Multiple Locations +2
  • United States of America
  • Costa Rica
    • San José
12 - 26 weeks

Program Details

Camping Rock Climbing Swimming
Fall Spring Summer
Cabin Tent
Primary Language
Age Min.
Age Max


Starting Price
Price Details
Students will live at a base for the duration of their semester (when they’re not camping during backcountry trips). The open-air cabins are screened-in and rustic but have electricity and are comfortable.

Adventure Treks gap semester tuition will include the following:

All meals and lodging
Tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, backpack, and group gear
Technical gear for mountain biking, rock climbing, canoeing, and kayaking
Guided activities
Wilderness First Responder course
Swift Water Rescue course

Not included in tuition:

Medical insurance
Personal clothing and gear
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Equipment Meals Park Fees Transportation Wifi
What's Included (Extra)

Wilderness First Responder certification and Swift Water Rescue course

What's Not Included
Jan 24, 2022
May 16, 2022
3 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

From the mountains ranges and rivers of Costa Rica to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, Adventure Treks' gap semester traverses multiple ecosystems and cultures over the 74-day program. Throughout the semester students will gain skills in backpacking, rock climbing, mountain biking, whitewater kayaking and canoeing while also learning how to communicate effectively, step into leadership roles and gain independence. Another component of the program is learning life skills like plumbing, auto-maintenance, carpentry, resume building and more. During the semester, we’ll spend time in areas like:

Pacuare and Pejibaye Rivers
Pisgah National Forest
French Broad River
DuPont State Forest
Great Smoky Mountains

The gap semester will offer the ability to earn 14 hours of college credit (which equals four classes) through Western Carolina University (WCU).

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • 14 college credits, internship opportunities and 529 funds available
  • Get your Wilderness First Responder and Swift Water Rescue certs
  • Be a part of a supportive, fun community
  • Learn how to rock climb, mountain bike, canoe, whitewater kayak and backpack
  • Learn life skills in auto maintenance, plumbing, carpentry, electrical and more!

Program Reviews

5.00 Rating
based on 14 reviews
  • 5 rating 100%
  • 4 rating 0%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Housing 4.85
  • Support 5
  • Fun 5
  • Value 4.85
  • Safety 4.95
Showing 1 - 8 of 14 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

A Wonderful Way to Start a Gap Year

The Leadership Adventure Semester with Adventure Treks was a truly wonderful experience. For a such new program, it was thoughtfully planned and every aspect was excellent. The location was wonderful, as western North Carolina is incredibly beautiful and has plentiful opportunities for many different kinds of recreation. The staff are all amazing, skilled, charismatic, and kind people who are eager to help you learn and grow as a person. So beyond thankful for this community. If you're uncertain about signing up, just do it! You won't regret it. It gave me so much more confidence for leading wilderness expeditions, and for life in general.

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

A Once in a Lifetime Experience

LAGS is unlike any other program out there. It’s so unique in its wide range of activities and experiences offered, from all things outdoors to general life skills. While I'm quite jealous about the new addition of two weeks in Costa Rica, North Carolina is the perfect location for the broad range of activities available, with some of the best backpacking, biking, climbing, and river sport locations in the whole U.S. Accumulating knowledge and skill with these different activities that I had never experienced before is something I’ll be able to carry with me the rest of my life, and will provide a platform for me to jump into any of those activities again as a future hobby. The supportive and knowledgeable instructors are what made this possible, without their mentorship and compassion it would have been impossible to make the personal strides I made.

19 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

My experience

I had a wonderful time during the LAS gap semester. I made so many lasting friendships and grew in ways that I could have never imagined. I would 100% recommend doing this semester as I learned so many life and people skills that will help me in the next chapters of my life. I had my doubts coming in but they were all for nothing as I had a phenomenal experience! The instructors were all so amazing, friendly and supportive in everything we did. Everyone had some inexperience in different activities but with the support and encouragement from the staff as well as other peers it was easy to take on different challenges.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Kayaking through rapids for the first time or rock climbing on a slab for the first time.
19 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

LAS was incredible!

