How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

You definitely need some Spanish, or you will be challenged. There are a number of Spanish classes for expats. - Sep 2020


It certainly helps a lot. In SJ in touristy areas you might do better but in general, no Spanish is going to be an issue. Lots of ways to learn here. - Jul 2018


Spanish helps a lot. Classes are available and not super expensive. - Dec 2016


Spanish is really important here, unless you only exist in tourist destinations. - Feb 2016


This is a great place to learn Spanish; take advantage of the opportunity. Inevitably you will meet other expats and retired gringos who don't speak a word of it; they get by but they make life harder on themselves. Some Costa Ricans speak passable to excellent English but not necessarily your waiter, your supermarket clerk, your bank teller, etc. - Apr 2014


A lot. This is a highly educated society and most of those are English language speakers, however for daily dealings with the public (taxi drivers, shop keepers, household help, wait staff, etc.) you need to know a really good amount of Spanish. - Jun 2013


A LOT! If you don't speak Spanish, good luck! None of the locals in San Jose seem to speak English. If you go outside of San Jose they all speak great English. - Aug 2011


Ticos have good English, but Spanish helps a lot. - Feb 2010


It's definitely useful, though many people speak english in San Jose. - Jan 2010


You should know at least basic Spanish to be respectful, but most Costa Ricans are very open to trying to speak English with expats. - Jul 2008


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