Intercultura Costa Rica: Beachfront Spanish Immersion

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About

Widely recognized as one of the top language schools in Costa Rica, Intercultura offers a variety of Spanish immersion programs for all ages: Group / private Spanish classes, family & teen programs, university credit, 50+, 24/7 Homestay Spanish Immersion, and Spanish + Surf, Spanish & Volunteering, providing a total immersion in the Spanish language and culture. Students live with local families (all within walking distance) and can participate in free daily activities including Latin dance, yoga, cooking, zumba, arts, and excursions.

What makes our Spanish school different:
1. Two unique locations which can be combined: Vibrant CITY campus in historic Heredia and tranquil BEACHFRONT campus at tropical Sámara beach on the Northern Pacific Coast
2. Outstanding quality of our academic and cultural programs
3. Our friendly atmosphere, personalized approach, attention to detail
4. Our commitment to sustainable community development (we are part of the United Nations Global Compact)

Questions & Answers

Hi there! Our Spanish programs are offered year-round, starting every Monday. We are closed for one week during semana santa (March 25 - 31, 2018) and for two weeks over Christmas and New Years (Dec 22, 2018 - Jan 05, 2019).

Reviews

94%
based on 20 reviews
  • Instruction 9.4
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 8.8
  • Housing 8.7
  • Value 8.5
Showing 1 - 15 of 20
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lara
10/10

Intercultura made my trip the most wonderful time. I'm so thankful

I had the best tima at Intercultura. I made soo many friens, learnt so much spanish and thanks about the country. Even when I wasn't in class anymore I still went there because it really felt like a home to me. I spent time there every day. If I wouldn't have went to Intercultura my trip to Costa Rica wouldn't have been is wonderful as it was. They supported me, they guided me, it really felt like a new home. I want to thank everybody in the Intercultura team once again for everything you do. I hope I'll be able to come back one day and spend more time with you all. I would recommend Intercultura to everybody, I went to Costa Rica all by my self but I never felt alone because of this program.

How can this program be improved?
Maybe classes in smaller groups sometimes, if that is posible.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Lynn
9/10

Total immersion: the secret to learning a new language

I attended Intercultura Spanish Language School's Samara Beachfront campus for three weeks in 2016. I was very impressed by the organization of the school and classes, the placement process for new students (a 10-minute chat, in Spanish, with a teacher who assesses at what level and in which class the student should be placed), the teachers' professionalism and the ambiance, which was casual but goal-oriented. I had a working knowledge of Spanish and was placed exactly where I needed to be to further my learning. That said, it is the total immersion that allowed me to gain and develop confidence in my speaking skills. I lodged with a local family where no one spoke any English, which meant that I would either sink or learn to swim - which is just what I did. I now speak Spanish fluently. Going to Intercultura was the best thing I could have done to achieve my goal.

How can this program be improved?
I can't think of any areas for improvement. The registration process was very easy and the school's administrative staff was always very knowledgeable and helpful, both before my trip and on site.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Leonie
9/10

My experience

I met soo many amazing people in Sámara, locals and people from abroad! I’m still in contact with them and have already planned next adventures with them. I’m also planning to come back and visit my host family, which was amazing too, and enjoy Costa Rica’s beautiful nature.
What I loved most in Costa Rica (besides the nature) was the people! Everyone was so nice and they just love life!
I learned how to surf in Costa Rica, which was one of the best things of my whole trip! I just loved it!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Liz
10/10

Amazing experience

I spent four weeks at intercultura and loved it.

The lessons were excellent with great tutors and a very immersive experience. I had no Spanish before I started and by the end of the four weeks I could have conversations with people, ask for directions and chat to taxi drivers comfortably. They also have other cooking and dancing classes as well as unforgettable yoga on the beach!

the accommodation far exceeded my expectations I had my own bathroom in both houses and the food provided was excellent.

I also went on a couple of trips with the school which were fun and very well organised. I would love to return to Costa Rica again one day.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Peter
8/10

great place to learn spanish

The school is very well organized with a system that fits you to your level of Spanish. There are basically two types of students: younger (usually university level), often European; and older travelers wanting to be able to more fully appreciate Costa Rica. And to top it off Samara is a wonderful place to study: a town but also a beach. And with the alternating schedule--morning then afternoon--lots of time to enjoy the beach.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Renee
10/10

Playa Samara immersion

I spent two weeks in the Spanish immersion program this summer. I brought my mother-in-law, my 10-year-old daughter, and a 16-year-old friend of the family. We all stayed together in a house with a lovely, welcoming hostess. I took 4 hours per day of small group classes, the first week with 2 other students and the second with 4 others. The classes were very informative on both language and cultural aspects, and the teachers sharp, well prepared, and helpful. The administration was exceptionally helpful and friendly. The price for the schooling and the home-stay were very reasonable. The town is small but with good restaurants and enough fun things to do. The school offers weekend excursions which are outstanding - our group of 12 people from 6 countries, ranging in age from 10 to 70, went on unforgettable adventures one weekend to hot springs, a waterfall, a cloud forest night walk, zip-lining through the canopy, and more! I have previously done a Spanish immersion program in Guatemala, which was also excellent, but this was more social and better organized. One of the students did have a backpack stolen at a beach while I was there, so do follow the common sense guidelines for protecting yourself, which of course you must do everywhere in the world. I did not feel unsafe, even with my daughter. I didn't visit the Heredia campus at all, so I can't comment. I highly recommend Intercultura for learning Spanish and a bit of Tican culture. If you go, book an excursion early in your trip to make friends with other students quickly, and definitely do the homestay to have a more complete experience.

How can this program be improved?
The pace of the class the second week was a bit too slow. I would have liked to cover slightly more material.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Mark
10/10

Great experience!

This school met all of our needs: flexible scheduling (private for me, group for my wife) to accommodate our kids, who attended Mareas School, just down the road; great location for beach fun with the kids (safer surf with minimal current for youngsters) while still allowing for surfing (at high tide) and SUP for the parents; great home stay and excursions; clean and lovely campus with AC in classrooms and hammocks, internet and shade outdoors; yoga; positive vibe and helpful teachers. We studied there for six weeks, learned plenty and met great travelers from around the world. Highly recommended!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Natasha
10/10

Samara Beach

I took a weeks' course at each of Intercultura's locations, and stayed in an apartment during my time in Samara Beach

The location of the school is fantastic – as soon as you leave the school gates you are stepping straight onto the sandy beach. The building is beautiful, and surrounded by a sprawling garden filled with hammocks. It’s also one of only two or so buildings in the town with air conditioning, which meant I looked forward to lessons all the more!

As mentioned in my review of Heredia, I particularly appreciated the way the curriculum was structured into one-week set programmes with an individual textbook. It’s a really great way to accommodate students who are constantly joining and departing each week, and ensures students aren’t placed in a group that has already been running for some time, or don’t end up repeating things to accommodate new students. I was happy with the quality of teaching and felt challenged by the lessons. Overall, the school in Samara felt ‘stricter’, with other languages discouraged even at break times and lessons more challenging. There were many more students studying Spanish here, and while there was a good mix of ages there were many more university-aged students making the average age lower.

Living standards in Samara are generally lower – facilities and accommodation are quite basic so you need to manage your expectations, but the reason you would choose this location is to enjoy rustic, simple living on a beautiful unspoilt beach.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Nathalie
10/10

Pura Vida

I really liked learning Spanish and discovering Costa Rican customs. The teachers are very patient and everyone at the school is so nice.

The school is really pretty, and I like the books and the conversations in class. I lived a great experience, Pura Vida :-)

Saludos
Nathalie

Yes, I recommend this program
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Raquel
10/10

Pura Vida Spirit

My time in Costa Rica was truly a life changing experience for me. I still talk about it with anyone and everyone that asks me about my travels. The constant thread I saw throughout my time in Costa Rica was the beautiful culture of love, laughter and community that was at the center of all my experiences. Riding my bike to school each day and being warmly greeted by locals and tourists alike, made me feel like I had joined this small community instantly. My teachers were wonderful and really helped me to improve my Spanish reading, speaking and comprehension skills. Staying with a homestay family also added to full immersion and authentic taste of the culture that I loved. The gorgeous beaches, breathtaking jungles, delicious food and amazing people made me never want to leave. I will definitely come back some day!

How can this program be improved?
I think I would some kind of alumni outreach group so that people can stay in touch with each other or possibly plan another trip to come back and take classes together.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Nikolaus
9/10

Improved my already learned Spanish skills !