Attending the Adventure Treks Leadership Adventure gap semester was one of the best decisions of my life. The activities and community are both diverse and enriching. My group ranged from seasoned outdoorsmen to students who had never been on a hike and the instructors excelled at accommodating everyone. The activities (including backpacking, whitewater kayaking and canoeing, rock climbing, and so much more) consistently felt safe and fun and there was always a challenge for every skill level! I could not recommend this gap semester more for anybody looking for a change in pace and a need to reignite your love for the outdoors. You will be introduced to a community that values fun, safety, and teamwork while still getting the chance to develop your own skills and take reasonable risks. As long as you are up for the challenge, the Leadership Adventure Semester is the perfect fit for you!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
When I first started at LAS I was so concerned about maintaining a specific reputation and terrified of anybody seeing my dwindling skill level. If I could go back and do it all again, the only change I would make would be to my own confidence going in. If you’re looking for encouragement and room for growth there is no better group to be around than your instructors and peers at LAS. Everyone you meet has a different set of skills and strengths and there are so many activities everybody gets a chance to shine! This truly is the place to be your best self and I wish I had known that from the start!
22 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

LAS 2020

My life changed for the better when I decided to take this chance! I met friends I never would have met otherwise. I fell in love with who I became during this program, and I walked on my college campus and knew I would be just fine because of what I overcame during LAS. I am so thankful and I loved my experience. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

I always recommend it to anyone who is thinking about it. I learned so much and today I walked past a car with a dead battery and thought, “I know how to jump that car.” Thoughts like that, having that confidence, it’s priceless. I invested in my future and myself by signing up.

What was your funniest moment?
There are far to many! But when matt was slipping in his crocs walking up a steep, actively flooding, gravel road.
22 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

A wonderful experience!!

If you are thinking of taking a gap year do it. If you are thinking of taking a gap year… start it off with this program. Legitimately life-changing. I can not express in words how amazing this program was. Take a leap of faith and DO IT. I walked away with forever friends, mentors, a new set of skills, loads of life lessons and heaps of amazing memories. This is an incredible way to start a gap year. The personal growth and independent gained as well as friends for future adventures ensure a incredible rest of the year. I can not speak more positively about this program or this company!!!!!!!!!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
Absolutely nothing. I learned so much, laughed so much and grew so much. Every moment from the waterlogged hikes to the rainy canoes was a gift.
24 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Best, Funniest, Most Important 10 Weeks of My Life

My LAS experience was truly transformative. I began the semester anxious and concerned that I wouldn’t be able to handle the demands of the curriculum. Within days I found that the instructors were incredibly kind and genuinely concerned with my personal experiences, needs, and hopes for the semester. I hadn’t done many of the activities before the start of the semester and found most of them daunting, but the community at LAS, instructors and students alike was a constant source of support and encouragement. In just 74 days, 26 former strangers became some of my closest friends and people to whom I hope to stay connected for life. My experience with LAS was anything but easy, but I ended my hardest days feeling stronger, and I’m grateful to have faced those challenges in a safe and supportive environment. As much as I grew from those tough days, they were far outnumbered by days feeling confident in new skills whether with a whitewater kayak, canoe, or bike. I will always treasure my semester with AT and reflect on it as a time of growth, laughter, and love.

What was your funniest moment?
On one of our day trips on the French Broad River, my partner and I ended up in the water within 5 minutes of pushing off. I had never tipped a canoe before, I was soaked, and so was my lunch. But we were fine and so was the canoe so we got back in and caught up to the group. I mooched off other people's lunch and spent the rest of the day, talking, paddling, and enjoying the scenery. Then as we went under a low branch the boat tipped again and I found myself in the water for the second time that day. As I recount it the events don't sound particularly funny, but as I swam to shore I remember laughing so hard that I could barely breathe. I will always treasure that feeling and remember my canoe-tipping day fondly.
21 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Adventure Treks Fall LAS

My experience on this program was pretty incredible. I was able to do so many fun things I don't usually have the opportunity to do, like backpacking, rock climbing, and canoeing, as well as learn things I'd never done before, like kayaking or mountain climbing. You really get pushed out of your comfort zone. I love being outdoors, and LAS definitely allowed me to spend a lot of time outside, but even if you aren't the outdoorsy type I still think the program is really valuable in learning about leadership, and in helping you build confidence in yourself and your ability. I also think it teaches you good home living skills that you don't learn in school or college, like how to cook or how to replace a car tire. But overall the best thing about the program is the relationships you build with your peers and your instructors. I made a lot of really good friends during the program and we still talk to each other even though it's been almost a year since we last saw each other.

What was your funniest moment?
Fistfight with a friend wearing an inflatable unicorn costume
20 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers