Blogs from San Pedro, San José, Costa Rica, Central America Caribbean


When I arrived in San José at 6am it was nice and warm, I took the bus to the center, the taxi to the hostel and went straight to the university because I missed friday, when they organised everything. So I got there, got lots of papers for the visa and for the immatriculation. Back at the hostel I fall asleep. Somewhere inbetween home and San José I ate something wrong.. San Pedro, the part where the "U" University is located, is not very nice. Many american shops, malls and restaurants - nothing green. However, the campus inbetween is beautyful. Lots of palmtrees, bambus and nice places to sit. Tuesday night I got invited to a birthday of one of the exchange students, so I first met all the other students from all over the world. ... read more
San Pedro
The Campus 1

Hi, I'm Ivana and I love traveling, surprised? Naah I wouldn't think so. Anyway, I am currently in Central America, specifically Costa Rica. I've been here since September 2013, trying to learn Spanish, trying to do a good internship, trying to enjoy this country. The latter has definately been the easiest (and most exciting). I just found this place which made me happy (and feel stupid at the same time. Why haven't I found this earlier!?) As stated above, I've been a residence of Cost Rica since september and even though San Jose is a superbooooring city, the rest of the country is beautiful! So much nature and beauty, wow. My fav place is Rio Celeste, it's pure magic. The beaches are nice but I am not amazed by them, there are by far more beautiful ... read more

Phase 1 – learn Spanish. Check! Well not exactly, of course, but I have made a lot of progress. I’ve now been in San Pedro (just outside San Jose) for 5 days. On 4 of those days, I spent much of the day at the Costa Rican Language Academy (CRLA). I completed my course today, and in total I found it to be an excellent refresher to Spanish. My comprehension if Spanish has greatly improved (enough that I could participate in a cooking class that was completely in Spanish), and I’ve gained more confidence in speaking the phases and words that I do know. All it all, this phase was totally worth it. Since my arrival in Costa Rica, I have definitely been enjoying the tango between feeling proud and satisfied at overcoming challenges with the ... read more

After such a smooth travel day, things got a little “shakier” on my first night. There was an earthquake! I was so tired that, although I woke up, I convinced myself that I was dreaming. It wasn’t until the morning that I learned that there was quite a large earthquake (magnitude 5.6, whatever that means) on the border of Costa Rica and Panama. For me, this was very remarkable, as I have only experienced one before, but for my host family it was much less remarkable. However, it did give us something to talk about over the rice and beans, cheese, mango, papaya, and pineapple of our breakfast. The earthquake also provided excellent ice-breaking material on my first day of language school. After small talk and coffee, I had a verbal test to assess my level ... read more

Everything went as smooth as silk on my travel day. Both my flights were on time. I had just enough layover time to catch my flight. Customs was a breeze. My bags made it to the other side. As promised, there was a person holding a sign with my name on it just outside the airport. And my host family is fantastic -- plus, they have wifi! I'd say I'm off to a great start! Things definitely started to feel "real" when I stepped outside the airport, when two things immediately happened. First, the humidity started to work it's magic on my hair. Today wasn't that hot, but it's definitely tropical. I can't wait to see what more time here does to my curls (ok, let's be honest, frizz). Second, people were definitely speaking in Spanish ... read more

Today was my last day of school! I won't miss it that much. I can definitely say I am a fan of education outside desks and a classroom. It’s weird how fast time goes by. It doesn’t seem like I have been at my homestay for three weeks! I am sad to leave but also really excited for break! And to get out of San Jose – not the best city to visit. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before, but I can show all of you where I live(d) and go(went) to school! Here is the link to the google maps for my house: url=,-84.031677&spn=0.183632,0.338173,-84.031677&spn=0.183632,0.338173 The actual address is: Santa Marta, Bo. Ma. Auxiliadora, del Convento de Monjas suroe... read more

I was planning on posting this last week but the internet was out for two days! So here it is....And another post about this weekend will be coming soon :) My friend told me that the other day was the half-way point of the semester – wow! It seems like I have been here longer. I think that the rest of the program is going to go by very quickly though. This week, and the week before here in San Jose flew by. I don’t know if it is because people realized that it’s about the halfway point of the program, but nobody wanted to be in class this week. It seems like more people are getting homesick. One of my friends really likes to sail and he is missing the America’s Cup in San Francisco. ... read more

Well I have my first real weekend starting tomorrow! I am off to Manuel Antonio National Park with about 12 other people from the OTS group. I’m a little bummed because initially I wanted to go to Tamarindo, a beach town on the Nicoya Peninsula in the northwest. But, this morning there was an earthquake there, and they are apparently anticipating aftershocks. So the school didn’t want us to go. I didn’t feel the earthquake this morning but other people in the house did. Today in class we learned about some problems that Costa Rica has, a major one being traffic. I learned that certain cars, for example with license plates that end in a 2 or 3, can’t drive between 6am and 8am during the week to San Jose. I’m not sure if this is ... read more

Well, I’m not sure if I can consider myself a “Tica” yet, but I’ve gotten used to living in San Jose! Technically I live in Santa Marta, a small neighborhood outside of the big city. It is a little challenging to get around the city because there are no street signs and no house numbers! I don’t know how people give directions, but an example would be “300 metros norte, la tercera casa a la izquierda” (300 meters north, the third house on the left). A compass would definitely have been a good investment. I’m in the intermediate class at CRLA (Costa Rican Language Academy) and there are five other students with me. All of them are from the OTS group so I know them well. Our professor’s name is Gabriel and he is a great ... read more

Well the kids in my host family warmed up to me fairly quickly. They were shy at first and then Mariana, the 4 year old, saw me working on my computer and asked me if I had any “juegos” (games). After that it was like I was babysitting. We played in their playroom where they have tons of toys, and lots of dinosaur figurines. All the boys love “dinosaurios”. I really like having kids around because sometimes they are easier to talk to in Spanish than the adults! Also the water is out here for most of the day L Mayra, my host mom, said that almost a million people have been affected by the construction they are doing on the pipes. Yikes. But it should be all fixed by Monday. Woke up today with all ... read more
mariana y emilio
la calle donde vivo

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