Trips out of the country immerse you in another culture. A large part of a culture is language.
There are about 6,500 spoken languages across the globe. Some languages are spoken in multiple countries by millions of people while others are only used in small regions by less than 1,000 people. In Costa Rica, like the rest of Central America, Spanish is the national language.
But do you need to know Spanish to vacation in Costa Rica? Here are a few factors that influence the need for knowing (or not knowing) Spanish when you visit Costa Rica.
English is a Second Language for Younger Ticos
Education is a top priority in Costa Rica, and it’s not limited to Spanish-language classes. For the last two decades, English has been taught in many Costa Rican schools. Kids in public schools must take a foreign language, which is usually English. There are also private schools that offer a US high school diploma accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and International Baccalaureate programs that qualify students to attend colleges in the U.S.
What this means is that many of the younger generations that are now in the workforce are bilingual. Businesses that thrive on tourism seek out employees that can bridge the language barrier. Younger travelers will find it’s particularly easy to interact with their Costa Rican peers, even if they don’t know any Spanish.
Where Do You Plan to Go in Costa Rica?
The destination helps determine how much Spanish you need to know if any. You can get by without knowing Spanish in the capital of San Jose. Taking a vacation to Jaco Beach Costa Rica also doesn’t require Spanish language skills. The area is very metropolitan and visited by people from all over the world. English is an unofficial second language, which may be why so many expats settle in the area.
If you plan to visit remote areas, it may be beneficial to know basic Spanish. In remote locations off the beaten path, locals are less likely to be fluent in English. Knowing some key Spanish phrases and having a pocket English to Spanish dictionary on hand is a good idea. The locals will appreciate that you’re trying to converse in their native tongue.
Are You Using a Travel Guide or Going It Alone?
Another language consideration is whether you will be on your own or have a travel guide along for the ride. It always helps to have a local with you, be it a personal friend who lives in Costa Rica or a hired guide that can show you around and handle any translation needs.
When you plan a vacation with Paradise in Jaco there’s no need to know Spanish. We have English-speaking guides that can handle all aspects of your excursions, set up dinner reservations and translate for you if necessary. Give us a call to start planning the ultimate Jaco Beach vacation.