Marine Scientist Training - Costa Rica

Gapforce program

Calling all Ocean lovers! Join one of our teams on the beautiful Pacific coast of Costa Rica and gain internationally recognised scuba diving qualifications and marine science training.

Whether you are new to diving or already have some experience under your belt, this exclusive 10-week course trains you up to become a professional Divemaster with a focus on marine conservation. As well as earning an impressive set of dive qualifications, you will also take part in the ongoing reef surveys which help to monitor the health of the ocean. 

Also suitable for: Marine Conservation and Outdoor Courses.


  • Complete your PADI Open Water, Advanced, Rescue and Divemaster qualifications
  • Earn additional speciality certifications in Marine Conservation
  • Contribute to ongoing international coral reef surveys
  • Soak up the "Pura Vida" lifestyle on the stunning Pacific coast
  • Meet a bunch of new friends with a shared interest in travel and the environment

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 PADI Open Water and PADI Advanced Open Water  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. 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 Coral Restoration and Reef surveys

Working directly with our non-profit partner, Marine Conservation Costa Rica, this week you will learn about coral biology, current threats to coral reefs and coral restoration techniques being undertaken to preserve the coral ecosystems. During this two day course, you will delve deep in to the theory of restoration programs including viability, set up and maintenance, and have an opportunity to put your new knowledge to work, identifying and measuring corals, and helping with the maintenance of coral nursery structures.

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 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.

PADI Octopus ecology - Learn about the behavior and physiology of one of our favorite reef residents, the octopus. Become adept at identifying a variety of octopus species and learn how to spot them when you're out on the reef.

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! 

4-weeks: $5900

10-weeks: $10900

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 10% of the trip price. The remainder is paid leading up to the trip departing.

What's included:

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



  • PADI Open Water & PADI Advanced Open Water
  • PADI Marine Conservation, PADI Coral Restoration & PADI AWARE Shark specialties


  • PADI Emergency First Responder & PADI Rescue Diver
  • PADI Nudibranch Awareness & PADI Octopus ecology specialities
  • PADI Divemaster 

What is not included:

  • Flights to/from destination
  • 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!

Living the Dream!

When I first heard about this program I thought that it sounds too good to be true. But it turned out that it has been exactly what was promised. Together with the experienced and flexible crew I feel like I became a professional and confident Divemaster. Thanks to the theoretical and practical teaching I could feel an improvement everyday during diving which motivated me to keep studying to become more and more professional. Their ability to adapt to every individual skill-level or handicap allowed all of my friends that I got to know during the program to become a Divemaster as well. My homestay was really close to the Diveshop. The lovely local mom spread nothing but good vibes, love and good, fresh food. It always felt like coming home rather than coming back to just a homestay. She put a lot of effort in keeping the house clean and making me feel comfortable. In conclusion I will say that my time in Costa Rica was a once in a lifetime experience that expanded my horizons and expanded my knowledge about the marine life and its conservation. Furthermore I became a good Divemaster and met many interesting people that I became friends with.


Had the most amazing time - thank you!!

The program definitely exceeded all my expectations, I couldn’t have wished for a better trip and it has definitely started a passion for scuba diving and made me fall in love with the sea all over again! I would definitely recommend it to others in a heartbeat, everyone should experience a trip like that! My favourite part of the course was definitely cano island, it was absolutely incredible. but I also loved the relationship you formed with the dive shop and others out there, definitely made friends for life and loved the little dive shop family, however that part made it much harder to leave!! I couldn’t fault the experience, I will definitely hold these memories with me forever and hope to go back and visit everyone at some point! Thank you for all your help leading up to it, I wish I could do it all again!!


Great Experience!

This was an amazing experience and I have learned so much along the way. The Oceans Unlimited dive shop is super welcoming and there is a big sense of community among all the divers. The instructors give you all the tools to help you succeed and are very nice. Quepos and Manual Antonio are beautiful and have the best sunsets I have ever seen. Staying in a homestay is wonderful and is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture. Highly recommended!


Life is better underwater!

The 4 weeks I spent in Costa Rica were some of the best in my life! The homestay immediately felt like home, and everyday was a new adventure diving and learning about the local ecology.The dive staff were happy to help with anything related to the course and tips with Costa Rican life.At the end of my trip, I wish I could do it all over again!

Ruben - Australia

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Or call us on 1-917-305-5404

  • Costa Rica
  • Duration: 4 to 10 weeks
  • Departures: January, April, June, November

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