Sepa Spanish Language School and Environmental Protection Center, on the Pacific side of Costa Rica, can be found just 30 minutes from the beach, located in the picturesque valley town of San Isidro de El General. Gently cuddled in the bowl created by the surrounding lush mountain ranges (See star on map below) SEPA Spanish School is a real find!
Pristine beaches, tropical rain forest, mountain jungle, cloud forest, the cold, windy forests of Talamanca (the highest Costa Rican mountain), Chirripó National Park, Marino Ballena National Park (whale park) and many other beautiful places can be easily reached from this beautiful Costa Rica Spanish School (check all our tours besides your spanish classes). Its closeness to nature makes it the ideal place for Spanish for volunteers as well through our environmental protection center.
Less than ten years ago, the road was paved from the beach to the lovely mountain town of San Isidro de El General, making it a uniquely beautiful place to visit and learn, untouched by the hand of tourism.
Have you been looking for that perfect place to learn Spanish? Look no further. SEPA Spanish School truly has it all.
“San Isidro is a slow-moving country town with dozens of little shops, and I enjoyed falling into the rhythm of its life. Most of the people I saw and interacted with were Costa Rican and so I had lots of opportunities to practice my Spanish!” Carol Poslgrove – Bloomington, Indiana
Enroll in our Spanish classes now!
Safe? It’s all about small town versus big city:
SAFETY: It’s all about location, Location, LOCATION!
Size alone makes this pleasing rural community far safer than the large crime-ridden cities such as San José and common tourist areas.
On the contrary, in San Isidro, a late evening walk through the streets of San Isidro is a must with her brilliantly colored lights and cheery sounds flowing from cantinas and street shops.
But there is more that makes this a safe place for you to learn Spanish.
- You can drink the water straight from the pipe: Unlike most Latin American countries and parts of Costa Rica, the water is safe to drink here, and the food is safe to eat.
- Outstanding medical care: Costa Rican medical care is ranked equal to medical care in the United States. San Isidro boasts several private hospitals and a large public hospital, besides many excellent private clinics and dental facilities.
NOTE TO PARENTS: As a concerned parent, you can feel absolutely safe in sending your child to SEPA School. Not only will your child learn Spanish in a secure environment, they will also have the opportunity to explore various career areas through their Spanish for Volunteers work.
Or maybe you would like to come along, too! Check out our Family and Kids spanish program.
SEPA School is a safe, beautiful location to learn Spanish in Costa Rica – a place where you can say, Ahhh!
Click here to enroll in your spanish classes now!
Adventure and Volunteer work while you learn Spanish:
San Isidro is the ideal Costa Rican adventure hub for every kind of fun: river-rafting, hiking, swimming at the beach, whale-watching, surfing, fishing, ziplining, mountain trekking, kayaking, horseback riding, touring butterfly farms, reptile zoos, hot-spring soaking, and waterfall jumping just to name a few. Click here to check our list of tours and if you don’t see one there that you want, let us know and we’ll put one together.
But we don’t want you just to learn Spanish but also do volunteer work if you like! We don’t want you to miss out on a single adventure! This will give you the opportunity to live the real Costa Rica while helping others in the area… you’ll improve your spanish skills faster as well by practicing more!
Enroll in our spanish programs now!
With all the amenities:
Just small enough to be delightful, just big enough to have all the amenities!
Here in San Isidro, you are surrounded by all the technological and financial support you need to make your travel worry-free. This unique town is a place where life is very much like the old times but with all the advantages of today. Here you will find fast internet service and Wi-Fi; modern banks (where you can ask for English-speaking tellers if you want); restaurants with a wide variety of menus and ethnic foods; recreational and sports facilities; places to go dancing; quaint cantinas; and even a small casino. In the midst of this, all around you are San Isidro’s helpful and friendly people, who appreciate their foreign visitors.
It is a place just small enough to where you can forge lasting and meaningful relationships.
Ready to join our SEPA family? Enroll in our Spanish programs now!
How do I get to Sepa Spanish Language School?
With SEPA Spanish School Transportation:
If you choose to have SEPA Spanish Language School and Environmental Protection Center pick you up, your journey to SEPA starts in San José where a van from a travel service with an excellent safety record will pick you up from your hotel or at the airport. From there, you travel to San Isidro, approximately a three-hour drive through soaring mountains and breath-taking scenery. (The price for transportation is $200 one-way, the cost to be shared amongst the rest of the passengers in your van.) Once in San Isidro, your driver will deliver you to your welcoming homestay family!
How to get from San Jose to San Isidro by bus:
Although it sounds tricky, travel to San Isidro de El General by bus is a simple process, involving only two modes of travel: taxi and bus.
Step One – Take a taxi to the MUSOC Bus Station:
After you arrive at the San José Airport, step outside the only exit/entrance. You will see a full fleet of red taxis with yellow triangles on the side, who are eager to drive you to your destination. These are the legitimate Costa Rican taxis and you will want to go with one of them, even if a different-colored taxi (referred to as a ‘pirate’ taxi) offers you a lower price.
TAXI ADVICE: Before you get in the taxi, ask the driver how much for transportation to the MUSOC Bus Station. Most drivers speak enough English to know what ‘How much’ means. The price should be no more than $40 (or 20,000 colones) one way. If he asks for more, just politely step away and head for the next taxi. Your driver may re-negotiate the price when he sees you leaving, or you might just have to ask the next taxi in line.
Your taxi ride from San José Airport to the MUSOC Bus Station will last approximately twenty-five to forty-five minutes, depending on the traffic.
Step Two – Take the bus to San Isidro de El General:
You will want to get to the bus station an hour before your bus trip. It works best if you buy the ticket one day in advance so you are assured of getting the time that you want, but of course, that is not always possible.
