When you volunteer abroad with MEDLIFE in Costa Rica, you have the option between visiting San Jose and Tamarindo. If you are unfamiliar with Costa Rica as a whole and are having trouble deciding which city you should choose, here are some things to consider first.
1. Location and Surroundings:
San Jose is the capital city of Costa Rica, offering a vibrant urban experience with a mix of historical sites, cultural attractions, and modern amenities. It serves as a hub for various volunteer programs and organizations. Tamarindo, on the other hand, is a beach town located on the Pacific coast. It provides access to beautiful beaches, surfing opportunities, and a more relaxed coastal lifestyle. Consider whether you prefer an urban or coastal setting.
2. Culture and Lifestyle:
San Jose is the cultural and economic center of Costa Rica, with a diverse population and a range of cultural activities, museums, and festivals. It offers a cosmopolitan experience with a blend of traditional and modern influences. Tamarindo, being a popular tourist destination, has a more laid-back vibe and is known for its surfing culture and beach tourism. Consider the type of lifestyle and cultural experiences you are looking for.
San Jose is the main international gateway to Costa Rica, with a well-connected airport and transportation networks. It offers easy access to other parts of the country and various transportation options for exploring different regions. Tamarindo also has its own airport, but it may have fewer flight options and could require connecting through San Jose. Consider your preference for accessibility and transportation convenience.
4. Language Considerations:
If you have a preference for learning or practicing Spanish, both San Jose and Tamarindo offer opportunities to immerse yourself in the language. San Jose may have more English-speaking residents and businesses due to its status as the capital and its cosmopolitan nature. Tamarindo, being a tourist destination, may have more exposure to English as well.
Consider your budget for traveling with MEDLIFE. Accommodation, food, and travel fees can vary between San Jose and Tamarindo. San Jose, being a larger city, may generally have a higher cost of living, while Tamarindo, as a tourist destination, may have higher prices for certain amenities and accommodations.
6. Personal Preferences:
Think about your personal preferences and what you hope to gain from your SLT experience. Do you prefer an urban environment with cultural attractions and a bustling city life, or do you prefer a more relaxed beach town with access to water activities and natural beauty? Consider your comfort level in different environments and the type of experience you are seeking.
It is important to note that while you are on your Service Learning Trip, a majority of your time will be spent in the field in our partner communities. The time you will be spending in the city is when you are off-duty and on your own personal time.
Ultimately, the choice between San Jose and Tamarindo as a volunteering destination depends on your individual priorities and preferences. It may be helpful to read reviews from past volunteers as well as reach out to the MEDLIFE team to book an appointment and discuss your choice with them. You can also research the Service Learning Trip experience in San Jose and Tamarindo on our website.