Paid Teaching in Costa Rica
Fully accredited TESOL course & guaranteed teaching placement
Book now for £199
Group Size: Average 8
Trip code: CRET
Duration: 7 - 13 months
Teach Costa Rica is one of our top working holiday programmes for a reason! This amazing programme offers four weeks of intensive TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) training, during which you’ll learn everything you need to know, to smash your teaching placement, as well as picking up plenty of Spanish language skills. You’ll stay in the beautiful city of San Ramon during your course, where we’ll take you on exciting cultural excursions, from volunteering in a local wildlife sanctuary, to cooking classes. You’ll also have plenty of free time to explore the spectacular cloud forests and nature reserves in the surrounding area. Once you’ve got your TESOL certificate, our friendly local team will help you find a teaching placement and somewhere to live. With options to work in local academies round the country, or in an online school for totally flexibility, you’re sure to find something that suits you perfectly. You’ll come back with tons of new skills, friends for life, TESOL certification, and the most incredible memories. You don’t need Spanish language skills or previous teaching experience – just pack a great attitude and willingness to learn and we’ll sort the rest!
- Gain full TESOL certification on our internationally accredited course
- Pick up some serious language skills with our intensive Spanish lessons
- Take part in amazing cultural excursions, from volunteering in a local wildlife sanctuary and exploring a coffee plantation to cooking lessons and visiting a sugar cane plant
- Explore Costa Rica’s dazzling beaches, lush forests and rich culture in your free time
- Build your CV with tons of real-world teaching experience
Our amazing teaching programme kicks off with our comprehensive 120-hour TESOL course. Once you’ve achieved your certification, our local team will find you a teaching placement, and give you plenty of support in finding accommodation and onward travel as well. It’s an incredible way to experience this beautiful country, while earning money and building your CV at the same time.
About the TESOL course
The course runs Monday to Friday over four weeks and includes teaching theory, practice, and Spanish language skills. The course covers:
- Costa Rican culture, history, politics, and society
- Spanish language
- Cultural excursions (coffee plantation, local markets and cooking class, sugar cane plant visit, volunteering in a local wildlife sanctuary)
- Grammar refresh and teaching grammar
- Teaching listening, reading, speaking, and writing
- Lesson planning, presentation, and feedback
- Teaching English to every age group (focus is mostly on teaching adults)
- Working with technology and resources in the classroom
- Effective classroom management
- Curriculum development and long-term learning goals
- 16 hours supervised teaching practice (classroom and online)
- Instructor feedback on your teaching practice
You’ll stay in our student accommodation in the beautiful city of San Ramon during your TESOL course. San Ramon is a laid-back place with few tourists, and an incredible backdrop of mountains, cloud forests and nature reserves, which you can explore during your free time at the weekends. It's a great place to kick off your Costa Rican experience.
About the teaching placements
Once you’ve completed your TESOL course, you’ll go on to put the skills you’ve learnt into practice during your teaching placement. There are two* main types of placements.
- Local academy
Private language schools where you’ll work with small groups of students (4 – 10). Classes are mostly held either in the evening or the morning and you’ll usually work 20 – 30 hours a week. Schools are around the country but are mostly found in the Central Valley, which is one of the most populated areas of Costa Rica. If you’re teaching in an academy, you’ll need to base yourself nearby.
- Online placements
Lots of participants choose online schools because they want total flexibility. Teaching online allows you to live where you want in Costa Rica, or to travel around while teaching. Schedules are also more flexible. Teaching hours vary, but the most popular times are evenings and mornings, so you may work for a few hours in the morning, spend the afternoon in the Costa Rican sunshine, and then log back on, in the evening!
3. International or Bilingual School Placements
At the beginning of the year and around July international and bilingual schools are often hiring. They typically look for education degree holders. They offer great pay and give experienced teachers the chance to gain valuable international experience.
You’ll work with the placement coordinator to find available opportunities to fit your preference and once you’ve been offered a contract, the coordinator will advise you on travel and accommodation. We have a good success rate in meeting teacher preferences, but can’t guarantee specific placements, so you’ll need to be flexible. Wherever you’re placed, you’re sure to have the experience of a lifetime!
Once you’ve started your placement, the local team will still be on call to support you in any way you might need.
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Cheapest flights between London and San Jose for the next 6 months
Most expensive: £1,538 December, 2022
During the TESOL course
Accommodation in San Ramon is included during your TESOL course. San Ramon is a tiny city set in the middle of a dramatic mountain range. It's a great place to kick off your Costa Rican experience.
Rooms are on a shared occupancy (single sex) basis with en suite bathroom and fans (it's a lovely temperature year-round, with a cool breeze, so air con isn't necessary). There are also common areas for study, relaxation, a shared kitchen, and a laundry service. The hostel is in a fantastic central location, within easy walking distance of most amenities.
Please note: You’ll be asked to pay a $100 deposit on arrival, which is fully refundable, assuming there have been no breakages or damage.
