Puerto Viejo, costa-rica
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a small laidback beach town on the Caribbean Coast near the Panamanian border. Puerto Viejo is still non-commercialized and unspoiled.
The natural jungle-beauty of Puerto Viejo and its internationally recognized surf breaks are just a couple of reasons why backpackers and travelers from all over the world can be seen hanging out on this stretch of Caribbean Coast. The attractive feature to this region is the lack of high rise hotels and all-inclusive resorts.
"Spanish by the Sea - Puerto Viejo"
Set in a lush tropical garden of fruit trees, Spanish by the Sea – Puerto Viejo provides a perfectly relaxed environment for studying. The center of town is within a short walk from the school. There you will find restaurants and bars as well as the beach lined with fishing boats and artisan markets.
The School & Hostel has 2 open-air jungle classrooms.
Read here how we work with you to teach you Spanish!
Who likes to study at Spanish by the Sea – Puerto Viejo?
Sea lovers, surfers and socialites! This small yet lively beachfront town is popular among world travellers for its laid back rasta-reggae vibes, late-nite parties, the area’s spectacular beauty, and world-class surf breaks. The surfing attracts both pros and beginners alike with the least expensive locally instructed lessons offered in Costa Rica. For more relaxed activities, we also offer an extensive list of free volunteer opportunities ranging from flora and fauna conservation, soccer coaching of local kids to helping in a center for services to indigenous peoples.
So why Puerto Viejo?
- Daily dose of paradise.
- World class surf breaks.
- Nightly live music; reggae, calipso and reggaeton.
- Laid-back, no-rush and easy living.
Need a ride to Puerto Viejo?
If you prefer the comfort and convenience of a shuttle rather than the public bus, Caribe Shuttle provides service between San José and Puerto Viejo. The shuttle will pick you up at your downtown hotel (or at the Denny’s near the airport) and drop you off at your hotel in Puerto Viejo. Book your shuttle trip here.
All options for this location
If you like to be independent, yet share with fellow students, we recommend staying in the hostel, part of our Spanish School in Puerto Viejo whilst you study Spanish in Costa Rica.
We work with two different hostels in Puerto Viejo. One is located right in front of our school and the other one is at 10 minutes walking distance. The first one is a bit more popular and frequented, the second one is a bit more quiet. Upon request we will give you more details about the various options.
Staying with local families give you the opportunity to practice the Spanish language much more than if you would only take Spanish classes. You will not only be part of the family but also of the whole neighborhood and you will be observing a complete different way to live than what you are used to!
In Puerto Viejo, the local people have Caribbean roots and are famous for their family ties, great food and welcoming lifestyle!
Maybe our hostel is full or you prefer to stay in town instead of the countryside-jungle setting of our own hostel. Maybe you want a bit or a lot more luxury.
No problem! To make sure you have some more inspiring options, we selected for you one budget hostel, one middle-priced hotel and one luxury hotel in Puerto Viejo or it’s surroundings.
Dinners, parties and going to the local bars and discos are a great way to get to know your fellow students, relax and have some fun. So don’t miss the get-togethers during the week and especially on the weekends! Panama City, Bocas del Toro and Puerto Viejo offer vibrant nightlife every day of the week. In Boquete and Turrialba it is generally more centered around the weekend.
Sloths are originally from North America but now are only found in Central and South America. They hang onto branches while they feast on the leaves that other animals can’t reach. Walking on the ground is difficult for them, so they spend most of their time in the trees, eating and sleeping. The only times these mammals leave their tree is to use the bathroom and to take a swim (imagine .. they are excellent swimmers!!). The Sloth Sanctuary is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and research of sloths.
A wild animal rescue center is dedicated to rescue and rehabilitation of wild animals. Some wild animals are taken out of their natural habitat by humans in order to use them as pets or with the intention to save them. Once they are abandoned, wild animal rescue centers want to teach them and help them retain natural wild behaviors so they can be returned to their natural habitat. These centers are also great places for people to appreciate wild animals and become willing to participate in nature conservation and education.
It’s so easy to be happy on the beach: beautiful views, the feel of the hot sun on you skin, a refreshing swim, an afternoon with friends. The beach is also a great place to truly unplug from your life because electronic screens don’t work that well in the sun! Costa Rica and Panama have stunning beaches on both the Pacific and the Atlantic coasts. Some are quiet with no facilities others are a bit more busy with small places to drink or eat.
Once you get into dancing you realize what you have been missing .. you´ll remember you have a body, you have fun, it is cheap and you can meet interesting people. The hormone dopamine will be released and activate the learning centers of you brain .. so much needed to learn Spanish! You can learn salsa, merengue, bachata, cha-cha-cha and reggaeton. ¡A bailar!
At all schools, every Friday, we organize a potluck barbecue in which the school provides some drinks for all guests and all participants bring some food to share. Various international dishes are often sampled at these barbecues. It is a nice way to finish a week of studying Spanish, connect and celebrate!
What is a better way to study Spanish than learning all about the food, flavors and how to prepare tasty local dishes? Let’s combine the classroom with the kitchen and not only learn Spanish words for the ingredients and commands like ¡mezcla! but also prepare gallo pinto, arroz con pollo or bananas flambé and make sure you immerse yourself in the culinary culture of Costa Rica or Panama and enjoy some delicious food!
Much simpler than scuba diving, snorkeling is something you can do without much practice and it requires only minimal equipment. Also, you don’t need to be a strong swimmer to be able to see what’s underneath the surface! Something new is deep boarding. With your mask and snorkel on, you’ll be dragged along behind a speedboat on a rope, holding onto a clear plastic semi circle. By tilting the board up or down, you go under the surface or emerge from the water to take your next breath. Just another way to enjoy the underwater world!
Kayaking in rivers and oceans is for anyone looking for an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors! In addition to being fun, easy and enjoyable, kayaking is also a great low-impact workout. You can combine it with going to the beach, fishing, camping, snorkeling or having a picnic next to the river or on the beach.
A healthy body is a happy body and one of the best ways to achieve this is to get plenty of exercise. Hiking is an economical way to increase your activity level, while offering plenty of health benefits. Hiking through a beautiful area in our unique locations can als calm your nerves and lift your spirits. Hiking with a group provides an excellent opportunity to learn about tropical ecosystems, socialize and exchange ideas with others!
Visiting a Botanical garden is a relaxing activity that will leave you in awe of nature’s beauty. You also will learn about the natural history of the country. You will see a large collection of plants and trees with their flowers, seeds and fruits as you have a peaceful stroll along laid out paths.
“Theobroma cacao”, also called cacao tree is a small tree native to the deep tropical regions of Central and South America. Its seeds, the cacoa beans, are used to make cocoa mass, cocoa powder and chocolate. While cacao is no longer used as money, it plays a central role in cultures around the world today. Lot’s of people believe that chocolate is good for a happy and healthy life and global production of cocoa is climbing 2 percent each year!
Few things in nature are as mesmerizing as a waterfall. The thunderous roar as water spills over cliffs and the light glistening off the spray is an example of sheer force. Costa Rica and Panama are countries where hundreds of cascading waterfalls can be found throughout the rainforest and mountainous areas. All great destinations for a day hike and a refreshing afternoon swim.
Horseback riding in the past was the only way people travelled through the countryside. It´s a very special activity because not only is it enjoyable, fun and relaxing, but you also get an up-close view of the beautiful natural surroundings. While riding you can enjoy an abundance of flora and fauna. During a trip of a few hours you will establish a relationship with your horse and make you feel connected with nature!
Surfing is a highly addictive water sport and one of the most popular boardsports ever invented. There are over 20 million surfers in the world and the number is growing fast. Riding a wave is a breath taking experience that compels the surfer to forget about the daily struggles and reconnect with the present moment. The connection to the ocean and its elements, coupled with the mental, physical and often times spiritual aspects of the sport, lends itself naturally to healthy living. This, and the virtuous blend of salt, sand and sun have without a doubt a positive impact on the overall happiness of the surfer.
Yoga is an ancient practice with origins stretching back thousands of years in India. It is designed to help achieve a more positive outlook on life and a focused, permanent sense of serenity and peace. Yoga is a fantastic workout. It gets you in touch with your body, improves your sleep, your posture, physical and mental strength. Well, you just have to start and find out for yourself how doing yoga can change your life!
Help children improve their skills, and help them chase their dreams!
Do you want to train ambitious kids to help them improve their soccer skills? Even if you don’t have the skills to teach kids, you can work together with the coaches. The children speak English, but also Spanish is spoken during your volunteer time. You will also help prepare the fields, wash the rooms, and provide general support to the coaches and children.
Help with the protection of the sea turtles by educating and improving the living conditions of the local community!
Conservation and protection is focused on the endangered leatherback and green turtles. The participation of volunteers both contributes directly to protection of the nesting areas and to improvement of living conditions and the education of the local inhabitants. By helping to generate an income for the locals through an affordable volunteer program, the aim is to eliminate the necessity for them to poach the turtles and their eggs.
Volunteering in a rescue center for wild animals provides an opportunity to learn about wildlife!
Some wild animals are taken out of their natural habitat by humans in order to use them as pets or with the intention to save them. The rescue center takes care of the rehabilitation and reintroduction of these wild animals into nature! Most animals stay for a limited amount of time, until they are ready to return to the wild. Others will not be able to go back to the wild due to their poor physical condition. The center makes sure they have a comfortable and happy life!
Doing volunteer work with indigenous people opens your eyes to a different world!
In Costa Rica, indigenous people make up 1.7 % of the total population. In Panama, they make up between 5 and 8 % of the total population. Official discrimination does not exist in these countries, however education, health care and land property are sectors where they are still less favored. These are areas where volunteers can provide needed benefits.
If you are a horse lover, you probably want to spend as much time around horses as possible!
