Costa Rica Adventure with Gapforce

Video and Photos

Costa Rica Expedition
Costa Rica Expedition
Monkey
Monkey
The Jungle
Costa Rica Expedition
Costa Rica Expedition
Camp water source
Costa Rica Expedition
Costa Rica Expedition
The team on my last day!
Costa Rica Expedition
Costa Rica Expedition

About

Costa Rica has some of the greatest biodiversity on earth and it’s also an active traveller’s dream location with surfing, hiking, ziplining, snorkelling and loads more!

On this epic 4 week adventure, you will experience the majesty of the Monteverde cloud forest and Arenal Volcano, help our local partners in their efforts to save the endangered sea turtles, explore the rainforest and relax on the stunning Caribbean coastline. Costa Rica really has something for everyone!

Highlights
  • Zip-line though the Monteverde cloud forest
  • Get active in the Arenal National Park
  • Volunteer on a vital turtle conservation project
  • Experience the wonders the rainforest
  • Soak up some sun on golden Caribbean beaches

Questions & Answers

Reviews

94%
based on 13 reviews
  • Housing 8.8
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.2
  • Value 8.8
  • Safety 8.8
Showing 1 - 13 of 13
Default avatar
Peter
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Gazforce

Enjoyed it all saw everything I wanted to see and more
Got to experience once in a lifetime events
Learned a lot about the country and the culture whilst downing litres of hot chocolate
Had an amazing time in quepos doing the marine conservation and
scuba diving
As the diving usually finished at around 1 we had the rest of the day to explore and chill on the beach. The bus to the next down was very cheap which had great beaches
Learning about the bri bri was amazing and and the jungle section was quite an experience
The turtle sanctuary was a shock but an amazing experience I never thought I would see a leatherback turtle especially one digging it’s nest to lay eggs in was something I will never forget
The food on the whole trip was amazing rice and beans or beans with rice I never got bored of them.
The staff were all great and helpful worth going on

What would you improve about this program?
The packing list was a confusing for me personally and could do with some refining there was not much specifics so I overpacked and had to carry it all around but not really that much of an issue
Default avatar
Lydia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica Review

I had a great time on my Costa Rica trip with gapforce. I was really nervous going into it because I had never traveled alone before. Everyone was super nice and supportive, so I quickly made some great friends. I loved every second of the trip and feel that I grew as a person. I spent the first 2 weeks in Quepos on the pacific side learning to scuba dive. That was a lot of fun and our instructors were awesome. Our group stayed at a home stay which allowed us to practice our very beginner spanish and really get a feel for the Costa Rican culture. The last 2 weeks we went to the Caribbean's side. There we volunteered at a macaw sanctuary, a cocoa farm, and a turtle sanctuary. It was a lot of hard work, but it was very rewarding. Overall I had a great experience and met a lot of really cool people. I definitely recommend this trip to anyone looking for an adventure!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice would be to step out of your comfort zone and have fun! I was terrified, as this was my first time travelling alone. I had an amazing experience and grew a lot as person because of this trip!
Default avatar
Luke
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Marine Adventure

I had an absolutely amazing time in Costa Rica! Despite being nervous about travelling alone and not knowing anyone there I felt so comfortable as soon as I arrived. The first two weeks of my trip involved learning to scuba dive, getting to see the coral reefs and the marine life that calls it home was incredible, my instructor Sam was so helpful and a brilliant teacher! I loved exploring the area in my free time and had some of the best moments of my life with the friends I met on the trip. The last two weeks of my trip involved volunteering on a few different projects, which was mostly a great experience, especially visiting a indigenous cacao farm, as well as the turtle conservation, despite not being lucky enough to see a turtle. I didn’t really enjoy the volunteering at the Green Macaw sanctuary; it required lots of digging up mud and because the trip is so full on and the hot, humid conditions it was very hard work. Living in the jungle for a few days was an exciting experience, I had a lot of fun especially on solo night, making my own fire and cooking my own food and quickly got used to the many animals and sounds that seemed pretty scary at first! Our group was able to go out for a few nights out to experience the local nightlife and traditional food which allowed us to relax, have fun and get to know each other better, salsa night was a personal favourite of mine! To sum it up I had an amazing experience with some amazing people and I would recommend this to solo travelers who are looking to do the same.

