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Why choose Gapforce?

At Gapforce, we are passionate about travel and the positive impact it has on young people’s outlook and future prospects. Our mission is to help people become global citizens through authentic, socially and environmentally responsible travel experiences which aid self-discovery and personal development.

Through our range of school group trips, gap year programs, training courses and internships, we aim to provide our participants with a unique collection of experiences designed for different stages of life.



We are committed to exert a positive impact on the regions, countries and communities which we visit. For us it is paramount that the local organisations and communities benefit from our cooperation by working with trusted local businesses and project partners who align with our sustainability objectives.

Ethical Impact

We are passionate about travel and the positive impact it has on young people’s outlook and future prospects. Our mission is to help people become global citizens through authentic, socially and environmentally responsible travel experiences which aid self-discovery and personal development.

As a small team, we are committed to providing a highly personalised service from your initial contact right through to your chosen adventure. We achieve this through our dedicated team of program leaders and support staff, all of whom are passionate travellers united by a common purpose to help young people explore the world.


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Yes, I recommend this program

Stay in South America February 2024

"Having found this program on the internet I was a little hesitant at first about the reliability of the offer, ultimately I have no regrets about this wonderful stay! Peru and Ecuador have left me with truly unique memories that I won't find anywhere else. The locals are friendly and warm, the culinary diversity is qualitative, the natural landscapes are breathtaking!

Our guide (Colin) was caring, very kind, funny and gave very good advice! It was a pleasure to speak in English, Spanish AND French with him!! The local guides were all wonderful. Our youth group was friendly. All the activities offered were great.
Volunteering was incredible and one of my greatest life experiences! I was able to improve my Spanish during this stay while helping others and enjoying it, what more could you ask for?

I am grateful to have been able to participate in this program and I highly recommend it."

En ayant trouvé ce programme sur internet j’étais un peu hésitante au départ quant à la fiabilité de l’offre, finalement je n’ai aucun regret de ce merveilleux séjour!
Le Pérou et l’Équateur m’ont laissé des souvenirs véritablement uniques que je ne trouverai nul part ailleurs. Les habitants sont aimables et chaleureux, la diversité culinaire est qualitative, les paysages naturels sont à couper le souffle!

Notre guide (Colin) était bienveillant, très gentil, drôle et de très bons conseils! C’était un plaisir de parler à la fois en Anglais, en Espagnol ET en Français avec lui!! Les guides locaux étaient tous formidables. Notre groupe de jeunes était sympathique. Toutes les activités proposées étaient géniales.
Le volontariat était incroyable et fait partie de mes plus belles expériences de vie! J’ai pu améliorer mon espagnol durant ce séjour tout en aidant les autres et en profitant, que demander de plus ?

Je suis reconnaissante d’avoir pu participer à ce programme et je le recommande vivement.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Bridge jumping was one of the best experiences of my whole life !
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Yes, I recommend this program

Experience of a lifetime

When I was choosing my gap year program I had a checklist of everything I wanted to get out of the experience.
1. Meeting new people from around the world. Check. In my group I made friends with people from England as well as South Africa, Ireland and Martinique! It was so cool to be put in a group of people who have different life experiences and stories to share. We had lots of fun debating on the different ways to say words and exploring how our lives differ in school and social life. I was so happy with the bonds I’ve made and the friendships that will always be remembered for future travel buddies!
2. Adventure. Check. This trip was everything I could have hoped for in terms of adventure. Zip-lining, white-water rafting and bungee jumping were some key highlights that made sure, there was never a dull moment. The adrenaline rush I got from these activities was very unforgettable! I can also never forget waking up to tea at 5am in a tent ready to start our hike on the Salkantay trek up to Machu Picchu! This trek held so many cherished memories like going for a dip in the glacier water river, singing our way down a mud slide as it poured down on us and so many more! I can say that my thrill seeking was fulfilled!
3. Volunteer work with animals. Check. The volunteer work on this program was very unique and incredible. We had the opportunity to work at the Yanacocha animal rescue center which was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity! It felt good to be doing hard work feeding, cleaning pens and completing extra work around the sanctuary. The owner and volunteer coordinator made many efforts to make it a fun work environment with the other volunteers. We had chants in the mornings to pump us up for work and fun games in the evening after work was done! You could tell they loved it there and their hearts were in it for the animals! The sanctuary was filled with macaws, pumas, tayras, owls, baby racoons, toucans, ocelots, caymans, many kinds of monkeys and so many more. It was devastating leaving because of the love I developed for these animals. We also had the unique chance to go through gap forces terms and conditions for volunteering to make sure it is ethical and the animal walfare is good. From working there for a week we already knew the sanctuary was amazing and had all the right intentions and going through the paperwork verified that. We even got to release a toucan and sloth into the jungle which was an incredible experience! As I’m done the trip this volunteer experience was definitely my favourite part of the entire trip!
4. Lastly experiencing the jungle. Check.
We stayed at the ecolodge Tamandua which was a close tie to my favourite part of the trip. We had an amazing view over the tree tops and spent our nights stargazing on the decking that hung over the trees. Our days were spent either walking to hidden waterfalls, making bracelets and chocolate, reading in hammocks and enjoying the peace that the jungle brings. Another once in a lifeline opportunity we had was sleeping in hammocks in the jungle! We set up the hammocks and shelter ourselves, even making one out of leaves and sticks! We fell asleep to just what you can imagine a jungle would sound like at night and woke up to the birds singing and the sunrise! I even had the opportunity to do it twice which I jumped at the chance to. As a kid I dreamed of being in the jungle and what I got from this trip was so much better!
Overall all of my wishes were checked off and fulfilled way beyond I could have ever hoped! Thank you GapForce

