you will find lots of off-grid communities who struggle with daily practicalities, and this is where we want you to focus your attention.

The plan here is for you to contribute to a local community centre and give it a full make over – typical jobs: painting, cleaning, and tidying. Gestures like this have a profound effect on community life as they feel your energy and respect to them – instilling pride back into their community. While you will be doing this you will meet lots of incredible characters of all ages and clearly be working to the backdrop of Bob Marley.

You will also help with the weekly local soup kitchen.

Accommodation

Smokey Manor,dorm style accommodation.

Food

2 meals a day provided.
Packed lunches can be made on site or a snack bought when out and about.

Jamaica Gap Year Programme
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Environment and Conservation Reforestation and Plastic Pollution

Here you will focus on reforestation projects managed by the National Zoo, getting involved with replanting and caring for their nurseries. Plus beach clean ups with the local kids, teaching them the importance of recycling especially when it comes to plastic.

Accommodation

Smokey Manor, dorm style accommodation.

Food

2 meals a day provided.
Packed lunches can be made on site or a snack bought when out and about.

Jamaica Gap Year Programme
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Cultural Immersion Cooking and Culture

Interwoven into your itinerary you will have the chance to experience:

Jamaican Cooking Class
Join a Jamaican chef prepare some mouth-watering dishes - uncover local cooking secrets and learn the secret spices used by their ancestors.

Jamaican Dance Class
Ok, everyone must join in to learn the local moves, like "Lebih Lebih", "Genna Bounce", "Lowi mi nuh" and "Good things Dem".

Sundays: Church Service Tour
Must be experienced as the Jamaicans know how to sing and worship with a vibrancy that is hard to find anywhere else in the world. Their church services are alive with music and dancing. Utter joy.

Accommodation

Smokey Manor, dorm style accommodation.

Food

2 meals a day provided.
Packed lunches can be made on site or a snack bought when out and about.

Jamaica Gap Year Programme
Jamaica Gap Year Programme

Add on Independent Travel

Combine with Costa Rica and Guatemala

What we are finding is that our teams never want to come home post program and choose to add on a phase of independent travel with their new found friends - certainly making the most of their gap year. We can easily support this through our Leap VIP travel resource which every leaper has access to.

Jamaica is the perfect spring board for travelling on to Guatemala or Mexico with flights being reasonable and readily available. If you fancy heading slightly further afield you can head on down to South America to complete your gap year in Peru, Ecuador or Colombia to name a few. Please give us a shout and we can tell you more.

Jamaica Gap Year Programme
Jamaica Gap Year Programme
Jamaica Gap Year Programme
Jamaica Gap Year Programme
Jamaica Gap Year Programme

Options and costs

Whats included?

Aventure

From hiking Dunn's River Falls to swimming in the crystal clear waters of Clarence Beach, there is so much to do

Culture

From learning the local dance moves, cooking like a Jamaican pro, to meeting the locals this is real cultural immersion

Beach Life

Enjoy the tropical beaches for some down time

Social Life

The programme can accommodate up to 12 volunteers, who come from all over the world, so it's busy and fun.

Monday to Friday

This is a whirl wind tour where you are going to be busy everyday but we promise you some down time to experience some backpacker favourites, such as:

Clarence Beach Tour

Dunn's River Falls Tour

Portland Highlights Tour

Jamaica Gap Year Programme

It's time to reveal Jamaica's hidden gems

Jamaica is open and ready for you. Enjoy our 4 week programme to get you seeing the highlights of Jamaica and volunteering to make a real difference.

Each day the itinerary will be different but expect to carry out projects 5 days per week.

Project hours: 8-12am and 2-5pm, but this may vary from time to time depending on the activity.

Weekends are free to explore and make the most of Jamaica's highlights which your host Maureen will help arrange for you.

There is so much to see and do… hurry-on-over.
Jamaica Gap Year Programme

"One of my favorite memories from my trip to Costa Rica was the first time I released a baby turtle into the ocean"

I was immediately lucky because most baby turtles crawl out of their nests in the dead of night, so you don't get to enjoy the sight of seeing them walk to the water when it's so dark out.

When I saw my first baby turtle it was just before the sun went down, so it was still incredibly bright out! Watching all the babies push their little flippers against the sand as they fight to get to the water is something else. They are so excited to be alive! It's something so wonderfully inspiring that I will always remember.

- Madison

"I have seen some amazing things that I never would have otherwise been able to do"

I’ve had a really good experience at the leap. My two leaders Lizzie and Carmen were amazing. Really helpful and fun, making my experience much more enjoyable. Having them around also made me feel a lot more comfortable and safe. I have done and seen some amazing things that I never would have otherwise been able to do and have made a load more friends in the process.

- Lucy Wise

"An experience not to be missed!​​"

The Leap took all the responsibility and stress out of the gap year experience. Would advise that all teenagers do this part of their gap year before they 'free' travel. The Leap are highly professional and inclusive of parents.

- Sara

"I had the best month with The Leap"

I had the best month with The Leap. It was made so special by our amazing leaders Lizzie and Carmen who were always attentive but made sure everyone was having so much fun. As well as this everyone who I did the trip with was so incredible it was great how well we all got along and how fun we made every experience for each other, from building a shower in Cocal to laughing on a coffee tour in Monteverde to endless blissful beach days in Sámara. I would highly recommend The Leap to anyone looking to travel in a big group and enjoy moving from place to place at a really nice pace.

- Maddy Jones

"Thank-you Leap! They make sure you get a taste of everything the country has to offer"

Amazing experience - couldn’t recommend more highly ! Perfect for first time backpackers but great for anyone to be honest. Highly organised trip, all the places you stay in are super unique and cool - not like places you could find travelling on your own. They know all the best places to visit and things to do, the team leaders were AMAZING super nice and knew exactly what they were doing and always eased anxiety as they were very experienced. All the people that did it were so nice and there wasn’t one person of the 15 I didn’t get on with. I honestly have made 15 new amazing friends. So super fun!! They make sure you get a taste of everything the country has to offer (in my experience the Costa Rica adventure one) it is so so fun and you also get volunteering opportunities too which are super rewarding and nice to do multiple different types during the trip. Thank-you Leap! I didn’t get homesick or anxious which is saying a lot and I can put that down to the fun, people and team leaders

- Izzy Utley

"Grown in confidence"

I have grown in confidence from meeting new people and I have realised how much of an impact everyone could make with everyday things

- Louisa

" I can see why you are so highly recommended"

Incidentally, Georgia had a really, really good time on the Costa Rica Adventure trip. It was a fantastic experience for her. In addition, the admin and organisation surrounding the trip was first class. I can absolutely see why you are so highly recommended.

Many thanks for your help.

- Nicola Preston

"How on earth you have managed to pull this off I don't know!"

But you have all been absolutely incredible. I never could have imagined Charlie being able to take part in such a fantastic project in this, the strangest of years! I have huge admiration in your professionalism and ability to deliver in the toughest of times. Thank you so much, I'm sure the presence of the team will do wonders for the project and wonders for the Team Members... what a fantastic opportunity for them all!!

- Andrew Fairs

"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

"So helpful with everything..."

Dear Milly

Just wanted to say thank you for the way in which you and your team have looked after our kids.

I was very nervous about letting Sam do this all on his own, but you have walked him though every step and the team has been so helpful with every thing from Visa’s to sun cream.

Thank you for the photos and updates which is very reassuring when they are so far away.

I cannot recommend you and your team highly enough and wish you many more years of shepherding these young people in overseas travel. I have been recommending you to any lower 6thparents whose children are just getting to this stage.

Good luck and thank you again

Julie

- Julie

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