Study Spanish in Costa Rica This Summer!

June 25, 2009 by  
Filed under Learning Spanish and Bilingualism

Come join us to study Spanish in Costa Rica this summer. Get all the benefits of Gina Covello’s expert Spanish instruction skills while at the same time, living and experiencing the language. Live with a host family and enjoy day trips in the afternoon. How can we afford to offer so much at such a great price?

  1. I have friends and “family” in Tilarán, so have personal reasons for wanting to be in Costa Rica. Therefore, I am charging a greatly reduced rate for the actual classroom instruction.
  2. I really want you to experience Spanish immersion and Costa Rican culture, and I want to have an affordable immersion program to offer and recommend.  
  3. I have done all the planning together with my Costa Rican counterpart; we have searched for the best rates and did not have to pay a 3rd party. We are also proud to say that we are supporting the local economy. All trips and services have been arranged by locals whenever possible.
  4. Lastly, keep in mind that you will not be staying in luxury accommodations. You will be living with host families and living how small-town Costa Ricans live. That means there will not be air conditioning.  It will be hot, but there will be fans.

Regarding accommodations: The beds and pillows are not what we are used to. The beds are comfortable, but not mattress and box springs. They will most likely be a mattress over a wooden bed. Pillows are not big and fluffy. If you are particular about your pillow and/or, it will affect your sleep, you may want to bring your own – or even a travel pillow. Showers may be cold water or heated with a small stream of hot water. Toilet paper goes in the waste basket not down the toilet. This life style may take some adjusting, but at the same time, you will have an unforgettable experience living with a family and communicating in Spanish. Costa Ricans are wonderful people and very hospitable. We have chosen families that particularly hope to develop friendships with you and help you in your Spanish-learning experience. Come break out of your American mindset and experience a brand new culture, living in a Latin American country.

Regarding meals: Costa Ricans eat rice and beans for all three meals of the day. They usually add some sort of meat or eggs for almuerzo the main meal at noontime. You will definitely indulge in tropical fruits and vegetables: papayas, mangos, plantains, etc. are not a luxury here; they are plentiful as are waters made with these fruits. If you have any special dietary needs, let us know and we will do our best to accommodate.

Climate:  We will be staying in Tilarán which is at 1,640 ft (500 m) above sea level. It can get cool and very windy. It can also get very hot. It is a good idea to wear lightweight clothing and a jacket or sweater so these can be removed when the temperature rises. A poncho may also come in handy. If we find that we are getting rained on during our afternoon trips, we may choose to switch the trips to the morning hours and the studying to the afternoon. Or, we may just get rained on; after all, this is the tropics, and we will be visiting RAIN forests. J

What to bring: In addition to the packing sheet you will receive upon requesting additional information, please keep in mind the following:


Electricity: 110 volts. Same as in U.S.

There are several drug stores and grocery stores in Tilarán where you can get all your essentials, but it won’t be American brands. If you have your favorites, bring those.

Gift for host family is not necessary but is a nice token. American chocolate goes a long way. Even Hershey’s is well appreciated, as their chocolate is not of the same quality. If you are a chocoholic make sure you bring enough for your stay. The same can be said about wines. We have such wonderful wines here in California; you just cannot get them in Costa Rica. You might also consider bringing something that represents your hometown or city like a souvenir or specialty food item. I often bring a large selection of Avon products to give out.

Finances: The Costa Rican monetary unit is the Colón which is currently 580 to $1 USD. It is best to bring money in the form of travelers’ checks (U.S. dollars). It is always a good idea to bring some dollars to tide you over until you can go to the bank. Do not expect to be able to cash a personal check. Major credit cards are accepted in most large stores in the main cities. ATM’s are available. There are a couple banks in Tilarán.

There is an exit tax of US$26 payable at the airport either in dollars or Colones. Make sure you have this money for your departure!

Directions: Costa Ricans don’t use street numbers when giving directions. Familiar reference points are used instead. Usually an address is given by indicating the distance in meters to the north, south, east or west from a more or less well known reference point. 100 meters = 1 block.

Tipping: At restaurants, a 10% service charge is included in the bill, and a 12% sales tax, so no extra tipping is necessary. Taxi drivers are usually not tipped.

Crime: Costa Rica, in general, is a safe place. Women need to be careful with purses, as most crime is of the petty type…pickpockets and purse-snatching. Be careful on buses and in crowded areas. Do not leave valuables or personal documents in a parked car. Tilarán, however, is very safe and easy going.


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Spanish available this summer for children!

Many of you have asked if I offer classes for children. Well, this summer, I have partnered with Silver Creek Academic Academy and will be offering two classes on Thursday mornings!

The 1st class will be for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders at 10:30 a.m. The second class will be for 6th grade and above at 11:30 a.m. Session will be: June 18-July 16.  We will be covering the basics: numbers, colors, days of the week, and months. You’ll go home with your own Spanish calendar to continue practicing what you have learned.

Go to Silver Creek Academic Academy’s website for more information:

Why your child should learn Spanish: Studies show that students learn better when they know a second language. Furthermore, students who know a second language have access to a greater number of career possibilities and develop a deeper understanding of their own and other cultures. Because the earlier a child is introduced to a second language, the greater the chances are that the child will become truly proficient in the language.

Sign up with Silver Creek Academic Academy today and help your child to succeed in school.

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