Spanish Immersion Program—Costa Rica | Guatemala | Peru

Video and Photos

A classroom in the Maximo Nivel school in San Jose, CR.
Spanish Immersion Costa Rica
Spanish Immersion Costa Rica
Spanish Immersion Peru
Spanish Immersion Peru
Plaza de Armas, not only beautiful but also the center of delicious restaurants and fun nightlife
Spanish Immersion Peru
Spanish Immersion Peru
The view of Cusco from my placement
Spanish Immersion Costa Rica
Spanish Immersion Costa Rica

About

Maximo Nivel offers the most intensive and professional Spanish immersion programs in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru.

Our Native Spanish Program emphasizes oral communication and integrated skills development to help you really build your Spanish language proficiency—this is a great immersion experience.

Our native-speaking Spanish teachers are highly qualified professional instructors with years of experience.

Our Tandem Conversation program pairs Spanish program participants with our local English students for free conversation practice.

1. Earn university credit via our School of Record: California State University-Monterey Bay.
2. 1, 2, 3 or 4+ hours per day; Super intensive programs also available.
3. Free Tandem Conversation Program
4. Live with a host family, in an apartment, or in a hostel or hotel.
5. Preparation for the DELE Exam available.
6. Special add-on programs available: Surf School

Questions & Answers

Reviews

97%
based on 52 reviews
  • Instruction 9.4
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.4
  • Housing 9.4
  • Value 9.3
Showing 1 - 15 of 52
Default avatar
Edward
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Maximo Nivel Language School

I have attended Maximo Nivel Language School to improve my Spanish for several years. I have always been more than satisfied, since I think in Spanish thanks to Maximo Nivel. I would recommend it to all levels of fluency; beinners to advanced.

What would you improve about this program?
Sometimes the house of the homestay could be a little cleaner.
Default avatar
David
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Learning Spanish in Costa Rica

If you are really serious about learning Spanish, complete immersion is undoubtably the way to go. When you stay with a host family that speaks no English you have little choice but to try. It may be daunting at first, but whomever you speak to will generally offer encouragement and will complement you on your Spanish, even though you might think it's not very good. Finding your way around by riding the San Jose bus routes is an adventure in itself, and if you get lost you can always find a taxi to take you back home.

Seeing how other cultures live and how they've learned to adapt to problems unique to them gives you an appreciation of their solutions and broadens your mind as to their uniqueness. I can't speak about other Latin American cultures, but I can say that Ticos are some of the most welcoming people I've ever met.

You will be overawed by Costa Rica's countryside. From beaches to wildlife to active volcanoes, get ready to be wowed by the sights of Poaz, Arenal, and other volcanoes. The beach and jungle wild life in Manuel Antonio is not to be missed.

What would you improve about this program?
Perhaps more information about riding the buses in San Jose. If you pass through the barrier that counts the passengers and you happen to have got on the wrong bus, the driver will want you to pay the fare even if you're not taking that particular bus. (Otherwise he will have to pay on your behalf.)
Default avatar
Michael
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Accelerated Learning

This was the third Spanish immersion program I have done. The program through Maximo Nivel in Costa Rica was the best. An evaluation test is conducted prior to the start of classes to ensure students are placed with peers of a similar level of proficiency. You are able to learn at at an accelerated rate because of the small classes and intimate attention from instructors. I was in a class with only one other students which meant that classes were specifically tailored to my needs and abilities. The program focuses on the application of proper grammar in conversation, but instructors are open to unrelated questions. Many times I would ask a random question about vocabulary or about a particular phrase and the instructor was happy and willing to pause the lesson in order to answer. In this way, I was able to expand my vocabulary everyday. Lessons are conducted in Spanish, but the instructors are fluent in English. I learned more Spanish in four weeks, than I did over the course of four semesters in the United States. An immersion program is the best way to learn a language.

Default avatar
Frank
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

GREAT EXPERIENCE

GREAT EXPERIENCE ......... I have been to many spanish immersion classes and this school has a lot to offer. The teachers are very professional and well prepared. The staff is very friendly and always available to offer support and answer questions. The school environment is very positive and upbeat. Everyone at the front desk was always friendly and had a smile. Overall it was a great experience. Also the locatioin in San Jose is excellent, very close to many ameneties: restaruants, shopping, bars, cafes: you can walk everywhere. I stayed in an apartment which was a good fit for me, but others told me that the homestay program was a good experience. Thank you Maximo Nivel.

Muchas gracias por todo Maximo Nivel, lo pase muy bien.. Voy a regresar.

