Whether it's diving in Belize or venturing on an eco-trek in Costa Rica, you'll find answers to your questions on Central America travel here.

Where would you live in Costa Rica?

Ben2Africa

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Location: Summerville, New Brunswick

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  • Added on: May 25th, 2010
Hey guys,

You've all been so helpful with tips, advice and recommendations in the past that I thought I'd give you another shot. A couple years ago you all suggested that if you had a choice for where to live in New Zealand you'd pick Nelson. At first we didn't listen and went for Wellington. A few days after arriving and feeling out the city we caught the next ferry down to Nelson where we lived happily for our entire WHV. So I'm hoping you can help me out again. This time my sister and I are thinking of teaching English in Costa Rica for 6-12 months. So what are we looking for?
-Beach town would be awesome but not essential
-Cultural (we really want to practice Spanish and avoid settling into a touristy area)
-Smallish town.

Any tips/info/suggestions would be much appreciated.
Thanks!
Ben
BEN
"I travel not to escape but to find reality"

Felix the Hat

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  • Added on: May 26th, 2010
The best place with your standards would be in Panama, not Costa Rica. You won't find many beach towns that aren't touristy in CR. You should take a look at the Azuero Peninsula in Panama. The area has a strong Iberian feel to it, dozens and dozens of beaches, lots of small towns (there aren't any big cities), and is relatively unvisited by foreign tourists. It's also not terribly remote from Panama City, which is the only big city in Central America worth visiting.

Ben2Africa

Holds PhD in Packing
 
Posts: 113
Joined: January 14th, 2008
Location: Summerville, New Brunswick

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  • Added on: May 27th, 2010
Hey,

Well the TESOL course we're taking is in Costa Rica so it would be easier to land a job in CR. But I've never been to Panama and really really want to at least check it out, if not live there. Maybe I should reconsider CR and start researching the possibility of landing a job in Panama instead. Just out of curiousity, where would you suggest for towns to teach in in Panama?
Again, beach not essential but a nice perk!
Thanks
Ben
BEN
"I travel not to escape but to find reality"

Felix the Hat

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  • Added on: May 27th, 2010
Just my general opinion. In Central America, I think Belize and Costa Rica are both wildly overrated. Panama, which is probably my favorite country on the isthmus, has everything that Costa Rica offers without the tourist crowds. I'm not saying that Costa Rica is unpleasant - on the contrary. I also consider Paris overrated, and it is one of my favorite cities in the world.

Wild Jasmyne

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Location: Lome, Togo

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  • Added on: June 19th, 2010
I spent just a couple weeks in CR but loved it despite the tourists. I found San Jose really fun and with great food and nightlife but I wouldn't want to live there. My favorite place was La Fortuna in the center which has the Arenal volcano that is constantly spewing small amounts of lava. There is an abundance of natural hot springs and it is a very small town but has a unique laidback feel and is easy and safe to get around in. If you could live here, you'd be very lucky. Enjoy your time!

busman7

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  • Added on: June 20th, 2010
Personally my vote goes to Antigua Guatemala with Panama second, think CR might beat out Belize by a whisker ( Caye Caulker the exception). Was only in San Jose a couple hrs waiting bus changes to Panama & it appeared like all other Central American capitols (Panama City excepted) not safe or worth spending time in.
"Being normal? Ugh. I can't imagine how awful that must be" unknown

Piecar

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  • Added on: July 10th, 2010
The Hat has a hate on for Belize, which is partially deserving, but I've never found many places in Panama to rave about. I think PTY is pretty much a hole, and if you find places you like...It's the American places you like, which cost the same as the States...So forget about it. The San Blas are great, of course. I guess I've never explored the Pacific coast of Panama. Perhaps I've missed it....soon, though, soon. David is a drag...and the cool pool hall burned down, so there is NOTHING to do there at all. Eat at Capitan Pato, I guess.

Costa Rica is, indeed, overrated. I spent New Years, this year, in Viejo. Okay, the tourists were just wandering around, which is what we do, but I went up the road to see what the locals were doing...And they were doing nothing. A very sad night. San Jose is ever worse. Jaco is ever more bizarre. Quepos is for old rummy expats, (which I actually enjoy. It's like Barfly, Caribbean style.) Tamarindo is a trap. Arenal is a nice little place, but no nicer than, say, Granada.

Nicaragua has many places that don't care about tourists. Those are the places I like. After people ignore advice to stay away from Managua, there are lots of nice little towns to go to in Nica. Granada is beautiful...And I've never found more open people than the Nicas. Nice folks. Ometepe is the first place where I've gone to a bar, and they said "Beers are in the fridge. Pay us later. We''re next door"

Honduras, sadly, is steadily worse. I used to have lots to say about La Ceiba. Now it's just a broken and sad city. RIP La Ceiba. Utila is a great place...But I am over it...I am so sad about that. Every other town I've been to is pretty grim. I found. The Hat may have something to say about that.

Belize has a very energetic people. Orange Walk and The Cayo are nice little towns. Corozal is nice. I think Placencia cool and so so chill(though, to be fair, I haven't been there for four years, and Francis Ford Coppola has led a charge of development there that could have changed the place) San Pedro remains a beat up beach town, despite it's fame. And Caye Caulker has an interesting vibe (and sand fleas)Belmopan sux. Unless you have serious government issues, there is not one reason to go there. I like Dangriga...Shut up! Yes I do!

If I was going to pick a place to live in Costa Rica...on balance, I would live in the heart of Quepos. A funny little community there....and the locals go out to impressive sunset every night and watch it...And tell each other in hushed tones..."Pura Vida, sobrino, Pura Vida" I love that the saying is a real thing to those folks.
Good Luck Out There.



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