Starting from
$495

Intensive Spanish Immersion Program in Heredia, Costa Rica

Chris
Hosted by Tico Lingo
Send message to Project Coordinator

Highlights

  • Flexible Start Dates
  • Non-Toursty Environment
  • Fun Add-ons Available
Location
Heredia
Costa Rica
Length
20 hours/week
Housing
  • Host Family
  • Hostel
  • Hotel

About

Tico Lingo offers the most personalized and immersive Spanish programs in Costa Rica. We offer students a relaxed learning environment with small classrooms, free coffee, and good vibes.

Our Intensive Spanish Immersion Program aims to give students linguistic fluency through cultural immersion and an intensive Spanish curriculum. We emphasize oral communication and application by connecting students directly to the local community through conversational classes and homestay accommodation.

What to Expect

Live life like a Costa Rican. Walk the streets, eat the food, hear the music, and speak the language of Costa Rica on a daily basis. Receive catered classes to your level to allow you to connect with locals immediately.

A Regular Day:

7:15 am - Eat a hearty Costa Rican breakfast with your homestay family

7:45 am - Walk to Tico Lingo, finish homework, and drink your morning coffee

8:00 am - Start Spanish class with your professor and classmates (no more than 5 to a classroom)

10:00 am - Enjoy a short break and refill on coffee

10:15 am - Return to class

12:00 pm - Finish class and participate in program activities like yoga, dance, and/or cooking class

1:15 pm - Leave the school and walk through Heredia to find your favorite local restaurant. Spend time speaking with locals, studying material, and connecting to the local community.

4:00 pm - Return to homestay to spend time with your family

6:00 pm - Enjoy a homecooked Costa Rican dinner, complete homework, and relax at home

Included/Not Included
What's Included
  • Intensive Spanish classes 4 hours a day/5 days a week
  • Homestay accommodation
  • Breakfast, dinner, wifi, and laundry
  • Local tour of Heredia museums, central parks, and central markets
  • Class materials and local city map
  • Airport pickup from SJO
  • Conversational classes with locals once a week
What's Not Included
  • Lunch
  • International and domestic flights and transportation
Housing & Meals
Housing

Tico Lingo provides each student the opportunity to live with a local family located within walking distance of the school. Each homestay family offers students endless occasions to practice “real life” Spanish. Beyond the benefits to students, the program also benefits the local families involved with the program. 90% of student payment goes directly to the families hosting.

Housing includes a private room, laundry service, breakfast, dinner, and wifi.

Meals

Costa Rican cuisine is known to be nutritionally well rounded, meals are always cooked from scratch, and loaded with the many exotic fruits and vegetables readily available locally. Traditional meals have a home-cooked, comforting feel to them and with the Homestay Program, you’ll be given two meals a day, breakfast and dinner.

 

Pricing & Availability

Start Dates

Year round flexible start dates.

Program Type
Accommodation
Host Family
Hostel
Hotel
Inclusions
Accommodation
Activities
Airport Transfers
Classes
Meals
Wifi
Exclusions
Airfare
Weekly Classroom Hours
20
Weekly Fee
$395.00
Weeks Min.
1
Weeks Max
8

Program Reviews

  • Instruction
    97%
  • Support
    98%
  • Fun
    94%
  • Housing
    96%
  • Value
    97%
  • Academics
    100%
  • Support
    100%
  • Fun
    100%
  • Housing
    100%
  • Safety
    100%

Program Reviews (32)

Default avatar
Hyalene
Female
50 years old
Lakewood, CA
Hillsborough Community College Florida

TICO LINGO ROCKS!!!!

10/10

My 18-year-old daughter and I attended TL for one week in April 2017 (all the time we had for Spring break). This place is not only for the young but also for the young at heart (I'm 50 years old). I researched MANY Spanish immersion schools in Guatemala and Costa Rica (Heredia & Liberia). I'm very happy I chose TL. From the beginning, Chris, the director, was timely with correspondence and was very helpful. Everything from start to finish was EASY. About a week before arriving, Karen, the student coordinator, gave me an interview via Skype to see how much Spanish I knew in order to put together a custom curriculum (why waste precious time on things we already know?). Chris and a TL student met us at the airport & drove us to our homestay. We were warmly greeted by our Tico mom and her 2 young children (her husband was part of the Holy Week procession). We were given keys to our room and the house and were told that this was our house. During the week she cooked OH-SO-DELICIOUS breakfasts (she makes the best gallo pinto!) and dinners for us and some days a filling snack after school (school was 8a-12p) if we didn't eat elsewhere. After class we'd normally walk to the central market and have lunch in one of the cafes (they call them sodas). I'd pick up some ripe mangos, the BEST MANGOS I'VE HAD IN MY LIFE!! They were so sweet!! In the short time we were there, we went to San Jose twice by bus & train, zip lining (they call it canopy tours), white water river rafting, to Manuel Antonio National Park (where there is also a beautiful beach!) and a local futbol (soccer) game. Chris arranges everything for the tours---taking care of the driver, lunch, and entrance fee. The people in CR are very patient, helpful, and friendly. Our teacher, Freddy, is THE BEST!! He made 4 hours (with a 15min break) go by so quickly!! He makes sure you understand the lesson and is very patient. We never wanted class to end. Freddy has a FANTASTIC personality!! The school is located in a a safe neighborhood 10min walking distance from our homestay. The school is very comfortable with a small kitchen to make a snack during break, outdoor patios, and a seating living-room-type area with water & coffee. TL is an AWESOME Spanish immersion school; I HIGHLY recommend it and will gladly answer any questions you may have about our memorable experience ([email protected]). I will definitely return but for 3wks this time. PURA VIDA!!!

P.S. The only cons were the humidity and our homestay bedroom (entire house, actually) not having air conditioning, and the fan in our room was very loud. I would still return in a heartbeat!!

How can this program be improved?

Add cost for trip back to airport into fees.

Default avatar
Paul
Male
56 years old
United States
Other

Very good full-immersion program

9/10

I am a 56 year old guy from Texas who has been taking Spanish lessons off and on for over 20 years. Wanting to become more comfortable with Spanish via a full-immersion program, I searched Google and found Tico Lingo. After spending a month in Costa Rica, my Spanish skills improved significantly.
The program is organized well from start to finish. A person picked me up at the airport, drove me to the house where I would be living and introduced me to my Tico family. The family was welcoming, the room was comfortable, free WIFI was available, the meals were good and the atmosphere felt safe. I opted for one-on-one lessons at Tico Lingo which is a converted house in the suburb of Heredia. Most of the other students were in their 20s, but the program seems to work for all ages.
There is lots of free time outside of studying for whatever a student wishes to do. Rather than join others on organized weekend tours, I explored San Jose and the suburbs. Very little English is spoken outside of San Jose - which is good. It rained every single day, so having an umbrella was a necessity. There are good restaurants, excellent coffee places, local gyms, etc. The people in Heredia are generally nice and helpful for travelers. My main method of getting around was walking, but Uber also worked great.

How can this program be improved?

The program is mainly designed to introduce students to Spanish. For those who have some Spanish skills, the one-on-one lessons are a good alternative to group lessons.

Default avatar
Cassidy
Female
17 years old
Santa Rosa, CA
Other

An Amazing Immersion Experience

10/10

My time at Tico Lingo was absolutely amazing. As a sixteen-year-old high school student, this was my first experience with any sort of study-abroad program (and my first time traveling anywhere on my own), and it did not disappoint! From the moment I arrived to the moment I left, I could not have been happier or more satisfied with this program. Despite having taken Spanish classes in the US for three years, I did not feel at all confident speaking the language-- on the first day, I could barely communicate, let alone understand what my homestay family was saying! However, by the end of the program, my speaking abilities had vastly improved and I could both speak and understand with relative ease.
I arrived in Heredia thinking I would only be there for two weeks. However, by the third day, I’d fallen in love with my homestay family, my newfound friends, and the city itself. A few phone calls later, I had arranged to stay for a month. I found that Heredia was the perfect setting to practice Spanish-- the locals were extremely patient and friendly, and were always willing to strike up a conversation. More importantly, however, my homestay family was incredible. The entire family's amazingly welcoming demeanor made me feel like I was a family member right from the start. Chris and Karen were also wonderful, and were always there to help the students with anything we needed.
The teachers were fantastic. Each had their own style and manner of teaching, and all three were incredibly helpful and friendly. Ana Lorena's kind, patient, and encouraging demeanor was perfect, especially for the first few days, when I felt overwhelmed by my lack of understanding. After I felt comfortable with the material she was covering, I was able to move into Lucia's class, which was filled with discussion, question-and-answer activities, and constant conversation. Lucia's teaching style was a perfect blend of grammar and real-world applications, and she did an amazing job of giving context to her lessons, making them memorable and easily understandable. During my last week at Tico Lingo, I moved into Freddy's class. Freddy was very patient and professional, with a great sense of humor, and his class was far more grammar-intensive than the former two. I learned an incredible amount in just a few days with him, which was perfectly paced after the three weeks spent building a strong foundation for my Spanish. After a month of classes, I found that my Spanish abilities skyrocketed; whereas before I struggled to articulate my thoughts, speaking now came naturally.
This program was a wonderful learning experience. Thank you so much to Chris, Karen, my teachers, and my homestay family! I hope to come back next year! ¡Pura vida!

Default avatar
John
Male
29 years old
Los Angeles
Ohio University

My Time At Tico Lingo

10/10

If you want a low-key, relaxed but thorough Spanish immersion experience this is for you. The best thing I can say about Tico Lingo is that the school is run in such a chill way that you don't ever feel like a tourist. At the same time the teachers are high-quality and you will learn fast. I recommend staying with a family, who cooked me two delicious meals a day and were great company. The staff of this school are real, down to earth, and completely attentive to making sure you have a good time. If you are looking to make friends and have a good time while learning or brushing up on your Spanish this is the perfect place. Def hit up the exotic beaches on the weekend.

Default avatar
Brian
Male
22 years old
USA
Indiana University- Bloomington

The Best Place to Learn Spanish

10/10

When I arrived in Costa Rica, I literally did not know any Spanish. Sure, I knew “hola” and “cómo estás” but that can only get you so far. After spending two months taking classes at Tico Lingo, my Spanish has increased exponentially. Now I can more easily have a conversation, read books, and watch TV all in Spanish. Immersion is simply the best way to learn another language, and Tico Lingo’s immersion program is definitely the best way to learn Spanish.

Classes are taught completely in Spanish, which can seem a little overwhelming at first, but you will be surprised by how quickly your understanding will improve. Classes are taught in small groups. In fact, my class had on average only three students, and it never had more than five. These small groups allow a greater opportunity to practice speaking, and allows the teachers to better tailor lesson to everyone’s level. Also, the teachers at Tico Lingo are absolutely amazing. Classes were creative and different, making learning more engaging. Besides the great teachers, the staff at Tico Lingo are fantastic. They really go out of their way to support you and provide a comfortable environment to learn Spanish in.

I also really enjoyed the trips that Tico Lingo organized. It made it easier to explore this beautiful country. I went to the beach, zip-lining, the mountains, kayaking, hiking through the jungle, mountain biking down the base of a volcano, and I am probably forgetting some things. There is just so much you can do in Costa Rica to keep yourself busy.

I also really enjoyed the city of Heredia. I thought Heredia was the perfect size city: not too big it’s overwhelming but big enough that there is still plenty to do. The school and host families are just a short walk from downtown Heredia. There were many coffee shops that were great for studying and many delicious restaurants. As my Spanish improved I would strike up conversations with the locals hanging out at the central park of Heredia. Ticos are very friendly, and it was always fun meeting new people. Heredia’s central location also made it quick, and easy to go on your own adventures. For a few dollars (many less than a dollar), you can take buses all over the country. When I felt confident in my Spanish, I used to take a different bus to another nearby city and explore it for the afternoon.

On top of all of this, one of my favorite things about my Spanish immersion experience was my host family. They were very warm and loving, and I felt like I was a part of the family. Living with a host family is not only a great way to practice speaking Spanish, but it is also super fun!

Tico Lingo truly is the best place to learn Spanish and have an unforgettable experience!

Lorraine
Female

Wish I Could Have Stayed Longer

10/10

I loved everything about Tico Lingo! First of all they were very accommodating of my schedule and Chris was very good about communicating and setting everything up. They picked me up from the airport and took me straight to my lovely host family. Everyone was so friendly! Sadly, I was only there for a week but I had been studying Spanish by myself at home. Doing the Spanish immersion at the school and with my host mom really made me feel a lot more comfortable talking to native speakers. It probably would have taken me years to develop that confidence but between Freddie at school and my amazing host mom, Lili, at home I felt great communicating in my beginner Spanish with people in Heredia and the other parts of Costa Rica I visited. On top of the Spanish, I took some cooking and dance classes with the multi-talented Karen and a couple other teachers (sorry, I forgot their names!). I learned a lot and honestly it was my favorite part of my Costa Rica trip. I would highly recommend Tico Lingo to others and hope to return some day. Chris, Karen, and Lili went out of their way to make my visit fun, educational, and took me and my classmate out around town to experience life in Heredia.

Paul
Male

TICO LINGO WAS AMAZING!

10/10

To anyone who is trying to bilingual or enhance you Spanish speaking ability I would highly recommend this school! I felt that the staff here really go above and beyond to help you feel welcome, comfortable and keep you as busy as you want to be. They do an awesome job of balancing learning a lot in the class room while offering tons of stuff to do during the week and weekends to help you be immersed but also have lots of fun while doing it!

My teacher Lucia was amazing! She was so fun and encouraging and was very good at knowing exactly how to help me exactly at my level. She came up with lots of fun ways of learning but also buckled down and stressed things that she found were very important for us!

Outside of the classroom the staff invited us to soccer with locals, we made beer together, got drinks together at a bar a few blocks from the school during Costa Rican soccer games (soccer games are a big thing in CR), they held conversation hours with locals for us to practice Spanish, they showed us around town and showed us many of their favorite places! Plus they did so much more that I'm sure frankly I forgot about!

The housing arrangements for me were SOLID! I didn't hear one negative thing about any students regarding housing and host families. I often heard of how cool, friendly and welcoming the host families were. My one friend got invited to his Tica sister's Quinceanera. Another friend got invited to the families cottage for the weekend and supposedly it was really really nice! I was even invited to someones Father's day plans... they basically dragged me along b/c i didn't want to go b/c i felt like it was intruding on them. Costa Ricans are generally very nice and way more welcoming the any where in America or Europe!

Oh and they offered weekend trips for $100 bucks every weekend which included 2 meals, transportation and the cost of the main event (white water rafting, Manuel Antonio Tours, Volcano Tours, zip linning, etc). They also offered yoga, cooking and salsa lessons during the week!

Overall pretty good stuff!

I would also recommend getting a rental car in advance (make sure it is an automatic) and visiting things on the weekends or after your time there! There are also tons of local events and the capital of CR just 30 mins away (less than 10 bucks in an uber).

How can this program be improved?

The program was awesome but if the Costa Rican culture could less hateful and taboo regarding homosexuality and premarital sex but instead express God's love toward us all who all fall short of God's glory that would be cool :) Just saying!

Luke
Male

Tico Lingo!

10/10

From the airport pickup to the last day in Costa Rica, Tico Lingo had me covered! The excellent instruction, friendly professors, and staff make learning Spanish fun and exciting. I highly recommend Tico Lingo for Spanish immersion. The city of Heredia allows you to be fully immersed while being able to get just about anywhere in the country easily. I was in Costa Rica for 7 weeks and loved learning and experiencing the culture of this beautiful country! The home stay was fantastic and made me feel a part of the family!

Muchas gracias Tico Lingo! Pura Vida!

Tevin
Male

Tico Life

10/10

Me experience with Tico lingo was amazing from my very first day to my last. My first day arriving in Costa Rica I was greeted by two of their lovely staff members who the escorted me to my home stay family. They were equally as excellet sumamente accommodating and as eager ready to learn about my country as I was about theirs. The first day in class at Tico Lingo was amazing. It's just as they said every lesson was remarkable and challenging given the fact that I already had a high language level in Spanish when I arrived the challenging lessons provided by Tico Lingo were just what I needed to take my Spanish to the next level. I can't wait to go back.

Thanks for everything Tico Lingo

Pura Vida!

How can this program be improved?

More focus on improving conversational skills for

Response from Tico Lingo

Muchas gracias por sus palabras tan amables! Come back anytime and eat Gollo Pinto with us!

Hope to see you here again!

¡Pura Vida!

Default avatar
Lauren
Female
23 years old
Canada
Other

10's all around

10/10

If you don’t have the time or inclination to read this lengthy review, then all you need to know is that it’s time to book your ticket. That said, make yourself a cup of tea and read on.

I’ve always wanted to learn Spanish and never really had the opportunity to do so in school, so I decided that spending four months traveling through Central America would be the ticket. However, being a solo female traveler with no prior knowledge of the Spanish language, I knew I wanted to do an immersion program before I began my travels so that I would be comfortable speaking with locals and getting around, as well as establish some sort of base in the event that I ran into any trouble. After doing some research into Spanish schools in Guatemala, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, I decided on Tico Lingo.

Getting in touch with Chris was a breeze, and he was very timely in providing me with all the information I needed on all aspects of Tico Lingo’s immersion programs. It was especially beneficial to be able to meet Chris and Freddy (el mejor profesor de español) over Skype before I arrived in Costa Rica so that I could get a feel for the school as well as what my Spanish lessons might be like. One of Tico Lingo’s strongest points is definitely communication, which has been consistent before, during and even after my time with them.

