Scientific Diver - Costa Rica

Scientific Diver Costa Rica - Gap Year ProgramEmbark on an extraordinary journey with Gapforce's 2-week Scientific Diver Program, where you'll explore the marvels of marine conservation and scientific diving. Over two immersive weeks, you'll not only become a certified diver but also gain invaluable insights into the intricate ecosystems beneath the waves. Under expert guidance, you'll learn dive protocols, contribute to vital research efforts, and emerge as a steward of the oceans, ready to advocate for their protection.

Throughout the program, participants delve into scientific diving fundamentals and marine conservation techniques, mastering the art of underwater exploration while contributing to ongoing research initiatives. By the end, you'll emerge equipped with the knowledge and passion to make a difference in preserving our precious marine environments. Join us on this transformative journey, where you'll deepen your connection to the ocean and emerge empowered to safeguard its future.

Perfect for: Summer Escapes & Marine Conservation 



Meticulously designed for adventurous souls who crave an unconventional travel experience. Join us on a journey off the beaten path, where every step is a lesson, and every encounter a story to tell.

Typical age range: 18 – 22

Accommodation: dorm-style homestay

Certifications: PADI Open Water and Adventure Diver

Supervision: support and guidance from PADI Dive Instructors


Marine Conservation: Learn about marine ecosystems and conservation techniques, gaining a deeper understanding of environmental issues.

Personal Growth: Experience personal growth as you overcome challenges and immerse yourself in the wonders of the underwater world.

Transformative Experience: The program offers a transformative journey, fostering a deeper connection to the ocean and empowering participants to make a positive impact on its future.


  • Become an experienced PADI qualified diver
  • Learn Marine Conservation techniques
  • Contribute to international coral and fish surveys
  • Swim with turtles, rays, sharks, dolphins and even whales!
  • Try some optional activities such as surfing or ziplining
  • Only PADI Centre in Central America offering training and certification in unique marine conservation specialties 

Week 1: PADI Dive Training & Marine Ecosystems

Begin your journey with five days of scuba training to earn your PADI Open Water and Adventure Diver certifications. As well as working towards your dive qualifications, you will also be learning about the intricacies of the underwater ecosystem. Engage in interactive discussions and workshops that lay the foundation for your marine exploration.

Week 2: Marine Conservation & Research

Armed with your new certifications, your second week focuses on marine conservation and research techniques. Gain a distinctive certification in Marine Conservation & Research qualification, whilst also having the chance to put your new skills to the test by helping out on one of the many reef surveys taking place in the local marine parks. The weekends are yours to recharge and explore the natural beauty around you.

Marine Conservation option for non-divers:

Marine Conservation with a twist! For any non-divers, we can offer a 2-week program which provides you with an introduction to marine conservation and the running of an NGO.

During your first week, you will learn about marine conservation and the marine ecosystem and in your second week you will help support the daily operations of the NGO in week two with ongoing projects such as creating curriculum for school talks, organizing and running clean ups, data collection, helping with nursery building or coral fragmenting.

As part of your experience, you can also earn a non-diving certification in Coral Reef Conservation, showcasing your dedication to the preservation of marine ecosystems.

Customise your adventure:

For those looking for an experience tailored to their interests, the following additional activities are available:

Yoga lessons: Immerse yourself in rejuvenating yoga classes with both morning and/or evening classes available to choose from

Spanish lessons: Learn a new language, or develop existing skills, through private lessons at a nearby Spanish school.

Surf lessons: Catch the waves with daily 1-hour surf classes on the picturesque Manuel Antonio beach.

These lessons run Monday to Friday and can either be incorporated into your two-week scientific diver or marine conservation adventure, or bundled together to make a multi-activity week of its own!

Your Home Away from Home:

Stay with a local family just a 5-minute walk from the dive centre and gain authentic insight into Costa Rican culture and daily life, as well as a chance to practise your language skills. On average, each house has 4-6 students in basic yet comfortable accommodations with 2-3 beds per room and shared bathrooms. Daily breakfast and dinner is included at the homestay, as are laundry services and basic WiFi.

2-weeks: $3250 (USD)

For available start dates check out the 'Dates & Availability' section below - you may need to scroll right to view the prices and book on! You can secure your place on your chosen adventure with a deposit of either $300 or 10% of the trip price, whichever is higher. The remainder is paid leading up to the program departing.

We are able to offer this program on a rolling basis, meaning you can start on any Monday through April to Septmber. If your ideal travel dates aren't shown below do contact us and we can arrange a date for you!

What's included:

  • Pre-departure support
  • Homestay accommodation including breakfast, dinner, Wi-Fi and laundry
  • Local project staff
  • 24/7 emergency back-up
  • Financial protection



  • PADI Open Water & PADI Adventure Diver

What is not included:

  • Flights to/from destination
  • Airport pick-up and return airport transfer (can be arranged at an additional cost)
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa & vaccinations
  • Spending money
  • Lunches
  • Personal dive equipment (see brochure for details)

Who is this program for?

This program is perfect for anyone interested in marine science and helping to protect the world's oceans. No prior dive experience or science training is required to join the course and it therefore appeals to a wide range of people, from those looking for practical experience to complement their studies, to others wishing to gain experience and qualifications in a brand new field. A reasonable level of fitness is required to participate and you must be able to swim 200m. The minimum age is 18 and you must also have your doctor sign our medical form confirming you are medically fit to participate. 

Where will I be staying?

You will be staying at a local home-stay close to the dive centre with other members of your group, a short walk from the Dive Centre. 

What is the food like?

You will be provided with breakfast and dinner every day during the dive training (lunch at your own expense). The food will be mostly local dishes, which are known for being flavourful, yet fairly mild, with a high reliance on fresh fruits, vegetables, rice and beans.

Who will be supervising me?

Your dive training will be conducted by highly qualified PADI Dive Instructors, and you will also have a local co-ordinator at the Dive Centre who will make sure you have the best possible experience in Costa Rica. Your local co-ordinator also provides you with 24/7 emergency support

How much spending money do I need?

You will need money for extra drinks and snacks, as well as for any activities not on the itinerary. We advise you to budget for $80 - $100 or £50 - £60 a week. Please note this is a guideline only

Will I have any free time?

You’ll have at least a couple of afternoons as flexible free time to take advantage of the many activities this part of the world has to offer. There’s something for absolutely everyone – stunning beaches, abundant wildlife, adventure sports, scuba diving, cultural trips, volcanoes, thermal spas and loads more!

After submitting this form, we will try and get back to you within 24 hours

Download Brochure

Or call us on 1-917-305-5404

  • Costa Rica
  • Duration: 2 weeks
  • Departures: April, May, June, July, August, September

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