I (Vicki Skinner - aka "THE Sarong Goddess") created this blog in 2007 to share DETAILED Finds•Lists•Info•Events•Experiences to help bring more EASE to people living in, visiting or thinking of moving to Costa Rica since DETAILS are NOT easy to find!
I’m NOT an expert (an "expert" 2 ME knows 101%-NOT me). I believe in sharin info•helping where I can! And with over 2,200 entries, so some things might be out of date, so if you find old info PLEASE help each other by getting the updated info & sharing it with me to revise. At least you have some basic info to get you started.
Better yet - do you have extra time on your hands & looking for a volunteer project? Since this blog is a labor of love & RARELY does anyone share a donation (even though MANY have said how much it's helped them), I could REALLY use help updating info. Spanish speakers ESPECIALLY welcome since my VicLish can be somewhat limited at times!!

Has my blog helped in any way? Helped find something•brought more EASE? More exposure or business?
I welcome you to show YOUR appreciation for my efforts!
(see below other ways to show your appreciation)
The easiest way is with PAYPAL - Attn: LivingLifeInCostaRica@gmail.com
(you do NOT need to have a PayPal account to do this - just a credit or debit card)
Do YOU have/know of a Business•Event•News•Place•Things 4 Sale•Rent to add? Email:


• APPLE LAPTOP - Do you have a Laptop you're not using? Mine recently broke so I'm using a lender. Must be new enough to run current Skypes & have an SDCard slot.
• Amazon.com or GoDaddy.com Credit•Gift Certificate (attn: SarongGoddess@gmail.com)
• Something else to share?? A gift certificate or invite for your business? I'm open!! (at times I'll add other things here that I'm seeking)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Thinking of LEARNING SPANISH in Costa Rica?
Here are a few places I've heard REALLY POSITIVE things on!!!

Do you fantasize about visiting or moving to a tropical paradise and learning Spanish??

Where do you live?  How do you desire to learn Spanish?

I think first you get to ask yourself what scenarios “feel” right for you.

The FASTEST WAY to do it is to do an IMMERSION HOMESTAY program, where you get to live with a "Tico" family (”Ticos” are what they call themselves) which often means living in a VERY simple/basic home - RARELY with American standards/conveniences, MANY of which do NOT have hot showers, many don’t even have internet, private bedroom though beds in Costa Rica tend to be QUITE HARD (fyi - MY observation is that “Orthopedic” here often translates to “Hard as a ROCK!!”) and often shared bathrooms, they prepare you a “typical” Tico Breakfast and Dinner Daily (the main staple - rice and beans and coffee with most meals.  A typico breafast is gallo pinto [a rice and beans combo], toast, 1-2 eggs, a few pieces of fruit and coffee.  Typico dinners here are usually rice and beans, sometimes a small basic salad and chicken, pork [trust me, ya don’t come to Costa Rica for the beef usually], fried plantains and usually a natural fruit drink), weekly laundry service.  The cool part of staying with a Host Family is they’re not supposed to speak ANY English to you so you are IMMERSED in Spanish!!!  


Living in an area with mainly "locals"/nationals.  
JUST before you come - first go to see what you can find PLUS post what YOU’RE looking for on both http://costarica.en.craigslist.org  as well as 
Like above, most of the time you won’t have American standards or amenities (especially the hot water part!!  Be forewarned that if they say they have a shower, find out if they’re a suicide shower - RUN!  There’s a reason they’re called that!!  Strange as this sounds - I kid you not - they’re an ELECTRICAL gizmo that is hooked up to the shower head and if you want hot water, you often have to adjust the thing - IN the shower - with water around it!!  2 times I’ve used one, 2 times I got a little shock!! Next time I have to use one [doubtful as it is for me], I’d wear my http://Crocs.com in the shower with me) and you can kiss the American conveniences goodbye - ESPECIALLY if you’re looking for cheap (ya get what you pay for).  This also usually will NOT come with a phone so you’ll most likely NEED to rent a cell phone (NOT cheap - on average $7-$10/day+), often no internet (anyone that says they don’t have it installed but they can get it - RUN FAST as chances are REALLY GOOD they can NOT get it - PERIOD!!).  
HOW DO I FIND A PLACE?  I suggest people make arrangements at a place (like a guest house or B and B) elsewhere for your first 1 or 2 nights where your host is VERY SERVICE ORIENTED - meaning they’ll help get the word out to help you find a place, they’ll hook you up with an English-speaking taxi driver, they have a phone where you can make calls (often for a fee so get a Pre-Paid Card at the market) and they can receive messages for you and they have internet access/WiFi 

FIRST thing I’d to first thing next morning, I’d hit the pavement running.  hire a taxi that has LIVED in the neighborhood you want to be in to drive you around looking for signs (tip him well - especially if he’s using his cell to call and make appointments for you and even more if he’s translating for you.  He’s being hired ONLY to drive you from Point A to Point B so anything he does above and beyond - show your appreciation).  Find bulletin boards (put YOUR notice up at the same time also!!), 
The more “Gringo-ized” - the more expensive!!