As for the program itself, like all of Tico Lingo’s alumni, I cannot recommend it highly enough! I was completely blown away by my incredibly sweet homestay family, the intense yet always fun Spanish lessons, and the calm and cheerful vibe of the school which was embodied by the people as well as the layout and design of the school itself. Even the location could not be more perfect- Heredia is off the tourist track which lends it a very liveable feel and yet there is so much to do and see (and eat) that it will never fail to delight. Also being reasonably close to the pacific coast, it’s easy to catch a bus to some of Costa Rica’s natural beauty if you are ever in need of some respite from the city on weekends.

While twenty hours a week seems like a lot of time to spend in the classroom, Freddy does a stand up job of engaging his students and manages to keep the classes entertaining by constantly switching things up, and ever with a healthy dose of comic relief. The material that you’re given to work on covers all the basic concepts and acts as a springboard to work off of, while class time is spent practicing those concepts through conversation and writing. Freddy really encourages free flowing conversation to practice the concepts as you learn them and has a good sense for what areas each of his students need to work on, and will always tailor the lesson plan to address those areas. The best part is the freedom to be able to take the classes on the road and have a Spanish class on a volcano (believe it) or while eating some of the best food of you’ve ever tasted at some tiny nondescript soda on the street corner. Because the focus is on the individual and not on following a regimented, you will never feel out of step with the material and will really be able to solidify what you’re learning. At least for my part this can explain why after 12 years of French in school I know next to nothing while after just one month with Freddy in Tico Lingo I’m able to travel through Central America with confidence in my ability to order a beer (among other things).

The generosity and patience of my tica familia as I practiced my Spanish was endless and I find myself just a little bit homesick for my tica mamá’s delicious cooking and warm company which always revived me after a long day of blundering through Spanish. One of my favourite memories is still my first day, when after literally dropping my bags in my room my tica mamá and I went grocery shopping to prepare for a big lunch later with my whole tica familia- brothers, aunts, uncles, grandmother, the works. It was slightly absurd to be in a setting that was so familiar to me back home in Canada, but with the exception that I was thousands of kilometers away and neck deep in a language I then knew nothing about. This definitely served as the biggest motivator for me to continually work at my Spanish- to be able to speak with not just my tica familia, but all the friendly ticos I met during my wanders.

Tico Lingo ticks all the boxes in terms of the homestay families they work with, the approach to teaching and the activities they provide at the school, as well as the location itself. They take a genuine interest in all of their students and the result is a really warm community that you will have no trouble integrating into. If you can, try to do at least a month because it will go by fast and there is a lot do in and around Heredia. During the week, your time will most likely be spent scouring town for the best place to eat at (hack: there are many), joining in on either yoga, dancing or cooking classes at the school, practicing your Spanish with locals who are studying English in conversation classes Wednesday afternoons, and most importantly going to mejenga (weekly soccer match with locals) and afterwards to Albino’s for a couple cervezas and some delicious chifrijo Thursday evenings. You will also want to spend as much time as possible with your homestay family to really learn about Costa Rican culture and bond with them. Your weekends are free and you can take advantage of the extra time to see some of Costa Rica’s natural beauty in Monteverde or Manuel Antonio, or if you are totally burnt out from your busy week, then just head to Jacó and lay on the beach. But basically no matter what you do, you will have an incredible time and it will go by too fast!

Gracias a todos en Tico Lingo por una experiencia incredíble! ¡Pura Vida!

Mark
Male
30 years old
Glasgow, United Kingdom

My Experience at Tico Lingo

9/10

I spent a week studying at Tico Lingo and it was enjoyable, as well as exciting to be part of a school that seems to be quietly asserting itself in the field. From the outset, Chris took a very hands-on approach and was diligent in listening to my requirements and kept in regular contact prior to my arrival, fine-tuning the arrangements and keeping abreast as to how my Spanish was improving (I had been attending other schools in Central America).

When I got to Heredia on the Sunday, Chris was there to meet me and we went out for a late lunch (a welcome gesture after 6 hours on a bus). Afterwards, I was taken to my homestay which was definitely the best I had experienced in all the schools I had attended. Mara and her family were fantastic and were only too happy to help me practise my Spanish, as well as providing outstanding meals and a lovely room. They are a special bunch.

Chris also came to collect me for the first day and made sure all was well in my homestay. My teacher was Freddy and I joined a class of 3 other friendly souls who had been at Tico Lingo for some time. Freddy provided a clear and direct teaching style, peppered with humorous interludes.

I joined a relatively established group and therefore I followed their natural course of progression in Spanish which was broadly consistent with my level. I feel that I would have become completely in sync with this this had I stated longer and this is certainly something I would have done if I took the decision in planning my travels again.

Chris was also enthusiastic in organising out of class activities, a common feature in language schools. However, I must say I had the most enjoyable experience in this regard at Tico Lingo where myself and the other students were invited to to play in a weekly game of football with some Ticos. This was right up my street and we were all made to feel very welcome. Afterwards, we went for food and drinks and had a right laugh with the Ticos. A perfect end to the day.

On my last day at the school, we had a small graduation ceremony and also participated in an inter-cambio with some Ticos who wanted to learn English. This was really relaxed and good way to conclude my time at Tico Lingo.

Heredia itself is a great place to learn Spanish. It strikes a balance between having enough to do/a culture of its own and being small enough that it is easy to navigate whilst having a relatively relaxed lifestyle and doesn't have that touristic feel.

For all of the reasons above, I would thoroughly recommend Tico Lingo to anyone.

Default avatar
John
Male
24 years old
Austin, Texas
Other

The Authentic Costa Rican Language Experience

10/10

When I arrived in Costa Rica, I did not speak any spanish. I had taken classes in high school, but I truly think that it is borderline impossible to learn spanish if you aren't immersed (at least if you're ADD like me.) After 5 weeks of classes, studying for 4 hours every day, I can speak with confidence and travel anywhere without fear.

Tico Lingo, and Heredia itself aren't perfect. Both the school and the city have problems, but they are both warmer and more inviting than any other place I have been. I strongly believe that Heredia is one of the best places to learn spanish in Costa Rica, there are very few tourists in the town and very few people speak english. When living with my Costa Rican family that was arranged through Tico Lingo, I am consistently forced to speak solely in Spanish. I think this has been hugely important in my transition from a helpless gringo to capable spanish speaker.