  • We kept moving around, so we got to see a variety of landscapes and have different experiences.
  • Freedom even with the scheduled activities
  • Meeting people around the world
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Yes, I recommend this program

Can’t recommend enough!

Cannot recommend this programme enough! The dive teaching is exemplary, the method of supporting coral reefs is clear and feels gratifying, and the staff are super welcoming and friendly- lots to do in free time and special shout out to Jade and Ciara who lead the programme for their support and joy every step of the way!
From what I’ve seen, what makes Roctopus stand out are its incredible conservation department and it’s diving community, which is an amazing way to explore what the island has to offer.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Diving in Koh tao is some of the best in the world and what you see will stick with you forever.
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Yes, I recommend this program

A fantastic 7 weeks with a lovely group of people

Lovely varied itinerary with plenty of flexibility means this trip could appeal to all from hiking enthusiasts to animal lovers and everything in between. Personal highlights included hiking to Machu Picchu, surfing in Punta Hermosa and all the activities in Banos. The Spanish Lessons and Homestay experience at the beginning of the trip gives ample opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture. All the other participants were super friendly, welcoming and enthusiastic which really added to the overall experience.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Cleaned out a Puma's cage
  • Varied itinerary
  • Great social side
  • Unique experiences
  • Some people may struggle at altitude
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Yes, I recommend this program

South American Explorer

Incredible time and would highly recommend doing the full 7 week trip. I especially enjoyed the treks and the beautiful scenery each trek provided. On this trip you are able to see many different places in Peru and Ecuador and get exposed to a their respective cultures. This trip has a nice mix of bustling towns, smaller towns, remote areas, the jungle, the mountains and the beach. I especially loved the adventure activities in Baños such as white water rafting, bridge jumping, rock climbing and canyoning.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I saw a monkey autopsy at Yana Cocha animal rescue centre
  • Beautiful treks and scenery
  • Traveling in a group
  • Tamandua ecolodge
  • Lunch not included


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Martha Graham Fitzpatrick

Martha is passionate about the outdoors, spending her free time hiking, climbing or camping in the mountains of Ireland and abroad.


Why did you choose this program?

I always knew I wanted a career in the outdoors and something I could travel with and meet interesting people. I found this course, and after researching similar training programmes I decided this was best for me. The opportunity to live and learn in the jungle was a once in a lifetime opportunity and this course appeared to be the most intense and rewarding in terms of qualifications and experience gained.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

Gapforce organise everything apart from flights, insurance and kit. However, instructors are always there to answer any questions before you leave, whether it’s about equipment, physical or mental preparation - they are all very experienced and knowledgeable. During the course we help organise transport, meals and logistics to gain experience - this is what you would be doing as an expedition leader.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Give it your all. Even if you’re really struggling in the moment you have to appreciate where you are and what you’re doing…it’s not every day you’re lugging 30kg through the jungle in Central America! Your teammates are there to support you, everyone is in the same boat. Be open to all new experiences, even if it’s tough at first, us humans adapt very quickly. Also, foot care! (Foot rot is not a pleasant experience)