You can rent a room in a hotel though there you are QUITE cut off from much social interaction/assistance, you’ll rarely have cooking facilities (so that WILL cost you LOTS more to this excursion) 

MY FAV option whereEVER I go is lving where there's a good mixture of locals and expats/gringos, mainly living in WONDERFUL areas where you have ALL the amenities/conveniences I need!!  This to me is ESPECIALLY helpful as I make the transition from one world to the other as it CAN be a BIG culture shock (like the WONDERFUL area I live in - Escazu [San Rafael de] where you have many of the best restaurants in CR within 15 blocks [and MANY even DELIVER - including Goddess-forbid, Burger King, Bagelmen's and McDonald's], shops, markets, doctors, hospitals, dentists+++!!) yet locals around to EASE into learning Spanish!!

OR, you can create a combo of a few of above!!!!


This also depends on how YOU learn and what you desire to achieve.

Group Classes 
Groups are great because you can learn from what others ask as well - interact more.

One-on-One Classes
Perhaps you have a harder time assimilating the information you’re being presented  don’t want to bog the class down with your slowness (oh - I’m talking about me!!).  Or - the opposite, you don’t want to be bogged down by others slowness, etc.  One-on-Ones might work best for you.

On-Line Classes (usually through Skype).
This is the lastest in technology!!  It’s like being there as you both have a camera and can see yourselves on it!!  You MUST have webcam and a computer that can handle the http://Skype.com program.



(http://SkypeSpanish.com / gringuita_nyc@yahoo.com / 2-220-0361 / Skype: Charlene9245) 
Do you REALLY want to learn Spanish?  I know a few people that use and SWEAR by Charlene!!  She is QUITE DEVOTED to your success!!  She’s lived in CR for over 30.  She ONLY has a FEW SLOTS LEFT so don't wait!!
COST:  $25/hour - One-on-One via Skype.  Inquire for special rates people living in Costa Rica.
LOCATION:  Via http://Skype.com 

(8-847-1791 / 2-289-6503 / 2-288-0379 / EnglishHostelAcademy@hotmail.com)
Dagoberto has a school in Escazu (Bello Horizonte) focused on teaching Tico’s ENGLISH but they also teach SPANISH and have one of the cheapest programs around!!!  With that said, they're often FULL!!!

Epifania Spanish School
NEW in Escazu - a GREAT place to stay that still FEELS like you're at home!!).
and Curridabat
I’ve heard REALLY positive things about them.

Spanish Classes - withOUT Homestays

Group Classes - Monday-Thursday (4 days a week)
3 hours per day for (12 hours a week - $12.30-$12.50/class):
1 Week = $ 150
2 Weeks = $ 300
3 Weeks = $ 440
4 Weeks = $ 590

4 hours per day for (16 hours a week - $11.33-$12.50/class):
1 Week = $ 200
2 Weeks = $ 400
3 Weeks = $ 580
4 Weeks = $ 725

5 hours per day for (20 hours a week - $11.25-$12.50/class):
1 Week = $ 250
2 Weeks = $ 500
3 Weeks = $ 725
4 Weeks = $ 900

6 hours per day for (24 hours a week - $11.71-$12.50/class):
1 Week = $ 300
2 Weeks = $ 600
3 Weeks = $ 925
4 Weeks = $ 1,125

Group Classes - Monday-Friday (5 days a week)
3 hours per day for (15 hours a week - $12.08-$13.33/class):
1 Week = $ 200 
2 Weeks = $ 400 
3 Weeks = $ 560
4 Weeks = $ 725 

4 hours per day for (20 hours a week - $11.25-$13/class):
1 Week = $ 260
2 Weeks = $ 525
3 Weeks = $ 750
4 Weeks = $ 900

5 hours per day for (25 hours a week - $11.50-$13.40/class):
1 Week = $ 335 ($13.40/class)
2 Weeks = $ 630 ($13.33/class)
3 Weeks = $ 925 ($13.33/class)
4 Weeks = $ 1,150 ($13.33/class)

6 hours per day for (30 hours a week - $12.08-$13.16/class):
1 Week = $ 395 
2 Weeks = $ 775
3 Weeks = $ 1,135 
4 Weeks = $ 1,450 
(Prices include Spanish classes, class materials, Friday Dance Classes [sounds FUN!!  But if you don't desire to participate in the dance class, you can hang out and still study Spanish by participating in alternative activities like games, puzzles or charades], free use of the internet at the school and round-trip airport transfers.  No more than 6 students in a class.  4 week class includes a 1/2 day tour in the Central Valley and transfers)

(please make sure to tell everyone that 
"Vicki in Escazu" 
referred you!!!)


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