As with many countries in the region there is a preference for American English, although this preference should not deter teachers from other countries in their search for employment. A degree and EFL certificate will enhance your prospects, as will any business qualifications or experience. Although wages are better in Costa Rica than in many other countries on the continent, the cost of living can be quite high in comparison.
Teaching positions are rarely advertised and the most likely source of information about working there is from the internet. The academic year runs from March to December and there are opportunities for the adventurous traveller to pick up work on the spot. A speculative CV sent beforehand might also prove useful. Ensure your CV is professionally presented and highlight any business or commercial qualifications or experience. You might find the guide to writing your CV on our site quite helpful here.
Permission to work or reside in Costa Rica is difficult to obtain, except for people that have been transferred by large corporations, are spouses of Costa Rican citizens, or are wealthy foreign investors. A U.S. citizen is allowed to stay in Costa Rica on a tourist visa for 90 days. At the end of the 90 days, the tourist is required to leave the country for 72 hours, which then allows a return for another 90 days with the renewed tourist visa. For those who overstay their visa, a small fine is imposed upon exiting the country. Some schools are willing to help prospective applicants with visa, residency, and housing needs.
US, Canadian and Panamanian citizens can enter Costa Rica more easily, but it appears that most EFL teachers tend to work on their tourist visas, although this is technically illegal.
Our recommended course options for Costa Rica are:
We suggest one of these courses for this country: