Most people who teach English abroad do it as a means to live in an exotic land and experience something that cannot be replicated back home. What about teaching in a tropical paradise which has a stable economy with majestic beaches on both sides? Although geographically small, Costa Rica offers one of the best economies in Latin America, a safe environment and friendly people who can enjoy two oceans. On top of that, thousands of Costa Ricans are eager to improve their English skills in the hopes of securing a well-paying job. It is no wonder that Costa Rica has served as a steady place for teaching opportunities in recent years.
Where are the best places to find a job to teach English in Costa Rica and what kind of opportunities exist?
While several native English speakers show up in Costa Rica each year hoping to teach in a peaceful town on the beach, this is not reality. Teaching jobs on the coast are few and hard to come by in Costa Rica. Not surprisingly, most jobs teaching English can be had in and around the capital of San Jose, including San Pedro where the University of Costa Rica and Universidad Latina are located. There are plenty of University Students and young professionals in this part of the country that need English to pad their resumes and prepare for travel abroad. If your plan was to teach at a school next to the beach, keep in mind that there are plenty of buses that can easily take you to the beach on the weekend.
Most jobs teaching English in Costa Rica are supplied by private English institutes. There are opportunities to teach at the Universities, but these are not easy to come by and a master’s degree is required. There may also be openings to teach children, but these are usually filled by volunteers. Do not expect to find a job in Costa Rica from your home country as is the case with most teaching positions in Latin America. Moreover, working visas are difficult to obtain. The majority of teachers in Costa Rica work on a tourist visa for a year before a school will sponsor them a work visa. Click here for more info on teaching in Costa Rica.
How much can I make teaching English in Costa Rica and what is the cost of living?
Like most of Latin America, do not expect to save much or anything in Costa Rica. People teach in Latin America for the lifestyle. However, it is certainly possible to break even at the end of the month and live somewhat comfortably. Most teachers make between $600 to $1000 per month. If you are willing to do some private lessons and hustle a bit, it is possible to make $1000 per month or even a little more. One is not going to live like a king on $800 dollars a month in Costa Rica, but individuals who know how to exist on a budget and enjoy the beach can definitely have a good time.
While many Americans and Europeans come to Costa Rica to embark on a luxurious lifestyle, it is certainly still possible to rent a one bedroom flat for $350 per month.
Transportation by bus throughout the country is relatively cheap and the cost of food is cheaper than in the United States. Although Costa Rica is more expensive than the rest of Central America, it remains a welcoming place for those on a budget.
There are many wonderful places to teach English throughout the world. If you want to enjoy the beach and rainforest, then consider teaching English in Costa Rica.