Stunning Pacific and Caribbean coastlines, mountains, volcanoes, waterfalls, lakes and islands, Cost Rica is an uber environment-friendly country with a strong commitment to preserving natural resources. Costa Ricans tend to be proud, friendly and diverse people who enjoy sharing their culture and social activities with newcomers. Pura vida (enjoying life) is the national motto. Costa Rica does not have a national military, which demonstrates just how much Costa Ricans value democracy, peace and political freedom.

Teenagers here enjoy the movies, dancing and visiting each other’s homes. Sports are very popular, especially soccer. Don’t miss out on local carnivals and festivals—they will be a great opportunity to soak in local culture with new friends!

AFS Youth exchange in Costa Rica

Host Family & Community

We’re ready for our next game, and ready for another celebration. #VamosTicos #CostaRica

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Although you may live anywhere in Costa Rica, most likely you will be in a suburban or urban area. Sharing among extended family members is deeply appreciated, so expect family life to play a significant role in your experience. Mealtimes are often filled with passionate conversations on a variety of subjects, and may be stretched for weekend lunches.


You will probably attend a public school, which runs from February through December, Monday to Friday (7 am to 4.30 pm). Costa Rican students wear uniforms. You can always participate in sport tournaments with your high school or in the community, as well as join music groups and different clubs based on your interests.

Feliz cumpleaños Lucia!!!!!!!!!

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Spanish is the primary language spoken in Costa Rica, and some people also speak English very well. You don’t have to know Spanish before the program, but having a basic knowledge of Spanish or English will be helpful.


Potatoes, eggs, corn, rice and beans, and dairy products are staples of the Costa Rican diet, Meat or fish may not be included in some meals throughout the week. You will also find a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and fruit juices.

San José has a food scene that is, in a word, delicious.

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Explore the Programs Available in Costa Rica