Gap Year in Costa Rica, Panama, & Nicaragua

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Enroll in a Spring Gap Year & Semester course by Nov 15th to receive a $500 Early Bird discount!


Two course options available: Outdoor Leader Semester and Coast to Coast Expedition Semester

OUTDOOR LEADER SEMESTER (65 Days, Spring or Fall)
Discover your strengths, goals, and leadership style as you delve into the field of outdoor education through both technical & soft-skill training. Learn to set up belay systems, organize rescues, provide wilderness medical care, guide rafts down world-class rivers, lead groups through the Costa Rican rainforest, and scuba dive in Caribbean waters during this comprehensive introduction to the outdoor industry. Earn seven internationally-recognized certifications and an in-depth study of the Outward Bound Costa Rica's educational model to make you a desirable instructor or guide for various organizations throughout the world. Earn 10 semester credits.

Top graduates of this Outdoor Leader Semester program will be offered a paid internship as a Field Instructor Intern for Outward Bound Costa Rica’s summer high season, with the possibility of staying on as a year-round instructor.

Coast to Coast is the perfect choice if you want a life-changing experience that will immerse you in a different culture, challenge you on physically and grow as a leader while learning about yourself and how effective you are at leading others.

Embark on a 26-day cross-country expedition that will push you to expand your boundaries and give you new cultural awareness. Trek through rainforest valleys and dense cloud forests as you learn the local traditions of Costa Rica. Spend your evenings camping under the stars, living with host families on their farms, learning to cook using local ingredients, and learning more about yourself, your passions and dreams. Venture into Panama to become NAUI scuba certified, understand the fragile ecosystem of the ocean in the archipelago and test your skills at wakeboarding. Sea kayak to remote islands and work side by side with the indigenous villagers. Nicaragua will take you inland to work in local communities on school/orphanage projects and close contact with local school children. You can also earn 12 academic credits upon successful completion of course as well as earn international certifications in outdoor education.

  • Develop leadership skills as you delve into field of outdoor education through both technical & soft-skill training
  • Gain self-awareness through Outward Bound’s holistic approach to experiential education
  • Get experience in the field with an instructor internship during our high season (Offered to top alumni)

Questions & Answers


based on 3 reviews
  • Housing 9.3
  • Support 10
  • Fun 9.7
  • Value 10
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 3 of 3
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Coast to Coast Semester 2018

Outward Bound Costa Rica exceeded every expectation I had for my 85 day Coast to Coast semester course. The program allowed us to experience the traditional culture of 3 different countries in Central America as well as teaching us everything we needed to know to get started with a career in the outdoor education industry. We got to experience many different activities from community service projects, to whitewater rafting, backpacking, surfing, scuba diving and more. This course was built for anyone who loves adventure and wants to push themselves both physically and mentally to become a better person and a better leader. I couldn't recommend this company or their instructors enough, I wish everyone could experience OBCR!

Yes, I recommend this program

Outward Bound Costa Rica- Outdoor Leader Semester

This 65 day course in Costa Rica was the best thing I think I have ever done. Not only did I grow phenominally as a person, I also had a blast doing it. I met people I have never grown such a close bond to in such a short amount of time, overcame challenges I never thought I could, and pushed myself to my maximum physical and mental capabilities. By covering everything from small-scale team building lessons to rappelling down >100 ft waterfalls, every type of adventure I could have was given to me! Highlights were watching rain forest thunderstorms with a homecooked meal after brutal yet amazing days of mountain backpacking, scuba diving through bioluminescent waters in Panama, wakeboarding with dolphins, and learning how to save lives! I had never truly understood the purpose of outdoor and advemture education before I went on this semester course, but even three years after, I know that working as an outdoor educator is my dream job thanks to everything OBCR taught me.

Yes, I recommend this program
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65 days that changed my life

During our week spent scuba diving in Panama, my fellow student and I decided to sleep out on the open, uncovered, dock one night. There just so happened to be a meteor shower that night so we spent the night laying on a dock in the middle of the ocean, watching the sky light up with shooting stars, and discussing our purposes in life. Spending 65 days exploring everything Costa Rica has to offer completely changed my outlook on life and inspired a love for outdoor education and experiential education. Whether we were backpacking through the rural central valley or sleeping on a dock in middle of the ocean in Panama, I was constantly challenged both mentally and physically. The wilderness first responder portion of the course was definitely the most difficult for. Days were full of classroom session and hands on practice (like making a backboard out of hiking backpacks then transporting a victim on it) and ended with a late-night car crash scenario, complete with fake blood, where we put of skills to the true test. This course is focused on developing leadership skills in the participants and instill a newfound sense of purpose in the world. I continued on to be offered, and accepted, a summer internship with Outward Bound Costa Rica and got to spend the summer putting all my newly learned skills to work with students. I can honestly say I wouldn't be who I am today if it weren't for Outward Bound Costa Rica.

How can this program be improved?
I wouldn't change a thing about my experience, even the downfalls we experienced forced us to work as a team to find solutions.
Yes, I recommend this program


Meet the Staff

About Outward Bound Costa Rica

BE. OUT. THERE. Outward Bound Costa Rica inspires a lifetime of leadership, growth, and a commitment to serve through adventure-based learning. Since 1992, we have honed our approach to experiential education, utilizing Costa Rica and Panama’s...