Gapforce

Program Reviews

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Hannah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica Adventure review

One of the best experiences of my life! Met the best people and experienced the most amazing things. Would recommend bringing extra money as you have do subsidise some of the meals and things are more expensive than they seem. Had 2 different group guides and they were very different in dealing with challenges that we faced. Got to experience things you might not necessarily experience outside of an organised group (for example staying with the Bri Bri tribe), and met the most amazing locals. Would recommend to solo travellers as everyone is so lovely!

Pros
  • Nice people
  • Fun experiences
  • Varied locations
Cons
  • Expensive extras
  • Group leads vary
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Dylan
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica Adventure

For any first time travellers (like myself) to somewhere so exotic, Gapforce provides an excellent safety net so that you feel independent but still supported. Certain experiences such as staying with an indigenous tribe or volunteering on a turtle project are things I would have struggled to sort for myself so I am hugely grateful to Gapforce for organising such privileges. Whilst more experienced travellers may find that going with a lead group is inhibiting, it is a massive confident builder to anyone who is even slightly apprehensive about travelling without family. I have also made friendships that will last a lifetime - it’s been the best time I’ve spent abroad by far.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
During our stay with the jungle tribe in Yorkin, I was amazed at how simple yet delicious the food was - an assortment of beige things I’d never even heard of turned out to be something I’m still craving 3 weeks later!
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Alexi
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica adventure Gap Force

I am extremely grateful for the experience I had. While the accommodations and overall cleanliness was not always ideal (nor expected given the locations), but that was far outweighed by the beautiful places we got to explore and volunteer with. The volunteer work was certainly tiring at times, but always felt satisfying and impactful in the end. There was a good balance between guided activities and free time. Overall the relationship between gap force and the places we visited felt very comfortable, welcoming, and safe. I can confidently say that it would be difficult to have a bad experience and I’d highly recommend anyone to give it a go. I found this program through a friend and truly knew nothing about it but after learning about the process the expedition leaders go through to lead these trips and the measures gap force takes to keep us safe, it is 100% trustworthy. I am sincerely grateful for the dedication and care gap force has for making a lasting experience on its travelers.

What would you improve about this program?
Less cooking at home and more going out for traditional food. For whatever reason it seemed like the budgeted was a little stingy and almost always not enough for a proper meal at any decent restaurant. I almost always had to pay out of pocket to get anything remotely nice and to have any sort of juice/drink.
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Claire
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best time ever !

Traveling with this program was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and every experience I had on this trip was so valuable. I made friends for life and has once and a life time adventures. There was such a variety of things we did it was great. You got out door adventure one day then a nice restaurant for dinner then to a classy bar for drinks. I loved that we got to experience all aspects of where we were staying instead of one or the other. The program was so immersive I’m the countries culture it was refreshing

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
Choose a longer trip so I can spend more time with the group ahhaha
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Ishani
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica Adventure

I loved going on the Costa Rican Adventure. Not only did we get to visit some incredible places and meet loads of cool people, I also made some really good friends from all over the world in my group. My favourite place was Puerto Viejo which was is a gorgeous Caribbean beachside town. Surfing and hiking up the mountains to the natural waterfalls were both amazing activities and I’m so glad I got the chance to do the both. The food and accommodation were great and I had loads of fun. I definitely want to come back to visit Costa Rica in the future!!!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Zip lining and Canyon swinging in Monteverde. It was a thrilling experience, especially when standing up in the canopies but it was so cool!!!
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Zara
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing

I did this trip just before everything locked down and I can safely say this was the best trip of my life. The treks have amazing views and are hard enough to make seeing machu picchu rewarding but not too tough for those who want an easier walk! The itinerary for this trip is completely action packed with ziplining, white water rafting, paragliding, horse riding and so much more and it's all made so much easier by the gapforce organizers who make signing on to these trips safer and much quicker. The way the trip is run is also quite loose in the sense that we generally had one thing to do in a day and could spend the rest of the day exploring. The kinds of people this trip attracts are amazing and I'm sure there will be no issue with making great friends on it!

