When you study abroad in a place like Tamarindo, you will experience the best work-life balance that Costa Rica has to offer! You’ll take your academic classes in the morning, and then you can spend the rest of your day enjoying the great outdoors in this tropical paradise. Enjoy excellent cuisine, Spanish language immersion and stunning natural scenery all while getting college credit for studying in Tamarindo. Study abroad in Tamarindo, Costa Rica and you will truly immerse yourself in the Pura Vida lifestyle!
What you need to know about studying abroad in Tamarindo, Costa Rica
The education system in Costa Rica is a lot more laid-back than you’re probably used to. Studying abroad in Costa Rica, especially in coastal communities like Tamarindo, tends to be pretty low-key and not too academically rigorous.
Popular subjects to study. Tamarindo is a great location to practice su español! Spanish is the most popular subject to study in this region of Costa Rica. Thankfully, Costa Rican Spanish is pretty pure—there isn’t much of an accent or slang to navigate—so even beginners can see significant improvement in their language abilities! If you’re not looking to study Spanish, literature is another popular subject to study. Your reading and writing will be inspired by the stunning natural surroundings!
Short term programs vs. long term programs. Can’t decide between a short or long-term program? Thankfully in Tamarindo, there are both options! Short-term programs are great for summer breaks or students who can’t miss a traditional semester such as engineers or medical students. The big advantage of a longer program is the language immersion. You’re bound to see more progress in your Spanish speaking abilities the longer you live abroad! Study abroad programs are available throughout the year, including summer programs and traditional academic programs. Blessed with a year-round temperate (albeit humid) oceanic weather, Tamarindo is lovely regardless of when you go!
Attending universities vs. other program types. Tamarindo is a fairly small beach community, so there is not a major university in the city. If you choose to study abroad here, you will be studying through independent programs, like language schools or private institutions. Prefer a more traditional university setting instead? Consider studying abroad in a larger city like nearby Guanacaste, Costa Rica’s capital city of San Jose, or the traditional university town of Heredia.
Life Abroad in Tamarindo, Costa Rica for International Students
Living in Tamarindo is all about spending time outside. This is the kind of place where even the classrooms and homes have an airy outdoor feeling. It fits with the flow of life in this “Pura Vida” community!
Water is the main attraction for coastal Tamarindo, and you’ll have the option to get in the water, on the water, or skim the water. There is something for everyone here! Surfing, scuba, fishing, beach-going, long walks at sunset, whatever it is, you can do all in Tamarindo.
Because Tamarindo is one of the most popular destinations for travelers in Costa Rica, it is unfortunately one of the least culturally immersive locations. It isn’t called “Tamagringo” for nothing. You can expect to be surrounded by primarily other foreign students, so we recommend living with a host family to get the “Tico” immersion experience.
GoAbroad’s Inside Scoop for study abroad students in Tamarindo
If you’re a food lover, Tamarindo is going to be a pleasant culinary adventure for you! Unlike other locations in Central America, Tamarindo attracts great chefs, so budding foodies can find some of the best restaurants in all of Costa Rica in this coastal oasis. Most restaurants face the beach, so while you wait for your picadillo or rice n’ beans, stick your feet in the sand! Vegetarians and health-conscious folks can rejoice—there is an abundance of restaurants catering to special dietary requirements.
Often overlooked because of all the beach access, don’t miss a visit to Marino Las Baulas Park during your study abroad program. At the north end of Playa Grande, this national park is a protected area that serves as a safe haven for various turtle species, such as the leatherback sea turtle. These massive turtles use Marino Las Baulas for laying eggs because they don’t need to fear the eggs being stolen or captured by poachers. We recommend packing a picnic basket for an evening sunset and turtle-viewing at dark!
Do you dream of hopping on a surfboard after class followed by a fresh seafood dinner on the playa at sunset? Well, this can be your reality when you study abroad in Tamarindo, Costa Rica! Tamarindo offers some of the best beach, surf, and nature access in all of Costa Rica and the laid-back local lifestyle is bound to win you over within a few days. Paired with excellent academic opportunities, your transcript will be bountiful with unique experiences from your time studying abroad in Tamarindo, Costa Rica!
Already hearing the crashing waves of Playa Tamarindo in your dreams? Get more inspiration in our comprehensive guide on studying in Costa Rica!