Marine Scientist Training - Costa Rica

Gapforce program

Ready to take your scuba dive training to the next level? Passionate about the world of Marine Conservation and Marine Science? Based at a Five Star PADI centre on the beautiful Pacific coast of Costa Rica, this 10 week course trains you up to become a professional Divemaster while also teaching you practical marine science survey techniques. During the course, you will be able to contribute to the ongoing reef surveys which collectively help monitor the health of the ocean, and also master an impressive set of dive training skills. 

Also suitable for: Adventure Travel and Outdoor Courses.


  • Become a professional PADI Divemaster
  • Learn Marine Conservation techniques
  • Contribute to international coral and fish surveys
  • Swim with turtles, rays, sharks, dolphins and even whales
  • Only PADI Centre in Central America offering training and certification in unique marine conservation specialties 

Week 1 – PADI Open Water and Advanced

On arrival in San Jose you will be met by our local staff and transferred to the laid back coastal town of Quepos on the Pacific Coast. During your first week you undertake both your Open Water and Advanced Open Water PADI dive training with experienced professional trainers from the dive school. An emphatic way to start your course!

Week 2: PADI Marine Conservation and Research 

Take part in the only centre in central America offering training and certification in these unique marine conservation programs. Armed with your new certifications, week two marks the beginning of your conservation training when you will learn different research and survey techniques including fish and reef biology. This is the only PADI centre in Central America offering training and certification in these unique marine conservation programs. You will also have the chance to put your new skills to the test this week as you help on one of the many reef surveys taking place in the local marine parks.

Week 3: PADI Nudibranch Awareness specialty and reef surveys

This week you will develop your science training further with Nudibranch awareness. Nudibranchs are some of the smallest most interesting inhabitants of the reef and you will learn about their different behaviours and identification of some local species. As part of this week you will head out onto the reef and complete dives looking for local nudibranch species, as well as continue with the reef surveys from the previous week.

Week 4: PADI AWARE Shark specialty and REEF surveys

Always a favourite topic - sharks are crucial to marine ecosystems, yet are in a global decline. This course teaches you about the value of sharks and what is causing the rapid loss of shark populations. By the end of this week you will also complete your reef surveys and help input the date into the international database which collectively helps monitor the long term health of the reef and the marine life it supports!

Week 5: Dive Safety Training and Emergency First Response 

Continue your training this week with all things safety and security. Knowing what to do in the event of an emergency is crucial to your dive progression. This week you will complete both your PADI Emergency First Responder and Rescue Diver certifications. This training will complete your recreational dive training and prepare you for your first step into the world of being a professional diver! 

Week 6: Marine Scientist Specialties 

Your marine science training is about to come full circle as you continue with ongoing conservation work this week.  Additionally, you will expand upon what you have learned, completing two distinctive PADI certifications. 

PADI Sponge ecology - From the ecology, to life cycle and identification, this is a fun program highlighting an important integral member of any reef.  Hit the coral reef, locating and identifying local sponge species in the area. 

PADI Juvenile Fish ecology - Discover the life of Jevenile fish on the reef. From thir behavior, life cycles and independent roles. Go out and examine the juvenile fish on the local reef, survey and identify for international research.

Weeks 7-10: Divemaster (4 weeks)

With a variety of PADI skill sets and certifications already earned, you are now qualified to begin your Divemaster training, the first professional dive qualification and an absolute must for all budding marine scientists. 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 live clients at this 5 Star PADI Centre, as you develop your teaching skills. 

On completion of the full 10-week course, you will be a fully qualified Divemaster with a focus on Marine Science and Conservation, ready to act as an ambassador for the ocean as you develop your chosen career! 

Optional Addition: Coral Rehabilitation 
Today’s coral reefs are threatened worldwide, and this is no different in the waters surrounding Costa Rica. Get ready to put your conservation skills to the test, through aiding in the recovery and restoration efforts of a non-profit organization for marine conservation in Costa Rica. Learn how to help conserve these vital systems through hands-on coral nursery work.  In addition, earn your PADI Distinctive Coral Rescue Certification. 

Interested in participating? This week-long course is an optional substitute to week 6 of your 10 week program.  Marine Scientist Specialties (Week 6 activities) are then integrated into your final 4 weeks of programming.  Please contact us for further information on the price for this option.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure briefing
  • San Jose Airport Pick up (flights excluded)
  • Local co-ordinators
  • Homestay accommodation including breakfast, dinner, Wi-Fi and laundry
  • PADI Open Water certification
  • PADI Advanced Open Water certification
  • PADI Emergency First Response certification
  • PADI Rescue Diver certification
  • PADI Dive Master certification
  • PADI Marine Conservation specialty
  • PADI Nudibranch Awareness specialty
  • PADI AWARE Shark
  • PADI Rescue Diver 
  • PADI Divemaster
  • PADI sponge ecology speciality
  • PADI Juvenile Fish ecology
  • PADI Distinctive Coral Rescue (optional)
  • Survey dives
  • 24/7 emergency back-up
  • Financial bonding

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Or call us on 0207 384 3028

View dates
  • Costa Rica
  • Duration: 4 to 10 weeks
  • Departures: March, July, November

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