What would you improve about this program?
Personally as a first time traveller I would have liked to have been able to see the itinerary a few days in advance just to get a better idea of what we would be doing as some of the activities on the brochure can change.
Default avatar
Lucy
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience

I had an amazing time in Costa Rica! I was really nervous before the trip but the minute I got there GapForce made us feel welcome and very safe. The staff are amazing and really supportive all the way through the trip. We travelled all over the country and I did things I never thought I would do and will likely never get the chance to do again. For example, zip lining over ravines, or going to a Coffee Farm. Made great friends and met interesting people from all over the country. I would recommend this trip to anyone who is travelling alone, or who wants to see a whole new culture and lifestyle. Going into the jungle was massively interesting and nowhere near as scary as you’d think (if you don’t mind insects too much). I saw loads of wildlife such as crocodiles, monkeys, sloths and coatis. An all round wonderful trip!!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Walking into the jungle for the first time terrfied me as I don’t have much experience in the out doors but it was amazing once I was in.
Danii
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica

So when i went to Costa Rica I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Having only the brief information and no further contact on what was going on it was a slightly scary unknown. So when me and my best friend walked off the plan we had no idea who we were meeting or where we would be going. Thankfully we walked out of the airport to the smiling face of Joe. Who was not just our leader but a great friend and a massive part of the trip being fun. Throughout my month away i faced so many fears and believe i grew a lot as a person. Whether it was small things like trying rice and beans, as i am an extremely fussy eater, or the big things like zip lining across the rainforest, i made sure to give everything a go. And i definitely would have regretted it if i didn't. Being someone who is extremely scared of heights i was extremely nervous to zip line but due to the support around me i gave it a go and i must say it was one of the best days of my life! There were so many once in a life time experiences throughout the trip and even though some things do not go to plan (For example the hostel set on fire) I would not change it for the world . Both the experience and the people. I would not have had the same experience without them, and Joe was definitely a good leader that helped me enjoy the trip to the fullest.

Default avatar
Michela
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica wilderness/survival medicine trip

I thoroughly enjoyed this trip and learnt much about what to consider when being a medic on an expedition. As the role of medic and expedition leader can be quite interchangeable - often trips will have one person doing both roles - a lot of our training focused on how to look after the group and things to consider when leading an expedition.

I also learnt a lot about my own body and how I cope with such a tough environment, this was a very important lesson as it will help me to consider my group members and what health problems they could potentially encounter.

The Spanish lessons around the fire in the evening were particularly enjoyable and, unlike learning a language at school, we learnt very useful phrases and vocabulary for our situation. It made me feel much more at home in this Spanish speaking country.

What would you improve about this program?
It could potentially be improved by breaking the jungle phase up a bit. 9 consecutive days of camp jobs and learning was great but it might have been easier mentally if there was one day in the middle where we had some form of team building fun, for example a day's trekking or kayaking or something along those lines, just to break it up a bit and provide some light relief.
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Jennifer
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Nurse review of MedForce Expedition Medic Course

Expedition Medic Course-I had a great experience during my expedition medicine course. We spent the first three weeks of my course learning the theory via lessons, workbooks, scenarios, quizzes plus on-going feedback from the instructor. This proved beneficial as the whole group, who all started with significant differences in medical knowledge, were able to learn and complete the course with a sound practical understanding of expedition medicine. The course instructor, Jade, is extremely knowledgeable with obvious working experience of both teaching and being an expedition medic. The course was well structured and Jade created a good, enjoyable learning environment.

Spanish-A few days into the course we met the other leader, Colin. He began teaching the group Spanish. Again it its clear he has a great amount of experience teaching which made learning this new language easier. Through regular short sessions the group managed to pick up a good basic language in a small amount of time.

Jungle-The jungle experience was a good opportunity to learn basic survival skills; camp set-up, cooking and hygiene practices, as well as practice expedition medicine through more realistic scenarios. The group was also introduced into incident management and evacuation procedures. The week in the jungle helped solidify the knowledge learnt plus allowed yourself to be tested in the expedition medic role.

RR-Mixed in with the education was regular rest days and fun activities, mines included surf lessons and white water rafting. These were fun relaxing days where I got to experience and attempt to learn new skills. Again I would recommend both Jade and Colin on their encouraging attitude during these lessons.

What impressed me the most in the course was how well organised Jade and Colin managed to run the whole trip. Their flexibility combined with their adaptability allowed the course to suit everyone’s individual needs while running in a smooth and professional way. This is a good comprehensive yet enjoyable course, I would recommend it to healthcare students.

What would you improve about this program?
Personally I would have preferred a more in-depth Expedition Medical course, but for the purpose of this course this is not necessary
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ADRIAN
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great trip for those looking for a real adventure

This is a trip that's not like 'normal' travel companies will dare provide. It's a real adventure with a real challenge and no safety net! Something to really build the character.

