Choosing a city
Cultural facilities Are there opportunities for you to learn about the local culture/history/traditions? The best language learning experiences includes the opportunity to learn about the culture of the place that you study.
San Jose bursts with culture. Have a look at the short overview of cultural activities in this vibrant city.
- Costa Ricans love a good party. Join the festivities on one of the many holidays to taste the food, listen to live music, learn how to dance salsa, meringue or the Costa Rican swing, get to know the national hero’s, get familiar with Ticos’ traditions and make new friends! All these national holidays are accompanied by abundant action, which you will find spread out of over the city.
- The heart of the action is Plaza de la Cultura. This dynamic plaza in the centre of the city comes alive on beautiful days and especially on the weekends. Ticos and foreigners blend in during the energetic live performances, concerts and many family-friendly activities. If you are looking for authentic souvenirs, Plaza de la Cultura is a good place to go; talented artists sell paintings, handcrafts and other goods at reasonable prices. You will be surrounded by the National Theater, the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum and shops, a must-visit too.
- San Jose holds over a dozen fine art galleries, where you will find historical and contemporary art and exhibitions. Moreover, you will learn the history behind the artists, their materials and the stories behind incredible artworks.
- El Teatro Nacional de Costa Rica, the National Theatre, was build in the late 19th century, with the capital gained from the tax over coffee, the principal export product at the time. Several performances are held every week, although most tourists are intimidated by the display of its exquisite interior and collection of lavish furnishings.
- Costa Rica’s coffee has an extensive aromatic palette, which has gained worldwide fame. A coffee tour on one of the many plantations, just outside of San Jose, is definitely worth your time! Besides tasting the delicious coffees, visitors will gain an insight in the lifecycle of coffee, from the moment the seed enters the ground, through the harvest and roasting process, up to the point you get to enjoy this steaming black drink. Visitors are taught the authentic ‘cupping technique’, to identify and evaluate the characteristics of high end coffee and are learned how to make and store coffee at home.
- Another must-try is Costa Rica’s chocolate. This “food of the Gods” is highly flavored and the rich taste sets it apart from chocolate fabricated elsewhere. Just outside San Jose you will find many plantations which offer you an inside in the history of cacao, the many techniques of processing it, the ceremonial side of chocolate and of course a taste of this dark irresistible substance.
- The best opportunity to be immerged in Costa Rica’s culture and traditions and to learn about its rich history is of course Homestay! Living with Ticos will provide you the best inside on how people live, you will get to join all the cultural festivities and your Spanish will improve rapidly!
Moreover, San Jose counts over a dozen equally interesting museums. Most of these museums are free to enter, while some charge a small admission fee (do not forget to bring your student card!). With so many easily accessible museums throughout Costa Rica, travelers should definitely spend some time to learn about the nation’s history and what makes it so unique.