A Comprehensive Guide to Teaching English in Costa Rica

Are you an ESL teacher looking for a new adventure? Costa Rica may be the perfect destination! With its stunning natural landscapes, friendly locals, and growing need for English education, Costa Rica has become a popular choice for English teachers around the world. But before you pack your bags, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of teaching English in this beautiful country. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Teach English in Costa Rica.

Finding a Job

The first step to teaching English in Costa Rica is finding a job. While some teachers prefer to secure a job before arriving, many schools and language institutes hire on a rolling basis. Some popular job boards include Tico Times, Indeed Costa Rica, and ESL Employment. Another option is to reach out to language schools directly, which can often lead to more personalized job opportunities. It’s important to note that most schools require a TEFL or TESOL certification, so be sure to have your certification ready.

Cost of Living

Compared to other Latin American countries, Costa Rica is relatively expensive. However, the cost of living is still significantly lower than many Western countries. The average monthly salary for an English teacher is around $1000-1500, which is enough to live comfortably. Housing costs vary depending on location, and it’s common to find shared apartments or homestays. It’s also important to factor in transportation, food, and entertainment costs.

Work Visa

To legally work in Costa Rica, you’ll need a work visa. Most schools will help with the visa process, but it’s important to have all the necessary documentation ready. This includes a valid passport, background check, and medical certificate. The visa process can take several months, so it’s best to plan accordingly.

Teaching Culture

Teaching English in Costa Rica is different from other countries. Ticos, as Costa Ricans are called, value personal connections and relationships. Therefore, building strong relationships with your students is essential. It’s also important to be flexible and adaptable, as schedules and plans can change quickly. Many schools have a more relaxed teaching style, so creativity and fun activities are encouraged. Additionally, incorporating cultural aspects into lessons is also appreciated.

Living in Costa Rica

While teaching is the main focus, it’s important to embrace the local culture and immerse yourself in all that Costa Rica has to offer. From exploring the jungles and beaches to trying traditional foods and participating in cultural events, there’s no shortage of activities. Learning Spanish is also highly encouraged, as it can greatly enhance your experience and help you connect with locals. It’s important to respect the local customs and traditions, and to always practice a sense of open-mindedness and curiosity.


Teaching English in Costa Rica can be a life-changing experience, but it’s important to understand the unique challenges and opportunities. From finding a job and navigating the visa process to adapting to the local culture and living expenses, this guide covers all the essential information needed to start your new adventure. With its breathtaking landscapes, welcoming locals, and growing demand for English education, Costa Rica is the perfect destination for ESL teachers looking for a new and exciting opportunity.