8 Places to Learn Spanish in Costa Rica
Here’s an idea: learn Spanish in Costa Rica. Not bad, huh?
If you plan on traveling in 2023, we recommend a trip to this tropical paradise, where you can learn Spanish with the help of some amazing teachers!
Learning a new language is always better when you can fully immerse yourself in it. You’d be surprised to see how fast you can be fluent in Spanish when surrounded by native speakers!
We can honestly say that Costa Rica is a cool and affordable option if you want to go on vacation. But for this piece, we’ve compiled some of the best places to learn Spanish in Costa Rica.
We’ll leave the beautiful beaches and colorful jungles at different times.
So, pack your bags, and let’s begin!
Why Learn Spanish in Costa Rica?
What do you imagine when I say, Costa Rica? Monkeys? Jungles? Beaches? Warm weather? You are right! You can find all those things there.
So, before we go to class, let’s explore!
Yes, they have beautiful beaches facing the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. However, if you prefer to learn about geology, Costa Rica is the home of over 100 volcanoes, some of which are active, so be careful.
On this trip, we cannot leave out those who are adventurous! Costa Rica also has hikes full of exotic biodiversity and beautiful views.
We recommend Cerro Chirripo and the Bijagual Waterfall.
Additionally, Costa Rica has many museums where you can learn about the country’s history, and nature, and even get a glimpse of the work of modern artists.
Consider visiting the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, the Children’s Museum, and Islita Contemporary Art Museum.
Part of Costa Rican culture is centered on religion, and around 47% of the population is Catholic. This means you’ll run into some breathtaking Catholic Churches in Costa Rica.
But that’s not all! You can walk the streets of Costa Rica and find amazing urban art and street sculptures.
Here’s a heads up, graffiti is a huge deal for Costa Ricans!
You can also plan your trip around Costa Rica’s most important cultural events.
Are you a fan of horses? Well, this is your lucky day! Costa Ricans celebrate El Tope Nacional, a unique horse parade that happens in December.
You can learn more about El Tope: Costa Rica’s Famous Horse Parade here.
And last but not least, the food! Rice and beans, fried pork, plantain, beef stew, corn pancakes! Do you want me to keep going?
“What’s this got to do with learning Spanish?” you may ask.
Well, consider that you can expand your vocabulary if you pop inside any traditional restaurant in Costa Rica.
Of course, to improve your Spanish, you need consistency, and some might even need a tutor. So, going back to today’s theme here’s everything you need to know if you want to learn Spanish in Costa Rica.
8 Spanish Schools in Costa Rica
1. Máximo Nivel
Our first recommendation for learning Spanish in Costa Rica is the Máximo Nivel school, open since 2006
Locations: San José and Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Students per class: 3 to 8 people
Programs and Costs: Intensive Spanish Courses (in person): Provide an authentic, immersive experience that takes you beyond the classroom. There are plenty of options. You can join a small group or take individual classes starting at $195.
Online Spanish Classes: If you can’t travel, they offer online classes.
- Small Group Classes (2 hours/day) $75
- Private Classes (2 hours/day) from $18
Summer Spanish Camp: This is a three-week intensive for teens between 13 and 17 years old.
- All-inclusive from $1,695
- Global Associate member of NAFSA—the Association of International Educators
- Member of the Association of Language Travel Organizations (ALTO)
- Certified by the U.S. President’s Volunteer Service Award
Features: All programs include pre-arrival advising, airport pick-up, safety orientation, 24/7 in-country support, accommodations, and cultural activities so that you can practice in real-life situations.
User opinion: Chantal Badger says: “I was so impressed by the thoroughness and organization of the program. My host family was extremely kind and welcoming, and the food was great. My professors and classes were excellent.”
2. Perfect Sunset School
Open since 2009, this Spanish School and Surf camp is located near the beach and surrounded by a natural reserve.
Location: Playa Hermosa from Santa Teresa Beach, Puntarenas
Class Size: 2 to 4 people
Curriculum: This school offers six levels of learning based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). You can improve your reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills.
Program: You can choose the intensive course and study up to 16 hours a week for up to 16 weeks. They offer group and individual classes.
Costs: You can determine the cost of your classes using the following form: https://perfectsunsetschool.com/rates/.
Features: You can also sign up for surfing classes, yoga, and freediving courses. Also, they provide various flexible rooms for a comfortable stay.
User opinion: Claudine Erny says: “Amazing and authentic place to spend a great time learning Spanish, surfing, doing yoga, and making new friends!”
3. Universidad Latina de Costa Rica
The Spanish Language Program of the Universidad Latina de Costa Rica began in 2006 to encourage people to learn Spanish.
Location: Heredia Campus
Curriculum: The courses are distributed in the following modules: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. They offer the following levels: A1, A2, B1, and B2, determined by the CEFR.
Programs: All programs are on-site or online.
- Spanish language: Each level is one month long, adding to 60 contact hours. Each class is 180 minutes long.
- Cultural and Linguistic Electives: With this course, you can continue to learn Spanish and have a broader command of the language. With these courses, you add up to 45 hours in class.
- Spanish for Specific Purposes: Learn how to use Spanish in professional settings. These courses are 45 contact hours long (180 minutes per class). In addition, students can do an internship in a local company to practice their Spanish.
- Courses with locals: Advanced students (B2) can take courses on Business Studies, Hospitality, Gastronomy, Social Sciences, Art, and Design. This allows them to acquire greater linguistic and cultural immersion. These courses are 45 contact hours long (180 minutes per class).
Costs: Fill in this form to receive more details.
User opinion: Jane Kirkpatrick says: “I loved my experience at Ulatina! The teachers were amazing. It is a university with excellent resources and very understanding teachers.”
