The Leap

Program Reviews

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meg
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Leap in Costa Rica

I had the best time in Santa Teresa! I met so many cool people, had a chance to give back to the community, and had a ton of fun. Everyone is so nice and welcoming, and it really feels like a community. The beaches are absolutely stunning and the waves are always perfect for surfing. All the other trips, like the turtle sanctuary and cloud forest were amazing too. The local food is super tasty and there's so many little shops and restaurants to go to. The entire trip made me fall in love with Costa Rica. If I could go back, I would!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I'd eat more of the local food. There's so many great dishes to try
Response from The Leap

Hi Meg,
Thank you for your lovely comments we are so pleased you had a lovely time and we hope to welcome you back there very soon!

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Camilla
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica

Amazing experience and such a well organised programme. The volunteering was organised extremely well which made it very fun and rewarding. We did a variety of volunteering which made it interesting and something to look forward to each day and a really good way of getting our group together. The Spanish lessons were great and we had a very enthusiastic teacher which made the lessons very worthwhile! It was very important to learn some of the local language so we could communicate with locals easily. Costa Rica itself is an amazing country and was amazing to see so much of it!

What would you improve about this program?
If there was one thing to improve it would be to spend longer in some places
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Kiki
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Leap: Costa Rica

I loved Costa Rica. Jakera was so much fun and such a safe and social environment to be in. The food was some of the best I have ever had, and the activities on the weekends were great too. It was amazing to learn spanish on a daily basis, as well as help with the local community and of corse the environment. What I loved most was the set structure to the day, and how we also got free time in the evenings and weekends. It gave me a huge confidence boost when I started travelling on my own with one other friend!

What would you improve about this program?
If the staff could be slightly more aware of people's itinerary and when/where they are coming and going after the programme to avoid confusion. Also if the 3 week programme could be integrated into the 6 week programme to avoid group separation - as we felt slightly left out during our first week as we weren't given a lot to do (We arrived on the Wednesday and weren't given anything to do until the following Monday). However when I came back for my 4th week, I was integrated into the 6 week programme and felt much more involved and included!
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SAFFY
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica

So much fun, everyone extremely friendly, staff very friendly and welcoming, helps you grow as a character and you do really feel you are making a difference to the local community. Such an amzimg start to my gap year made some really nice friends and amazimg memories. Really well organised you were always updated on what you were doing each week. Super fun, there was never a dull moment. All the activities were so much fun and you really got stuck in! I would highly recommend to anyone to do it!!!!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most nerve-tacking thing was arriving with only one of other person as felt like starting a new school again with so many new people In a new place but I over came it quickly by just getting stuck in and making an effort
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Anna
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica

Amazing program with great people. Best bit about it was the location! Jakera, the place you stay in, is so pretty and the staff there are amazing. The beaches are like paradise and learning how to surf and the spanish lessons were also so much fun. I was on the three week program and did find that it did not provide as many opportunities as the longer program, for example you do not get to see turtles on the three week program. However it was still a good program and that is the only thing that needs improving!

What would you improve about this program?
More support fro the Leap when out there. Separate the itinerary, kit list and other things for the 8 week and three week program as they are very different and some of the info I received was misleading for the three week program.
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Izzy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

10 week programme (sept 2019)

This 10 week programme was truly the most incredible experience, where I have made amazing friends and immersed myself in getting to know a whole new place and culture. The camp itself has members of all different volunteer programmes, allowing you to develop incredible relationships with people from all over the world in such a unique environment. I did a month of marine conservation and a month of teaching. The marine conservation was beautiful, and being able to get an advanced open water PADI in marine protected areas of Madagascar was very special. As for the teaching, this was something which was so special to me, it allowed me to become so connected with the community, and I created bonds with people that I will truly never forget. Seeing students progress over time was so rewarding and allowed me to develop such close relationships. The staff members are super relaxed and it really feels like your own community! Honestly the best experience!!!

What would you improve about this program?
The fee includes only 4 weeks of marine conservation, which is about how long it takes to get your advanced PADI, leaving little to no time to actively participate in any conservation projects.
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Keith
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A truly wonderful, unforgettable experience

I spent six weeks in Nepal where I taught at a small school outside Kathmandu and Patan.

