Hotel Del Sur , Costa Rica is not your typical hotel. Located in San Isidro de El General (Pérez Zeledón) , 136 kms southeast of San José, the hotel, owned by the Centro de Estudios y Capacitación Cooperativa (Cenecoop), is a “teaching” hotel.
In an agreement with the Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje (INA), Cenecoop, which has owned the property since 1982, is the only “hotel-escuela” (teaching hotel) in the country and in the last six years has graduated 250 in hospitality.
After 16 months of classes, students apply their knowledge in small mountain hotels and retail stores in Buenos Aires and Osa, in Costa Rica’s Southern zone.
A follow-up study by Cenecoop shows that 80% of their students continue with a career in tourism.
At the teaching hotel, students learn through practice the workings of the kitchen area, reception and housekeeping functions., among other things, of a real working hotel, with real guests.
At first classes were offered only to INA students, but over time, as traing program manager Andres Alvarez explains, they also now train future employees of boutique hotels that sponsor scholarships.
Although the Hotel del Sur is the only hotel-school in the country, Gustavo Araya, vicepresident of the Chamber of Hotels, explains that the INA has in place agreements with other hotels in the country to train students, but with little or no contact with actual guests.