If I take away one story it'll be when the rope bridge over the raging river collapsed when we were half way across and an hour after it was dark, in the driving rain, the resourcefulness and braveness of the group leaders were able to get us all across to the local plantation...

What would you improve about this program?
Everyone on the trip were unsure about the kit to take. It seems there were several kit lists that were sent around and all of us bought something were told later wasn't required. I think this was a mix up in the office.

This is a very tough trip and nobody ever asked about general health or fitness. I'm generally quite fit but found this trip very tough having not done much fitness related for a month or two.

The trip was three weeks, roughly two of which were on the trip and one at 'field camp' which is probably not the most hospitable place in the world, but it's there to prepare you for the trip ahead. The training there could easily have been done in far less time (not withstanding we had to spend an extra day there because the local guide missed his bus). It felt like we spent less than half the time there learning anything - and that could often have been done better.

Another day or two on the Carribean side after the trek would have been great (I know we missed a day because the local guide missed the bus).

Sorry if this sounds like a moany list - it really isn't - I had a great time - I went looking for adventure after finding that most similar trips nanny you a little too much - and this felt very, very real - exactly what I was after!
Default avatar
Harsimran
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Belize MedForce Experience

My experience in Belize with GapForce was probably one of the best experiences I’be had thus far in my life. I learnt how to be self sufficient not only in the jungle but also on my own outside of the jungle as I was given the chance to be on my own in San Pedro. I was fortunate to have Dan and Lydia as leaders during the expedition as their upbeat and helpful attitudes always maintained a positive and motivated environment. Kim was an excellent expedition medicine teacher as she was very hands on and always ready to answer any questions we had. I was given the opportunity to grow as a person and explore out of my comfort zone. In the jungle, we worked together, bathed together, stank together and lived together. It is true - there are n secrets in the jungle.

All in all, I would recommend this program to anyone who, like me, is looking to try something different or anyone who wouldn’t mind getting their hands dirty.

What would you improve about this program?
The kit list sent out to us included things that we didn’t need and ended costing me a lot of money. Although understandable that everything on the list would aid and make jungle survival easier, i think it would be great to be given the opportunity to converse with the expedition leaders via Skype first. I also thing getting acquainted with the leaders would make it easier for the person to get into the swing of things in the jungle.
Default avatar
Joanna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Unbelizable! (someone had to say it)

Living in the jungle is an experience I'll never forget. Not a day went by without a 'wow' moment; whether it be simply taking in the jungle surroundings, swimming in beautiful waterfalls, watching the sunset from pyramids, eating spam, going wild with machetes or hearing about Paul's latest experience in the long drop.

Couldn't have asked for a better group to spend two months with, leader included! Terry risked life and limb (quite literally) to ensure we got the most out of every day and had a trip which went way beyond expectations.

Belt kit night was a highlight for me - going off into the jungle in pairs for two days with just our machetes, first aid kit and a few basic rations. Here our survival training was put to the test as we built our shelter, beds and fire. Despite a thunderstorm, a visit from coral snake and no sleep, I can say that night was one of the best experiences I'll probably ever have!

What would you improve about this program?
The kit list could do with being updated by a leader - some bits weren't needed.
Default avatar
Will
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Awesome trip

Just done the 2 month trekkers course in Belize and really enjoyed it! Living in the jungle was an incredible experience, and a great mixture of things on the itinerary to keep things fresh! Becoming jungle trained, seeing snakes, cave kayaking, swimming in waterfalls and touching sharks at the barrier reef aren't everyday activities!
Belize is a really cool country with lots of friendly people wherever we went! Also had an awesome group of guys and girls doing the same trip, which was something everybody always worries about! Our leader was a great guy too, always keeping things entertaining and was helpful.
Would definitely recommend the trip to anybody looking for a completely different, action-packed, jungle-bashing trip! You won't regret doing it!

What would you improve about this program?
Better advice on the kit list. I spent a lot of money buying some nice kit, when in hindsight I could have saved some money if I'd known what I really needed- i.e if I had talked to a someone with experience like our leader before.
I didn't mind because it's kind of like an investment for the future, but other people might not have the same opinion!
Default avatar
Heather
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Jungle ninja training

I had an awesome time with Medforce/Trekforce in Belize and Guatemala. I spent the first 3 weeks on a brand-new course run for medical students in the jungle, where we were taught by an experienced doctor about expeditions and wilderness medicine.

