When I first moved abroad to teach, I went where my TEFL institute had a job for me. They said, Heredia, Costa Rica. I said ok and left less than a month later. I would have gone anywhere. My goal was simply to go, be traveling, be somewhere new.
I knew nothing about Costa Rica, but I learned. And I fell in love with the people and the landscape and the rum. I stayed a year longer than I planned. I grew and I explored. I should really write a thank you letter to whoever it was who randomly sent me to Costa Rica because it couldn’t have been a more perfect place for to me to begin.
Costa Rica could be the perfect place for you to begin, too.
You have a choice to do a Costa Rica TEFL course and start teaching, learning and exploring.
Here are just a few reasons why you might choose to get TEFL certified in Costa Rica.
1) The weather is amazing.
I live in the mountains.
And it’s cold for long periods of time. It was pretty cool to move to a place where they have only two seasons. The dry season is from mid-November to April. The rainy season is from May to mid-November. But don’t worry about the rain—it’s the warmest, lightest rain I’ve ever felt. And the average temperature is about 80 degrees. So if you’re itching to get out of the cold and go somewhere warm and tropical, Costa Rica is ideal.
2) There’s no shortage of outdoor activities.
With weather like that it’s easy to enjoy all the outdoor activities Costa Rica has to offer. From surfing in Tamarindo and SCUBA diving in Puerto Viejo to hiking Volcano Arenal and zip lining through the cloud forest in Monte Verde, there is something for every adventurous soul.
For the not so adventurous, there are plenty of beaches to simply relax in the sun while enjoying the sound of the waves as they crash at your feet. And if it gets too hot, you can take a swim in the warm waters of Costa Rica’s two oceans.
3) The location is unlike any other.
Costa Rica has not one, but two coasts for you to explore.
The Pacific Coast offers stunning sunsets and breathtaking beaches. It is home to many expatriates, so you’ll feel right at home.
The Caribbean side of the country provides a more laid back atmosphere, often captured in the Costa Rican phrase, pura vida, pure life. Here, the focus is on nature and ecotourism. You can take wildlife tours and witness leatherback turtles lay their eggs.
Costa Rica is so small you can easily explore both coasts in the length of your stay in the country. The rest of the country is not so bad either, with a rainforest, volcanos and hiking trails. You’ll have plenty of time to discover all the natural beauty of Costa Rica with the long weekends you’ll enjoy due to the many saint’s day holidays.
Costa Rica is also nicely located to travel outside the country. You could take a longer weekend and travel, very cheaply, to Panama to its south, or Nicaragua to its north. It wouldn’t be that much farther to go to all of the Central America countries. I visited all, but Belize while I lived there.
4) A rich opportunity for immersion.
While getting TEFL certified in Costa Rica, you have the unique opportunity to be completely immersed in all the culture that embodies it. I’d strongly suggest staying with a host family while taking your classes. Your host family can show you what life is really like for Costa Ricans, or simply, Ticos. You’ll eat traditional meals with them enjoying fried plantains and beans and rice. You’ll listen to them as you sit around the dining table together. Together, you’ll take day trips to markets, churches and beaches.
You’ll also have the great advantage of learning Spanish while being surrounded by it. Not just with your host family, but everywhere you go. You’ll find that the necessity of the language facilities it’s learning. After a few months in your new home, you’ll be surprised by how far you’ve come.
There are so many reasons you should get TEFL certified in Costa Rica. These really are just a few. You’ve got a big decision ahead of you, and I hope this has helped you in that process. For more, read our Ultimate Guide to Teaching English in Central America.
Words by Kari Redmond.