Live in Costa Rica

Learn spanish and get immersed in the Costa Rican culture by living with a host family, share an apartment with fellow travelers or get your own fully furnished ppartment.

Whether you are a participant in one of our programs or are just looking for a place to stay in Costa Rica, we can set you up with the accommodation you need. Whether you want to fully dive in into the culture by living with a host family or you want to have your own space, we have something that’s right for you.

Live with a host family

Living with a host family can make the stay in Costa Rica a particularly rewarding experience. You can immediately dive into the culture and gain a clear look into the everyday lives and traditions of the ticos. It will also speed up the time it will take you to integrate into your new environment, as they will teach you where to go and give you valuable travel advice. Finally, your spanish language skills will improve much quicker as it will provide you with many opportunities to practice what you learned. Being exposed to native speakers, you will learn to listen and understand the language and your vocabulary and pronunciation will improve dramatically.

Participants who previously attended our programs built a solid relationship with their host family, which extended beyond their stay. The host family is selected by ICIES according to strict criteria, since our goal is always to offer participants the best stay in Costa Rica they can possibly get. We take into account your religion, social values and personality to ensure a great match with their family members. In case conflicts arise, we will do all our possible to resolve them, which might mean changing the host family for one that better suits you.

Host families are mandatory for minor participants to ensure their safety and support. In addition to learning a new language, they will learn valuable life skills as Costa Rican parents can be strict but very loving of their children. ICIES is in constant contact with host families and receives feedback constantly so you know your children are in good hands.

Share a house with roommates

We also offer accommodation in big shared houses. You will get your own room and be able to access to a fully equipped kitchen, a bathroom and a garden, which you will share with other program participants, fellow travelers or Costa Rican students. The house will be cleaned every week but you should still keep it in order out of respect for your roommates.
This type of accommodation is perfect if you want some independence but still want to meet new people of the same age as you. Sometimes being in a foreign country and learning a new language can be hard so it is good to have friends you can depend on when you need it.

Rent an apartment

If you want to have your own place during your stary, we can set you up in an appartment in a good location in whatever city you want to stay. All the apartments are fully furnished with a double bed, fully equipped kitchen, TV and internet access. Some apartments are close to host families if you still want to get the advantages of living with a local family without the constraints.

What others have to say

At the beginning, I spent a lot of time with the family. With the children, I playfully learned Spanish. With my host sister Paola, we visited the Irazu volcano, and went shopping in San Jose. I spent a lot of time with the rest of the family and was very happy about it. I had a lovely birthday and a great Christmas in Costa Rica! My apartment had a private bathroom and a kitchen corner in the family home. While in CR, I was on my own, which I thought was good to be in contact with the Ticos. But my host family helped me whenever they could. For example, they showed me the city, the bus stations, the University and the bus stops.


I spent 5 months in Costa Rica, 3 of them at a host family and then 2 months at Maria Elena Gamboa’s home. My room was very clean and well maintained, I could use anything including the kitchen, washing machine, TV, garden or even her guitar! Maria was very helpful and nice,I can only recommend it! Muchas gracias Maria and Pura Vida.


I was in Costa Rica for a month, where I lived with a host family. For me it was important to live with a family to understand the Costa Rican mentality closely and improve my Spanish without excuses. The host family welcomed me very cordially and frankly, it was hard after only a month to fly back home.


Costa Rica is a dream – and Mary and her family have contributed a large part to make the stay in Costa Rica unforgettable. It is a wonderful opportunity to live with a true Tico family and learn about a country and people better.
Thanks for the great time!