4 weeks of Intercultura Spanish School have helped me to improve my already learned Spanish skills. Very nice and helpful teacher who teach the language in a funny and competent manner. Abolutely recommendable: Pura Vida !

How can this program be improved?
The Graduation ceremony on fridays is a waste of time and money.
Response from Intercultura Costa Rica Spanish Schools

Thank you for the comment. Our graduation ceremony is free of charge for our students and part of the free cultural activities we offer during the week. We thought it best to clarify this information to avoid the impression that we charge anything for this optional activity. Any students who prefer not to attend are of course free to do as they choose, as the activity takes place after classtime.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Adrienne
9/10

Great Course!

The course was very challenging. I learned so much in the two weeks I was there. Immersion definitely helps in the learning process. You get out of the program what you put in, so if you work harder, talk to locals, and study a lot you will learn more! It is hard work but there is no better place to study than on the beach.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Rivkah
10/10

Great Spanish Immersion Program

I have done classes at Intercultura numerous times and always have a great time and learn a ton. There really is no better location to learn a language than this school - it is literally on the beach and you can hear the waves crashing as you learn. All of the staff is super friendly and helpful. I have loved all of the teachers that I've had and they all seem genuinely happy to be teaching students Spanish. The homestays are an amazing deal also. I stayed in one for a few weeks and made a lifelong Tico family. The living conditions are basic, but typical of Costa Rica so it's all part of the experience. The classes are on the pricey side, but include cooking classes, yoga, Zumba, salsa lessons, access to the school grounds all day, and more so the price is not just for class time. I would highly recommend Intercultura in Samara for anyone looking to learn a language in an amazing location and meet new people!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Todd
4/10

Teachers Needing Reassessment

My experience at Intercultura was a very short one (only one week), but my experience was very mixed. The location was beautiful and the administration helpful and organized. Yet, I had a run in with a highly unprofessional Spanish instructor, who's attitude and physical presence while in class was incredibly negative and disrespectful. As a teacher myself, I know good teaching behavior and practice. What I saw exhibited in this one individual was shocking, and in response I complained to the administration and withdrew from that class. The rest of my time there I struggled to get back on track. In my opinion, the administration should take a hard look at its staff and be sure normative teacher-student relationships are upheld. Given the discouragements experienced under said instructor, the program was too costly and not worth my time.

Response from Intercultura Costa Rica Spanish Schools

Dear Todd,

Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your experience with us. We are very sorry that your one week of classes was a less-than-satisfactory experience. In view of your comments and in addition to our weekly staff evaluation we have re-assessed the two teachers you were assigned to during this week. The first one has had an action plan implemented after further investigation of your comments and will be reassessed for suitability upon completion of a further professional development training program. As for the second professor, she is usually in the top tier of student evaluations with a consistent 95% or higher rating from students, so if you could let us know exactly what the issues were in your first two days of class, we will be better able to assess the situation and decide what action may be necessary. Our teachers do in fact undergo a rigorous training and selection process, and have been very highly evaluated by accrediting institutions within the US university systems, including UNC, University of Washington, Duke, and others, so we can assure you that this is not a normal occurrence with Intercultura’s teaching staff.

Again, we apologize that your Spanish learning experience didn´t turn out as you had wished, and will make sure that whatever went wrong with your program is not repeated, as academic quality and student satisfaction are both subjects are extremely important to us.

Best regards,
Your Intercultura Team

No, I don't recommend this program
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Karen
10/10

By the Sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea.

We were so pleasantly surprised at the lovely campus right on the beach. It was great to meet people from so many different countries in our classes. The support staff was wonderful and gave us many ideas
on places to go and see, and practical information about the whereabouts of the grocery store, the pharmacy etc. The rule on campus is Spanish only and they were very helpful as we attempted to
communicate in Spanish.
Our instructor was patient and personable and very organized. The pace in the classes is a bit fast so be prepared to do an hour or so of homework every day.

We did take the snorkeling/whale watching trip which was basically a
guy in a large speed boat. I would rate that as a little below average.

Unfortunately we registered too late to have a home stay so they put us in a small hotel which was adequate, but we missed the family experience.

Yes, I recommend this program

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About Intercultura Costa Rica Spanish Schools

Founded in 1993, Intercultura Costa Rica offers internationally recognized Spanish and culture immersion programs for all ages and Spanish levels.

Our main goal is to teach the students in a warm, fun yet intellectually challenging learning...