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1. Posted by Solesearch (Budding Member 2 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Hello there... I'm new here and have been browsing a bit and there seem to be many friendly, helpful and experienced people so I thought I'd look for feedback.

I'm planning on a big (for me) trip, hopefully beginning January '09 (length of time to be determined) to Central/South America. I have never travelled solo before but am excited about the adventure.

My tentative plan is 1 week in Costa Rica and then 1 week surfing in Nicaragua (a friend will be meeting me for this week). Then off to (still tentative) Mantanita, Ecuador for Spanish classes and hopefully some more surf for 2 - 4 weeks. After that, I'm fairly open. I'd like to do some volunteer work, and I've looked at as well as wwoof.

My questions:

1) Is travelling by bus from Costa Rica to Ecuador an option, worth looking at? Or should I just look at air travel from San Jose to Quito?

2) Anyone have feedback on any specific volunteer organizations/opportunities in SA? I feel like this could be a great way to experience a new country, keep costs down and do some good while at it.

3) Any feedback on this time of year (Jan - May) in SA?

4) I'm planning on Spanish classes before I go as my Spanish is quite limited and I said immersion classes while in Ecuador. Anyone have experience taking classes in Ecuador, living w/ a host family, etc?

My finances are in order and desire is strong, now it's down to logistics. If there are kinks in my tentative plan, please let me know. Thank you for your time and input, any advice is most appreciated.

2. Posted by Tena (Budding Member 22 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Im assuming you mean Montanita.

If so i wouldnt take spanish classes there, i dont remember seeing any when i was there last year. Its only a tiny village, mostly made up of bars/surf shops/hostels.

Id recommend taking classes in Quito, its wicked city with plenty of schools to learn at.

3. Posted by fraluchi (Full Member 132 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

To answer a few of your questions:
1) by bus from Costa Rica to Ecuador is not possible: roads stop between Panama and Colombia. You'll have to either take a boat or a plane from Panama to Colombia;
2) volunteer organizations are plentiful but ... rather expensive. You may search internet with this key word;
3) climate in Costa Rica during the period you envisage is the best of the year. No idea about SA.
4) I see that the Spanish lessons answer has been given.

4. Posted by kellec (Budding Member 7 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Good idea for a trip, but a I'd like to suggest you to visit Brazil. You will be very close and donĀ“t waste this opportunity.
To get more about Brazil take a look www brazilhotel-link com

5. Posted by AndyB24 (Respected Member 167 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

I agree with Tena, head to Quito to learn spanish, heaps of schools to choose from, and its a great city.

I was there may last year, and it was HOT on the coast, bit cooler the further up I got, but still nice.