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Costa Rica Scuba

Marine Conservation + Scuba Diving

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Help regenerate coral reefs

We are delighted to be able to offer this new program working with Marine Conservation Costa Rica - a non-profit organization based in the hip little harbour town of Quepos, close to the famous National Park of Manuel Antonio, who are dedicated to working towards a better ocean.

Founded in 2019 by the dynamic duo - Katharine Evans and Georgia King, who wanted to combine their love of diving with helping to make a difference to the reefs of today which are struggling to survive due the rise in sea temperatures and pollution.

This project means they can now focus on what they love… protecting the local marine environment and teaching about marine conservation. A perfect combination.

Working closely with Kat and Georgia we have created this unique 4-week program which involves teaching you to scuba dive up to advanced level so that you can help the conservation team with their flagship coral nursery and restoration project.

This is what we have planned...

Venture out to Costa Rica to learn to scuba dive so you can help marine scientists regenerate the coral reefs off the stunning Costa Rican coastline.


Program Itinerary

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

The following is a sample itinerary.

Overview

Quepos

Welcome to Quepos
As a tropical inlet backed by rainforest, Quepos is a small booming harbour town on the pacific coast, famous for being one of the best places in the world for big-game sport fishing as well as the gateway to the Manuel Antonio National Park, which is only 7 kilometer south.

The park’s mangroves, lagoons and beach-lined rainforests shelter howler, white-faced and squirrel monkeys – so get your binos at the ready.

Nearby you’ve also got sandy stretches of Playa Espadilla and Playa Biesans, before heading Northwest to visit the Damas Island mangrove estuary which is home to caimans, snakes and iguanas – so plenty to see and do at the weekends.

Accommodation

Local homestays .Each family can accommodate about average 4-6 students and are approximately a 5-minute walk from the dive centre.

All the homestays have been personally chosen by Geo and Kat and provide a cosy homely vibe and have been looking after their volunteers for several years now.

Food

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

Wk 1

Scuba Diving Training and conservation dives

Advanced PADI
You need to be able to dive up to advanced level to contribute to the reef program. This is so we can guarantee you have good buoyancy techniques. If you arrive with these courses already under your belt then you will be taken out for refresher, buoyancy awareness dives or other training while you wait for the others to catch up.

Online Academics
Academics for both core padi courses will be conducted online. All students signed up will receive access codes to their academics one month before arriving and will need to have their open water academics completed online before arrival.

Certifications achieved.
Aside from the open water and advanced certification, students will gain the certification in PADI Coral restoration and PADI Coral research.

Project/Diving outline
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: Coral restoration training and survey training.
Week 3 and 4: Coral nursery and survey data collecting.

Each week there will be two days off gas - which is usually at the weekends. Expect to dive at least 4 days per week.


Wks 2 - 4

Marine Conservation Coral Nursery and Restoration Project

Coral nursery and coral restoration
Your main aim here is help this flagship project which is based on the immediate coastline around Manuel Antonio. The project aims to literally grow and restore the local reef to keep the local ecosystem health

Coral reefs worldwide are exposed to multiple human threats and persisting global change impacts, causing coral reef degradation. In the Tropical Eastern Pacific, coral reefs have been affected by rising sea temperatures, unsustainable fishing practices, sedimentation from rivers, and runoff from agriculture and human populations.

In response to this, Geo and Kat have developed a two-step restoration project which involves an in-situ nursery phase and then transplantation of nursery-farmed coral colonies back onto the main reef. It’s genius, totally sustainable and effective. They are making great progress, but help is always required, and this is where you will contribute - by literally harvesting, growing and replanting the baby corals.

The team out there will give you full guidance and teach you about the eco-systems, fish and hopefully you will get to see the passing whales which migrate past this area several times a year.

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Covid Protocol

Your Social Bubble

While you are here the team will be split into 2 family houses close to each other and only a 5 minute walk from the dive centre. Each family can sleep 4-6.Both households, combined will become your ‘bubbles’.

Handwash and cough and sneeze protocol all to be will be respected.There will be foot baths and handwashing stations around the house, plus lots of alcohol gel.

Any members not living in the house or in the dive centre will be considered outside the bubble and will have to socially distance and wear facemasks when with them.

All the families have been personally chosen by Georgia and Kat and provide a cosy, homely vibe and have been looking after their volunteers for several years now.

Expect your rooms to be basic with 2 to 3 beds per room with storage. Bathrooms are shared, a laundry service and basic WIFI.