The highlight of the school is without a doubt Freddy, el profesor de Español. He is extremely professional, humorous, relaxed, and has perfected the art of teaching Spanish. Freddy is the real deal, and the number one reason I will be recommending Tico Lingo to everyone I know.

Right now, I'm going to head to a final conversation class with local Ticos (which is always free and super fun). I could write more and more, but I can't recommend this program highly enough.

How can this program be improved?

My Tico Familia hasn't worked to hard to provide me hot water, but I've gotten used to it now and in the hot weather cold showers are actually quite refreshing. For a little while the school got a bit messy in the kitchen, but it has been incredibly clean for the last half of my trip.

Default avatar
Camilla
Female
Missouri
Other

Great spanish immersion program!

10/10

I had an amazing experience with Tico Lingo. I was completed immersed in the Costa Rican culture and spanish language while living with an incredibly friendly host family. The school is in an excellent location; being a solo young female I never once felt that I was in any danger. Heredia always felt safe to me. Everybody at the school is extremely kind and helpful. I went into the program knowing practically no spanish and I left (after 3 weeks) feeling that I could comfortably travel throughout a spanish speaking country without any issues. The school, host family, city, and teachers exceeded all my thoughts and expectations in the best way possible!

Default avatar
alexandre
Male
21 years old
Paris
Universite d'Orleans

Awesome, no text book, great people, very effective teaching

10/10

I was travelling through Central America and I realized my Spanish really wasn't as good as I wanted it to be. I found me in a bunch of tourist spots and felt bad not speaking REAL Spanish. Sooo I made my way south and I sought out a Spanish program in a city that was a little less touristy.

I found Tico Lingo and I just texted them on Whatsapp. I talked to the program director, chris, and he gave me a lot of details about the program and the prices and the philosophy of their teaching style.

I signed up for a week and ended up doing three. I loved my homestay family and the food and the amount of practice I got to have with locals. I loved conversing with people! The school was small, and I liked that. It didn't feel like a big university campus. It felt more personal and more specific to my needs. My professor WAS GREAT. He focused on what I needed and on the grammar points on wanted to focus on. No text book is awesome.

Overall great experience. Would come back. Loved everybody there.

How can this program be improved?

Don't think it can. T'was everything I wanted.

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Crispin
Male
20 years old
Boston

A Jump into Costa Rica

9/10

Coffee and fried chicken. Each smell reaked into the myraid of other oders in Heredia--diesel, bread, cigarettes. I expected Costa Rica to be different from Boston in climate, people, food, I could go on and on, but what differed the most was how everything smelled. On my walk to school, began to associate each landmark with a different smell. Take a left at the bakery when you smell warm bread, walk down the street past the oily fumes of the gas station, switch sides of the street at the pizzaria so you don't annoy the people in the line for the bus...Everywhere I went I began to associate with the smell. In the market, the sickly sweet smell of tropical fruits runs into the wet smell of Turibulla cheese and cement from the workers repairing the floor. The smell of fresh fish wanders into smell of fried plantains making it slightly revolting yet mouth-wateringly appetizing in a wierd way. Even the bank had a smell (money and cleaning spreay from the janitor who went around wiping sweat off the plastic seats from the people waiting for a teller). Every smell was magnified by the warm air and the constant wind sweeping through the streets blowing ash and oder around like confetti in a tornado. One could smell sizzling meat from a local soda (like a tiny restaurant) down at the train tracks where oil and smoke went hand in hand. I know this isn't your typical review of a language program but in all honesty, I had a great time. I will remember the smells and sights for the rest of my life. I encourage you, go book a ticket. Just go. You won't regret this.

How can this program be improved?

Consistency across all publications for Tico Lingo. For example, on the website, it lists a tour of Heredia's Central market and an introduction to the area as items included in every Language Program, however I found that if you don't ask, you don't receive. So, if you want to learn the area, be sure to ask.

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Kimmy
Female
28 years old
Coupeville
Ohio University

Where are the sloths? Where are the monos? En Costa Rica, mae!

10/10

It's been a solid ten years since I opened a Spanish dictionary and attempted to break down a language barrier. This January, I spent 4 weeks studying the spanish language at Tico Lingo and could not be happier with my experience. Tico Lingo provided me with everything I needed to learn how to speak spanish and successfully communicate in Central America.

I was placed in a beginner's class with two other students who were at the same spanish speaking level as myself. We reviewed basic vocabulary, regular and irregular verbs, how to conjugate past, present, and future verb tenses, and so much more. Freddy is an incredible professor and knows how to meet the students' needs. I feel so comfortable with my spanish skills and I can actually hold my own in most conversations!

Heredia is a cool city and it really feels like you are learning spanish in an authentic tico spot. My favorite place in the city was the central market which was filled with produce, meats, dulces, and sodas. Most days after class were spent walking around the town and observing the daily hustle n bustle of the ticos. Puedo practicar mi espanol, por favor?

Lastly, I can't rave enough about the Tico Lingo actividades. I loved that weekend tours to local attractions, like volcanoes, city parks, and canopy tours were offered to students. Everyone should definitely experience a dance class with Fleur, the queen of the dance floor. And Friday cooking classes were the perfect way to end the week of immersion learning.

The staff at Tico Lingo set the perfect environment for me to learn spanish and I couldn't be more grateful that I had this immersion experience in Costa Rica!

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Emmy
Female
24 years old
Alingsas, Sweden

Fun time learning Spanish in Heredia

9/10

I was traveling in Costa Rica and realized my Spanish was terrible and that it was probably important for me to learn some and speak some. So, I found Tico Lingo online and emailed them two days before I wanted to start a program. I got a response and was quickly meeting the Program Director are a local café where he led me to my Homestay mom and family.

I immediately felt at home with them! They were so nice and fed me so well!

I took some yoga, dance, and cooking classes, but what I really enjoyed were the Spanish classes with professor Freddy. He and I worked together for two weeks and I really enjoyed his teaching approach. He was clear and worked with the things I needed help with.

