Multiple Locations +2
  • Costa Rica
  • Wales
12 - 26 weeks

Program Details

Mountain Climbing Remote Exploring Trekking
Primary Language
Age Min.


Starting Price
Price Details
Airport transfers, Instructors, local guides, accommodation, meals, remote emergency care, advanced survival & leadership training and certifications, logbook, project equipment and materials, project transfers, 24/7 emergency back-up, social activities, job assistance.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Airport Transfers Some Equipment Meals
What's Not Included
Airfare Some Equipment Travel Insurance Visa
Dec 01, 2021
Feb 24, 2020
17 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Follow in the footsteps of past Gapforce Leaders including Bruce Parry and Ed Stafford - learn key Survival and Leadership skills on this unique and challenging 4 month course and use your skills in jobs in film, TV, charity expeditions, school groups and gap years.

You start in the mountains of Wales and then the team heads off to the jungles of Costa Rica. This extreme training course will push you to the limit. Our instructors are there to test you and they won't make it easy. Can you get your team through some of the most challenging terrain? Will you pass as a Gapforce Expedition Leader? Kick start your career!

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Gain nationally recognised training and qualifications, confidence in outdoor pursuits and experience in the adventure travel industry.
  • Plan and lead an expedition, put your training into practice.
  • An intensive personal development opportunity.
  • A once in a lifetime experience where the jungle will become your home.
  • Job offers for high performing graduates (details apply).

Program Reviews

9.26 Rating
based on 38 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 84.21%
  • 7-8 rating 15.79%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Housing 8.1
  • Support 9.1
  • Fun 9.2
  • Value 8.9
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 1 - 8 of 38 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

ELT Course

I came on the TEL course looking for a challenge different to one I’d ever had before. I’d just finished school, in which the vast majority of your work is very individual. So I wanted to put myself in a team environment instead and learn as much as I could, both about being in and leading a team. The travelling the world and jungle bit was a big selling point for me too.

The course absolutely delivered. I found myself very much out of my comfort zone and I absolutely loved it. The course is very intense. You receive a huge amount of feedback, which can be hard to keep taking on board. But it is super helpful and alarmingly insightful, and I was very grateful for it when I saw how much quicker I was growing.

The jungle was quite something. To be so immersed in nature is not an opportunity most of us get often, and even the photos don’t do it justice. It was also just so refreshing to not be surrounded by technology and marketing, and to just be happy in the moment with some quality and down to earth people.

Speaking of the people, I had such a lovely group to share this with. The outdoors tends to attract a certain down to earth type of person and that they were. Spending every day with them for 4 months means you all go through many different dynamics together, but learning how to be amongst and even influence that was another challenge I loved.

Lots of us wanted to go on to be expedition leaders (though you don’t have to want to to go on this course), and by the end I felt really well trained and that I had a solid and detailed understanding of what it meant to run an expedition.

Ultimately, I had an amazing time and would 100% recommend it.

28 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Badass in training

When I found this training, I knew I had to sign up. It would be intense, but I needed to do it.
From the first email to the first day in the training, the predeparture support was great, answering all the questions and giving advise.
The last four months have come and gone in the blink of an eye. Every day has been an adventure, every moment has been a challenge to step out of my comfort zone. It's been hard, intense and fun. And the end of this trip is only the beginning of the new me. It has inspired me to continue to push my limits, to be stronger. To stand up for the life I want. To open my eyes and face my fears.
I am going back with a suitcase full of laughter, crazy stories, lots of mud and some bullet ants.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Commit to it. You'll start the training with a lot of energy and positivity. Know that there will be days when you will be tired, uncomfortable and overwhelmed. It's easy to laugh when you are feeling good, but the low moments will allow you to grow the most.
32 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Expedition Leadership Training course.

What an excellent 4 months. I had looked into the course for 2 years, eventually I signed up. From the time you sign up to the day you finish you are supported by Gapforce staff.

I have found this course to be extremely fulfilling, it has challenged me in different ways; mentally and physically. I feel I have grown as a person, improving self confidence, interpersonal skills, understanding others and personal ability in the course content.

To those who are looking at this course, I would say to get the most from this experience you need to have a reason why you are on the course, it doesn't have to be to become an expedition leader but if you have a goal you have an overarching objective to reach for, this will help keep focus throughout.

