Intensive Spanish Immersion Program in Heredia, Costa Rica

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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.

  • Flexible Start Dates
  • Non-Toursty Environment
  • Fun Add-ons Available

Questions & Answers

Tico Lingo would definitely be worth your time and money. I am 58 years old and did not feel out of place even though most students are in their 20s. Rather than participate in the school's weekend and evening social activities, I did my own exploring of San Jose and surrounding areas. Also did some fun things with my Tico host family. Being young at heart is the key to success.
I'm so glad I decided to stay with a family during my studies at Tico Lingo. I can be pretty introverted at times, so I was nervous about living with a family that expected me to socialize. My homestay mom was super outgoing and friendly, but she always respected my space and wouldn't get offended if I didn't take up her offer to go out to karaoke. But really that was kind of the best part- she...


based on 34 reviews
  • Instruction 9.7
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.5
  • Housing 9.6
  • Value 9.7
  • Academics 10
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Housing 10
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 15 of 34
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Muy Excelente!

My Grandson and I spent a week at Tico Lingo in November, and we had a fabulous experience. The staff, Karen and Chris, were amazing, and made the entire process very easy. Our teachers, Ana and Freddie, were excellent. My grandson gained so much confidence that he could - and did - carry out hour conversations in Spanish. The entire week, from the school to the housing and host family, and the fabulous Thanksgiving feast, complete with a live Jazz band (!) were the best we could have ever hoped for. I give the highest recommendation to this school! In addition, Heredia is a very nice city - it is close to the airport in San Jose (~ 1/2 hour) and I. The middle of the country- close to both oceans and to the mountains. The people in Costa Rica are very friendly- you can’t go wrong with this school!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Great Spanish & Yoga Experience

As I live in Costa Rica and only had a very limited time, I sent a special request to Tico Lingo for a Tailor-made program for 10 days. My request was answered by Chris very personal and we quickly found a special program which was exactly what I wanted and fitted my time frame. Due to the short time I had, I went for private classes three hours a day and added an hour of yoga each day. The class was completely adjusted to my requests and the daily yoga practice with Karen, was the highlight of my day.
I believe that for most people the classes in small groups and the stay with a local family is a great choice. For me, the private classes, combined with staying in a hotel nearby was perfect and gave me the enough time to pursue my online work, while getting the most out of the classes.
I can highly recommend Tico Lingo and hope to come back, soon!

Yes, I recommend this program

Full Immersion in an Amazing Country

Tico Lingo offers beyond what any study abroad experience could offer. During my time there, I felt completely immersed and welcomed in Costa Rican culture. I learned so much as I met the locals in Heredia, whether this was cooking the traditional dishes, meditating in yoga, or even dancing bachata after classes. Each person I met there taught me something new all while learning Spanish. This is not to mention the amazing professors who are willing to go the extra mile to help you with any and all questions. I left Costa Rica speaking Spanish a whole lot better and with a heart a whole lot fuller.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Awesome experience

I had a wonderful time with Tico Lingo. I spent three weeks studying with the school while living in Heredia with a host family they organized for me. The instruction was perfect for me and I spent most of the time learning at a pre-intermediate and intermediate level, although they were able to introduce me to several more advanced topics toward the end. The people running the school, including my instructor, were also a lot of fun and very helpful. I’m mainly satisfied because I learned a ton of Spanish very quickly with them, but it was also a genuinely enjoyable school environment and such a cool place/country. I really think I had a near perfect experience.

How can this program be improved?
This isn’t much of a critique, as the school is young, but I think they will benefit from eventually adding instructors to better accommodate students who are learning at different paces. Nonetheless, the private classes still gave me time to learn and practice more during my three weeks while I continued to study with other students in group class.
Yes, I recommend this program
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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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Very good full-immersion program

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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My Time At Tico Lingo

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
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The Best Place to Learn Spanish

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!

Yes, I recommend this program

Wish I Could Have Stayed Longer

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.

Yes, I recommend this program


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!
Yes, I recommend this program

Tico Lingo!

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!

Yes, I recommend this program

Tico Life

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!

Yes, I recommend this program
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10's all around

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!

Yes, I recommend this program

My Experience at Tico Lingo

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
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The Authentic Costa Rican Language Experience

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.
Yes, I recommend this program


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About Tico Lingo

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...