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traveling to costa rica alone and with no agenda

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean traveling to costa rica alone and with no agenda

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1. Posted by ziara4life (Budding Member 9 posts) 7y

I am planning on moving to Costa Rica for the summer. My goal is to develop my Spanish and be a part of Costa Rican culture. Ideally, I would work or volunteer at an organization. I want to head down in June, I havent bought my ticket yet, dont know where to stay or work. Where should I start? I can also just go and continue to do my research and writing there, but I need to find housing for the three month period. Any suggestions about where I should stay? Where can I look for summer housing? Craiglist is alright, but sometimes it doesnt advertise all the great locations.

This is a great opportunity for me, and I have a lot of time and flexibility. Please let me know your suggestions!

2. Posted by Piecar (Travel Guru 894 posts) 7y

AAIIGGGHHH!!!

You mention research, but not what kind.

You don't tell us what you like to do.

You don't really describe yourself.

I can't help you....I welcome you to the board. I hope you find your answers. But you gotta give us something to go on. Do you know how many times someone has come on here and asked "Hey, where should I go?" It's not fair to ask stuff without info.

I'm not drawing out all those answers again. Nope.

Fine. Here, off the cuff. I am going to assume you are researching Prostitution in Costa Rica. Find a place outside Jaco and spend your time around the Beatle Bar. They have surfing and McDonalds. The organization you should volunteer with is the local STD clinic. Culture, volunteering, research and a place to live.

Someone help this person, please.

3. Posted by WanderNuck (First Time Poster 1 posts) 7y

Someone help Piecar, please.

4. Posted by ziara4life (Budding Member 9 posts) 7y

Your absolutely right! I should give a lot more information and be more specific. That was a first-time-poster's mistake.

I am getting PhD level training in clinical psychology, and I focus on child and family mental health. I need to be fluent, or conversational at minimum, when I start working this fall at a health clinical in Boston. I am currently applying for teaching and social work internships in Costa Rica, but they are volunteer organizations and they cost 3200 dollars, which I cannot afford. So I have decided to just go there and immerse myself.

I plan on staying at a youth hostel in San Jose for the first week or so. I can get used to the area, and ask around for work.

I love to exercise, surf, and play golf. I need to run more often. I love to meet people, and dancing is on weekend outings.

I am a 24 year old male from California. I am a full-time student, when I am in the U.S.

What are your thoughts about staying at a youth hostel for some time and looking for a job once I am there?

How difficult is it to get a travels visa or a working visa in Costa Rica? Do I need to get them before I arrive or will they let me get it at the airport in San Jose?

thanks!

5. Posted by humvy (Budding Member 2 posts) 7y

Quoting ziara4life

Your absolutely right! I should give a lot more information and be more specific. That was a first-time-poster's mistake.

I am getting PhD level training in clinical psychology, and I focus on child and family mental health. I need to be fluent, or conversational at minimum, when I start working this fall at a health clinical in Boston. I am currently applying for teaching and social work internships in Costa Rica, but they are volunteer organizations and they cost 3200 dollars, which I cannot afford. So I have decided to just go there and immerse myself.

I plan on staying at a youth hostel in San Jose for the first week or so. I can get used to the area, and ask around for work.

I love to exercise, surf, and play golf. I need to run more often. I love to meet people, and dancing is on weekend outings.

I am a 24 year old male from California. I am a full-time student, when I am in the U.S.

What are your thoughts about staying at a youth hostel for some time and looking for a job once I am there?

