Expedition Dive Instructor Training

Kick start your career with our 12 week Expedition Dive Instructor Training Course in Costa Rica and become a fully qualified PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor with Expedition leadership & Resort Management skills

More than just a Dive Instructors Course, you will learn expedition leadership and resort management skills enabling you to pursue a career working in a dive shop or leading marine conservation expeditions. The top performers may be offered work at the dive school on completion of the course to further boost your experience and career prospects.


  • Become a PADI certified Scuba Instructor
  • Learn how a Dive Shop operates
  • Develop key Expedition Leadership skills
  • Assist with ongoing marine research projects

Who can apply?

The minimum requirement to join this course is that you must have held your PADI Advanced Open Water certification for at least 6 months and done at east 30 dives. If you don’t have your Advanced licence or 30 dives, then just add our “Extra Dives Option” when you book and we'll organise an extra one or two weeks of diving to the beginning of your course to get you upto the required level!

Week 1: PADI EFR & Rescue

On arrival in San Jose, you will be transferred to our PADI five star dive centre on the Pacific coast. You’ll dive straight into your training this week with your Emergency First Responder and Rescue certifications. Knowing what to do in the event of an emergency is crucial to your dive progression this training will complete your recreational dive training and prepare you for your first step into the world of being a professional diver!

Week 2 – 6: PADI Divemaster

Next it’s time to take your first step in the world of professional dive training as you spend the next five weeks working towards your Divemaster certification. Your training during this phase will become much more hands-on as you learn to become a leader and take charge of activities. A large part of your training at this stage will include assisting with student divers as you develop your teaching skills.

Marine Conservation: our dive centre is also a 100% PADI Aware partner meaning that we are are committed to ocean protection. During your Divemaster training, you will also do your Marine Conservation specialty training when you will learn different conservation and research techniques including fish and reef biology .You will also have the chance to put your new skills to the test as you help on one of the many reef surveys taking place in the local marine parks.

Weeks 7 -8: Expedition Leader Training

Upon completion of your Divemaster certification, it’s time to change up your training a little as we move from the oceans to the rainforest. Here you will join our team of Trainee Expedition Leaders learning key leadership skills that will be highly valuable should you look to be leading marine expeditions in the future. Many marine conservation programs are in remote environments with basic living conditions so understanding how to operate with limited resources is a key part of being a successful expedition leader in the future. The training during these two weeks typically includes Expedition Skills training, project management and Expedition Planning and is a fantastic way to experience the rainforest!

Week 9: Resort Operations & Self Reliant

Many Dive Instructors choose to work at resorts, and some go on to start their own dive centres so an understanding of how a resort operates is a great way to give yourself a head-start and make yourself more employable. Training this week includes an introduction to boat handling, basic equipment maintenance and GPS mapping of dive sites. This week you will also complete your PADI Self-Reliant Diver teaching you how to handle an emergency in the water without help.

Weeks 10 – 11: PADI Open Water Instructor Training

The final stage of your training will enable you to qualify as a fully fledged Open Water Scuba Instructor. This stage includes your Instructor Development Course (IDC) which teaches you how to conduct all the PADI courses, as well as your Emergency First Response (EFR) Instructor training. You will now be ready for your external Instructor Examination (IE), a two day evaluation of everything you have learned on the course, and after successful completion of this you will have earned your Instructor certification!

Week 12: PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer Preparation

The perfect way to round off your training is with the PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer preparation course, an impressive addition to your resume! This fun 4- 5 day course is a package of 5 specialty instructor training courses and there are a variety of options available subject to your interests.

On successful completion of the course, there may be opportunities for the top performers to work at the dive school in Costa Rica to gain more experience and really boost your career prospects. Your instructors also have extensive experience working in the Dive and Outdoor industry and will happily discuss with you what opportunities exist given your personal circumstances and aspirations and develop plan of how you might go about achieving them.

What is included

  • Pre-departure briefing 
  • San Jose Airport Pick up (flights excluded) 
  • In county Gapforce UK leaders 
  • Homestay accommodation including breakfast, dinner, Wi-Fi and laundry 
  • PADI Emergency First Response certification 
  • PADI Rescue Diver certification 
  • PADI Dive Master certification 
  • PADI Marine research and conservation specialty and Fish ID specialty 
  • PADI Adaptive Support Diver
  • PADI Self-Reliant Diver
  • Scuba tank visual inspection certification 
  • Emergency First Response Instructor certification 
  • Resort training; sales techniques, course pricing and budgets, working with clients, boat handling and marketing techniques including social media 
  • Hands-on Skills: Dive boat handling, equipment maintenance, compressor basics 
  • PADI Instructor program certification 
  • Expedition Leadership; Planning and budgeting, motivation and leadership
  • Jungle Survival Training; Navigation, survival, safety, trekking and camp building
  • Career placement advice and potential employment
  • Finacial bonding 
  • 24/7 Support  

A once in a lifetime experience!

As a bit of a nature freak who dreamed of traveling to Costa Rica since I was about 5 years old, this program seemed too good to be true. Based in Quepos, not 15 minutes from the world famous Manuel Antonio national park, prepare to be surrounded by a cornucopia of exotic animals ranging from toucans, to iguanas, to monkeys, and so much more. There is nothing quite like watching a whole family of squirrel monkeys plummeting from the jungle canopy while enjoying a delicious breakfast, only to be followed up by a sloth cruising down a power line on your walk to work a few minutes later. Only in Costa Rica....Upon arrival in Quepos, you will take up residence with a local family at a homestay. All of the people participating in Gapforce programs (this one and others) will stay at the same place so you will probably have some unique housemates from all over the world. The homestay provides a fantastic opportunity to work on your spanish, enjoy some great tico cuisine, and completely immerse yourself in the local culture.Regarding the surrounding area, prepare yourself for beautiful jungle lined beaches complete with loads of opportunities to jet ski, surf, parasail and more. The bus system is very cheap and easy so getting around is no problem. The nightlife is fun and the locals are super kind and laid back.As should be expected, the dive training is definitely the standout of the program. The staff at Oceans Unlimited (the dive center you'll be training out of) are absolutely top notch. Everyone at the shop is a master at their craft and are capable of providing so much practical knowledge and support through the duration of your stay. I entered the program a novice, and can confidently say I came out a very capable, self sufficient diver. The staff will not hesitate to push you out of your comfort zone, but all with the intention of making you the best you can be.The diving itself is also incredible, getting to see animals like octopus, eels, sea horses, and turtles on the daily. Costa Rica also has the longest whale season in the world, so prepare to see humpbacks on the surface multiple days out of the week.The jungle survival portion of the program was also a fantastic addition, presenting a nice break from the dive training and an opportunity to live secluded in the rain forest while picking up some interesting knowledge and skills. During your stay you will cross rivers, bathe in waterfalls, treck through scenic landscapes, encounter a variety of strange jungle creatures, and enjoy some unique jungle snacks. Truly a once in a lifetime experience!I could not say enough about this experience as a whole, massively worth while if you're looking to get properly educated on diving and enjoy a bit of adventure. The program delivered across the board and I will always look back fondly on my time in Costa Rica.

Kyle, gap year student from the USA

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  • Duration: 12 weeks
  • Departures: February, April, December

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