In the summer of 2019 I decided to take a break from work and commit myself to a volunteer programme. I contacted The Leap since our son had been on projects with The Leap in South America. I received so much support and positive energy from the team at The Leap; nothing was too much trouble, and contact was maintained by e-mail while I was in Nepal. From the first telephone call I was made to feel welcome and valued, and from that first call I became more excited and enthusiastic about my likely assignment.

After discussing the project with the organisers we agreed that the teaching project would be the best one for me to choose; that was my view too, after having looked at the website.

I landed in Kathmandu and I was taken to the hotel for the first night. There was then a briefing and I moved into the hostess's accommodation. There were other gap year volunteers there and we all got on very well. I started to teach within a couple of days of my arrival, supporting a member of staff. However, within a couple of days of my introduction to the schoolchildren I was asked if I wanted to teach on my own, and I accepted that kind offer. So, for just over 5 weeks I was teaching from 10.00 a.m. to around 3.30; I taught 4 or 5 different classes, depending on the timetable. My core subjects were English and maths., but I taught basic hygiene too since there is a lack of understanding amongst the children about germs, hand washing and personal care. I taught from Monday to Friday, and I was at the school by 9.40 each morning since reception is at 9.45 each morning in the playground.

The time in Nepal passed so quickly. I did not do any trekking or trips outside Kathmandu. I did have a couple of nights each weekend in Kathmandu, though. There are opportunities for trips and trekking, but I wanted to focus on the teaching and the sites in Kathmandu.

I shall never forget my time in Nepal. I shall return over the next few years. The people are friendly and welcoming; at no time did I feel threatened or unsafe. The food is lovely, and for vegetarians there is a large variety of dishes. The volunteers get together at the weekends, so there is a social life, and every Friday a social event is organised by the local management and then the volunteers have supper.

If you are thinking of having some time away, and if you want to give your time and skills and energy to a welcoming community, please do think about contacting The Leap and opting for a project in Nepal. Like me, you will have an unforgettable experience ..............

What would you improve about this program?
Nothing. It was great. The support was outstanding and it was a privilege to be able to spend six weeks with the Nepalese teachers and children.
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shiv
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience

I had an absolutely incredible time on this trip. I believe that this program was the perfect balance. The environmental work was meaningful and interesting. Our Spanish teachers were super fun, accommodating and engaging. And of course we also had a lot of fun as nights and weekends were free.
However, one thing I would have liked to know before going on this trip is that although weekends are free, do not expect to have enough time to take weekend trips to other parts of Costa Rica, as there are excursions/small day trips planned by the camp that most people tend to go on. So what I wish I had done was plan in advance a week to travel other parts of Costa Rica after the program ends.
But regardless of that, I can truly say that I had the best time on this trip and couldn’t have asked for a better group, as I made friends for life in six weeks, and I would recommend this program to everyone.

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing that I wished this program included was seeing more of Costa Rica. However, I also appreciate the fact that we were really immersed in living in Santa Teresa for 5 weeks out of the 6 because it truly was an amazing place so it is a tough balance.
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Georgia
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Leap Madagascar

Made the most incredible friends and made the most amazing memories. I had the opportunity of achieving my advanced PADI course and swimming with seahorses and nudibranchs to whale sharks. Teaching in the local village was very rewarding and humbling, especially teaching the advance class who would proceed to ask for extra lessons as they were so determined to learn. The Island hopping was just unimaginable. going from island to island with lunch being caught fresh off the back of the boat. Camping on the beach and teaching (or attempting to) little children as well as creating bricks fro the local hospital and numerous long but awarding forest hikes. Staff members where very relaxed and would join the volunteers on the weekend. SO MUCH FUN!

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Lucy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Madagascar overall

I highly recommend first time travellers to use the Leap. The trip to Madagascar is incredible as you get to experience such a diverse, beautiful island. The locals are super friendly and life on camp is great as you start to feel like a family. As the leap is one of three volunteering schemes on the same camp it’s easy to make lots of friends. Scuba diving was the most amazing experience. Teaching was very very rewarding and made it easier to make friends with the local community. As I was ill whilst out there I can honestly say that The Leap was definitely worth the price as I was cared for very well and had someone come to hospital with me and translate everything as well as being very kind and caring. Overall, Madagascar was an amazing trip and I will definitely go back.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Bring anything that can be made with boiling water as the food can get boring. Bring reading books for beginner and advanced for the locals and students.
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