Program: Marine Conservation Training
Location: Costa Rica, Quepos
Duration: 4 or 6 weeks
If you have a passion for the underwater world, would like to explore this environment closer in depth and want to get active in conserving it for the future you have found the right program. Located in the beautiful beachtown of Quepos, Costa Rica, with Gapforce Marine Conservation Training you will instantly recognize the exceptional biodiversity – whether it be underwater or on land. Our highly qualified team will not only provide a comprehensive and first-class dive training but also train you in important marine conservation topics that you can then apply in several projects we run on site in cooperation with the University of Panama or Queensland for example.
So, whether you are a first time traveller or a seasoned explorer, you will have questions about what to expect from this program In this article, a Gapforce expedition leader answers participants’ 7 most common questions.
7. How much diving will there be during the program?
You will be active in the program 6 days a week, one day is off which is usually a Sunday and you can use it to plan whatever you would like to do. If you are on the 4 week program, you can expect to do between 40 and 45 dives. If you are on the 6 week program, this number increases to around 62-67, so be prepared to spend a lot of time in and under water in different and stunning dive locations!
6. How does it work if I join with dive experience already – what will I do when the others are learning towards the qualification I already have?
For everyone who joins with pre-experience in diving we have tailored an alternative program for the first week to make sure you make the most of your time in Costa Rica, and are prepared for Marine Conservation work. Depending on your experience, a sample itinerary of your first week might be:
If you join with PADI Open Water certificate
Start on day one with some scuba review academics and a refresher pool session. The second day is reserved for fun dives in this beautiful environment to get a first look around and get astonished on what you will be focusing on in the following days of your marine conservation program. Day three will be a Buoyancy workshop so you will have a Buoyancy class. The following day then you will extend this knowledge within in our Advanced Buoyancy class and afterwards get your certification for completing this, an essential skill for a Marine Scientist. The other two remaining days you will need to train towards your PADI Advanced Open Water certification.
If you join with PADI Open Water and PADI Advanced Open Water certificate
You do the same as the participants joining with PADI Open Water – except on day five and six you will time to do two more days of fun diving. After the first week everyone will have been trained up to PADI Open Water and PADI Advanced Open Water so your time as a team in active Marine Conservation can start
5. What certifications differ between the 4 and 6 week program?
4 week program goers will earn their PADI Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Marine Conservation, Nudibranch Awareness and AWARE Shark certifications.
6 week program goers continue the program with their PADI Rescue Diver and Emergency First Response certifications. They also will take part in a coral restoration project, aimed at recovery strategies for restoration of coral in Costa Rica. You will earn your PADI Distinctive Coral Rescue certification during this course.
4. What kind of dive equipment do I need to bring?
A full list of items you will need to prepare for the trip will be provided upon booking. To give you a basic breakdown, the essential kit list will include items like:
- Mask and snorkel
- Basic dive computer or diving watch
- Large (A4-UK) dive slate (or 8”x11”-US)
- Underwater pencil
- Rash Vest
- Safety Sausage
And here’s a few extras which are recommended though not mandatory:
- Wetsuit – 3mm long
- BCD and regulator
3. How is the program structured – when do we do what?
The program will run six days/week with one day off, which is usually a Sunday, that you can use as free time individually. We will start the day early in the morning after you have eaten breakfast in your homestay with other Gapforce participants. During the day, you will be busy with dive training, workshops and classes and project work underwater. Expect to cover a variety of topics- coral nurseries, clean ups or data collection in different fields of marine topics, etc. In the evening, you return to your homestay to receive a well-deserved traditional-style Costa Rican cuisine, home-cooked by your homestay family.
2. What are the typical age range and nationalities?
This program usually has an age-range of 18 to 35 years – nevertheless it is open for everyone 18+ who is interested and has a passion to join. If you are travelling alone, with friends, as a couple etc. it is quite easy to accommodate your needs. Just keep in mind you are in a guest families home, and rules will apply. Our participants come from all over the world with the main areas being Europe, USA and Canada.
1. What do I need to organize to take part in this program?
Here’s a useful checklist with everything that you need to have ready before departure:
- Flight tickets to San Jose (airport transfers to/from the camp in Quepos are included)
- Medical health insurance (please make sure it covers dives up to 40 metres and optional activities you might plan on the weekend)
- Dive equipment as described above – a complete kit list will be available on your online account once you have signed up for the program: bear in mind that some parts can also be rented or bought locally, for more details just ask your advisor.
- See your doctor to get recommendation about vaccinations and don’t forget to ask him to sign or stamp the two documents you will be given – a PADI medical form as well as Gapforce declaration stating you are fit to travel.
Also recommended though not compulsory:
- Travel cancellation insurance