Default avatar
Rachael
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Spanish Classes, San Jose, Costa Rica

I came to Maximo Nivel to take Spanish classes. I took classes for a full month, 6 hours a day. I took a more intensive schedule than most students who come to Maximo Nivel choose to do, but it was worth it. I really appreciated how personalized the course was. There were only two students in my classes, so the course was 100% personalized. Outside of class I was staying with a host family, so I was speaking Spanish most of the day. This is really the best way to learn. I am going home from this program speaking Spanish much more fluently and correctly than I did when I showed up only a month ago. Outside of classes, Maximo Nivel made sure my experience was comfortable in everyway. The staff were ready to help with any and every question I had. I also really enjoyed getting to know the other students here as well.

Default avatar
Scout
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica Spanish Classes

I was nervous to take some Spanish classes abroad, since I was going to be traveling by myself. After doing some reserach on Spanish immersion programs in Central America, I found Maximo Nivel. My University has a study abroad program in collaboration with Maximo Nivel, so I knew that if my University found value in sending students here, I would too. Maximo is great for students and professionals because through this institution, they arrange so much for you. I was so happy that through Maximo I found a host family that was amazing. My living conditions were great and I got to practice my Spanish in the household. Maximo is also right next to a travel agency, so it is very convinient to book trips or learn more about the different places in Costa Rica.

As far as my expereince in the classroom, I am beyond happy with how much my Spanish has improved. The class sizes are small, and depending on what time of year you travel, you may be the only one. I was with one other student for a majroity of my time here, but I ended up taking one week of solo lessons. The teaching staff here is expceptional. All of the educators are dedicated and extremely friendly. The class is modeled after a conversational style of learning, which is extremely helpful for learning everyday phrases, and holding your attention for a long period of time. I personally took 4 hour lessons each day, and I highly recommend this amount of instruction for anyone looking to vastly improve their Spanish.

The only downside to my expereince was that, at times, I was the only one in my class or host family. I think this was because I came here towards the end of summer. There were many families that traveled together, and they all seemed to have a great expereince. If you are looking for a solo adventure, this is a great institution to come to, as the staff is super friendly and there are a few outside activites they plan for free.

Overall, I am very greatful for my expereince here at Maximo, and although it can seem daunting to travel alone, I recommened this program to anyone interested!

What would you improve about this program?
I came alone, so I was hoping to meet a lot of different people at the school. I liked that there were salsa and cooking classes, but these usually did not align with my schedule. I wish that there were more free activities for the participants to do, during the week and weekend adventures. I also wish that there were more Spanish speakers in the household. Although my host family spoke Spanish, all of the volunteers did not. I wanted to be able to practice what I learned in class, so maybe there is a way that students could be paired with other students.
Default avatar
Garrett
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A life-changing two weeks

I really enjoyed my time in Costa Rica! The host family was always very helpful and hospitable. The staff at Maximo Nivel were friendly and available for any questions we had about the city, the program, anything. Our Spanish class teacher was kind, instructive, and fun. In addition to teaching us Spanish, she was enthusiastic about sharing information about the local culture, which made the class much more personal and valuable.

Default avatar
Matthew
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Maximo Nivel

I had an excellent experience at Maximo Nivel. The entire experience was well organized and well communicated. I thought the Spanish classes were fun and engaging. My Spanish is markedly improved from this experience. The host family was wonderful and the people I lived with were also wonderful. The staff at Maximo Nivel were always available and more than happy to help. I would highly recommend this experience for anyone interested in a Spanish study abroad experience.

What would you improve about this program?
N/A
Default avatar
Josef
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Maximo Nivel

I spent a quick 1 week in San Jose, CR and took one week of 3 hour private lessons. I was very impressed with how personable the staff was, and the community and comraderie at Maximo and between Maximo students and volunteers.

I thought the price, compared to other programs that I researched in the area, was great, especially considering the caliber and experience of my professor, the free activities that were offered on various days, and the comfort of my homestay.

My professor, considering my one week, exposed me to the most practical lessons that I can immediately use and build upon. My homestay family was accommodating, and was deliberate about helping me practice without hovering.

I would most definitely recommend the program.

Default avatar
Christian
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Spanish Classes in CR

People in CR are so friendly. I had such a good time!
In CR you can experience the best of adventures, beaches, wildness and night life in just one place.
People in reception are so nice and welcoming.
You can meet people and have a great time in the best PURA VIDA lifestyle. People that are also like you. And finding good friendships, you can enjoy the most.
The Spanish classes were fun and full of jokes, and for sure, learning. I can completely say I have a experienced a huge improvement in my Spanish.

What would you improve about this program?
The material used in class could have a little more content and cover more topics. There could be more free activities offered by Maximo Nivel outside of the class, besides Salsa and cooking classes.
Default avatar
Philippe
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Antonio L Cruz Review

Problably the best time and classes I have completed in years. Effective schools developed and implemented systems for ensuring consistency of judgements between teachers. In these schools, key staff members said, that although establishing effective moderation processes for assessment tasks was a time‑consuming activity, the positive benefits were evident. The professional discussions required to arrive at consensus clarified the rationale for assessment in these schools, and the increase in teachers’ knowledge of their students’ abilities led to a deeper understanding of the curriculum area, and how well their students were learning.

The schools operated ongoing review processes. Teachers were engaged in high levels of professional dialogue about assessment consistency and judgements. They introduced moderation by using exemplars and by sharing portfolio entries. Teachers were involved in professional development in literacy and numeracy assessment.

The senior management team developed a curriculum leaders’ handbook. Curriculum teams were continually reviewing their documentation and procedures to strengthen the consistency and judgements at each level across the seven curriculum areas. Teachers used computerised assessment records to collect student achievement information. Strong moderation procedures were evident as teachers moderated work among themselves and also sought opinions of teachers from other schools and advisors. Summative data were collected to show progress over time. Teachers collected formative assessment data and used the data to set planning targets.

What would you improve about this program?
I will make the time longer to impruve the the skills.
Default avatar
Samantha
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An Amazing Experience

Even though I was going to Costa Rica with 3 other people from my university, I was extremely anxious as I had not taken Spanish since I was 10. I was worried that my homestay would be awkward or I would resort to just speaking English while I was there.

When I arrived at my homestay, I already realized that I had nothing to be worried about. I lived with an absolutely amazing family who actively encouraged me to practice speaking Spanish. They spoke clearly and used vocabulary that was at my level. When I spoke, they waited patiently and only when I finished my sentence would they correct anything or figure out another way to express my thoughts. Without my host family, I absolutely would not have come out as confident as I am now with just trying to speak as much as I can, even if I am self-conscious about how I sound or how grammatically incorrect I am. I also shared the house with my fellow colleague and both of us worked together to figure out how to say things and it made the experience that much more meaningful.

My classes at Maximo Nivel were incredible. Not to say that it wasn't hard, at times it was incredibly frustrating as I only had 3 weeks and I was learning a ton of grammar in that short period of time. However, I put time into practicing whatever grammar I had just learned with short narratives about my day with my teacher, Alejandra, and she would patiently listen and work with me to correct anything that was blatantly wrong. This alone helped my confidence and my knowledge considerably. My teacher was incredibly patient with me and changed tactics to fit my learning style. While we did learn from the Medical Spanish book, she made sure that she spent time just conversing with me in Spanish because that was where I wanted to improve the most.

I cannot say enough about how much I loved this experience. If there is time in the future, I will absolutely come back to improve my Spanish more. Even now, I still continue to practice my Spanish with my teacher and my host family, and I think that speaks a lot to what kinds of people are a part of this program.

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

3 months, 3 countries, so fun!

I had a great experience with Maximo Nivel, first in Peru and then in Costa Rica. My host families have made me feel like part of the family, the staff is super helpful, and instructors have altered classes to my interests. I knew some Spanish before arriving, which was very helpful for my first few days, but my comfort level has definitely grown the longer I have been here. I still have one month to go in Guatemala, and I cannot wait!

Default avatar
Jonah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica - Home Stay and Spanish Courses

The Maximo Nivel Spanish immersion program in Costa Rica is an incredible experience. From the pre-trip planning communication to check-out, the Maximo staff is incredibly professional, efficient, detail-oriented, and most of all ridiculously friendly. Our trip coordinator Stephen Hakim took care of every possible issue in country and was available for support well above and beyond expected. Our homestay was spacious, clean, comfortable and our hosts were kind and genuinely interested in our lives allowing for some great cultural and personal conversations (in Spanish of course). Regarding the Spanish courses: the amount of vocabulary, grammar, and conversational skill I gained in 3 short weeks was remarkable and no doubt in large due to the well-organized, dedicated Spanish teachers at Maximo. Finally, the social environment at maximo is ideal with activities most days of the week (i.e. cooking and dance classes), tandem-partners practice as an opportunity to meet local students, and the countless outreach projects to get involved with that put you in place with other maximo participants and local community organizers.

If you are looking to study abroad for any length of time in a home-stay, whether individually or as part of a group I could not recommend this program more strongly.

What would you improve about this program?
No improvement needed
Default avatar
Jean
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Learing Spanish After 60

I had the most enjoyable experience. I had not used Spanish since college and had only used Duolingo prior to coming to Costa Rica. I traveled here with a friend, at about the same Spanish level. The staff was excellent, and placed us in a class together. There was just the two of each day and the instructor was perfect. I was amazed at how much I could understand immediately. She spoke about 75% to 80% in Spanish during the class. She was willing to adabt the material when we requested. The town of San Jose was easy to manuver walking, but I wouldn´t recommend driving. The people were friendly and all obviously very proud of their country. Our accomodations were good and a short walk to school each day.

I totally recommend this experience.

Interviews

Meet the Alumni

About Maximo Nivel

Máximo Nivel (Maximum Level)—The Intercultural Center of Latin America Máximo Nivel is a family-owned, social enterprise founded in 2003. Our three intercultural centers are locally-based organizations focused on international education and cross...