Take a Gap Year to
Imagine yourself walking the black sand beaches of Ometepe Island, in the middle of the only fresh water lake in the world that has sharks. Soaking in the afternoon in Ojo de Agua. Hiking to the hidden waterfall. Climbing the volcano in the national park to see the monkeys.
Imagine kayaking Laguna de Apoyo on a calm afternoon, or wandering the markets of Leon, visiting the colonial town of Grenada and taking a boat out among the islands. Perhaps you'll head across the country by bus or plane and get your SCUBA on in the Corn Islands. Or maybe you'd rather spend a week camped out in a hostel in San Juan, learning to surf. The possibilities are almost endless.
Perhaps you want to serve: teaching English, working with kids, or contributing to community development as you learn.
Spend a semester, or a whole school year, learning and living your wildest dreams in Nicaragua
Nicaragua is in Central America, bordering Honduras, Costa Rica, and El Salvador. It's a country of wild diversity, from the volcanic highlands, to the tropical rainforests to coasts on both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, as it spans the isthmus that forms the narrow bend between North and South America.
According to International Living, Nicaragua is one of the most beautiful countries in the Americas. The largest country in Central America and the most sparsely populated, it boasts a dramatic Pacific coastline; long, gentle Caribbean beaches; and volcanoes and freshwater lakes that dot the hilly inland.
Travel Under 30 says, "To say this country is magical is an understatement...
Granada is known as the Italy of Central America and there’s plenty of reason for that. Walking through the city one feels as if they are walking through Tuscany. Its architecture and colors are a joy to look at."
But is it safe?
Safe Around lists Nicaragua as a "medium" risk country and says that, "Nicaragua has a low crime rate, but it has some dangerous areas like any other country." For comparison, the USA is also listed as "medium risk" on the same scale.
Nicaragua is still a little bit "undiscovered" compared to its neighbours, like Costa Rica. This is the place to go if you want to get off the beaten track a bit in Central America.
TAP provides everything you need to get started.
Or, make a $500 deposit and start planning now!
Ethical Service Learning - Learn skills too
Omprakash is a Gap Year Association accredited a network of vetted service-learning opportunities that are ethically sound. Find a place to serve and grow from 6 unique opportunities in Nicaragua and use your skills, from teaching, marketing, social media, computer skills, grant writing and much more.
We also partner with Omprakash EdGE to provide unique pre-departure support and training for each TAP Gapper, including trip planning support, individual mentorship with a TAP Guide, and a deep dive into the experience and ethics of international travel and service learning so that you’re ready to face the world.
AirTreks is the industry leader in round the world flights, with over thirty years experience getting people where they want to go. Through our partnership with AirTreks, you’ll have a designated travel agent, a real person, who will make sure you get the best flight possible, and the flight costs are included. No matter where you’re coming from.
Food & Lodging
Many of the Omprakash network partners provide food and lodging for their volunteers. Where they do not, support in finding local lodging is provided and a budget for food and incidentals is outlined. This cost is included in the dollar amount listed in the Omprakash project listing.
This cost has been factored into the cost of your TAP Gap. We are covering it.
Food and lodging for your arrival and departure in Nicaragua, not at your project, and food or lodging for any excursions you choose to take during your Gap Year are extra, and you’ll need to budget for those.
We believe staying safe on your Gap Year should be a primary concern. Travel insurance is an essential part of that. Included in your TAP Gap is full coverage travel insurance that includes emergency care, basic healthcare, transportation of a family member to Peru in case of a serious emergency, and emergency evacuation. Of course the basics of travel insurance, covering your trip and your bags are included too.
When you take a Gap Year in Nicaragua, you'll have the opportunity to dive deep and learn about the culture, history, and people.
You might want to learn more about:
When the Spanish arrived there were seven main people groups living in this part of the world. The name “Nicaragua” is taken from the name of the leader of the largest and most powerful of those groups. The blending of the Spanish and the indigenous people resulted in the dominant people group in Nicaragua today.
