Taking part in a summer program is an amazing opportunity to gain new perspective, experience a new culture and so much more. Gap Summer Programs for 17-19 year olds are designed for students to take a break from school and dive into a 3-week to a month-long, fully supported and action-packed trip. By taking an intentional month off, Gap Summer Programs are helpful in gaining clarity and purpose for the next chapter in life. We wanted to shine a spotlight on a few of our incredible summer programs on offer.

Gap Summer Programs

Australia Gap Summer Program

Wilderness Immersion & Climate Conservation

Surf, snorkel, canyon, hike, canoe, and completely immerse in the wild beauty of Australia with a lens on creative climate solutions! On our Australia Gap Summer Program, we go on an epic road trip spanning the length of the East Coast of Australia. We go canyoning in the ancient chasms of the Blue Mountains, hold a koala on Magnetic Island, boat through the 99% silica islands of the Whitsundays, snorkel on the world’s largest Barrier Reef, learn to surf in pristine National Parks, and see how farming is done in the iconic Aussie outback.

Some of the highlights on the Australia Gap Summer Program include:

  • Getting hands-on environmental service experience on the 'Save our Species' project in coastal National Parks
  • Canyoning in the Blue Mountains (swimming, jumping, and abseiling down waterfalls in ancient chasms)
  • Learning to ride some of the country’s best waves at a surf camp
  • Snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef with turtles and tropical coral
  • Experiencing farm life in the Aussie Outback on a farm stay experience

Costa Rica Gap Summer Program

Outdoor Expeditions & Biodiversity Protection

Surf, hike, and raft on multi-day expeditions through the ecological hotspot of Costa Rica and protect its rich biodiversity with wildlife rehabilitation and sustainable practices!

The Costa Rica Gap Summer program is jam-packed with multi-day adventures through a country rated one of the happiest on earth. We will see the jungle and wildlife first-hand by hiking through the rainforest of Los Santos, rafting down thrilling river rapids on the Pacuare, and kayaking through the Golfito. No prior experience is needed - just a sense of enthusiasm and curiosity! You can come and be the judge of why the people are so happy, but this rating probably stems from the laid-back ‘Tico’ vibe, combined with a globally inspiring model of eco-stewardship. 

Some of the highlights on the Costa Rica Gap Summer Program include:

  • The volunteer project rehabilitating sloths, monkeys and other exotic animals at an animal rescue center
  • Surfing on the pristine beaches of the Pacific coast with professional surf gurus 
  • Taking a 3-day white water rafting trip through rapids and waterfalls on the Pacuare river
  • Sea kayaking through the Golfito on a multi-day adventure through secret islets
  • Living like a local with family homestay experiences on the Ruta Sukia hiking trip 

Thailand Gap Summer Program

Culture, Conservation and Island Living

Learn to rock climb, explore Buddhist temples and volunteer at an elephant sanctuary on this cultural Summer Program through Thailand! From immersing in Bangkok's bustling mega-city vibes to climbing on Railay's limestone ocean cliff walls, our trip in Thailand is incredibly diverse. The mountainous northern jungle is populated by minority tribal groups and has stunning national parks, while tropical islands in the south have some of the world’s best beaches and snorkeling spots. Traveling with us, you’ll have the chance to get off the beaten track and uncover the true essence of a Southeast Asian experience.

Some of the highlights on the Thailand Gap Summer Program include:

  • Getting up close and personal with elephants during a volunteer project at an elephant sanctuary
  • Working with an organization that helps to break the cycle of poverty in Thailand
  • Rock climbing on the karst limestone cliffs of southern Thailand
  • Tubing through the amazing rivers of Khao Sok National Park
  • Learning to make authentic Thai food during a cooking workshop

Hawaii Gap Summer Program

Ocean Adventures & Sustainable Futures

Surf world-class waves, traverse volcanoes, and lend a hand in environmental conservation while traveling on the Big Island & Oahu. The volcanic island chain of Hawaii is a traveler's dream. The Big Island is rich in culture and community and Oahu has coastal vibes like California and mighty peaks like Colorado and this program is all about diving in to understand local issues, all while having an epic time along the way. Our endless to-do list includes stargazing from the summit of Mauna Kea, walking on a moonscape of black lava in Volcanoes National Park, roaming a green sand beach, surfing point breaks, and spotting turtles. 

Some of the highlights on the Hawaii Gap Summer Program include:

  • Rolling up your sleeves and learning about sustainable rain-fed intensive farming
  • Stargazing on top of the (official) tallest peak in the world, Mauna Kea 
  • Hike and drive across lava fields and volcanic craters in Volcanoes National Park
  • Snorkeling the reefs of Kona and keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, manta rays, and turtles
  • Immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture by learning about the heritage, history, and importance of canoes


Costa Rica Mid Teen Summer Program

Pacific Surfing and Wildlife Conservation

Join us this summer to navigate the waves in the world-famous biodiversity hotspot of Costa Rica and make a difference in wildlife conservation!  Spend two weeks surfing and service learning with us this summer. Find balance in exploring the ecologically diverse country of Costa Rica and delving into animal welfare and conservation. We will get first-hand experience of the impact that we can make on other living creatures like sloths and spider monkeys at an Animal Rescue Sanctuary. Following this worthwhile service work, we will be helping in a rural community, furthering our sustainability education and learning skills such as carbon neutrality through tree planting. We will see the best of Costa Rica - go on a night safari to spot exotic animals, visit caves, and hike in the luscious jungle of the Monteverde Cloud forest. 

Some of the highlights on the Costa Rica Mid Teen Summer Program include:

  • Volunteer project working with sloths and monkeys at an animal rescue center
  • Traveling with an incredible group of new friends! 
  • Surfing on the pristine beaches of Uvita with guru surf instructors
  • Yoga and meditation retreat to increase strength and enable self-reflection
  • Hiking through the unique cloud forest of Monteverde

You can learn more about our summer programs here. Or, if you’ve already decided which one takes your fancy, check our availability here.

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Author Orla O'Muiri Posted