ARCC Gap: Latin America - Costa Rica, Ecuador, the Galapagos and Peru.

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Adventure and education collide during our three-month journey through the lush jungles, dizzying heights and breathtaking coasts of Costa Rica, Ecuador, the Galapagos and Peru.

ARCC’s nearly 20 year history of exploration and service in Latin America opens doors unimagined by the casual traveler. Tucked away in a remote mountain village in Costa Rica, we discover the simplicity of “pura vida” working alongside our generous hosts to improve the village’s infrastructure. Exploring the breathtaking biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands, we snorkel with prehistoric lava lizards and blue-footed boobies. Navigating Ecuador’s Amazon jungle by canoe, we explore the effects that petroleum drilling is having on the Amazon and its people. Treading in the footsteps of the Inca, we gain insight into an enduring culture as we explore the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru.

The abundance of life around us underscores the rich and unforgettable experiences of Gap Latin America.

  • Delve into Latin American Culture and Language During a Homestay on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast
  • Witness the Breathtaking Biodiversity and Rich History of the Galapagos Islands
  • Explore the Effects Gold Mining is having on the Amazon and Its People
  • Walk in the Footsteps of the Incas and Explore the Ancient Ruins of Machu Picchu
  • Help Protect Nesting Olive Ridley Sea Turtles Coming Ashore to Lay their Eggs

Questions & Answers


based on 18 reviews
  • Housing 8.8
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 8.9
  • Value 8.7
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 16 - 18 of 18
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Amazing 3 Months!

I'm so glad that I decided to do this gap semester with ARCC. It was without a doubt the best three months of my life. It was challenging for me especially at first to be away from home and experience things that were so different from what I was used to. However, our trip leaders Johanna and Franco were amazing and always supportive and they really helped make the semester as awesome as it was for me. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know everyone in the group and our trip leaders were excellent at facilitating group discussions and activities that helped the group bond throughout the trip.
Each week we were working on a different project in a new location which was fun, although it was often bittersweet to leave the communities we stayed in after such a short period of time. Every week brought a new adventure. Some of the highlights for me were working on a sea turtle conservation project in Costa Rica, a community stay in Ecuador, and working at a girls' orphanage in Peru. The trip had a good mix of service and adventure travel. Things like white-water rafting, ziplining and hikes were so much fun in addition to the service projects we worked on.
The trip also had a good balance between staying in rural and urban areas. All of our accommodations were comfortable; with some being more rustic than others. However for me it was the weeks when we were away from things like wifi or electricity that were the most fun and the most meaningful. I really fell in love with the unbelievably beautiful places we stayed from the mountains of Costa Rica to Lake Titicaca in Peru.
This semester taught me a lot about myself and I'm so thankful for this experience and the people that I shared it with. Overall, this was an amazing semester and I would highly recommend ARCC.

How can this program be improved?
I would have liked for the trip to include more Spanish classes. We went to language school for a week but I would have liked to continue more formal Spanish education throughout the trip especially since many of us didn't know any Spanish when we started the semester.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Three months that changed me

This gap semester with ARCC is that best thing that I've ever done for myself. I was challenged and pushed everyday along with being given incredible and fun activities consistently for three months.

For example I will never forget the hike up Wayna Picchu in Peru. It was one of the most challenging hikes I've ever done. I could feel myself being challenged both physically and mentally. However, I will never forget the feeling of pride reaching the top and seeing the most incredible view below me. Everyone was so supportive and patient on that hike which was a relief because it felt like everyone was in this challenge together.

The homestays, rafting, zip-lining, teaching, community service and all the activities we did on a day to day basis are all things engrained in my memory. I grew, learned, and had an AMAZING time!

How can this program be improved?
A bit more down time, maybe. Things felt very jam-packed sometimes.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Gap Semester in Latin America

I had an incredible time during my gap semester in Latin America. I experienced many different cultures and had the chance to go on many different adventures including white water rafting, zip lining, rock climbing, and some incredible hikes. We had the opportunity to hike Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world, and spend a week at Lake Titicaca, the highest elevated body of water in the world. We also had the opportunity to visit and stay with several indigenous communities. The highlight of my semester was when I spent a week with an indigenous family on the Amazon River. While I was with them I tried their traditional foods, learned how to fish using their nets, worked on their farm, hiked through the amazon, learned about their traditional plant remedies, and swam in the Amazon river with all the local children. My host family also had a pet monkey that I got to hang out with each day. It was one of the coolest experiences of my life. The trip as a whole was absolutely incredible and I can honestly say I was never bored. Every week was a new project and a new adventure. I would highly recommend the program to anyone who is interested in Latin America. You can learn so much about the culture, improve your spanish, and have some once in a life time experiences.

How can this program be improved?
The program was incredibly well structured and everyday we had something new to experience. While that was awesome, it also meant that there was very little time to sit back and relax. I personally did not mind this but someone who likes to have some time to their self to relax and recharge may find there isn't sufficient time to rest.
Yes, I recommend this program


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ARCC has been offering programs for young adults since 1983. ARCC Gap Semesters are an opportunity to live and learn in some of the greatest classrooms on earth. Our semester programs take students on a journey of discovery of local peoples, places,...