Accommodation after the course
It's up to you to find your own accommodation after the course. There are lots of different options in terms of accommodation type, location, and budget, from homestays to shared apartments (participants often share with other teachers they've met in week 1). Homestays are typically the cheapest option (around USD100 per week with 2 meals a day included) but most travellers share 2 bed apartments and split the rent (USD300 - 400 per month), plus one month’s deposit). The most budget friendly options are usually in small and medium sized towns in the central region rather than San Jose or the beach towns. If you need any assistance with negotiation, language barriers or accommodation options, we're here to help.
If you're going to be teaching in person in a local academy, it's best to look for accommodation nearby so you can easily access classes every day. Academies will often be able to provide guidance and may be able to recommend homestays if you'd like a really immersive cultural experience.
If you're going to be teaching remotely, Costa Rica's your oyster! You might like to look at hopping between short term rentals so you can see more of the country.
Meals are not included as part of the programme, so you'll have to source them yourself. This means you'll have total flexibility to explore Costa Rica's delicious cuisine. There is a great local ‘soda’ (café) a two-minute walk from the hostel which sells a whole variety of local breakfast and lunches that is popular with participants. There is also a full kitchen so you can prepare your own meals. The supermarkets are a 10 minute walk away so you’ll have everything you need. Western style food is available but is significantly more expensive.
We can only accept degree holders. Candidate requirements are as follows:
- 21 - 40 years old
- Degree holder
- Native English speaker
- Good physical and mental health
- Smart appearance (tattoos must be covered when teaching and facial piercings removed)
- Available to work for a minimum of 6 months after completing the TESOL course
- No previous criminal record, arrests, or charges
- Some Spanish language ability is beneficial but not essential
- Sufficient funds to pay the programme fees as well as the cost of personal living (recommended savings £1,200 - £2,150)
Entry and visa requirements
You'll need to have at least one day's validity remaining on your passport from the date you're leaving Costa Rica. Entry may be refused if you are unable to produce evidence of onward travel.
British citizens can stay in Costa Rica for up to 90 days under a tourist visa waiver.
Technically, teachers can 'sell' their professional work services on a tourist visa. The only added consideration is that teachers need to do a visa trip every 90 days, exiting to a neighbouring country (typically Nicaragua or Panama) and re-entering on a new 90-day visa. You'll be able to do this as many times as you want without any issues, as long as you meet the exit and entry requirements.
Applying for a work permit
Some schools may offer to sponsor a work permit, but this is only for year contracts or longer. Teachers are usually responsible for a one off 'change of status' fee and the school is likely to cover any additional costs. However, obtaining the permit is a lengthy and difficult process and most schools are not keen on following it.
Applications for work permits must be made while you're in Costa Rica, and you'll need to have all the required documents authenticated and legalised. We recommend that you have all documentation ready and prepared before your trip so that you have everything you need, should you wish to apply for a work permit. Refer to the Costa Rican embassy for details of the process.
This trip is designed with your safety and wellbeing in mind. As a result of Covid-19, many of our suppliers and partners around the world are introducing new policies and procedures surrounding health and safety in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. As the state of travel is evolving these new safety measures will adapt over time, and will be different for each trip. Here are some of the changes you may see on your trip:
Arrival safety meetings
Most trips have an arrival meeting on the first day where the guide or local team will run through the trip, the safety protocols, and to answer any questions you may have. Now more than ever it is important you arrive in time for these meetings.
Proof of vaccination or negative covid test
For the safety of all travellers, at the start of some trips you may be required to show evidence that you are fully vaccinated (14 days after your second dose) and/or show evidence of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of the tour start date in order to join the programme.
Updated hygiene and safety procedures
Our suppliers and partners have health and safety procedures in place on all of our trips. These protocols will be updated and adapted as a response to the Coronavirus outbreak, dependent on local restrictions and laws.
Transport and accommodation choices
Our suppliers and partners choose the accommodation and transport on our trips very carefully, and you may see a change to what would normally be used as a response to the outbreak. This may involve such changes as enhanced use of private transport or quieter accommodation.
Trained and knowledgeable staff
Our staff in the UK are trained to help you with your trip before you depart and answer any questions you may have. In addition, the local team and guides on our trips are there to help with any health and safety concerns and to ensure our trips run safely and smoothly.
Reduced group sizes
Some trips will run with reduced group sizes to start with. You may find that trips are more intimate and chilled, whilst still being packed with fun and adventure.
Your guide or the local team will be on hand to help you seek medical attention should you require it during your trip. As medical facilities and standards can vary around the world, you should ensure you have adequate travel insurance in place before you depart to cover you for any medical emergencies.
24/7 emergency support
We operate an emergency phone line for our travellers abroad. This is operated by a UK based member of staff 24/7 if you have a genuine emergency or urgent matter that you need attending.
It is important that you take measures to make travelling safer for yourself and others around you. Ensure you frequently wash your hands, cover your face when you sneeze and cough, bring and use your own hand sanitiser and facial coverings/masks, and enable social distancing where necessary. You should also ensure you listen to the instructions and guidance of the local team at all times, and follow all local laws and restrictions.