Our Spanish school in Costa Rica is called Spanish by the River – Turrialba. The school was founded June 2002 and is located a little outside of the typically “Tico” town of Turrialba. In Turrialba you can find a few hotels, some restaurants, (pool) bars, coffee shops, ice cream parlors, discos, a cinema, swimming pools, banks, internet cafés, a post office and gyms. When coming from San José, 10 minutes before entering town, you take a left into “Barrio El Recreo” to enter the “Entrada de Chirraca” and arrive at our Spanish school, an oasis of peace and therefore a great place to study spanish and relax. At 850 meters, it seems a little less hot and more “tranquilo” than in downtown Turrialba.
Spanish classes are mostly held outside, in one of the little huts or on the roomy porch, from where you have a beautiful view of the volcano and the lush, green surroundings. You can spot exotic birds like toucans, hummingbirds, and other tropical species while attending classes.
During breaks we serve delicious coffee from the surrounding highlands and some tropical fruits. If you want to stretch your legs, you can walk down the street in front of the school and maybe see some leafcutter ants coming by or even a sloth! The school is starting its own organic farming project and you are welcome to have a look.
Our Spanish school in Costa Rica is perfect for adventurous people that love to learn about different cultures, ecosystems and tropical farming. It is not for people that wish to go out every night to a cool, trendy discotheque. The people in Turrialba love to go out for some drinks and salsa dancing on the weekends but generally not on weekdays.
Spanish Courses in Costa Rica
We offer the following courses at our Spanish school in Turrialba:
- Standard Spanish
- Intensive Spanish
- Specialized Spanish >>
- Business Spanish
- Medical Spanish
- Household Spanish
- Spanish for Law Professionals
- Spanish for Construction Work
- Spanish for Work in Tourism
- Spanish for Teachers
- Spanish & Latin American Culture
- Ecological Spanish
- Preparation for Oteima Exam
- Preparation for DELE Exam
Accommodation Options in Costa Rica
Adventure Options in Costa Rica
Whilst studying Spanish in Turrialba you can also take the following adventure options:
- Spanish & Rafting
- Spanish & Kayaking
- Spanish & Rock Climbing
- Spanish & Camping
- Spanish & Hiking
- Spanish & Mountain Biking
- Spanish & Horse Riding
- Spanish & Bird Watching
There are also many half and full day trips you can do whilst taking classes at our Spanish school in Costa Rica.
Volunteer Options in Costa Rica
Our options for volunteering in Costa Rica include working in primary schools, an orphanage, working with people with disabilities, a museum, library or at CATIE and MINAE. To view all the volunteer options available please see our volunteering in Costa Rica page.
- Small town feeling
- Archeological site
Turrialba, located at 650 meters above sea level, is a small town that also offers the services of a city. Surrounded by rushing rivers and mountains shrouded in mist, you can feel yourself really integrated in Costa Rican culture as Turrialba is not very touristy and is a great place to practice Spanish as not many people speak English. The population of the town and surrounding district is about 70.000 and all the Turrialbeños seem to know and greet each other.
Turrialba used to be the main stopping place on the old San José – Limón road and suffered an economic depression with the opening of the new highway, which bypasses Turrialba completely. International whitewater fans who need local guides, houses, and transportation to the rivers have provided Turrialba with some new job opportunities, but obviously not enough to avoid high unemployment rates among the growing population of the town. Traditionally, Turrialbaños have been involved in growing coffee and sugarcane as well as some other traditional crops. Processing plants of both coffee and sugarcane are still functioning and can be visited by tourists.
CATIE stands for Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza and was established in 1940. It is one of the five major tropical research centers in the World and is located in Turrialba. It has an extensive library that houses Latin America´s largest collection of literature on agriculture and natural resources. The facilities of CATIE include greenhouses, orchards, forest plantings, experimental agricultural grounds, a dairy, an herbarium, botanical garden and seed conservation chambers.
Guayabo National Monument, on the slopes of Volcán Turrialba, is considered the most significant archaeological site in Costa Rica. There are many mysteries about the civilization that inhabited Guayabo. No one knows why the people left, just before the Spaniards arrived in Costa Rica.
Turrialba is located on the banks of the River Turrialba, which flows into the Reventazón, 4 km to the east. The River Reventazón (burstling) is one of the more scenic and exciting rivers in Costa Rica. The river tumbles from the late at 1000m above sea level and down the eastern slopes of the mountains to the Caribbean lowlands. The Pejivalle river is another river that flows into the Reventazón, but it has a natural flow (different from the River Reventazón that is dam controlled) and is of a stunning beauty.
Pacuare river is the next major river valley east of the Reventazón. It is unarguably the most scenic rafting river in Costa Rica and one of the world’s classic white-water experiences. The river plunges down the Caribbean slope through a series of spectacular canyons clothed in a virgin rainforest.
The 3339 meter high Volcán Turrialba is 15 km northwest of Turrialba and its last eruption was in 1866. The volcano is dormant today. There are three craters of which the middle one is the largest. This is the only one that still shows signs of activity. Below the craters we find cloud forest full of ferns, mosses, bromeliads, and with some luck you can spot the beautiful bird, the quetzal.
Our Other Spanish SchoolsWe have other Spanish schools located in neighboring Panama. Each school has its own beauty and personality within a unique environment, taking advantage of its personality by offering particular excursions and volunteer work. We give you clear, printed instructions at the schools on how to travel. The trip between Spanish by the River, Turrialba and Spanish by the Sea, Bocas goes partly along the Caribbean coast. The trip costs less than $20.00 and takes about seven hours in total. The trip between Spanish by the River, Turrialba and Spanish by the River, Boquete can be done by traveling on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. This trip takes about 10 hours and costs $15.00, but we recommend traveling first to Spanish by the Sea, Bocas and from there to Spanish by the River, Boquete. The trip between Spanish by the River, Turrialba and Spanish by the Sea, Puerto Viejo can be done in 4 hours and a half and costs less than $15.00. You need to travel first to Siquirres, change buses, travel to Limon, change buses and travel to Puerto Viejo. The trip between Spanish by the River, Boquete and Spanish in the City – Panama is a longer one and you might prefer first to travel to Bocas or Boquete, but if you want to go directly to Panama City, you first go to San Jose and you can either take the bus (ticabus) the same morning at 11:00 am or the next morning (if places are sold out for the day that you get there).