There is, however, a distinct and different people group along the Caribbean coast of the country. The Garifuna people are of mixed African descent, rather than indigenous. Their culture is unique and also plays an important role in the history of, as well as modern day, Nicaragua.
Who are the Garifuna? How did they get here? What is their history? What have been their contributions to Nicaraguan society? What makes their culture distinct? Where do they “fit” in modern Nicaragua?
Nicaragua has one of the greatest economic divides in Central America, and the world. Why is that? What has caused the divide? What sustains it? Some would say that there are two Nicaraguas, the wealthy one, and the impoverished one. How is the experience of the two groups different and how do you think this has contributed to the revolutionary past of the country and the difficulties it faces currently, and moving forward?
Extreme poverty is defined as living on less than $1 USD per day. In 2013 nearly 10% of Nicaraguans qualified under that definition. According to one study, that number is rising. The average income in Nicaragua hovers around $6000 USD per year, but that number is misleading because “average” is very difficult to find.
Nicaragua has one of the deepest economic divides of any country in the world and it’s poverty level is second only to Haiti in North America. You’re sure to come face to face with extreme poverty while you are in Nicaragua. Instead of walking by, think about this problem and learn what you can.
Why is there such a deep economic divide in Nicaragua? What contributed to this? What are the factors that sustain it? What (if any) kinds of efforts have been (or are being) made to level the playing field and increase economic balance? What are the factors that trap people in extreme poverty? What does this mean for men? For women? For children?
Are there NGOs, or governmental organizations addressing the root causes of extreme poverty in Nicaragua? To what end? Are there success stories to tell? Where does more work need to be done? What does real “help” look like?
How is climate change affecting Nicaragua? How are the changes already affecting farming and food supplies? What do the intensified drought-flood cycles mean for rural communities and the country at large? What kinds of efforts are in the works to combat and evolve industries around the new realities of climate change?
Check out our Country Resource Page for Nicaragua and expand your education!
Make a $500 deposit and start planning now!
GYA Accredited Pre-Departure Preparation
Perhaps this Gap Year is the first time you’ll travel alone. The first time you’ll live in another country. The first time you’ll be responsible for your own food and lodging, budget and life planning. You want to make a difference in the world, but you want to do it well. Perhaps your family and friends are concerned that you’re not ready, or that there is too much to be afraid of.
TAP students receive a free student membership to GYA. The TAP EdGE classroom, built specifically for TAP Gappers, in conjunction with Omprakash, is designed to get you ready. From help with your planning, to individualized mentorship with a TAP Guide, we’ll be with you every step of the way.
The most important part of the TAP pre-departure curriculum is the ways in which it provides you to move through the world in a thoughtful, intentional way. The service learning industry is fraught with ethical violations and grey areas. By preparing ahead of time you’ll think through your own motivations, the realities on the ground, and what “help” actually looks like, at home and abroad. Omprakash sets the high bar in the Gap Year community for ethical service learning opportunities and we are proud to partner with them. By the time you go, you’ll be prepared to serve, and learn, to the best of your ability.
We’ve helped over 100,000 people take round the world trips over the past 25 years. We’ll help you too. We’ve taken our own Gap Years, and so have our children. We understand what it feels like, and we have overcome the same fears.
Who This is For:
So, who should take a TAP Gap Year? We think everyone can benefit from a Gap Year, regardless of where you are at in life. Most people who take a Gap Year do so between high school and college, or after university graduation and before their career starts. But that’s not the only good time. Lots of people take a mid-career Gap Year or a family Gap Year later in life. TAP Gap Years are for everyone.
You should consider taking a TAP Gap Year if:
- You recognize that travel is an essential part of education
- You have a spirit of adventure
- You have a desire to serve and give back in the world
- You are an independent sort of traveler
- You are confident in your ability to “go it on your own”
- You are serious about learning on your Gap Year
- You are budget conscious and want to get the most bang for your buck
- You’d like a little bit of help with the planning
- You’re looking for the security of a travel company with years of experience
- You recognize the value of a mentor in learning and travel
- You’re willing to take responsibility for your own journey
In short, TAP Gap Years are for intrepid and adventurous travelers who could benefit from the experience and support of an experienced team.
