Taking part in life in the Costa Rican community is an important facet of the immersion process. For this reason students live off-campus in neighborhood homes or rental properties. Fortunately, there are a variety of options available to students when it comes to accommodations.
The Institute maintains a database on all furnished houses and apartments for rent within a short radius of the Institute and makes recommendations on fair pricing. However, houses or apartments nearest to the Institute are generally priced higher. Singles and families without children might want to consider living further from the Institute to save money. For families with children, living closer to the Institute makes life a lot easier because of school schedules and pushing strollers up and down hills.
Most houses are within 15 minutes walking-distance from the school and have constant supervision from the school through evaluations from previous students.
Your Big Brother will let you know the options available and help you find the best place for you and your family. If you decide to rent a house or apartment, the price will vary according to the size, location, and amenities included.
Keep in mind that most landlords will only take cash; and for this reason, it is good to bring with you one month's rent in advance to pay as soon as you arrive. You also need to consider the utilities, which may be approximately $100 for a single couple and $200-$300 for a family.
Houses and apartments usually have tile or wood floors without area rugs and are furnished with minimal furniture and some major appliances (your Big Brother/Sister will give you the specifics). You may need to rent a dryer (especially during rainy season). We consider the following to be reasonable expectations for students to have regarding housing:
As mentioned in the Host Families section; hot water heaters are expensive, so generally the definition of “hot water” in a house means that the house has cold water everywhere except the showers. A small electric heating device attached to the showerhead heats shower water. Some of the rental houses have a hot water heater, but it is usually limited to houses built or used by previous tenants from other countries.