WONDERING WHAT TO BRING TO YOUR SPANISH CLASSES? Let us help you with your packing!
Below is the SEPA Spanish Language School recommended packing list, although you may not need all of it:
- Enough clothes for a week
- One nice outfit that you can use for special occasions
- Quick-drying long pants
- Lightweight long-sleeved shirts for protection against sun and insects
- Shorts (although you’ll need to wear your long pants, for protection, when you’re hiking or out in the field)
- Light cotton T-shirts
- Wide brim hat
- Flip flops / sandals
- Walking shoes /hiking boots
- Bathing suit
- Light jacket
- Raincoat / poncho (not as important during the driest months, January – March)
- Camera or cell phone camera
- Valid passport
- Insect repellent
- Anti-inch / insect bite relief products
- Lip balm
- Sunburn relief products
- Prescription medications and their instructions
- Small pocket alarm clock, or cell phone with an alarm feature
- An extra pair of glasses, just in case (if you wear prescription glasses)
Now that you’ve got it all packed, you are ready to start learning Spanish in Costa Rica!
SO, WHAT’S THE WEATHER LIKE?
Some people wonder, how is it that you can pack the same way all year long? Unlike temperatures in San Jose and the higher elevations, our yearly temperatures only vary by 10 degrees Fahrenheit (6 degrees Celsius). We have two seasons: dry and rainy, although many claim that the rainy season isn’t much different than a normal summer day in most climates.
We don’t have a summer and winter season; only a dry season and a rainy season. During the dry season months (Mid-December to Mid-March) it rains very rarely. Rain gear is not very important during these months. The weather tends to be warmer during the dry season; however, SEPA Spanish School is located on a gentle hill overlooking San Isidro de El General, which means we catch beautiful breezes that keep you just right.
In Mid-March, you begin to see a very gradual change towards the rainy season. This means that, although you still have brilliant shining blue sky days, by 5:00 in the evening you might have a shower. This is one of the amazing facts of Costa Rica weather: most of the rain falls in the late afternoon and evening so you still have full sunny days for action! Keep this fact in mind when people talk about rainy and dry seasons in Costa Rica.
The evening rainfall increases in April and May, then slacks off during June, when you get a sort of Indian Summer, except that here it is called El veranillo de San Juan (St. John’s little summer). This phenomena of dry weather can last from 3 – 15 days.
July and August tend to be a bit unpredictable. Many call it the time of the Canicula. Canica is the word for marble and the time of the Canicula is certainly as unpredictable as a marble rolling in the dirt. One late afternoon may be rainy, the next dry. Or you may go many evenings dry and the next rainy, it’s just hard to say!
September and October tend to be the rainiest months, sometimes with gorgeous thunder and lightning storms. Does that mean you have rain all day? No, sir! Once again, you get to keep those beautiful blue sky mornings and early afternoons.
In November, the rain tapers off into December, and then, by Christmas you are back into the dry season with very little rain.
The similarity in temperature all year long lead people to make comments like, “What a beautiful summer day!” right smack in the middle of a rainy season. So, as you can see, one packing list fits all.
HOW MUCH MONEY SHOULD I BRING?
The answer to this question is different for everyone but we can give you some general ideas.
CASH AND CREDIT CARDS:
Most people wonder if they should bring cash, how much, and if they should switch it into colones (pronounced coe-LOE-nace) before they come here. We recommend that you bring around $50 to $100 US dollars in cash and a VISA or Master Card. There are other credit cards that are accepted, but VISA and Master Card are the most commonly accepted throughout Costa Rica. If needed, you can get a cash advance on a VISA card if you go to a large bank.
Various banks in San Isidro have ATM machines, where you can draw out dollars or colones with a debit card. If you’re going to be here for awhile it’s best to draw out colones so that you can pay for things in the same currency and not worry about losing to the exchange rate. On the other hand, your card will automatically make the transition, but sometimes there are hidden fees added on. Be sure to ask your credit card company about fees before you come.
HOW DO I FIND THE BANK?
During your first week at SEPA Spanish School, often on your first day, we take you on a walking tour of the city. During this tour we will point out the various banks and cash machines besides visiting the city market and other fascinating places!
Traveler’s checks can be a hassle – most businesses won’t accept them, or else they charge a large fee to cash them. Usually, you will have to go to a bank to exchange them. At the bank, you often times have to present multiple forms of identification and if the signatures don’t match up exactly it can create problems.
KEEPING YOUR MONEY SAFE:
Just remember to follow the same procedures you use in the United States to keep your money and credit cards secure.
You can feel secure about handling your money here in Costa Rica. No need to hold back! Enroll to our Spanish Classes now!