As more people travel to Costa Rica with the intention of learning Spanish, the number of options for Spanish immersion vacations increases. You can find courses of varying lengths and degrees of intensiveness, and many that include cultural activities and day excursions. Many of these schools have reciprocal relationships with U.S. universities, so in some cases you can receive college credit.
Most Spanish schools can arrange for home stays with a middle-class local family for a total-immersion experience. Classes are often small, or even one-on-one, and can last anywhere from 2 to 8 hours a day. Listed below are some of the larger and more established Spanish-language schools, with approximate costs. Most are in San José, but there are schools in Monteverde, Manuel Antonio, Playa Flamingo, Malpaís, Playa Nosara, and Tamarindo. A 1-week class for 4 hours a day, including a home stay, tends to cost between $420 and $630.
Adventure Education Center (AEC) Spanish Institute ((tel) 800/237-2730 in the U.S. and Canada, or 2787-0023 in Costa Rica; www.adventurespanishschool.com) has branches in Arenal, Dominical, and Turrialba, and specializes in combining language learning with adventure activities. Nursing, Medical, and Agricultural focuses are also offered.
Centro Panamericano de Idiomas (CPI) ((tel) 877/373-3116 in the U.S., or 2265-6306; www.cpi-edu.com) has three campuses: one in the quiet suburban town of Heredia, another in Monteverde, and one at the beach in Playa Flamingo.
Costa Rican Language Academy in San José ((tel) 866/230-6361 in the U.S., or 2280-1685 in Costa Rica; www.spanishandmore.com) has intensive programs with classes held Monday to Thursday to give students a chance for longer weekend excursions. The academy also integrates Latin dance and Costa Rican cooking classes into the program.
Escuela D’Amore ((tel) 877/434-7290 in the U.S. and Canada, or 2777-0233 in Costa Rica; www.academiadamore.com) is situated in the lush surroundings of Manuel Antonio.
Wayra Instituto de Español ((tel) 2653-0359; www.spanish-wayra.co.cr) is a longstanding operation located in the beach town of Tamarindo.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.