Study Abroad in San José, Costa Rica

San José

From prestigious universities to hip gastropubs, a vibrant artistic culture to a booming music scene, San José blends urban color and stunning natural beauty; more than 800 miles of coastline and acres of lush rainforests lie just a short drive from this diverse metropolitan center. When you’re studying abroad in San José, your immersion opportunities are limitless: You can hike on a volcano, explore the rainforest, and get up-close-and-personal with sloths. You can hone your Spanish skills, gain career-boosting experience, and build marketable skills in an internship. You can give back to your host community through volunteering, learn new dance moves, and lounge on the beach (Pacific or Caribbean? Take your pick!) Choose from a range of academic offerings in fields uniquely suited for study in San José, like Health Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Liberal Arts, and Spanish Language.

About the Country

Costa Rica

Lush cloud forests. Sunny beaches. Unparalleled biodiversity. A range of opportunities to hone your Spanish skills and immerse in local culture. Nestled between the Pacific and the Caribbean, Costa Rica is not only known for its stunning natural beauty (more than a third of the country’s land enjoys environmental protections) but for its commitment to democracy and peace; Costa Rica boasts more teachers than policemen and hasn’t had an army since the 1940s. Add in a high standard of living and universal access to education and health care, and it’s easy to see why Costa Rica consistently ranks in the world’s top 12 “happiest countries.” Study abroad in Costa Rica and experience pura vida – pure life – for yourself.

Maggie Banchs, Program Director, San José

Maggie's role is to oversee all student services and housing including orientation, excursions, and cultural activities. She advises students on issues related to cross-cultural information, health, and safety, and is responsible for responding to student inquiries and concerns. Maggie serves as a resource to students as they transition into Costa Rican culture, and functions as their primary point of contact. More

Featured Leadership


Splendid San José


Local Highlights

Parque Metropolitano La Sabana

This park on San José’s west end of is our version of New York’s Central Park. La Sabana has tons of green areas, a lake, walking trails, tennis courts, sports fields, jogging paths, and soccer pitches.

Paseo Gastronómico La Luz

This popular street is lined with restaurants, art galleries, and creative spaces. Don’t-miss eateries include Keidas Lounge Bar/Restaurante, Luna Roja, Lulú & Saturnino Bistro–Pub, Sofia Mediterráneo, Crepería El Gato Negro, and Impar.

Art City Tour

This citywide open house showcases a variety of galleries and museums and offers a free shuttle service from one cultural hotspot to another. Visit the Jade Museum, the petite art space TEOR/éTica, and the all-inclusive National Museum, among other exciting venues.

Hiking in Braulio Carrillo National Park

After just a 40-minute bus ride from San José, you’ll find yourself immersed in the heart of the rainforest, where you’ll enjoy an exciting hiking experience in beautiful Braulio Carrillo National Park.

National Theater Cafe

Inside the historical National Theater, you’ll find a café that’s small in space, but huge in coffee aroma. Here, you can try Costa Rican coffee from all seven provinces while enjoying beautiful Renaissance architecture.

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Chelsea Robinson, Fall14 MOJO, San José.

More Time for Education  
CEA handles the logistics for you, allowing you more time to focus on educational and experiential objectives.

Rebekah White
University of Memphis,
Fall 2015, San José, Costa Rica
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