FAQ`s (Frequently Asked Questions)
1. Where in Costa Rica is the language school located?
We are located in downtown San José, perpendicular to Avenida Central (Central Avenue).
Our prime location allows for easy access to public transportation and is in walking distance to nearby attractions. It is also an ideal location of departure for trips to any place in the country.
2. Who are the instructors?
Our instructors are highly qualified, native-speakers so that you get the most out of your time spent at Universal de Idiomas.
3. Can someone help us with trips to other places?
We offer the best and most inexpensive ways to travel throughout Costa Rica. We also recommend certain places to stay as well as inform you of the major events going on at that time.
About Spanish Classes
1. Are there different Spanish classes for different levels?
Yes. Our Spanish classes range from beginner, intermediate, to advanced. In addition to regular Spanish classes, Universal de Idiomas offers various other programs such as internships, Medical Spanish, Spanish and Business Spanish classes.
2. What if I have never studied Spanish before?
This is no problem. Our beginner class is perfect for students who have little or no prior Spanish experience. Our professors will proceed at a comfortable pace.
3. What will happen on my first day at the language school?
A placement exam and an oral interview will be given upon arrival so that we may place you in an appropriate Spanish level. If you are a beginner, we will simply place you in a beginner's class. The exam and interview are free of charge to the student.
4. Do I need to bring certain materials to class?
It is advisable to bring a good Spanish-English dictionary along with a notebook and a writing utensil. Anything else that you might need is available for purchase at our office.
About Costa Rica
1. Do I need a visa to come to Costa Rica?
A visa is not needed if you are in Costa Rica for 90 days or less.
2. Do I need a passport?
Yes, you are required to have a passport to enter Costa Rica. It is also required that you carry your passport or a copy of your passport with you at all times. If you are comming from South America some vaccination for yellow feber is required to enter the country and if you don't have a proof, you will have to reschedule your trip.
3. Do I need to pay any fees when I enter or leave the country?
You do not need to pay a fee when you enter Costa Rica. However, there is a departure tax for short term visitors. Currently that amount is $28. This can be paid in cash or credit card at the airport.
4. What is the weather like?
Climate in Costa Rica varies from region to region. Costa Rica has two seasons. December through April is known as the dry season, or summer, which includes little rain. During this season there is more wind and temperatures are more mild.The wet season, or winter, which runs from May through November consists of sunshine in the morning along with clouds and rain in the afternoon and evening. Luckily Costa Rica almost never gets hurricanes. The last significant hurricane in Costa Rica was in 1996. Costa Rica's location means that hurricanes formed in the ocean move right past them to the United States or Mexico and sometimes even to its neighbor Nicaragua, only leaving rain as a reminder of its formation.
5. What kind of clothes should I bring?
In San José it is rare to see people wearing shorts, especially women. In general it is smart to dress conservatively, although you will see your share of tica women clad in skin tight pants and belly bearing shirts. It is good to bring light pants and a few sweaters. Evenings in San Jose can be cool, so it is wise to bring clothes you can layer. Rain gear, such as a poncho and umbrella is a must during the wet season. The weather can change drastically in the afternoons.
6. What other items would you recommend bringing?
If you plan to go to the beach buy some sun block before going. It is not necessary to bring all your toiletries from home; unless you use an unknown brand, you will find it here. Binoculars come in handy. In addition, insect repellant and anti-itch cream are a must.
7. What is the currency of Costa Rica?
The Costa Rican currency is the Colon. The exchange rate changes almost daily.
8. How is the transportation? Is public transportation in Costa Rica expensive?
The public transportation in San José is easily accessible. You can find bus stops in almost every street and the bus system can take you about anywhere. A bus ride in town costs you about 115 – 500 colones (between 20 cents and one dollar). Taxis are commonly used as well. And on 2011 the sub urban train is also operating to Pavas, Cartago and Heredia and the ride cost is about $1.
9. How safe is Costa Rica?
Overall, Costa Rica is a safe country; however you must watch out for pick-pocketing and common crimes that occur in any city. Safety Tips
10. Is it better to bring traveler checks, credit cards or cash?
Traveler checks are very good to have in case of lost or stolen checks. You can get these replaced easier than cash or credit cards, although you need to consider that some establishments do not accept them as payment method. The most widely used credit cards in Costa Rica are Visa and Master Card. It is also fairly easy to find ATM's in larger cities, including San José. Some ATM's dispense US dollars. All banks will exchange US dollars and some will exchange Euros. Be wary of changing money on the street, as you probably will not get a better deal and are more likely to be cheated or given fake money.
11. What are the electrical standards for Costa Rica?
The standards are the same as in the United States, 110 watts.
12. How much do I tip when eating at restaurants or taking a taxi?
In Costa Rica the tip is included in the bill. There is a 10% service charge and 13% tax. It is not necessary to tip.