Likewise, the rest of the faculty at the school were super nice! Chris, the program director, walked me through Heredia and invited me to different activities around the city.

Overall, I really enjoyed the time I spent in Heredia with Tico Lingo!

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Robin
Female
38 years old
Rochester, NY

Glad I Went...

10/10

My Spanish abilities improved greatly. Freddy taught our class a bunch of grammar and vocab. We laughed a lot and had fun along the way. Dance classes got me up and ready to bust some Latin moves, mastered the plank in Yoga, and I'm still making some of the dishes that I learned in the cooking classes. My host mother was warm and friendly and I got to enjoy some great Costa Rican food! I enjoyed my trip.

Jonny
Male
25 years old
Encinitas, California

Tico lingo was awesome!

10/10

Freddy and Chris we extremely awesome! They were both inviting and fun. We became family right from day one. Both my fiancé and I could not have asked for a better experience. We both took the private class together and we learned more than we could've ever imagined. Some of the best times that we had were drain field trips with Freddy as well as playing soccer. Freddy went above and beyond his role as a professor and really showed us what is is like to be Tico!

How can this program be improved?

It was perfect!

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Lisa
Female
29 years old
Springfield

Amazing immersion experience! Perfect place to learn Spanish in Costa Rica

10/10

I can’t say enough about my experience with Tico Lingo. I have studied at 4 other Spanish schools but have never received the amount of support and encouragement that I did here. I really felt that the director, Chris, and my teacher, Freddy, took a genuine interest in my experience here and in my progress with learning Spanish. For me, the fun and supportive atmosphere at Tico Lingo was very conducive to learning the language. I had only planned on staying for one week at Tico Lingo, but ended up staying for 4 weeks!
I really enjoyed the classes-they were very interactive and engaging. I was never bored and the time always flew by. I was so impressed and grateful for Freddy’s patience with me and especially his energy and passion for teaching. I felt that he genuinely cared about his students and wanted to see them succeed. That was very motivating for me.
I stayed with a wonderful family during my homestay for 4 weeks. I highly recommend a homestay-my family was so kind and the homestay was a fun way to learn more about the culture and to practice speaking with locals. Not to mention, the meals were always delicious!
The city of Heredia offered several opportunities to practice Spanish in the markets and parks, and its location made it easy to experience the beauty of Costa Rica during weekend trips.
My Spanish improved immensely and I left with much more confidence in my ability to communicate with others and continue my travels. I am very happy that I found Tico Lingo and highly recommend it to anyone who is serious about learning Spanish! You won’t be disappointed!

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Nick
Male
28 years old
Brooklyn

Greatly improved my Spanish

10/10

Overall Tico Lingo was a great experience and I can't recommend it enough. Travelling alone is always scary, but Chris at the school and my home-stay family were extremely welcoming. The classes focused heavily on conversation. My confidence in Spanish really went up. With the excursions offeres I learned a ton about Tico culture, got to view some of the most beautiful sights the country has to offer, and above all had fun. Anyone who wants to experience Costa Rica and increase their Spanish proficiency should definitely sign up. Pura vida!

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Ian
Male
21 years old
St.Charles

Awesome tico expierence

9/10

On a saturday night, july 25th. I had finally arrived in Alajuela,Cosa Rica. I was so excited to see what the country had to offer and what life is like outside the United States. I remember stepping off the plane and into the costa rican airport thinking "wow this is finally it i am actually doing this."it felt so surreal every little detail was different, from the way the building was desighned to even the smell. I was so excited yet so nervous because it was the first time me and my brother had traveled to another country without our parents. I thought getting through customs and immigration would be complicated but it was quite easy really. Sounds more confusing than it really is. It was around 10 o'lock costa rican time and I dont think it is that big compared to o'Hare so everything went by rather quickly. When we had finally stepped out of the airport to look Walter our driver and a friend of chris, it had hit us. Costa Rica. Nothing says central america like people shouting at you in spanish and reggeatone and latin music playing in the backround. Whoa. This is awesome. And it was farley cool out, around 60s maybe? I had expected costa rica to be incredibly hot since you know, its central america. But it was perfect. We found Walter ( more like he found us) and went to his car. They had reggae stations here, how awesome is that? Crusing theough Alajuela lisenting to.some reggae on our way to start the tico adventure. I will be back for more.

Dan
Male
27 years old

Not Your Average Immersion Experience

10/10

I had always wanted to participate in a homestay program and after speaking with Tico Lingo's director Chris the marriage between classes and the immersion experience sounded perfect. I moved in with my host family and started classes several days after arriving in Costa Rica. Classes were intense as I had not had any experience with studying Spanish since highschool. Going home to a place where English cheats were not available I was forced to pick things up quickly! After a whirlwind of weeks a month of class had already passed. I was understanding full on conversations between my family and being able to chime in with my opinions on car brands, food, and a plethora of other things was truly enthralling. In just a month of hard work and plenty of class I gained a solid base to further grow my Spanish abilities.

How can this program be improved?

I would have a giant schedule board so students can see what the week/or month looks like. I know things change frequently but this would be nice to see all activities or trips available!

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Leah
Female
20 years old
Portland, Oregon, USA

Incredible experience, super helpful instructors, overall AMAZING.

10/10

When I was looking for Spanish schools in the San Jose area, Tico Lingo's website immediately stood out to me as somewhere I would like to be. The format is easy to use and it was super helpful in finding the exact information I needed. After spending 3 weeks at Tico Lingo I can say without a doubt that I made the correct choice.
The class sizes are very small so there is a lot of one on one time with the teacher. I always felt heard when speaking in class and every student's questions were always answered to the fullest extent of the teacher. By the end of my three weeks I felt my Spanish skills had progressed by years. I learned the most I ever had in a classroom thanks to the amazing teaching style of my teacher Freddy. The after class activities were fun, inclusive and a super good way to connect with the other students and staff. The culture tour is a superb way to explore a bit of the culture and scenery around Heredia. The tour guide was extremely knowledgeable about the places we went and knew the coolest places to show us.
Chris, (the program director) is always ready to help students in any way they need, and is passionate about creating a very comfortable and welcoming environment. I had an incredible experience at Tico Lingo and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a perfect place to learn Spanish.

