Why and Where to Learn Spanish in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a fantastic place to visit, period. This relatively small Central American nation features an astounding variety of ecosystems and wildlife, from beautiful coral reefs and beaches to the famous rainforests and cloud forests cloaking the country’s mountaintops.
Why not justify your visit to this tropical paradise by learning Spanish in Costa Rica?
Costa Rican Spanish is considered very pure, and locals tend to speak clearly with little accent, making it easy for foreigners to practice Spanish with them.
Where to Study Spanish in Costa Rica
Choosing where to learn Spanish in Costa Rica can be difficult, however, think about your goals first and the type of school you are looking for.
To best appreciate the tremendous natural beauty of the country, you may want to study in more than one of the following locations, or at least allow plenty of time for side trips.
Learn Spanish in San José
The sprawling capital city of San José will likely serve as your entry point and first introduction to Costa Rica.
Many travelers consider the city dirty and dangerous and pass right through San José without stopping. On the other hand, if you take the time to look, you will find a wonderful spirit at work in San José.
Home to one third of the country’s population, the capital is undeniably crowded in comparison to the rest of the country. But those very crowds give San José a vibrant nightlife, a thriving economy, and a reputation as one of the most cosmopolitan capitals in Central America.
Learn Spanish in Costa Rica at Playa Jacó
The rowdy beach town of Playa Jaco boasts excellent surf conditions, plus all the nightlife a devoted beach bum could want.
In Playa Jacó, you can learn Spanish and surf all day, and then party all night at the wide variety of bars, nightclubs, casinos, and discos.
If you want to enjoy the beach to the fullest, you should avoid arriving in the wet months of September and October, and instead aim for the dry season of January through April.
Studying Spanish in Heredia
This is one of the best places to learn Spanish in Costa Rica if you love mountains and mountain locations. Heredia is sometimes considered a suburb of San José, Heredia is a small city located in the mountains above the bustling capital.
Because Heredia is home to the National University of Costa Rica, many students live in the area, and you will find plenty of cultural activities and attractions.
Lush forests, coffee plantations, and picturesque villages surround the city, making Heredia a great jumping off point for day trips to the countryside.
If you learn Spanish in Heredia, don’t neglect to get up close and personal with Costa Rica’s volcanoes by exploring one of the nearby national parks like the Braulio Carrillo National Park, the Volcán Poas National Park or the Irazú Volcano National Park.
Study Spanish in Monteverde
Located high in the mountains, Monteverde is the perfect place to explore Costa Rica’s cloud forests and observe their unique wildlife. If you stay in Monteverde, you will have two world-famous eco-reserves right on your doorstep: the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve.
For an unforgettable perspective on the cloud forest, you should consider a canopy tour, which takes you high above the forest floor via a network of hanging bridges and walkways. If you need a break from all that nature, you can find plenty of art, entertainment, and fine dining in town.
Learn Spanish in Costa Rica at Flamingo Beach
Learning Spanish at Flamingo beach is perfect for adventurous souls who want to surf, study and party at night. This beach is the most developed in the Guanacaste Peninsula, however, it is not spoiled at all. In the Pacific coast in Central America, this beach is the only full service marina between Acapulco and Panama.
Flamingo beach is very close to the Santa Rosa National Park and Palo Verde Natural Reserve.
Wherever you decide to learn Spanish in Costa Rica, you will certainly enjoy a relaxed vibe, meet friendly people, and create lasting memories!
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Why Learn Spanish in Costa Rica
- Did you know Costa Ricans often eliminate the most difficult sound for English-speakers to pronounce: the trilled “r”? They pronounce it more like an English “r”. So, if you’ve struggled with that rolled “r” sound, like many have, you will feel more comfortable in Costa Rica!
- Spanish from Costa Rica is clean and beautiful. The natives speak at a normal pace, and the rhythm of their speech is easy to follow making it easier for you to learn Spanish.
- Another distinguishing feature of Costa Rican Spanish that I see as an advantage, is that locals use “vos” or “usted” instead of “tu”. “Vos” is easier to learn than “vosotros” from Spain and its usage gives you a more rounded knowledge of the language.
- When you learn Spanish in Costa Rica you can be sure to learn the proper way. Costa Ricans don’t eat their “l”s and don’t shorten words by skipping the beginning or ending of words like in some other Latin American countries.For example, in the coastal areas in Latin America and some Central American countries natives may say “ta ca trah” instead of saying “esta acá atrás.”
- Besides the language, Costa Rica offers an amazing variety of fauna and flora due to its climate. This translates into exploring opportunities, beautiful weather and enjoyment of both, the climate and the learning experience.
All Pictures by Marcela Hede