Language studies abroad in Costa Rica

The “rich coast”. There is almost nothing more to add, so well does the name describe this place. Coasts, more accurately, because the people of Costa Rica live for and by the ocean, in their reclusive fishing villages and seaside resorts where the nightclubs never close. Rich because this country possesses one of the most varied and abundant ranges of flora and fauna in the world.

And a network of rivers that descends from the mountain range to refresh the plains. What more could you ask for? When Christopher Columbus landed on this land which corresponds to the common idea of Eldorado in 1502, he dreamed about staying. Five centuries later, Post-Columbians from all around the world are also reluctant to leave, once they have dipped their feet into the clear-blue waters of Costa Rica.

From Puntarenas, a small metropolitan centre where the DJ’s are as numerous as the candy-sellers, where they listen to the latest Reggae hits whilst sipping fruit juice cocktails, you can reach San Lucas Island. Until 1991, it was an unusual penitentiary, without fences or bars, where the prisoners used to sell their handcrafted goods. Today, the island is home to monkeys, game, bats, non-venomous snakes, iguanas and other wild animals. As for the Pacific coast, it is abounding with nightlife distractions and straw huts by day, where revellers rest after dancing. However, Costa Rica must not be reduced to its tourist infrastructure. Deeper into the country, within the national parks where you find species unknown elsewhere, the Indians maintain traditions that go back to the dawn of time, including basket weaving, of course, but also the ox-carts that are the national emblem.

Between two oceans, Costa Rica possesses a fascinating ethnic diversity. In the centre, it is not rare to come across entire villages of blonde-haired, blue-eyed inhabitants. Jewel of Central America, kingdom of the "pura vida", Costa Rica will not stop surprising those who stay for more than a few days. Go into the laneways of the capital, San José, to feel the magic of a country where it’s enough to simply let yourself live.

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