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!
Answers to your questions from perspective of someone who lives here and totally immersed in the local culture (married to a Tica, etc.).
1a) You can apply for teaching jobs, I'm not sure how much luck you will have. I doubt you will be able to obtain a work visa- maybe if you get hired and the place will do that. Most don't bother. You could look into it when you are here but it will probably be a royal pain.
1b) They call it a tourist visa but its just a stamp you get in your passport when you arrive. Offcially you need a two way ticket. If you look presentable and are arriving by plane, they usually don't check.
2) Best immersion is with a non-English speaking family. Living and hanging out with other English speakers is nice but if your goal is learning Spanish, don't do it- take the pain (imagine WWF wrestler voice here) of non-communication.
3) That's a good start. Find some Tico friends or significant other, try to talk as much as possible.
4) San Jose (and surroundings) has a good number of bars of all sorts. Yes, you can get to most beaches on weekends.
If you are concerned about rain, it rains most afternoons now. The worst is from October to December. Those months kind of suck.
let me know if you have other questions/concerns.