LEAP VIP - Sign up
Book

Costa Rica Scuba

Marine Conservation + Scuba Diving

Depart

Itinerary Options

Let's go

Looking for more flexible dates?See our current dates

Let us know your details below and we'll be in touch with options?

Help regenerate coral reefs

UPDATE (For British Citizens): Costa Rica is currently on the UK Hotel Quarantine Red List so our plan is to add 10 days in a non-red list destination on your way home to the UK.

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.

+

Red List Response Save and Responsible Travel

Travelling to a Red List Country

We want to reassure people that whilst the UK has added Costa Rica to a red list we closely monitor the covid situation and have effective covid safety policies in place and whilst covid is a risk in any country it’s not hampering our ability to safely run the program and not affecting any activity.

Whilst the rates have recently increased in Costa Rica, rates are steadily dropping and their vaccination rate is being effectively rolled out – they have vaccinated approx. 29% of the population (1 st dose).

The government have taken local initiatives to reduce covid numbers, such as maintaining a curfew from 9PM and closing various establishments that do not abide by their covid laws. These initiatives are working. None of these restrictions stop us from delivering the program or itinerary and with a like-minded team of people at the camp, being back in camp before 9 PM doesn’t affect the ability to socialise in camp either.

Costa Rica has an excellent medical system and there is no risk of lack of beds in hospitals especially in the numerous private hospitals which would be the hospitals that Leapers use through their travel insurance.

They have an effective trace system and no known variants of concern (that we are aware of). All of which surprises us that the UK government has made this decision.

The Costa Rica government welcome UK travellers who comply with their entry requirements and they are made very welcome in our project locations by the communities who are so pleased with the help that Leapers are providing, not just to the projects we support but also to the local economy.

To minimise risk, we provide comprehensive covid safety protocols (risk management) pre departure outlined in the placement guidelines, in our briefings and on the website and during the program we carry out induction briefings, provide safety instructions: hygiene/washing etc to comply with any local laws (social distance, curfews etc).

Much of the program takes place outside in well ventilated spaces in a warm climate, all of which significantly reduce the transmission of covid.

In the six months we have been successfully sent volunteers to Costa Rica we have not had one Leaper become seriously ill or hospitalized due to covid.

To safely and responsibly avoid UK hotel quarantine, we add on 11 nights in an amber country on the way home.

Flying to another country for 11 nights is also safe as its based on complying with that countries entry requirement (such as a negative PCR test) before you can enter.

We will continue to run our programs for those who would like to go and will endeavour to find safe and responsible solutions to get you home.

+

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 several departures to Costa Rica throughout the year, which run independently or combine nicely with the other Costa Rica programs and Cuba.

Options and costs

2021 dates depart in Feb, March, April, May, June, July and November.

Whats included?


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!

Watch our videos

Costa Rica Scuba

June 2021

Costa Rica Scuba

April 2021

Costa Rica Scuba

February 2021

"I would love to come back"

I came in with my open water and I was very happy to gain the extra speciality courses. The marine conservation part was incredibly rewarding and I would love to come back.

- George Lockwood

"They have the gap year formula spot on"

Speaking only for our experience with Costa Rica, The Leap know and understand the country so well. The team communicated brilliantly-they were always pro active and accessible, nothing felt like too much trouble and they never made you feel like your question or concern was a silly one.

They have the gap year formula spot on. All the reassurance that parents need whilst safely delivering the freedom and adventure that the volunteers want-and all through a Pandemic (!)

My daughter had the absolute time of her life with them and I’m sure has made friends for life, I wouldn’t hesitate in giving them the very highest recommendation possible.

- Frances (mum)

Get in contact

With the covid travel experts

Worried about how to travel and plan your gap year through this pandemic?

We can help. We have sent lots of gappers away through the last 10 months and can confidently call ourselves Covid Travel Experts. Get in contact to start the ball rolling.


Or give us a call on +44 1672 519 922

And chat with one of our friendly and knowledgeable team

Opt in below to help us keep track of your planning, so each time you talk to us you can pick up where you left off.

Yes please, let's keep life simple.