Learn Spanish in Bocas del Toro, Panama

Video and Photos

Down the road from school
Down the road from school
Graduation day
Graduation day

About

Bocas del Toro is a funky, laid back archipelago, dotted with pristine islands of white sand beaches, coconut trees and crystal clear turquoise waters. Bocas attracts off the beaten path travelers in search of uncrowded beaches, first class surfing and scuba diving, a chilled and authentic nightlife, and endless opportunities of wildlife encounters both on land and under the Caribbean Sea.

Habla Ya Bocas del Toro holds accreditation from the Instituto Cervantes as well as being an Official DELE Examination Center, and is one of the most and best reviewed immersion programs in Central America, offering you everything from Group to Private Lessons, Medical Spanish or Spanish for Teachers.

Improve your Spanish, explore stunning beaches and make friends from all over the world. Habla Ya will take care of every single detail, setting you up in the most suitable accommodation according to your budget, as well as offering you loads of eco-adventure and volunteering opportunity.

Summer Promo: get a FREE weekly tour when you book 5 weeks or more of Spanish classes!

Learn Spanish and have the vacation of your lifetime:
- Hiking
- Daily Yoga Lessons
- Surfing Courses
- PADI Scuba Diving License
- Rock Climbing
- Ziplining
- Whitewater River Rafting
- Horseback Riding
- Island Hoping
- Sailing
- Caving

Questions & Answers

Reviews

9.54 Rating
based on 68 reviews
  • Instruction 9.5
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.3
  • Housing 8.9
  • Value 9
Showing 1 - 8 of 68
Default avatar
Madeline
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Online Spanish Classes

I was looking into visiting Panama to take classes with Habla Ya, but then covid-19 made that impossible. But, Habla Ya quickly offered online classes via Zoom, and I am so glad I signed up. I initially signed up for one week of group classes (4 hours/day), but decided to sign up for four more weeks of private lessons (2 hours/day) because I enjoyed studying with my instructor, Kimberley, so much. Taking private classes with Kimberley was great because she tailored everything for my level and preferences. It was fun to work on conversational skills by talking about everything going on in Panama and the U.S. and the world. Talking to Kimberley and hearing about Panama made me sad to miss the opportunity to visit, but it was still a fun way to learn about the country while working on my Spanish. Habla Ya quickly adapted to online classes and was great with support and communication. I highly recommend signing up for classes while quarantined, it was always the highlight of my day.

Default avatar
Kendra
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great experience

Our family spent 2 weeks studying Spanish at HablaYa in Boquete Panama. Our daughters had a private group class as well as my husband and I. The type of instruction, pace and personalization was superb. We had 2 different teachers and both were exceptional. Our teacher the second week was Alex and he was fun to work with and we learned so much! He planned excursions for some of our time together and that helped tremendously with learning how to be more conversational in Spanish. Highly recommend this experience in Boquete.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Stay in town and you can easily walk to many things. We rented a car and stayed in Alto Boquete which also worked out very well and was easy to access and park at HablaYa. We were able to go and hike and do tours on our own as well.
Default avatar
Susan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Excellent program in beautiful setting

My instructor Leidys Pitti, at the Boquete location, has excellent skill at knowing what conversational and grammar points students are intererested in and need to work on. She presents information and asks questions in engaging ways, so that students are always learning. We make a lot of progress in using the language, and are always interested...even when in class for longer periods of time. Leidys is a very friendly, caring and positive person...another reason why students look forward to her classes. Like many of them, I return every year to improve my skills.

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

Habla Ya Bocad

Great school. Iraida was a terrific teacher-smart. Thorough. Thoughtful and patient. Used lots of techniques to solidify the lessons. Easy to get to. Wifi available to all students. Help with enjoyable outside activities. All the staff were very friendly and helpful. Good placement decisions based on both online and in person testing. Made opportunities to converse in Spanish outside class.
I didn’t really especially like Bocas but I thought the school did a great job. Better than some other programs I’ve taken.

What would you improve about this program?
Work by the local government to make Bocas a more enjoyable place to hang out in for older travelers.
Default avatar
Ryan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Experience

I spent 6 weeks studying at Habla Ya in Bocas and Boquete and had an awesome experience at both locations. My teachers were Lineth and Leidys, and both were excellent. They did a great job of making the classes challenging and fun at the same time, and I learned a TON of Spanish. The facilities are comfortable, the Bocas location has air conditioning, which is essential (no AC required in Boquete, the weather is AMAZING).
When I arrived in Panama I knew only the most basic Spanish, and after 6 weeks I was having conversations with locals. The student body at Habla Ya comes from all over the world and I really enjoyed making new friends from around the globe.