Breakfast and supper will be provided at the homestay, consisting of good wholesome local food – so expect lots of rice and beans, meat/protein and salad. Breakfast varies between cereal, fruits, pinto (beans) and eggs. Lunch is extra down at the marina in one of the local delis.

When moving around the town everyone will have to respect the social distancing rules and wear masks when they are in shops, cafes and supermarkets.

Program Details & Costs

We have five departures to Costa Rica throughout the year: February, April, May, July and September for 4 weeks. This runs independently or combines nicely with the other Costa Rica program and /or Cuba.

Discounts available if you do both programs.

Options and costs

2021 dates depart in Feb, April, May, July and September. This program combines perfectly with Costa Rica Turtles and Cuba. Get in touch for more information about combining.

Whats included?

Combine with:

This scuba program combines perfectly with the other 4 week Costa Rica program based in Santa Teresa which includes turtle conservstion, spanish and community. If you do both you there will be a discount of £500. Get intouch for more information.

Budget:

Flights: £800 (depending on time of year and availability)

Beach Life

Bliss. You will be close to the beach and right in the town so easy to get about.

Social Life

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

The Bigger Picture

Be part of a flagship project.

Skills

Learn to scuba dive which is a fantastic life skill to have.

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.

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



Leaper's Highlights

Have a read of what our Leapers have been getting up to...

Painting signs, recycling and turtles Lucy Dickens

So the first week of our stay in Costa Rica at Jakera is done. In my opinion I feel it has gone slowly but for others it’s gone quite fast. Our first day was just travelling from the airport to Jakera. It was a LONG journey, mini bus then a ferry and then a mini bus again. But the next day was great it was a free day but most of us all went out to watch the sunset and for dinner. The sunset here is so beautiful!

A lot of us have tried various restaurants and some have been amazing and some not so much. But while we’re here why not try something new and not order a burger?

Spanish lessons. I’ve started to really enjoy our Spanish it’s so nice to be able learn the language whilst we are here. We have different groups based on your level of understanding but we all have them in the morning.

One of the projects we have been doing is creating signs for the beach on littering, recycling, no vehicles on the beach and rocky areas. To finish them it took us maybe 3 days as we had to let the paint dry so we could go over to outline it.

Our turtle watches. I’m afraid to say we have not seen any baby turtles yet as they haven’t hatched. We hope they will in the next day or two. We all take 3 hour shifts everyday from 6am till 12pm. The shifts were uneventful and slightly painful sitting for 3 hours with no turtles. But hey they will come some day!

We also have had a trip to another beach to teach some kids how to surf. When I say the word teach I use it loosely, we took them out spun them around and then pushed them when a wave came. It was a lot of fun being able to help them out and play with them though.

Hopefully we will see turtles next at Montezuma. Until then it was lovely chatting with you!

Turtle hatcheries, surfing, yoga and more Emily Dinovo

We began building our own turtle hatchery at Banana Beach in Santa Teresa on Monday. Jakera decided they would like to take on the mission of helping out the turtles themselves. With our shovels and rakes we cleared out an area and began digging as well as made signs for the new hatchery. We spent a couple of our mornings this week surfing. With the help of Chris, we rented a couple of surf boards, got up early in the morning and headed down to the beach. Since Henry surfs almost daily back home in California, he acted as our surf instructor and helped us attempt to catch a couple of waves. Also, this week Kat and I attended another yoga class. This one was also at sunset. The yoga classes always make us feel very relaxed and, while some of the stretches may be strange or difficult, it’s very enjoyable.

On Friday, as a group, we decided to take a short weekend trip to a town called Tamarindo. I was impressed to see paved roads and sidewalks. The first day we arrived, we didn’t waste any time finding a place to eat lunch. As we explored the new town and the new night life, we started the night off with a toast to our friends that couldn’t be there with us and to the ones that have already made their way back home. Saturday was spent relaxing at the beach and visiting the shops in town.

Sunday, we booked a boat tour on the river. Tamarindo is known for its crocodiles and we saw a few, we also were able to see monkeys, different types of birds and iguanas. To see the monkeys our guide had us get off the boat and walk through the jungle. We also discovered a new kind of insect this weekend. Our time in Tamarindo was a great way to spend the weekend and I felt that we were able to bond in a different kind of way than before. The next day would be spent going back to Santa Teresa for a final week before we all head our separate ways back home.

Tyre garden, hot springs and reforestation Maya Sanden

Monteverde has been a very different experience, since we got to work in a variety of places!

