Spanish School Pura Vida | Language courses in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

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Most frequent questions and answers

Puerto Viejo is located 200 Kms. From the capital San Jose (5 hours). In the south of the Caribbean coast.

Juan Santa María Airport is located in Alajuela, 20 kms. of San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. The airport has strict security regulations that do not allow access to transportation services that are not part of the airport associated transport services, therefore we recommend you the following options:

  1. Shuttle Service directly to Puerto Viejo
  2. Public bus to Puerto Viejo
  3. Rent a Car

Shuttle Service

The most convenient way to get to Puerto Viejo in terms of cost-benefit.

The shuttle service is a minivan that departs from a restaurant called “Denny’s”, it is located 1 km away from the airport.

The first thing you have to do is to book the service, you can do so by calling to our school and book your seat in the minivan, we have special prices for our students.

To get to the restaurant, head to the main street outside the airport, get a cab and ask him to take you to Denny’s Restaurant, all of the cabs know exactly where the restaurant is. You can expect to pay the taxi driver anything between 2-4 USD for the ride. It will take you about 5 or 6 min to get to the restaurant.

Once on the parking lot, look for the shuttle service, tell the driver your name and your booking code and you are good to go.

Note: Beware of the taxi drivers right outside the airport entry, they will overcharge you for the ride to Denny’s.

The second thing to note is that there are only 3 departures to Puerto Viejo with the Shuttle service. The first one is at 6:00 am, the second at 2:00 pm and there is also an express service at 2:30 pm (few dollars more expensive than normal service).

The prices for shuttle services range between 47 USD and 53 USD, depending on the shuttle service company that has availability on that day.

Public Bus

If you decide to take the public bus, the first thing you need to do is to head to the bus Station “Atlántico Norte” in San José, remember that the Airport is not right in San Jose but 20 km away from it.

So here is how you get there, you have 3 options:

Book an Uber through the app and look up for “Terminal Atlántico Norte”, just to make sure you head to the right place, you can open the following link with the google maps app on your phone , with this option you may expect to pay between 15 to 20 USD. There is internet connection at the airport, so you won’t have problems to connect.

The second option to get to the Terminal Atlántico Norte is by normal public service. This is by far the cheapest option but also the most difficult one. It will cost around 2 dollars per ride and you will have to get a taxi to the bus station “Atlántico Norte” once you get to San José.

The third option, the most expensive one is to take a normal taxi, right outside the airport entry or in the main street. Just go out of the airport, head to the main street and get a taxi to San Jose, it will charge you at least 30 USD.

Once you are in the Atlantico Norte bus station, buy a ticket to Puerto Viejo and hop on a “Mepe” bus.

They have departures 5 times a day every 2 hours starting from 6:00 am. The last Mepe bus to Puerto Viejo departs at 2:00 pm.

The price of the ticket is around 10 USD (in local currency, Colones)

Rent a Car

If you feel like driving, this option will be very comfortable, you can go anywhere you want anytime you want, plus, when you come to Puerto Viejo you can go easily to the most interesting places in no time.

As you probably assumed, this is also the most expensive option. You can check prices and rent a car in the following link: Car Rental in Costa Rica.

**For any of the above options, the commute time will be between 4 and a half and 6 hours depending on the traffic conditions on the road.

There are plenty of options for your stay here in Puerto Viejo.  

Hotel Pura Vida

The most convenient for you will be to stay at Hotel Pura Vida since it is located in the same property as the School. Though, this might not be the cheapest option, it is definitely one of the most comfortable options. The hotel is located in the heart of Puerto Viejo, a few meters from the beach.

You can check prices and availability in the website of Hotel Pura Vida


Guest house

You can rent a private room, with shared kitchen in an exclusive guest house located 2.5 km from Puerto Viejo, surrounded by nature and away from the nightly noise of the town. This is a great option if you are planning on staying a week or more in Puerto Viejo. For bookings, you can ask us directly for availability and prices.



Do not miss the opportunity to practice Spanish by living in the house of a local family in the outskirts of Puerto Viejo. Since this is a very demanded option, we highly suggest you to request for it with enough time in advance.


Other hostels and hotels in Puerto Viejo

We are always looking for the comfortability of our students, if you prefer to stay somewhere else, we would be really happy to give you our recommendations on the best places to stay here, be it a hotel or hostel.

The big difference between private and group classes is the level of personalization of the classes. While in the group classes, you might have more fun and the possibility to interact with other students (and make friends on the way), in a private class the focus will be entirely on your needs, the course will be 100% tailored to your needs, schedule and skills.

In a nutshell, this is what you should expect from the classes

Private Classes

  • 100% tailored to your needs and skills
  • Flexible times and according to your schedule.
  • More intense classes
  • Recommended for more advanced levels

Group Classes

  • A maximum of 6 people (minimum of 3)
  • Fixed schedule from 9:00 to 13:00 from Monday to Friday
  • Dynamic classes and interaction with other students
  • Recommended of beginners

You can pay via internet by bank transfer or in person right before the beginning of your first class. Both Colones (local currency) and US dollars are accepted.

Our courses are priced in USD, keep this in mind if you decide to pay in Colones since the price may vary depending on the exchange rate of the day.

If you decide to pay by bank transfer, we highly recommend you using Transfer wise, with this option you will get the best exchange rate of the market and the lowest commission for transferring money.

Note that transfer wise doesn’t work for all countries; US, Canada and almost all Europe are covered.

We will send you our bank account details through email. Remember that it is mandatory to pay in advance the 25 USD registration fee (non-refundable) to confirm your place in any of our courses.

We are super hard working people because we love what we do; therefore, we only take holidays two days a year: December 25th and January 1st. Of course, due to causes of force majeure, we might decide to not work on a certain day or perior of time.

The rest of the days, we have our courses running from Monday to Friday and the private classes can be held even on weekends.

Should you have any other question, please don’t hesitate to contact us via email at or through the live chat on the bottom right of this page. We will do our best to give you the promptest response.