If you take the classes seriously and try to speak with locals outside of class hours you will be amazed at how quickly you learn!

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

Great Experience!

I had a great experience with Habla Ya in Bocas del Toro. My teacher, Iraida Howard, was incredibly patient and taught me so much during my 4 weeks in her class. I started at the introductory level and Iraida answered all of my questions and challenged me in a supportive and encouraging way. I would love to return to Habla Ya someday to continue working on my Spanish! My husband and I appreciated the variety of activities provided by Habla Ya, including the Cacao Farm tour, exploring the beautiful beaches around Bocas, and enjoying many meals with teachers and other students. We stayed at an AirBnB within walking distance of the school, which was convenient for us to walk to school everyday. Overall, Habla Ya provided an enriching and memorable experience!

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

More than learning a language

I spent two weeks at Habla Ya, Bocas del Toro in October 2019 (October is considered low season).

First of all, I have to say that I only chose a language trip because I wanted to travel alone but easily get in contact with others.
As I am 29, in a stable job and only have a limited time of vacation, I did not picture myself in a noisy 12 bed dorm to get contacts.

Before the trip, I had quite a tough time at work, so I only knew that Bocas was a group of Islands and that the weather should be better there during rainy season than in Panama City (which is true).

Coming with little expectations, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the place and the friendlyness of the people. If you come by plane, make sure to get a window seat - the sight and especially the landing is a magical experience itself.
Bocas lives mainly from trourism, so everybody is super friendly and willing to help. Just be careful with prices. E.g. a taxi in the city area should not cost you more than 0.60$, a taxi boat to the neighbouring island about 1$.

From all over the place, you can have a beautiful sight on the sea and other islands. At the hostels Mamallena or Selinas terrasses are open for visitors and invite for a swim or a drink in the afternoon. Many students also stayed there as especially Mamallena is quite close to school. I stayed at the Palma Royale because, as mentioned, I wanted a rather quiet sleeping environment.

For me, what made my journey outstanding, where my teachers at Habla Ya. I have done courses in Spain and Mexico before but this wasn´t comparable. Every person I was in contact with, was keen to provide the best experience to the students and to get their Spanish to the next level. Furthermore, they also took part in evening activities, partied with us and tought us not only their language but their culture.

To me, this is outstanding because we tend to forget that for them, people change all the time. Every week, new people come and others go. And each and every time, they immediately connect with new arrivals and celebrate last evenings with leaving students. They all have friends and family but invest so much more than the teaching time they are paid for.

To summarize it: Bocas del Toro is a paradise. Yes, you can see beautiful beaches, dolphins, sloths and have the filthies friday party of your life. But more importantly, you should go there if you want to meet people that are honest, open and invite you to discover their real culture, far beyond happy hours, Caribbean style island bars and raggaeton parties at the beach.

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

Great experience!

I was a student at Habla ya for 2 months this year and really enjoyed my time there.
I had 4 hours of group classes in the morning and 1 hour of private classes in the afternoon.
My group class teachers changed from time to time, which was a little bit inconvenient at times, but overall the classes were good. I especially want to thank my private class teacher Lineith, who taught me a LOT in a relatively short amount of time every afternoon. Especially, the way she explained the grammar things to me, was very efficient and the classes were always a lot of fun and we had a lot of great conversations during our lessons. :)

The school organizes a lot of activities and it was always a lot of fun! However, if you consider Habla Ya in Bocas, consider that it is a Party Island and most activities (except the coffe tours, hiking..) revolve around going out and partying... So if this is not your thing at all I would recommend you a different location in Panama.
I was living in a Hostfamily ( Maribel), which was a good experience. She is a very warm hearted person and cares about her students. Also, she accomodates several students from the School, so you're likely to meet & connect with people easily, which made settling in very easy.

What would you improve about this program?
Maybe advertise more globally, so that not just people from Switzerland and Germany come here.
Certain weeks, we were almost only Swiss and German people at the school, which was a little bit sad... as I would have loved to meet more people from around the world.

Sometimes the school was a little unorganised when it came to changes. If you stay there for several weeks/months and the school is very busy, it could be that you're group class teacher will change. As this is generally not a problem, I would have liked a heads up before. :)