Apply to TAP Gap now
- Get connected with your TAP Guide
- Apply for your Omprakash network project
- Plan your flights with your AirTreks travel agent
- Complete your pre-departure study and planning
Ready for the adventure of a lifetime?
Who This is NOT For:
There are lots of ways to take a Gap Year and we don’t think ours is the best way for everyone.
It’s certainly not the only way.
Some people aren’t ready to travel on their own.
Some people need the safety net of a well planned group trip and some extra support to build the skills they need to travel safely and well on their own.
Not everyone WANTS to take on the burden of doing the planning for themselves. Some people will find a group experience more satisfying than a solo venture. There are a lot of reasons you should NOT choose a TAP Gap Year.
A TAP Gap Year probably isn’t for you if:
- You really enjoy group travel more than being on your own
- You’ve never spent a night away from home
- You want a guide on your trip with you
- You aren’t interested in budget travel
- You don’t want to work or serve at all on your Gap Year
- You aren’t interested in learning before and during your Gap Year
- You are looking for resort style living
- You want to do all of the planning, every single bit, yourself
- You want to get college credit on your Gap Year
- You question if you are mature enough to take responsibility for yourself
In short, you should not take a TAP Gap Year if you are looking for a group experience or are not comfortable with the idea of traveling independently.
If you want to have a great group experience on your Gap Year and are looking for a reputable program to join, we highly recommend that you start looking at the Gap Year Association. They have a list of reputable and accredited Gap Year programs around the world, some of which even offer college credit.
Who Are We?
Hi, we’re Sean and Jenn… or Jenn and Sean… we are co-founders of the Travel Access Project, avid travelers, active learners, enthusiastic educators, once upon a time student travelers, and parents.
BootsnAll is one of the longest standing independent travel sites and through that portal Sean has been helping people take long term trips for over twenty years. Well over 1,000,000 people have taken journeys of a lifetime through the BootsnAll network.
AirTreks is the largest purveyor of round the world airline tickets. They specialize in helping people take complicated trips. Their experienced travel agents will help you get the best deals on flights and the perfect itineraries nailed down for your Gap Year. They know their stuff.
Sean attended the GAP Year Conference in 2017 and was happy to see the quality of all the GAP years provided their, but disappointed at the high price and in accessibility of them.
Sean hopes that $5000 for a Semester and $10,000 for a year all inclusive will allow more folks to experience the life transforming effects and learnings of a GAP year experience.
Jenn was inspired to create the Travel Access Project with Sean as a result of her life traveling. She was almost born in Guatemala, spent her childhood across the three major countries of North America, took her first solo trip to Europe at 16 and spent a full decade traveling full time with her four children for the purpose of their educations. She believes travel is essential to a well rounded education and she wants to make that happen for every person, not just her own kids.
Jenn has lead learning journeys for groups of girls and women, building the skill set necessary for safe solo travel as women. She has spent years mentoring young adults who want blend travel and education and has launched three of her own children to significant solo and Gap Year travel. She knows what it feels like to be the parent, launching a kidult into big time travel, alone. Having spent more than a decade working with families at the intersection of education and adventure, she’s uniquely qualified to help young people meet the world, and parents successfully hand off the reins.
All of our TAP Guides are experienced travelers who have taken Gap Year type trips and worked in the industry for many years. Many of them are also educators, and parents. These are people who are handpicked for their wisdom, and real-world experience; not only in travel, but in working with young people in travel.
Through the EdGE classroom you’ll communicate with your mentor about your trip plans, as well as what you are learning. We will be there every step of the way to make sure that you’ve dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s, so that you are well prepared to face the adventure ahead of you.
With the TAP Guides, you can rest assured that you are in good hands.
Which path to a Gap Year will you take?
Or, make a $500 deposit and start planning now!