4. Costa Rican Language Academy — CRLA
This school has over 25 years of experience in immersion programs. The owners are Costa Ricans, and they offer an authentic language-learning experience.
Location: San José, Costa Rica
Class Size: 3 to 4 people (6 max)
Curriculum: All programs include lessons on speaking, reading, writing, comprehension, grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.
Programs and Costs:
- Immersion Program: Traditional Spanish classes paired with other classes such as cooking and dancing lessons. You can stay with a local. $390 per week.
- Spanish Classes Only: For this class, you’ll be placed in a class according to your proficiency level, which is determined by a written test. $354 per week.
Features: All programs include a Spanish workbook, materials, initial Spanish level assessment evaluation (written & oral), course completion certificate, free afternoon cultural classes: Latin dance, local cuisine, a meeting for new students, and airport pick-up.
User opinion: Azana Green says: “My experience at CRLA surpassed my expectations. Not only were they able to masterfully place each student in a class based on an accurate skill level assessment, but the classes were small and personalized, all led by instructors who were invested in your growth.”
5. Nosara Spanish Institute
This school uses a teaching approach focused on improving students’ communication skills.
Location: Playa Guiones, Nosara
Class Size: 6 people maximum
Curriculum: They use the CEFRL method and maintain an open and student-centered curriculum to teach oral expression, pronunciation and fluency, grammar and structure, vocabulary and accuracy, listening and reading comprehension, composition, and spelling.
- Group classes are available for $295.
- Private classes are the best option for students with a limited schedule and who prefer to study at their own pace. $395.
- This school offers special packages to learn Spanish and do yoga or surfing. $375 for Spanish and Yoga, and $460 for Spanish and Surfing.
- Online courses are an excellent option to improve your Spanish skills before traveling to Costa Rica or to try this school for only $125.
User opinion: Richard G. says, “Solid, enjoyable, and enlightening. I especially liked using logic with the language because that helped me understand many areas where I was confused.”
6. Don Quijote
Originally founded in Spain, for the last 30 years Don Quijote has provided Spanish classes to people from all over the world. In 2013 they opened a school in Costa Rica, and the results have been great!
Location: Santo Domingo de Heredia and San José
Class Size: 8 people maximum
Programs and Costs:
- Group Intensive Spanish Course. They include 20 classes per week. $450.
- Private Classes. They include 20 individual classes per week. $780.
Features: The San José campus includes an outdoor café, a computer room, a library, a terrace, soccer field, among other things.
Accreditations: Don Quijote is accredited by Instituto Cervantes, the only international public organization that endorses institutions that teach Spanish as a foreign language.
User opinion: Anne Dikhooff says, “I love the school. I like that there are only 7 students in my class. I have greatly improved my Spanish, and I have learned a lot about the culture of Costa Rica.”
7. EF Education First
Their programs focus on language, travel, cultural exchange, and academics.
Location: Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Programs and Costs: Courses are available starting at $1190, and you can sign up for basic, general, and intensive courses. You can also decide if you want to stay for one, two, three weeks, or up to a year, depending on your learning goals.
- Member of Canatur, National Chamber of Tourism
- Instituto Cervantes
Features: You can live on the campus residency, with access to a private swimming pool and sun deck, or live with native speakers in a private home. There are always fun cultural activities on campus or nearby.
This private language institute is focused on teaching Spanish to non-native speakers. Since 1991 CPI has offered Spanish immersion classes.
Locations: San Joaquín de Flores, Monteverde, Flamingo
Class Size: 4 people maximum
Programs and costs:
- Standard Spanish Program: This intensive course offers classes that are 4 hours long. $480.
- Private intensive classes are $600.
- Family Program: Parents and children have the opportunity to learn Spanish at the same time. $460 a week. If kids don’t want to join, there are plenty of activities for them.
Accreditations: Instituto Cervantes
- You can also expand your vocabulary by taking lessons on medicine, social work, public safety, etc. All in Spanish.
- For people who wish to learn Spanish and get a diving certificate, CPI offers a special immersive program that includes both.
- This school has three campuses. You can take classes in the mountain, near the beach, or in the city.
User Opinion: Manuel Schaffer says, “The teachers at CPI are highly motivated and use various methods and tools in their Spanish lessons to keep it interesting. Moreover, the staff at CPI goes above and beyond to assist you with any requests.”
It’s Time to Live the Pura Vida in Costa Rica!
As you’ve read in this article, Costa Rica is full of traditions, colors, nature, impressive tourist areas, and, of course, beautiful and loving people.
Undoubtedly, it’s one of the best countries where you can practice your Spanish!
But if you can’t travel right now, you can take a free trial class with us at Homeschool Spanish Academy and get a real human connection with our native Spanish teachers.
We’re here to support you in achieving your language goals. However, if you still want to go to Costa Rica or other Spanish-speaking countries, you’ll need Spanish to communicate effectively with the locals.
We can’t wait for you to join us on this beautiful journey!
Join one of the 40,000 classes that we teach each month and you can experience results like these…
“This is the best way for your kid to learn Spanish. It’s one-on-one, taught by native Spanish speakers, and uses a curriculum.”
– Sharon K, Parent of 3
“It’s a great way to learn Spanish, from native Spanish speakers in a 1-on-1 environment. It’s been fairly easy to schedule classes around my daughter’s other classes. The best value for us has been ordering multiple classes at a time. All the instructors have been great!”
– Cindy D, Parent of 3
“HSA offers very affordable, quality, one on one classes with a native speaker. My son has greatly benefited from taking classes. We have seen his confidence increase as well as his pronunciation improve, because he learns from a native Spanish speaker. HSA has quick, personal customer service. Our family has been very pleased with our experience so far!”
– Erica P. Parent of 1
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