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Gabe
Male
18 years old
Saint Charles, Illinois

A really good way to learn spanish and experience a new country

9/10

The month that I lived with a homestay family in Costa Rica was one of the best of my life. It's really a once in a lifetime experience and I can honestly say that my spanish improved a lot. I can now hold a conversation in spanish whereas before I couldn't, even though I had taken spanish classes in high school. The locals are extremely friendly and so it isn't hard at all to make new friends. The country is beautiful and the beach isn't too far away, maybe an hour or two, perfect for day trips. The Tico Lingo school hosts weekend day trips like whitewater rafting, tour guides and going to the beach. So there's plenty to do. The staff of Tico Lingo are helpful, friendly, and easy going, which makes for a low stress learning environment. The whole thing was great 9/10 would do it again

Kel
Female
29 years old
Troy, Illinois

Mi vida en Costa Rica

10/10

Before coming to study Spanish in Costa Rica, I had never traveled outside of the United States. Naturally, I was a little nervous because it had been two years since I took my only intro level Spanish class in college, and I wasn't sure how well I would adapt to the language and the culture. Thankfully, I was welcomed to Costa Rica with open arms by Tico Lingo. They picked me up at the airport, showed me how to board and pay for the local bus, and set me up with a fantastic homestay family. Even though my Tica mom spoke barely any English, she was extremely hospitable and did everything she could to make sure I was comfortable and enjoyed my stay.
My classes were fabulous and were so much more helpful than I expected them to be. Instead of staring at a book or whiteboard all day, we actually practiced speaking the language and getting comfortable with both speaking and listening. We spent more time speaking in my 7 weeks than we did in my four months in university, and I am walking away with the skills I sought for, plus more. I couldn't be happier with my decision, and I urge any student to spend at least three or four weeks in an immersion program. There is so much to do and see, so the more time the better!

How can this program be improved?

Offering a time slot preference would be helpful, to accommodate students who wish to have earlier or later classes tailored to their learning style.

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Felix
Male
23 years old
Leipzig

My spanish Pura Vida adventure @ TicoLingo

10/10

I spent four weeks at TicoLingo and had an amazing time. Let me explain why.

I arrived in Costa Rica with zero Spanish. Had one week of intensive Spanish course back in Germany ... But that lead to nothing.

This four weeks really pushed my Spanish! At the end I was able to have conversation with locals and my family. Though it was easier for me to talk and use my words rather than to understand people ;) But that came with the time. And especially my guest family was very pacient with me. Thanks for being so pacient Maes ;)

I went to another language school in Argentina a couple of months later. These was one of the big language schools, they had several schools in South America that u could switch between. At first I thought that these big schools were better or had more experience, but it was the other way around. These big schools have there fixed schedules, textbooks and programs. So they stick too much to that and do not really meet ur personal needs or the needs in the class.

The experience at TicoLingo was so different. The classes were small, I was together with just one american girl, and our awesome teacher really interacted with us. I remember that he even prepared text for us where we were the main persons in ;)

Also the school was much more integrated in local activities. I loved the cooking with a friend of the schools manager and they took us out to an amazing salsa/merengue/kizomba party at the weekend with heaps of locals of every age dancing like crazy.

As I was travelling through central and south america afterwards, I can state two things.

- the school really gave me a good basic language pack for travelling in these countries. I could manage all my travels, speak to locals, order in restaurants, even argue with taxidrivers

- Costa Rica is perfect for learning the language! as I've seen a couple of other Spanish speaking countries in the Americas I can definitely say that Central America, especially Costa Rica or Guatemala are the perfect countries to study Spanish. People speak relatively slow and the pronunciation is nearly perfect. When u come to Chile or Argentina u know what I mean ;)
And obviously it is one of the nicest and most secure countries in that region.

So all in all I can totally recommend TicoLingo. At that point thanks to the staff at the school, especially my amazing teacher Freddy ... He did such an awesome job and really helped us to get into the language. And also to Chris, the manager. He did everything he could in advance to plan my stay as perfect as can be and while I was at the school he was so helpful and nice ... Thanks Mae! Pura Vida for all of you ;)

Brittany
Other
32 years old
Tucson

Welcoming host family, friendly locals, outstanding Spanish teachers and extremely helpful staff!

10/10

I was looking for a program in Central America that would help me brush up on my Spanish skills. I had always heard great things about Costa Rica but I did not realize it would end up being as wonderful as it was, and honestly it was all thanks to TicoLingo.

The school director was prompt and really helpful with his responses. He helped me choose the best program type based off of my interests and goals. I really wanted to stay with a host family because of my previous positive study abroad experiences in college. One down side was that the house I stayed in was a bit far from the school but he put me with the most caring family who went out of their way to accommodate me in every way possible, especially with rides to and from class. I had a host brother and sister, both teenagers who definitely felt like my siblings ;P, and the family was always going on outings together which I had the option of joining when I wanted to.

That was what I really enjoyed about this program and everyone involved - everything and everyone was really flexible. It all depends on what you want your experience to be and I can attest to the fact that everyone involved with TicoLingo can and will and wants to help make that happen.

Speaking of flexible, our teacher was one of the most creative language teachers I've ever had. Every class was filled with digestible information, new material unique to me and my classmate and the option to take our conversations on a field trip, even if it was just to the cafe or market down the street. This style of language immersion was crucial to strengthening my Spanish skills and I must admit that I learned so many phrases and words that I never learned in my 5 years of Spanish in the states - Not to mention how much more fun it was!

