Semester Program

The Changemaker

Make an impact and get hands-on experience with conservation and sustainability in Latin America.

This program is designed for the impact-driven adventurer who wants to experience sustainable lifestyles all over the world! Travel to Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Peru, Ecuador, and the Galápagos with your cohort, learning about the UN Sustainable Development goals as you adventure through Latin America. Work with locals on these global challenges and explore the ecosystems and communities they are trying to conserve.

Upcoming travel dates:
Spring 2024: February 16 – April 26, 2024
Fall 2024: September 6 – November 15, 2024

How you'll grow

Program itinerary
Note: This itinerary is subject to change due to availability and local conditions at the time of departure.

Costa Rica 13 Days

San José: Orientation

3 Days San José, Costa Rica

Fly to Costa Rica, where you’ll meet your cohort and have an Orientation at the UN’s University for Peace, an oasis in the mountains outside of San José where global leaders and students alike gather to work towards a better world.

Arenal Region: Organic Farming

5 Days Arenal Region, Costa Rica

In the volcanic mountains of Costa Rica, you'll take workshops on sustainable agriculture, visit hot springs, and kayak on Lake Arenal. The Arenal region is an incredible spot to understand the complexities of natural risks like volcano eruptions as well as experience the biodiversity of Costa Rica.

Pacific Coast: Sea Turtle Conservation

5 Days Pacific Coast, Costa Rica

Explore Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, including Manuel Antonio National Park, home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Enjoy the area's unparalleled biodiversity while working on service projects. Contribute to the conservation of this biodiversity by working with sea turtles.

Dominican Republic 15 Days

Boca Chica: Marine Conservation

6 Days Boca Chica, Dominican Republic

After arriving in Santa Domingo, make your way to the beautiful coastal Caribbean town of Boca Chica, where you’ll dive in and get your hands dirty as you work on coral reef and mangrove reforestation projects.

Cabarete: Youth Education

4 Days Cabarete, Dominican Republic

Travel to Cabarete, a seaside surf town on the Northern coast to spend time in the local community, surf, and volunteer at an educational non-profit focused on helping young men and boys learn valuable life skills.

Catalina Island & Cayo Arena: Coastal Exploration

5 days Catalina Island & Cayo Arena, Dominican Republic

Throughout your time in the Dominican, you’ll take in the sun, sand, and pristine blue waters at several towns on this Caribbean nation, like Catalina Island and Cayo Arena. Enjoy the gorgeous white sand beaches before heading back to Santo Domingo to round out your time in the Dominican Republic.

Peru 11 Days

Lima: Latin American History

3 Days Lima, Peru

Begin your adventure in Peru with a few days in Lima. As the capital of Peru, Lima is the perfect place to be introduced to the fascinating history and culture of this Andean nation. Enjoy visiting historical sites in the city center and strolling along the modern coastal developments.

Cusco: Ancient History

4 Days Cusco, Peru

Deep in the Andes, at over 11,000 feet above sea level lies Cusco, the former capital of the Inca Empire. This city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you will learn about this city’s history, both ancient and modern.

Calca: Sustainable Agriculture

4 Days Calca, Peru

Work on a sustainable agriculture project in a beautiful mountain town with farming practices that draw from traditional practices and innovative methods—like the stone terraces of Macchu Picchu. Learn about weaving from local artisans and explore the Salineras salt mines.

Sacred Valley: Andean Culture

5 Days Sacred Valley, Peru

Make traditional clay pottery in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, before traveling to Machu Picchu to soak up the incredible views from this Wonder of the World. Stay in a homestay for two nights to experience the culture of the region.

Peru: Biodiversity

4 Days Coastal Peru

Wrap up your time in Peru with a visit to the coast and a trip to the spectacular Islas Ballestas, home to spectacular wildlife like the Humboldt penguins and sea lions. Visit the National Reserve, a coastal desert.

Ecuador 22 Days

Quito & Ecuadorian Highlands

7 Days Quito, Ecuador

Catch your breath in Ecuador as you explore Quito—a sprawling mountain city at an elevation of almost 10,000 ft. Visit the nearby mountain town of Baños, where you’ll hike around the legendary waterfall of Devil’s Cauldron and then relax in their famous hot springs.

Ecuador: Amazonian Culture

5 Days Amazon Region, Ecuador

Head down the mountains and into Tena, deep in the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador. Spend time with a Kichwa community and learn about their culture and traditions. Stretch your adventure muscles with a hike and some whitewater rafting.

Galápagos Islands: Conservation

7 Days Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Snorkel with sea lions and sharks, spot blue-footed boobies and penguins, and see giant tortoises who are more than a century old. Learn about conservation efforts to sustain the ecosystems of these incredible creatures. Visit a sustainable farm and learn about how climate change is impacting the fragile ecosystem of these magical islands.

Quito: Wrap-Up

3 Days Quito, Ecuador

Visit the bustling mountain market of Otavalo to buy any last-minute handicrafts before wrapping up your experience in Quito. After, participate in reflection activities with your cohort before returning home with a new appreciation for sustainability, biodiversity, and Latin American culture.

Program fee

Tuition for this 10-week program is $17,250, and payment plans are available. Tuition includes:

  • Flights & transportation

    Round-trip flights and local transfers to each stop in your itinerary

  • Room & board

    Your accommodations and some of your meals on the trip

  • Activities & service projects

    Guided excursions and service opportunities with partner organizations

  • EF global support network

    One-on-one mentorship and 24/7 travel support before and during your program

  • Guided learning

    Program leadership and direction by full-time EF Field Director and Student Life Coordinator

Our commitment to safety

When you need us most, we’re always close: EF Gap Year students are supported by multiple layers of staff throughout their experience abroad.

Learn more about on-program Safety & Support, from our on-the-ground Student Life Coordinators and Tour Directors to our 24/7 Safety & Incident Response team.

Ready to get started?

Our Gap Year Consultants are ready to answer any questions you have and enroll you on our program.

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