Although the Mountain School is isolated, the experience here is one that can not be replicated. From the interactions with the community to the dedication of the teachers, it is unlike any school I have attended (and I've been to a few: Spain, Mexico, another school in Guatemala, and Costa Rica). For me, over 40 and over home stays, the Mountain School offers the best of all language learning worlds: a safe, clean, comfortable place to sleep that in no way feels like a hostel (but has warm showers, a shared kitchen, and lots of great spaces to hang out and study in) and shared meals with local community members. The school is so intertwined with the community it's hard to separate them out and that's a good thing. The only reason I gave it a "9" for the social scene is because there isn't one. I don't tend to travel abroad to meet people; I travel to work on my Spanish and learn. The activities that are offered are modest: talks about the health care system in the communities, one man's experience of exile and return during the internal armed conflict, a trip to a coffee and banana cooperative. This isn't the place to go for zip line tours and oodles of foreigners lining up for the next greatest experience (I'm talking to you, Costa Rica). But if you are going abroad to learn Spanish, you can't do much better. The instructors are well trained, highly experienced, and happy in their work. The communicative approach has high yield for your time, each class is one-on-one, and since there aren't many distractions, you can really focus on studying, reading, and interacting with the community. Note: I'm a Spanish teacher, and I'm speaking from my professional experience. My favorite part of the Mountain School is reading to the kids each evening on the street from a favorite children's book (in Spanish, of course), or the week where a group of us decided to do a sing-along for the kids. This is my #1 top recommended school. I have been there twice and will return.
I enjoyed partnering with PLQ for weekend activities.