Once you arrive at the bus station you purchase a ticket to San Isidro de El General. The ticket will cost approximately $6.50 (around 3,300 colones). If you prefer to sit at the front, ask for seat 1, 2, 3, or 4. Make sure that you get a ‘directo’ ticket – that means it goes straight through without making a bunch of stops. Call us after you buy your ticket so you can tell us what time you will get to San Isidro and we can have your host family to greet you. Here is the schedule:
MUSOC Bus Schedule:
Currently buses leave from San José at the following times: 5:30 am, 7:30 am, 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm, 4:30 pm, 5:00 pm, 5:30 pm. You can click on the link to verify that these times are still correct. You want to take the bus routes that have a ‘D’ next to them for ‘Directo’, meaning that they don’t make a lot of stops on the way.
The bus schedule to return to San José is: 5:30 am, 7 :30 pm, 8:30 am, 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 1:30 pm, and 4:30 pm.
Ticket cost: Approximately $6 one way
Office hours: 6:30 am to 5:00
MUSOC Phone numbers: San Jose: 222-2422 / San Isidro: 2771-3829
Getting on the bus: When your departure time arrives, follow the other travelers to the bus area. You will see more than one bus. If your bus doesn’t say ‘San Isidro de El General’ in large letters on the front windshield, just show your ticket and people will help you to the right bus.
Take care of that ticket. You will need it to get back on, if you get off the bus at the rest stop.
Luggage: If you have luggage, go to the side of the bus where there is a large luggage compartment, and give your luggage to the driver. Watch as it is safely deposited, then get on the bus. Make sure you sit in the correct seat number. Just like on an airplane, the numbers are marked above each row of seats.
Enjoy! Once you get on the bus and find your seat, just settle back and enjoy your ride through the old-world mountains of Chirripó. If you have carry-on luggage, such as a backpack, it’s better to keep it by your legs, or on your lap, instead of storing it overhead.
Half-way to San Isidro, you will have a welcome, but brief stop, at a modern facility, where you can stretch your legs, purchase a snack, and use the bathroom. It’s a good idea to take your personal carry-on items with you. Be alert to when your driver re-boards the bus. If you’re not on the bus, it will leave without you.
Retrieve your luggage: Once you arrive at the MUSOC Bus Station in San Isidro de El General, retrieve your luggage from the luggage bin at the side of the bus, the same as when you loaded it. Then, just as you did at the airport, you will see another fleet of red taxis waiting to make this last leg of your trip pleasant and quick.
If you are coming to join us in one of our Spanish language programs at SEPA, your host family will be there to pick you up.
How to get from San Jose to San Isidro by car:
If you are traveling by car you need to take the Panamerican Highway from San José heading South for 135 km. After 3 hours you will arrive at San Isidro de El General.
Regardless of the travel option you choose, you will enjoy a beautiful mountain journey filled with stunning scenery!
Want to optimize your trip to Costa Rica?
Click here to learn about our game-changing Survival Spanish for Travelers!
If you look on the Google map at the extreme bottom of this page, SEPA Spanish School is located where you see the middle blue marker on the left side. When you click on the correct arrow, it will say ‘SEPA Spanish Language School …’ and provide contact information. You can zoom in and out of the map using the scroll wheel on your mouse.
The GPS coordinates are: N09°22.34 2’ W083°42.628’
We look forward to seeing you!
What makes Sepa’s location special?
Besides safety, beauty, and being close to the beaches, mountains, and jungles, it’s all about variety! This region’s diverse topography ripples from microclimate to microclimate: from the fantastic heights of Mt. Chirripó at 3820 meters above sea level (12,533 feet), to an extensive rural valley at approximately 700 meters above sea level (2,297 feet) to the jungle-covered marine lowlands of the Pacific Coast. You can imagine what an astounding wealth of habitats, flora and fauna this creates!
Want to know more about what SEPA does to protect this beautiful environment? Check out our environmental protection center work through our Spanish for Volunteers program.
The average temperature is 23.7ºC (74.7ºF). Our average yearly rainfall is approximately 3800 mm annually (150 inches), although the monthly rainfall varies greatly depending on whether it is the rainy season (May through November) or the dry season (December through April).
One might surmise that with such a plentiful yearly rainfall, there would be many days of rain without sun. I am very happy to report that this is not so! During the height of the rainy season (September/October), we have hearty rainfalls but they generally occur during the night or in the late afternoon. And when it stops, you have golden sunshine in which to work and play.
Ready to join us in this magical setting? Enroll in our Spanish Courses now!
Our beautiful secluded campus:
Picture yourself visiting with friends and studying, while surrounded by blue-green mountains and gorgeous gardens. Everywhere you see tropical flowers – heliconias, bougainvillea, gardenias, and more. The landscaping around you is artfully designed to attract every kind of wildlife, from brilliantly colored toucans and cusingas (yes, they do look like Fruitloop’s Toucan Sam!) to a three-toed sloth.
Bananas, pineapples, and fruit trees such as orange, mango, lime, papaya, avocado, and mandarin oranges all grow in the gardens around you. Add to that medicinal plants such as lemongrass, guarumo, and cinnamon and you have an exotic mix of fragrances and colors to drink in.
Your classroom is attractive, comfortable, and well-lit, fanned by the gentle Costa Rican breeze. During breaks you choose where to spend your time: in the gardens, on the beautiful terrace, or relaxing in the chat areas with Wi-Fi and internet where you can visit with friends, email, or just ‘chill’ after a rewarding day of work and study. Just reading this website gets you halfway here. We can’t wait to meet you!