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

You will spend about 7 days in the jungle at a time, going back into town for a few days to rest, clean everything and restock on food. In the jungle you will typically get up at 7am (usually awake earlier if there’s howler monkeys around) and have breakfast. The leader of the day will give a briefing to explain the plan. Lessons will run up until lunch where you will do some housekeeping eg. collect firewood, make amendments to camp. Afterwards you will have more lessons/ activities until around 4pm. Unless you’re on the dinner team this is usually a bit of free time. You will wash in the river and clean your clothes and kit. I usually spent time practicing some knots, reading or preparing for my next leader day. It gets dark at around 6pm so we usually headed to bed after dinner at around 8 or 9pm…you’ll need your rest!

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

As the start date approached I got pretty nervous! I had a lot of self doubt and thoughts like ‘What if I’m totally inexperienced compared to everyone?’, ‘Am I fit enough?’, ‘Will people take me seriously as a leader?’. But when I arrived in Wales I quickly realised I had nothing to worry about. Even after the first week together you get to know everyone very well and quickly become a team. I did struggle at points and there were moments where I was less experienced than others, but you’re there to learn. I soon became a lot more confident as a leader, the instructors really help you figure out what sort of leader you are and you will find your flow! In terms of going abroad, I was more excited than nervous. The language barrier was probably the biggest issue but you adapt very quickly and learn a bit of Spanish during the course. After the course finished I even decided to stick around and travel through Central America solo, something I never would have had the confidence to do before.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Ben Hunter

Job Title
Program Advisor & Business Development Coordinator
Ben has worked in the outdoor and travel industry for several years. A passionate advocate of outdoor adventures and the joys of exploring remote places, his current focus is on developing new trips and expeditions to support the existing range of exciting programmes already offered by Gapforce.
Ben H.

What is your favorite travel memory?

It's hard to pick just one! Spending time with the Bribri tribe in Costa Rica and crossing the border into Panama on a multi-day trek was really special. Exploring the remote border country with my friends and our local guide was the definition of adventure! Spotting snakes, crossing rivers, finding campsites and sleeping in hammocks was epic. The excitement of forging a path through the dense jungle with my machete will always stay with me.

Oh, and snorkeling in the Bahamas was pretty good as well! Not to mention walking along the Great Wall of China...

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I have developed a growing respect and appreciation of the benefits of group travel experiences. For those who are dying to travel and see the world, but have not been away from home before, travelling alone can be daunting to say the least. Planning the itinerary of a trip can at times be brilliant, as you look forward to your adventures, but can also be quite tricky, with the duration of your trip, knowing where to start, budgeting and packing in as much as possible being common headaches. That's why companies like Gapforce are so great!

Our adventure travel trips are led by experienced and qualified Gapforce Expedition Leaders who have worked in all four corners of the globe. The itineraries are planned and the accommodation is booked - all you need to do is get on the plane and let the adventure begin!

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Travelling and getting out of your comfort zone is a fantastic way to experience new things and gain different a different perspective on life. I guarantee that all our participants will be different people once they've returned home after joining us on one of our many programs.

One of the participants on our flagship Expedition Leader Training program was so inspired by the medical and first aid training he received that, after finishing the program, he went off to university to train as a Paramedic. Joining a Gapforce trip will not only inspire you too see more of the world, it may also fast-track your career.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

As an adventure lover and someone who loves multi-day treks I'd have so say our programs in Nepal and South America. Trekking to Everest Base Camp is a once in a lifetime opportunity and should never be turned down! The Salkantay trek to the historic ruins of Machu Picchu should also be on any budding explorers bucket list, and we've not even mentioned the amazing Galápagos Islands or the lush and vibrant Amazon jungle. Both destinations have everything you could possible need when planning your dream adventure travel trip!

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

All the staff at Gapforce have either travelled with us on our range of programs or are graduates of our Expedition Leader Training course. We are a small and close-knit team with a clear focus on providing the best and most exciting adventure travel experiences. If you ask us a question about any of our trips we'll know the answer, because we've been there!

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Everyone at Gapforce is committed to providing incredible and life-changing travel experiences. With continued dedication and hard work, we are exceptionally proud of our exciting range of programs and the great feedback we so often receive. Our industry leading expeditions and adventure travel trips have been running around the world since 1989 - we have no plans to stop any time soon!

Professional Associations

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