Manuel Antonio â€“ San Jose
They have nice grocery stores in San Jose. You can buy most everything you need there. We walked to the grocery store to get some things to keep in the hostel fridge for breakfast.
When we were in the States, I booked a room in the same hostel we stayed in the first night for the duration of our language course. If it wasn’t already reserved, I think I would have found a new place to stay. We are spending 5 nights here because we are taking Spanish classes at a language school in San Jose. The hostel had different room types and I went with the superior double room at Costa Rica Backpackers because it said it was quiet and romantic (or something of the sort). Well, we could hear the people in the room next to us getting’ their groove on, so it certainly wasn’t quiet, but it must live up to the romance part of its name.
Costa Rica Backpackers â€“ Superior room
Price - $26 for a double room (King sized bed) and shared bath
Cleanliness â€“ It is in a different building right across the street. They are renovating it, so everything is new and clean, but there are many parts of the building still under construction.
Comfort â€“ ok. The room and bed were nice, but I had a hard time sleeping with all the noise. Like I said, the walls aren’t sound proof, we even heard suitcase zippers and normal conversation through the walls. There are loud trucks and motorcycles driving by and the door bell rings loud and frequently until about midnight to let people in and out. It wakes me up every time.
Character â€“ This room has some character: bright walls, bamboo bed frame and cute little lamps.
Amenities â€“ wake up knock, free internet , a communal kitchen, movies, left luggage etc. All these are across the street.
Recommended? â€“ For $4 a more a night, this place is MUCH better than the regular double across the street. If you are a heavy sleeper â€“ go for it.
Day 6 - 9
One of our main goals is to learn Spanish while we are here. People have various opinions about the best way to learn a language, but I think we need a formal school to help us progress. I did a TON of research to figure out what school we should attend. I used the website 123teachme.com recommended on lonely planet thorn tree (Central America FAQ). It was very helpful. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be in San Jose because everyone speaks so poorly of this place, but it seemed to have the best school for the money. We are attending Costa Rica Language Academy (CRLA).
Price â€“ varies (based on hours a day, days per week and home stay or not) see website for details.
Education â€“ I am in the beginning class. I think beginners really need to be up out of their seats, interacting, role playing, using pictures etc. but we are really just reviewing the information from a well made book.
My husband is in a higher class and he is enjoying it and his teacher’s methodology more. I think it really depends on the teacher you get.
But, even after day 1, both our Spanish has improved.
Extras - This is where the school really shines. They have so much to offer. Cooking classes, dancing classes, conversation hour, soccer, etc.
Amenities â€“ Going to this school is saving us a ton of money on our excursions. They have a full time travel helper on staff. The prices there are about 30% less than the prices at the hostel for excursions and they have discounts for activities etc. and you get a student card that you can use to get discounts at the museums etc. They also have about 20 computers with free internet, wireless internet, and a little cafe that sells really cheap lunch. They are a couple blocks away from a nice mall where you can go watch a movie or get something to eat after school. Oh, and they will even buy your bus tickets for you!
Recommended? â€“ Most definitely, they take good care of their students.