Living in
Costa Rica

Living in Costa Rica

  • No Army since 1949: Costa Rica is a peaceful country that decided, a long time ago, to invest in education, health care, and social security instead of investing in weapons and warfare.
  • Costa Rica was ranked as the happiest country in the world according to the Happy Planet Index, which is a reflection of our Pura Vida way of living!
  • Natural ingredients included: Costa Rica is a small country with strong commitment to the environment, which is to be expected from a country that has 5% of the world’s biodiversity. We are so committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2020 that almost all of Costa Rica’s electric power is produced by renewable energy sources, and 25% of our country’s territory is protected as National Parks or Reserves.
  • Human Rights advocate: Costa Rica is one of the countries in Latin America with the highest Human Development Index. Costa Rica’s health care system and social security system with universal coverage are based on the principle of solidarity, and contribute to improving the quality of life of all ticos. In addition, education is an important vehicle for social mobility and a right that everybody enjoys through our public education system. This, complemented by a long-standing democratic system and the country’s advocacy of human rights, have made Costa Rica the ideal place for the headquarters of several international organizations, such as the University for Peace and the Inter-American Court of Justice.

Living in San José

San José is a city of contrasts. As an ICDS’ student you will live and study in one of the most vibrant and active districts of the city on the east side, San Pedro.
San Pedro is the site of some of the largest universities in the country and so, it is full of youth vibes. In addition, the neighboring Barrio Escalante –one of the most vibrant, cultural and artistic sections of town, as well as a food haven—offers students the opportunity to enjoy great Costa Rican and international food and interact with local young people.


Homestays are one of the most important parts of your experience, facilitating immersion in and adaptation to the new culture and language, and helping you to integrate into the local society. With many years of hosting international students in accordance with ICDS’ strict requirements, our network of host families can provide a natural and safe environment for you to learn about and enjoy the host culture.

With her ample experience in the selection of host families, ICDS’s Homestay Coordinator researches appropriate families who live in areas close to the university campus and the ICDS office, and who are willing and qualified to host international students. When ICDS receives your housing application, our Homestay Coordinator matches you and the families in accordance with your preferences and special requirements, if any. ICDS also, follows up on your relationship with the family to ensure that the experience is a positive one.

Living in a host family’s home includes a private room furnished with all the basic elements for resting and studying, (bed and bed linens, closet, well-lit working space), a private or shared bathroom, two daily meals (breakfast and dinner), and wi-fi connection.

“Staying with a Costa Rican family made the experience even that much more memorable and unforgettable. I became fully immersed in the culture and my homestay family helped me to learn more about Costa Rica and had plenty of suggestions for places to visit and activities to engage in.”
Christina Custus