For the first week, we helped out at a local school with their gardening project. There were multiple different beds that needed work, as well as a cute car tyre garden that we created! The best part of that week was working together. The tyre garden came together from nothing with everyone helping in different ways. It was nice to have a project to work on from start to finish, and at the end, we left our mark, with everyone painting their hands and leaving handprints! We had lots of fun and did lots of work! The kids at this school were just as welcoming as the last school, and we played games with them during free time. The kids were always willing to help, and insisted on grabbing our shovels and paint brushes and being a part of the team!

In our free time, we got to explore the Monteverde Reserve, discovering beautiful overlooks and an amazing suspension bridge! It was wonderful to be able to actually get to know the trails that we worked on, and we loved the forests so much we went back for more, doing hikes over and over again and making sure everyone in the group got to see it.

Last weekend, we found out about some natural hot springs nearby and a group of us braved the long, slippery walk down to relax in them! It was definitely worth the hike- the view of the hills was incredible, and the hot springs were two levels high and right next to a beautiful waterfall. We spent the entire afternoon there, leaving right as it started to rain.

We’re very excited for our reforestation work next week, look out for more info and pics on it soon!
When we aren’t working, we’ve been exploring Santa Elena, finding great restaurants and ice cream shops! The area is beautiful, but walking the hills every day wears us out, so we’ve had early bedtimes here. The host families we’re staying with have been incredibly welcoming and accommodating, and we’re trying to practice our Spanish more with them!

"Don't even bother continuing to look for your Overseas Experience - this is the one you want"

If you love being outdoors, being with surrounded by like minded adventurers, and going on worldview changing experiences then THIS is the trip to go on!

There's nothing NOT to love about The Leap's Madagascar program and MRCI - the Malagasy organization you'll be volunteering for. When you arrive on Nosy Be, one of MRCI's charismatic staff members will meet you at the airport and take you across the small island to the port, where you'll hop on an incredibly scenic boat ride to your basecamp on Nosy Komba: Turtle Cove. The boat will drop you off at the beach where you'll get your first glimpse of paradise on Earth. As you walk up into the camp, which is built and blended into the rocky hillside, you'll be greeted by other (inevitably glowing and happy) volunteers who can help show you the ropes.

The worst part of this trip is that eventually, you have to leave. If it was up to me I'd still be enjoying the endless 80° weather and honing my fish identifying skills right now. So don't even bother continuing to look for your Overseas Experience - this is the one you want.

- Isaac

"Thank you for the best month of my life and for all the memories I will cherish forever!​​"

I miss waking up at camp every morning surrounded by an incredibly special group of people, knowing that each day would start with a new adventure and end watching the insane Namibian sunset. Red and Dre are two of the most inspiring people and I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to learn so much from them, and help in a range of ways with their conservation work.

It is strange how quickly you adjust to bush life and nothing will compare once you leave. I cannot wait to visit Kum Kum in the future and see how much has changed.

- Freya

"Safe, organised gap year travel"

What an amazing organisation. From the minute we first rang to enquire about projects to today (my daughter arriving home from Tanzania this morning) I just can't fault anybody. Emily has had the most amazing time in Tanzania and all the staff have been wonderful at keeping me informed when there were problems (nothing serious thankfully).

I would have no hesitation in recommending the company for safe, organised Gap Year travel. Emily will have wonderful memories for life and I'm so proud of her and grateful for the support given by The Leap. Thank you so much

- Tracey Talbut

"The leap is an awesome company who takes care of every aspect of your trip to make sure you can enjoy it to the fullest"

This trip was honestly amazing and I would highly recommend anyone to take the opportunity to do it.

I met amazing staff and locals over the 6 weeks and also amazing people who I still stay in contact with and I can’t wait to see during the rest of my travels.

The outreach was definitely a highlight as you get to explore more islands and do different activities. The locals are amazing and the sense of community and the appreciation for volunteers makes it so worth doing. I did forest conservation because I love animals and hiking but with the leap your programme is flexible and if you prefer to teach you can switch over as well which you don’t get with other company’s.

What you should know is GO THROUGH THE LEAP!

- Brooke

"An unforgettable experience"

I received so much support and positive energy from the team at The Leap; nothing was too much trouble, and contact was maintained by e-mail while I was in Nepal. I started to teach within a couple of days of my arrival, supporting a member of staff. However, within a couple of days I was asked if I wanted to teach on my own. My core subjects were English and maths, but I taught basic hygiene too since there is a lack of understanding amongst the children about germs, hand washing and personal care.

If you want to give your time, skills and energy to a welcoming community, please contact The Leap and opt for a project in Nepal. Like me, you will have an unforgettable experience.

- Keith Donald

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