The course content itself is varied, kept industry relevant, always evolving and suitably challenging.
From mastering cooking in swampy mud in driving rain, conducting sleep deprived medical scenarios in caves, shepherding your group around Costa Rica and Panama to spending days alone surviving in the jungle. You will be challenged but you get out what you put in.

If you want a challenging, life changing, self improving and once in a lifetime experience the Expedition Leadership Training course is for you! 4 months of your time extremely well spent.

Expect to be busy, tired, wet, muddy, smelly and deeply rewarded. You won't be disappointed!

28 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

A fantastic development experience

I came into the ELT course not knowing if being an expedition leader is something I wanted out of this course. That being said and now having completed the course I can still say it was an amazing experience. Definitely is challenging and everyone will be challenged more at different parts of the course than others. But it’s incredibly eye opening in showing you what adversity you can push through and what obstacles you can overcome.

I met a lot of fantastic people on my team that will remain life long friends of mine. All of us had varying levels of experience with expeditions, hiking and camping to start this course. I was one of those who had less experience than some other members of my team but still played a crucial role on my team and very much enjoyed the course with them.

For me this course showed me that most challenges in life aren’t really all that bad. Especially when you have luxuries like a bed, bathroom and shower.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Invest in good boots, socks, and a good pack. And break them in well!
31 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Expedition leader (tired) but very well trained!

I signed up to this course not really sure what I wanted out of it but having always loved challenging myself, being outdoors and travelling the world. This course delivered that and more.

The last four months have been a serious test of grit and perseverance; from eating porridge every day for four months to trekking through beautiful, dense jungle for twelve hours a day; leading multi-day cycles around lakes and volcanoes and trying to stay awake through overnight cave rescue/medical training.

The instructors are awesome, supportive and experienced people who help you discover strengths you didn’t think you had. I’ve come away with a clear idea of the direction I want to take and relevant, industry recognised qualifications. The course packs a lot in so don’t expect to have a day off in the four months you’re away but who cares when you’re doing something different and insane pretty much every day!

Whether you’re interested in getting into the industry or not I cannot recommend this course enough. If you’re currently sat in a grey office wondering if this course is worth the investment then I can 100% confirm that signing up will be the best choice you make.

28 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

TEL course for fun

I signed up for the TEL course with no intention of becoming an exped leader. Despite this I still really enjoyed the course. It’s a really good opportunity to have adventures that are hard to come by in the normal adventure tourism industry.
The biggest issue with doing the course as someone who doesn’t want to be and exped leader is the amount of paper work. I understand that this essential for people wanting to go into the industry but for someone who doesn’t I found it incredibly dull.

But overall it’s a really fun and testing 4 months

31 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

The most amazing 4 months

I chose this course both for the adventure aspects and the huge array of qualification you get by doing the course.
Signing up, I was worried about whether this was something I really wanted, given the big investment that has to be made for the course.
If you’re reading this thinking the same, my advice would be just to go for it.
The TEL course changed me more than I could have ever imagined. I feel like I have gained more life skills in 4 months than I have in my 19 years put together. The course certainly pushes you to your limit, but this only allows you to find where your limits are and for me they’ve been much farther than I first thought.
Unlike others on the course, I wasn’t specifically applying to get a job with gapforce, but this didn’t mean I was treated any different- as long as you are prepared to work hard and have a clear reason why you are there everyone is pushed to improve just the same.
Whether you are complete novice or you already have plenty of experience, the course is brilliant at providing for individual needs and because so many areas are covered, each participant is able to find their niche.
The intense environment also means that teamwork is essential, and the bonds that the eight of us had made by the end of the course were truly something special.
I cannot recommend the course enough; if you have a passion for adventure and you are prepared to work hard then it’s really a no brainer.

31 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Would do this again

I had no specific reason for signing up to this course other than reading the description and immediately feeling like I must.

The only hesitations I had were to do with the quality of the course (is this actually worth spending so much money on?) and the kind of people I'd find myself doing the course with.

To those who might have the same hesitations, it turns out I had no reason to be concerned at all. The course fully delivered what it promised AND teachers and peers were such enthusiastic, open, driven people that I rarely felt so supported in my learning efforts. A wonderfully motivating atmosphere.

Other than the above, it's been one of the most rewarding experiences ever, and I take back skills I will be able to apply no matter the field of work. Would do this again

30 people found this review helpful.

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