Intensive Spanish Immersion Program in Heredia, Costa Rica

Location
Costa Rica
Length
1 to 8 weeks
Housing
Host Family Hostel Hotel
29 travelers saved this program

Hosted by

Program Director

About This Program

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.

Highlights

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

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

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

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.

Video and Photos

Pricing and Availability

Reviews

98%
based on 31 reviews
  • Instruction 9.7
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.4
  • Housing 9.6
  • Value 9.7
  • Academics 10
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Housing 10
  • Safety 10
Showing 16 - 30 of 31
Default avatar
Emmy
9/10

Fun time learning Spanish in Heredia

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!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Robin
10/10

Glad I Went...

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.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Jonny
10/10

Tico lingo was awesome!

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!
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Lisa
10/10

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

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!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Nick
10/10

Greatly improved my Spanish

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!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Ian
9/10

Awesome tico expierence

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.

Yes, I recommend
Dan
10/10

Not Your Average Immersion Experience

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!
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Leah
10/10

Incredible experience, super helpful instructors, overall AMAZING.

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.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Gabe
9/10

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

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

Yes, I recommend
Kel
10/10

Mi vida en Costa Rica

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.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Felix
10/10

My spanish Pura Vida adventure @ TicoLingo

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 ;)

Yes, I recommend
Brittany
10/10

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

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?)
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Alie
10/10

Professional Classes, Beautiful School, Learned Real Spanish

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

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Jack
10/10

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

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

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Leila
10/10

An Unforgettable Experience

I was in Costa Rica for a yoga retreat and wanted to spend about three extra weeks in this beautiful country trying to advance my very limited Spanish language skills. I am so happy I found Tico Lingo. Chris, the owner, gave me an excellent rate and my teacher, Freddie, taught me so much more than any college or high school level Spanish class ever did. Heredia is a beautiful town -- very non-touristy. It was perfect for me. I wanted to actually learn the language and the residents and shop owners provided plenty of opportunities for practice. As my knowledge of the language grew, so too did my confidence. It was such a rewarding experience and one that I will never forget. Thank you, Tico Lingo!

How can this program be improved?
I love the structure of the learning day -- classes in the morning and activities in the afternoon. Honestly, I can't think of anything I'd change.
Response from Tico Lingo

Great Review Leila!

Thanks so much for the kind words! It was quite fantastic to see your Spanish skills sky-rocket just over those first few days. It must have been your strong background in English and writing that led to you really picking up Spanish so quickly. Really was something cool to see!

Hope to see you back down here again soon! We're growing our yoga program down here and are hoping to offer different practices to the roster over the next month or so! Would love to have you down again to check them out!

¡Gracias por venir Leila! ¡Esperemos verte de nuevo pronto!

-Chris

Yes, I recommend

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...

Interviews

Meet the Alumni
Meet the Staff

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...