Mesoamerica is a great school if you want to learn Spanish in San Jose. It's located just outside of the city in San Pedro and is accessible by the Sabanilla bus and La Periferica.
There is a web page (www.mesoamericaonline.net) which details other information.
I had four weeks of classes and I was in a one-on-one tutorial for two weeks and had one other student for the other weeks. It was great. The teachers are amazing and really pay attention to you.
La directora is Linda Holland. The number in Costa Rica is: 253-3195. Everyone speaks Spanish and English fluently.
Bills and Taxes
Not only in San José, but in Costa Rica in general, the list of prices at restaurants and shops generally does not include taxes, which are charged at the final bill. It took a while to me to get used to this, because in my country all prices include the taxes....and I had to pay more than expected a couple of times because of this :-( So, be always sure that the prices offered are the final ones, taxes and other fees included!
Manuel Antonio National Park
While Poás and Braulio Carrillo National Parks are 25-30 kms away from San José, Manuel Antonio is a lot further than that! Located in the Pacific coast of Costa Rica (while San José is in the mountain region), this park is the smallest in the country, but owns not only a considerable amount of wild animals (alligators, brown pelicans, eagles, chachalacas and others) and vegetation, but also the most beautiful beach on Earth, where you can either bath or practice kayak (they rent the equipment in the very beach, 1500 colones per hour).
You can go to Manuel Antonio by taking the bus at La Coca Cola station in San José (around 1500 colones rountrip, 4 hours per ride) or by plane (20-30 minutes the flight). The destiny should be the little town of Quepos, where you can lodge for US$10-15 per night.
A little smaller and not as crazy.
When we needed a modest sized quiet place to watch the Super Bowl, the Monkey Bar was the perfect place. The bar had several comfortable chairs and a big screen TV, which we basically monopolized.
If you're looking to avoid the crowds at Key Largo and the Blue Marlin, walk right around the corner of the Del Rey and across the street and you're at the monkey bar. Dress for the weather.
Great typical food for a great price
This is a wonderful little restaurant owned by sisters Maritza and Nela: they also rented rooms to some of my fellow interns and are really great people.
El Candil is open during the day and frequented by local professionals, university professors and UCR students. A hang out for the NGO, human rights crowd. It has a beautiful little terrace in the back that is covered in case of rain. Some evenings, there will be live music or poetry readings. Specials change every day. Will usually offer several dishes including fish, chicken or beef, sometimes pasta, an Asian rice dish. All meals come with soup to start, are accompanied by beans, rice and salad, a refresco (fresh fruit drink such as Blackberry, Pineapple, Passionfruit) and a coffee to end off the meal. Basic meals start off at 1800 colones. A great deal!
On special days, try the CAZUELA de MARISCOS which is a seafood chowder with octopus, shrimp, squid etc. in a creamy broth topped off with cheese and accompanied with rice and avocado. A special treat and goes for about 3000 colones, also including drink and coffee.