If you enjoy helping out with the day to day care and training of horses, this volunteer opportunity is for you! You will have the chance to learn about horse language, horse personalities and the basics of riding. You will also have the experience of spending time with the horses and having direct access to places of breathtaking beauty!
Spanish speaking people often have a basic grasp of English grammar, but you can help them improve their pronunciation skills!
By providing conversational English classes you can greatly enhance the learning experience and the future prospects of thousands of children and adults. As you assist with the local curriculum, your students will enjoy learning about you and your culture. You will have the option to volunteer in a school setting or in some other community initiative.
Learn Spanish & enjoy nature in Costa Rica which this package.
Best places and activities of Turrialba (mountains) and Puerto Viejo (ocean) are included. At both locations you can add other activities for an extra cost or do volunteer work. You can also arrive before or stay afterwards, paying $14 per night for a shared room at our hostel.
Hey teens! in June & July we offer camps just for you. Combine Spanish classes, activities and volunteer work in Turrialba & Puerto Viejo – Costa Rica! For teens only.
Teens we know you are at an exciting, confusing and challenging time in your life. To meet your needs, we have specialized, less structured classes, fun activities, as well as some adventurous excursions. You will have opportunities to practice Spanish, do volunteer work and meet local young people of a similar age.
Combine Learning Spanish with your passion for surfing!
In this Package you will receive two afternoons of surf classes on Panama’s or Costa Rica’s top surf locations. This will provide you a kickstart to continue practicing surfing on your own, giving you a new life changing hobby.
Combine Learning Spanish with your passion for diving!
In this program you will take any of the PADI dive courses in combination with learning Spanish. What a perfect combination for an educational holiday. The dive schools organize the courses in many different languages, not just Spanish.
Especially for students that want to travel, learn Spanish ánd visit 4 of our amazing locations!
Will Quaile, USA
Thanks for creating a great space in a beautiful place!
Patrick Busby, USA
The school and Avelina have been a pleasure. I hope to return someday and speak fluent Spanish. This has been a great experience for me. I have learned more than I expected too. I hope to return and continue my Spanish language education. Maribel and Avelina have been so helpful.
Lars Anderson, Sweden
Beautiful place and friendly people! thanks
Matias, Peter, Simon and Sören
Thank you so much for one of the most awesome weeks of our lives! We had so much fun and we are definitely coming back when we have learned how to dance salsa! Also thanks to Gaby, Tatiana and Adriana for teaching us Spanish; it means a lot! Hasta luego!
Martin y Ingrid fueron muy serviciales. Costa Rica es el país más hermoso que he visitado. Estoy emocionado de visitar los otros hostales y escuelas en Costa Rica y Panamá!
Otty y Antonio, Spanish
Estamos muy agradecidos por la estancia y la hospitabilidad que nos habeís ofrecido tanto en Bocas del Toro como en Turrialba. Spanish at Locations es sin lugar a dudas uno de los pocos lugares donde se siente uno en casa y en el paraíso!
Maria Elena, USA
I really enjoyed my stay over "Spanish by the River"it's the greatest location and school-hostel i ever say! Good people & good vibes. Loved the Rafting! Thank you all, Pura Vida!
Edortu y Xandra, Spain
Increíble y maravilloso la estancia; tanto Ingrid como sus hijos superamables. Nos dejó un gran recuerdo, nos sentimos como en casa desde el principio!
Loved it here: the staff, accommodations and views were spectacular. Thanks Fernando for the awesome breakfasts!
If you are looking for a good school to learn Spanish and have fun to discover some new places I can really recommend spanish@locations. Cozy hostels, fantastic outdoor classrooms, great teachers and people! Ingrid and her staff are amazing, I had a wonderful time in Turrialba and Puerto Viejo...for sure will come back!
Muchas gracias y Pura Vida!
Ross, New Zealand
Had a fantastic month learning Spanish at the schools in Bocas del Toro and Puerto Viejo. The teachers were brilliant, they were experienced and helped pair me up with those at a similar level. My Spanish is way way better now. There were also lots of free activities organised; bikes, kayaks, bbq, salsa, etc. Made our time there even better. Thanks a lot.
Pim, The Netherlands
I had an amazing time in Turrialba and Puerto Viejo. Both beautiful locations and great teachers. I really liked the interactive classes! Thank you all once again. Pura vida!
I will never forget this amazing experience and consider it to be one of the top experiences of my life. Staff and teachers were so accommodating and took excellent care of us. They are all very kind, interesting people who encouraged us to use our Spanish while there. Turrialba was special because I was able to do bird watching right there on the terrace while waiting for my class to start. Puerto Viejo had beautiful beaches and delicious restaurants!
Masha, The Netherlands
Ingrid, thank you so much for two very good weeks at Spanish By The Sea/ River. Good people and good vibes! I really liked the rafting trip in Turrialba (beautiful trip, campsite and good food!), of course the Spanish class and the locations . Pura Vida!
Have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. The Spanish lessons with Jackie were fantastic. I am really pleased with how much I have learnt even in such a short space of time. Ruby the manager has been wonderful and as friendly as can be! I would recommend this program to anyone!