I would definitely recommend going in for the full 7 weeks you would not regret it!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
If you're a vegetarian you may not be entirely interested in this but let it be known that cooked alpaca and guinea pig meat is an option!
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Ruby
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

South America Explorer with Gapforce Review

I couldn't recommend this trip more highly. I was so nervous to go previously as I didn't know what to expect with the people and dynamic of the trip but I can definitely say I have made some friends for life. The trip is well organised with a high standard of accommodation (all the hostels/ hotels were fun and good quality). The trip was a lot less regimented than I expected which was good, there was the perfect amount of free time for you to go and do your own thing and the group leader was reasonable but not strict. All the activities we did were so worth it and were all very well organised. The leader was friendly, fun and organised and kept everyone in the loop about what we were doing or where we were going. South America is a beautiful continent and the experience was made better by the opportunities that SA explorer gave us.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
As much as it is a trip where you could definitely go with a friend, don't worry about going alone. You'll meet the most amazing people who you'll create bonds with for life.
Don't worry too much on the physical aspect, as much as it was challenging at some points like on the trek to Machu Picchu, it was easy to get through with friends by your side and was so rewarding and worth it by the end.
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Ben
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The full Australian east coast experience

This program is a great introduction to long-term traveling, as you are in a group of people with planned activities most days. You see the best of what Australia has to offer on the east coast, my favorite city being Byron Bay. The Whitsunday Islands and the Atherton Tablelands in Cairns were also highlights. There are many scenic and gorgeous overlooks for pictures and you get to see the diversity of wildlife and climate that Australia has to offer. After 4 weeks there is a volunteering segment, which can be challenging, but is rewarding in the end. Around this portion of the trip there are less activities and a lot of free time, as you are in Cairns for a little over three weeks. There is an excellent extra activity called Green Island tour, which is a beautiful area with snorkeling. There is also skydiving, bungee jumping, and white water rafting (these all cost extra $). Be sure to bring enough if you want to do these, and for food in general because Australia is expensive in certain areas. You get a good mix of free time and planned activities throughout the time you're there. It's an amazing trip and you get to know the people you're traveling with very well and become like a big family. You will get a lot of it and learn so much about an amazing country with many experiences to offer.

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Jess
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great for first time travellers! A few improvements to be made.

This was my first time travelling alone without my family, which was a daunting experience in itself. That's why I chose to do a guided trip with other people, this was definitely the right decision and it is a great way to start off your travelling in a safe way, it eases you in and makes you so much more confident to go and travel by yourself.

The trip itself was jam-packed with activities and you definitely got your money's worth for 7 weeks of travelling with accommodation and activities included. However, I did find that there were quite a few 'free days' which sometimes was a little frustrating as you just ended spending money for the sake of it. On the topic of money, I should have taken double what I did. The Gapforce website advised that you take approximately £750 for food for the whole trip, this was definitely not enough as Australia is really expensive!! A lot of others on the trip also recognised this, and some of us had to go into extra money or contact our parents because we hadn't brought enough with us. I think it might have been helpful to have known how expensive Australia was and how much money per day you would need (I'd advise £25-35).

The highlights of this trip are definitely the Whitsunday Islands and the trip to the Atherton tablelands in Cairns. Everywhere here is beautiful and therefore your camera roll will be filled with scenic views and many waterfalls! The best times that I had were actually the extra activities that you could pay for like Green Island and Skydiving! (I would recommend taking at least an extra £500 to be able to have the freedom to enjoy these activities if you'd like to) a lot of people also got the opportunity to get their PADI diving certificates over 4 days which I would highly recommend as it is much cheaper than England!

The volunteering section in the last couple of weeks was definitely harder than expected, a lot of us were a little disappointed as on the Gapforce website it states that the volunteering would involve animal conservation such as Koalas and Wallabies. However, we only got told a couple of weeks into the trip that we were actually going to be spending 4 hours in 35ºc heat weeding and planting trees, not what we had expected. Despite this, we all learnt a lot and very much appreciated the week after volunteering where we could relax and catch up on some sleep!

This trip was honestly some of the best weeks of my life and I met some wonderful people. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone who hasn't travelled before and finds it hard to meet new people. You get a wonderful tour of Australia and I don't think anywhere was missed out on the trip at all, the itinerary was great and the Gapforce leaders were even better, they were so supportive and got to know all 23 of us individually, you really felt like a big family only after 1 week of knowing each other. I would highly recommend a Gapforce trip but brace yourself for 7 weeks of beautiful views, unforgettable experiences and lots of partying!

I vlogged my 7 week experience - if you want to know exactly what we did check out the video below!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
- Make sure that you take enough money, Australia is expensive!

- Ask what the volunteering is before you go

- Have the flexibility to be able to travel elsewhere afterwards (chances are you'll want to travel with the new friends you've met)
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Alexander
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Recommended

I chose this program because I wanted to travel through South America, see a lot but also do some volunteering work. This program combines these two aspects very well, with the first three weeks consisting of a lot of travelling, the next three weeks a lot of working and the last week travelling again. You see a lot of both Peru and Ecuador and get a great feeling for each country. The volunteering work was very interesting and you definitely learn a lot. In general the atmosphere on the trip was great, the travel group was pretty small and very nice. I think that this trip definitely helped me growing as a person and learn a lot of new things

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Jumping down eight meters into a tiny pond while doing canyoning