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| Updated: 01/17/2023

Living & Working in San Pedro, Montes de Oca

Written by International TEFL Academy Costa Rica

Located in the capital of San Jose, San Pedro, Montes de Oca is east of the downtown area and home to many universities and centers of learning.  It’s not hard to believe, therefore, that San Pedro has a vibrant sense of community and offers many cultural events and an active nightlife.  

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The Universidad de Costa Rica, Fidelitas, Universidad Latina and a number of language institutes have attracted businesses, restaurants and bars that appeal to the teens and young adults that spend time in the area to study.  Although drastically different than some of the modern malls in Costa Rica, Mall San Pedro offers a number of shops, a food court and a movie theater.  Mall San Pedro is right next to the Fuente de la Hispanidad, a large fountain in a major roundabout built in the mid-80s that focuses on Costa Rica's cultural heritage. It is a major landmark in the area and is where the Costa Ricans congregate to celebrate victories like the national soccer team making it to the World Cup.

There are a number of big, chain restaurants in the area like Hooters and Applebees, but don’t miss the cute, coffee shop-type of restaurants that are scattered throughout the area.  One of our favorites is Cafe Kracovia.  The decor and garden are adorable; the vibe is nice, and the food is even better.  Just a quick taxi ride away, you can also get to Barrio Escalante, which is the mecca of modern and trendy bars and restaurants, like the Costa Rica Beer Factory.  As you can imagine, these places aren’t the most budget-friendly, but they definitely offer delicious and unique cuisine and a great experience.  

Near the universities, you will find countless “sodas,” restaurants that provide local cuisines, like rice and beans, at a very affordable price.  Also right next to the UCR’s campus, you will find the Calle de la Amargura (Bitterness Street), which is littered with bars with cheap beer and restaurants that serve inexpensive snacks like pizza, burgers and tacos.

On UCR’s campus, there are two museums and a planetarium.  In addition to all of the cultural, like plays and concerts, and sporting events hosted at the universities, there is a lively, underground music scene in San Pedro.   Large house parties and events that feature DJs and bands are put on regularly.  Talk to locals and check out Facebook to find more information about these events.

If all this isn’t enough, just remember you are one bus ride away from San Jose, which has another host of restaurants, bars, clubs and sightseeing opportunities.  

A Day Exploring San Jose

Don’t miss our tips on finding house in Costa Rica if you have been hired by one of the language institutes in San Pedro or are just looking to move to a fun area! 

Looking for an excuse to move to Costa RIca?  Start your adventure here by getting certified as an English teacher during one of our 4-week TEFL trainings!

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