As for unforgettable natural and cultural experiences, CR has it all, and almost every Tico and Tica(the nickname for locals) is more than willing to show you the best stuff their country has to offer. I can't recall how many people I met, even brief encounters, who invited me to dinner at their homes, to learn Tropical dances at the local dance halls, to see their team's fútbol game, to pick fresh coffee beans at their family's farms and plantations or to explore the jungles and beaches that are so easy to travel to(Montezuma, Manuel Antonio, Volcan Arenal...). Being the yes person that I am, I said yes to everything that I could. Just one example was when my friend, and fellow student, and I were invited by one family to go mountain biking just outside of San Ramón. We said yes and were pleasantly surprised when they outfitted us with everything from bikes to gloves to the whole spandex get up! We stayed in touch during our stay and were able to make plans to meet them at the hot springs in La Fortuna. They invited us back for Christmas and I honestly think they would have been our host family if we'd let them! The best part was we were able to help the parents with their English and they were able to help us with our Spanish. They treated us like family and we still keep in touch :)

My list of amazing times with TicoLingo is much too long for this small space but I can proudly say that every day was a new adventure that left me feeling happy and full(not just because of food but also because SO MUCH GOOD FOOD). Seriously though, I learned to cook plantains during my stay and when I make them in the U.S, it's a little reminder of my Costa Rican home, friends and family. It warms my heart, but I gotta admit, it just isn't the same...Looks like I'm gonna have to go back... :)

How can this program be improved?

More mascotas for the school! ;P (bunnies maybe?)

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Alie
Male
26 years old
Denver, Colorado
Metropolitan State University of Denver

Professional Classes, Beautiful School, Learned Real Spanish

10/10

I was down in Costa Rica doing some traveling in late September and needed some quick Spanish classes to get me through day-to-day interactions. I had an intro-to-spanish book that just wasn't cuttin' it, so I got online, found Tico Lingo, and was pretty well convinced that this was the school for me just after a short phone call.

The program director helped me find a group of students that shared my same level and I was quickly in the classroom, paying a good rate (really low comparatively to some of the other schools I checked out), and learning a ton. The whole class was taught in Spanish - this was kind of annoying at first, but it got me really LISTENING to the professor rather than just waiting for the next bit of English to be said.

I was staying in a local hostel in Heredia, but switched to a Homestay 'cause I wanted another week at the school. I've done home stays before - it's a hit or miss - and this one through Tico Lingo was an absolute hit. The family was so warm, so welcoming, and mi mamá cooked some fantastic meals for me. We played board games at night and I was able to talk about myself in Spanish and help her a little with her English.

I met some cool people at the school and really improved my Spanish rapidly! It went quick, and I wished I had more time there. It's a really pretty school that has been designed with a great vibe. We got custom material (all written in Spanish) and played hacky-sack during breaks. Oh yeah, unlimited free coffee!

Would recommend!

How can this program be improved?

The homestay section lost a point because the hot water went out a couple of times through the trip (largely due to lack of hot water heaters throughout the country though). Everything else was top notch! Pura vida!

Response from Tico Lingo

Great Review Alie!

Thanks so much!

Always nice to hear from an old student! Glad you had such a great time with Marie and her family. She really does cook some of the best meals we've had! She actually plans to teach a cooking class here at the school come June!

Come back down whenever you'd like! We'd love to have you.

¡Pura Vida!

-Chris

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Jack
Male
29 years old
Chicago
University of Southern California

My Spanish improved immensely. Can't wait to go back!

10/10

It will be hard for me to succinctly review Tico Lingo because I have so many amazing memories from my time there. Since getting back to the U.S., I frequently reminisce and daydream about being back in Costa Rica.

After my initial Skype assessment with Freddy, I was impressed with his thoroughness, and also his professionality. When I started classes, Freddy was ready from day 1 to work with my level. I studied Spanish all throughout high school, but honestly Freddy has been my favorite, and most effective teacher by far. One aspect of his teaching I think really helped was essentially staying in Spanish the entire time, and making me figure out how to listen very carefully. In addition, there was a great balance between learning vocabulary and grammar, and learning vernacular phrases and how to talk about abstract open-ended subjects, like "what is the purpose of life" or "what are some of my strengths.

In addition to the excellent teaching, the school itself was in a super easy to access location in Heredia, very close to the bus stop, and very safe and secure. They had awesome hammocks that I would use to take a rest from studying, fruit trees, and the building itself was kind of like a relaxing retreat spot.

Chris, the owner, was very kind to provide fresh coffee everyday, and also took me on some epic trips around the country for the weekends. I was able to see the beautiful Pacific at Jaco and Esterillos, went to two Volcanoes--Barva was my favorite--and took trips into Alajuela and San Jose to experience the city life of Costa Rica. I even got to play soccer with a bunch of Ticos. They are soo good!

I can't forget to mention my host family. Sonia, Andre, and Tia were really welcoming and accomodating, and they did a good job of talking to me in only Spanish. Andre, the son, could speak fluent English, but he went out of his way to speak Spanish with me and correct me when I made mistakes.

Lastly, I am a musician, and I was able to have a concert at the school in their dance and yoga room, and I felt so lucky to have this great big Costa Rican family come and listen, and even sing a few songs with me!

I cannot wait to return to Costa Rica, and I will definitely do another immersion with Tico Lingo when I go back.

How can this program be improved?

The teaching, school, location, and sincerely kind attitude of everyone at Tico Lingo were pretty much perfect. The only thing I would suggest is maybe encouraging the host family to socialize a bit more with the student outside of the home, if possible. I wouldn't have changed that much though. Sonia, my host mom, made me limonada caliente--hot lemonade-- (a local sore throat remedy) when I got sick and made me some excellent meals. She did a great job.

Response from Tico Lingo

We still hark back on the days of the great guitarist Jack being with us in Tico Lingo and still have local families ask us when you will be coming back to play another concert!

It was truly a fantastic experience having you down here and watching your Spanish skills go through the roof. Freddy still asks about you and wants to teach you more horrible street slag of Costa Rica - as well as play more soccer with Venesa and the gang down here.

Always appreciate good feedback about our families - as well as the volcano tours feedback. We're actually heading up to Barva this weekend!

Come back! Sooner than later. We'll have a show ready for you at the school.

¡Pura Vida!

-Chris

 
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About the Provider

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Located two hours from the Pacific ocean and three hours from the Caribbean, Tico Lingo offers a complete Spanish immersion program curated by our expert Spanish professors. Utilizing groups of no more than six students per class, we submerse out students in 4-5 hour classes

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