Lessons were informal and fun, and covered topics such as: altitude medicine, tropical medicine, dessert and diving medicine, and practical skills such as making stretchers, evacuation plans, suturing (on chickens, which we then ate!) and the practialities of remote medicine. These were interspersed with 'scenarios', where one of us would be assigned as medic, and would be the medical lead on a scenario such as a snake bite or a fractured leg.

We spent the first week at base camp (in San Ignacio, lovely little town), then the next two weeks in the jungle with the Trainee Expedition Leaders (TELs), who taught us jungle skills such as firelighting, fauna and flora, jungle observation, camp layout and machette work. One of the highlights of this part was the solo night, where we'd spend the night in the jungle on our own. We also had our own 3-day trek, which was tough, but very rewarding - especially finding a campsite full of mangos!

I then joined the trekker programme for the next 3 weeks as a medic and a trekker, and took part in the El Mirador trek to Guatemala (lots of walking but supported by mules), then advanced jungle training week. This was the most hardcore week, where we set up wild camp, and learnt to make shelters, traps, knots and navigation. We also had a belt kit night, where we went off in pairs and had to make our own shelters for the night. It was the worst night's sleep I've had in a long time, but there was no better feeling than waking up from your home-made shelter and spending the next day at the beautiful waterfall by waterfall camp. There wasn't much medical to do for me (aside from a bit of sickness, a sprained ankle, some caterpillar stings, blisters and a bit of tropical medicine), but that is a good thing for the group!

Overall, I had an amazing time, and wish I could go back there. We were taken care of very well, by the leaders and by the TELs, and I learnt loads of valuable bushcraft skills as well us plenty of expedition medicine to set me up for the future! Well worth the time and money.

What would you improve about this program?
I agree with Melissa - scrap/change the briefing day; contact and info from Gapforce alone was enough for me.

Smaller sized Trekforce t-shirts available ;)
Default avatar
Melissa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had the time of my life

Each day was an adventure. We started of with basic training which was 5 days long. Terry was great at keeping things really laid back and the lessons were more like conversations. We all gave our own input. The lessons included; machete work, fire making, first aid, flower and fauna and more.
The camps that we stayed in were great. Our first camp was the Visitors Center. This was the most luxurious of the three camps. The second, the Waterfall Camp was awesome. It was great to be able to have a good wash and some down time there. This is also where we had our solo nights.I was a bit nervous about it at first but once I'd found a nice camp and had set up my basha I was quite happy. The final camp and the Cave Camp which was where we built the palapa during our project week.
We started our project week with some bushwhacking with Jay. It was tough but we kept each other going. We then spent a day and a half building a palapa as a shower area in Cave Camp.
After a tiring 10 day was the activity week. We did kayaking which was amazing but I burnt my feet really badly. We also went to the zoo which was cool because in the jungle you hear all the animals but you don't really see them. In Guatemala we went to Tikal (the daddy of Mayan sites).

My overall experience in Belize and Guatemala was unbelievable. Since being back home people have asked me if there was any parts I didn't enjoy. There wasn't a single moment when I thought I'm not having fun. The best moment? Sitting round the campfire with my new friends and talking rubbish.

What would you improve about this program?
I think the briefing day either needs to be changed or scrapped all together. At the time I thought it was great, but when I arrived in Belize I realized that a lot of the things we were told wasn't right. For example we were told to ignore that fact that on the kit list it says to not bring flip flops, just to bring sandals. When really flip flops aren't suitable at all. We were also told to bring enough chlorine tables for 2 liters a day. When you really need enough for at least 4 liters, so I ran out about half way though and Terry had to give me some of his. I think it would of been better if Terry led the Belize briefing.

Location

Location:
Costa Rica
Currency:
Costa Rican Colón
Weather:
Jan-Mar
83 F / 67 F
Apr-Jun
85 F / 69 F
Jul-Sep
85 F / 69 F
Oct-Dec
83 F / 67 F
Airports:
Juan Santamaría International Airport
( SJO )
Limón International Airport
( LIO )
Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport
( LIR )

A pioneer of ecotourism, Costa Rica draws many tourists to its extensive series of national parks and other protected areas. Costa Rica began reversing deforestation in the 1990s, and they are moving towards using only renewable energy. Head to the cloud forest, relax on the beautiful beaches or visit a coffee farm.

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About GapForce

Gapforce is a leading provider of structured Gap Year programs and summer opportunities overseas. The wide range of global adventures includes marine conservation, wildlife protection, community volunteering & healthcare, extreme expeditions,...
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