How difficult is it to get a travels visa or a working visa in Costa Rica? Do I need to get them before I arrive or will they let me get it at the airport in San Jose?

thanks!

hey, ive lived in costa and in central before. are you planning on staying in san jose? escazu is a nice area around there. as for time, june+ is rainy season on the pacific. caribbean is good august, september, and october. with june and july not being the best n either places, but some days will be nice.

heh travel visas and working visas are quite easy n costa. your allowed in for 90 days, then u can go to panama or nicaragua and pay 70$ under the table for a immediate stamp that says you left or you can leave for 72 hours(aka a vacation for 3 days). you can do this all year long, making it not necessary to ever get a visa. working visas. well if you just want a simple job at a hostel or low key, then i wouldnt worry about a working visa. if your tryng to be a manager, or have a legit salary job, then id get a work visa.

all in all, the pacific on costa is nice, but so many whites and the culture is starting to fade. the caribbean is nice, but can be somewhat dirty. cocles and punta uva are sweet tho. puerto viejo and limon arent places id live. cahuita is nice tho. and manzanillo.

im a fan of panama, nicaragua, honduras, belize, and el salvador in latin america. i dont think id live in costa, but i might be heading back down to central this june myself and live there forever.

im a fan of other parts of central though. i only visit costa for a few days at a time these days.

as for a youth hostel....in san jose/ not on the other you can find a good apartment for like 300-400$ a month. if ts in $, then thats gringo pricing. the key is to find a tico you trust and have him help you with financial things. if a apartment is 400$ for a gringo, then its like 150$ or less for a costa rican. on the pacific you can also get a good place for 500-600$, and on the caribbean the same. some hostels(like a 4 bedroom hostel house)...are like 300$ a month and u just share with other backpackers and theres no business on site.

lemme know if you have any questions. not sure if my info helped.

6. Posted by ziara4life (Budding Member 9 posts) 7y

Thats actually very helpful!

During the rainy season, does it rain every single day, or is it more like a few days a week? Which of the Latin America's has ideal weather during June, July and August? I need to be speaking Spanish, and be out and about.

The visa information is very helpful. I can plan on getting a 90 day visa when I get to the airport.

Thanks again!

7. Posted by SamSalmon (Respected Member 626 posts) 7y

be a part of Costa Rican culture.

Tourists are at best a marginal part of Tico culture-it was ever thus.

8. Posted by ziara4life (Budding Member 9 posts) 7y

Alright, its official. I am moving to Costa Rica in two weeks.

I have several questions and would love your help.

1) Can I am going to be teaching there and would like to know if I will be able to obtain a 90-day or working visa once I arrive there? Or, should I get cracking on that while I am here?

1b) Do I need to have a 2-way ticket to get a 90 day visa, or will a 1-way suffice? I am not sure when I will be returning so I wanted to buy my return ticket there.

2) I am 24, and wondering whether it would be a better cultural immersion if I lived with a host family, or if I lived with other students/professional my age, or lived alone?

3) I have memorized 1000 Spanish words and the basic grammar. Aside from not speaking English when I am there, what can I do to maximize my fluency there? What was your experience like after 3 months?

4) Last question! What is the night life like in San Jose? Is is feasible to get to the beaches on the weekends?

Thank you so so much!

9. Posted by trainrider (Full Member 95 posts) 7y

My girlfriend did volunteer teaching in Nicuagua. She had a wicked time and learnt spanish pretty well too!

Check out volunteerlatinamerica.com........This is how she got into it.

Must agree with others, Costa Rica has been lost to mass tourism. It has been described as Americas Playground. If you want culture go elsewhere such as Panama, Nicuagua, Guatemala, etc........but be quick before the Americans build hotels all over them too!!!

[ Edit: Edited on 21-May-2009, at 14:57 by trainrider ]

10. Posted by Piecar (Travel Guru 894 posts) 7y

The easiest way to get a teaching job is to go to Berlitz, where they don't require a certificate. They train you in their method. They will take care of the whole visa issue for you, and they always seem to be looking.

You can always go to midsized towns and try there. Don't look in Quepos though..>They have a ELT school there and they all go to local schools to teach for free to gain experience.

Costa Rica is a tourist haven, but there are still places there that are not swarming. And the countryside is some of the most beautiful anywhere.

Good luck in Costa Rica.

D