Spanish Immersion Program—Costa Rica | Guatemala | Peru
98% Rating
(28 Reviews)

Spanish Immersion Program—Costa Rica | Guatemala | Peru

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

Locations
South America » Peru » Cusco
North America » Guatemala » Antigua
North America » Costa Rica
Language
Accommodation
Apartment
Host Family
Hostel
Hotel
Currency
USD

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Instruction
    94%
  • Support
    99%
  • Fun
    94%
  • Housing
    95%
  • Value
    93%

Program Reviews (28)

Default avatar
Pasquale
Male
21 years old
United Kingdom
University of Nottingham

Maximo Nivel: 15 week Immersion Program

10/10

I completed a 15-week internship throgh Maximo Nivel in San Jose, Costa Rica. With this program choice I also had a daily 1-hour one-on-one class with one of the Spanish teachers, Teddy. Teddy was very quick to pick out which aspects of my Spanish needed improving and was very good on improving my general level of Spanish, as well as my confidence in my own ability to speak the language. These classes, along with the Spanish speaking and bilingual members of the Maximo Nivel staff have helped my level of Spanish to improve and I am very grateful to all of the staff for this. I would recommend this program for anyone looking to improve their Spanish!

How can this program be improved?

In my opinion, these 15 weeks have been a great experience for me. I not only had an enjoyable stay but was able to improve my Spanish whilst also completing an internship. I have no recommendations and hope that the staff at Maximo Nivel keep up the good work.

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Ean
Male
19 years old
USA
Other

Fantastic Program

10/10

My three weeks of Spanish classes flew by in Costa Rica. Everytime you arrive to the building, you will be greeted by the friendly faces of the local staff, who make every effort to make your stay as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Activites like salsa classes, cooking classes, and pickup soccer games happen weekly, and even though my soccer skills are sub par compared to the locals, I had a great time. I looked foreward to my Spanish classes everyday, impressed at how fun and understandable my teacher Teddy was able to explain things.
I would highly reccomend Maximo Nivel programs.
Thanks so much,
Ean

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Bernard
Male
27 years old
San Jose, Costa Rica
University of Phoenix

The Full Tour

10/10

I saw every Maximo Nivel campus and studied Spanish. They were all great places. My time in San Jose was good as well. My ride from the airport was prompt and courteous. My host family was ready for me and was helpful. They were a really nice family and the daughter was an angel. The projector screen was great and they let me watch my favorite basketball team on it. Everyone was very helpful at Maximo Nivel getting me where I needed to go. They really went above and beyond. The campus was clean and a nice size. My teacher Teddy was very funny and had a great method for teaching me Spanish. I learned a lot in a week. My trip to Arenal and Tabacon was great as well. I enjoyed my experience and would recommend it to everyone.

How can this program be improved?

Cheaper one on one learning courses. Possibly more eggs for breakfast instead of just toast. More group field trips and learning activities. Ways to help you meet more people on campus. Specific restaurant deals for people at Maximo Nivel. Specific group tours and projects with other people at Maximo Nivel.

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Annelie
Female
29 years old
Germany
Other

Great time in Costa Rica

10/10

Hi,

I`m Anni from Germany. I spent two weeks in Costa Rica to learn Spanish at Maximo Nivel. The first week I was in Quepos and attendet the Cosi Maximo Nivel School in Manuel Antonio. I really enjoyed my time! After clsses I went to the beautiful beaches to relax. The organisation at the school was great. In my second week I was in the capitel of Costa Rica, in San Jose. It`s a very interesting city! I learned a lot in my Spanish classes. After school I visited downtown and learned about the Costa Rican coffee production, which was very interesting! The school organized everything very well. I also liked my accomodation - I stayed at a very nice Costa Rican family.
I recommend to learn Spanish at Maximo Nivel!

Anni

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Kelly
Female
29 years old
Costa Rica
Other

Clases de Español en Costa Rica

10/10

Yo estoy feliz que haya decidido tomar clases en máximo nivel. Aprendi mas en dos semanas de lo que jamas hubiera aprendido.
La clases estaban adecuadas a las habilidades de los esudiantese y hizo que la comunicacion con mi familia adoptiva fuera mucho mejor.

I am glad I decided to take classes through Miximo Nivel. I learned more in two weeksthan I thought possible. The classes were tailored to the students abilities and made it possible for me to communicate with my host family and at my volunteer site.

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Rodney
Male
29 years old
Kansas City, Missouri
Washburn University

Spanish Lessons and Volunteer-Costa Rica

10/10

I spent 1 week learning Spanish and teaching English. I took the 4 hour Spanish course and taught English for 2 hours.

The entire time there was a great experience. The Spanish teacher (Ana) was patient, easy to follow, and helpful. The class sizes are small. The program significantly improved my ability to understand the language when others are speaking.

Teaching English was great, as well. The students are highly motivated, which is satisfying.

The program is great and I will do it again.

How can this program be improved?

It would be helpful to have more detailed lesson plans for the teaching English volunteer project when the students are advanced.

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Tierra
Female
22 years old
Madison, WI
University of Wisconsin- Madison

6 Week Spanish Program in Costa Rica

10/10

I spent 6 weeks in Costa Rica through COSI-Maximo Nivel in a Spanish immersion program. It was my first time outside of the United States and I couldn't have had a better experience. The teachers at COSI were amazing and extremely patient which was important to me because my Spanish was at the beginner level. The staff and teachers were very flexible and allowed us to add more activities to the curriculum that we felt would benefit our learning process. The staff were always available whenever I needed them and made sure everything went smoothly. There were extracurriculars such as cooking classes, soccer games, and salsa every Monday. My host family situation was organized as well and my host mom always made sure I had everything I needed. I met a lot of great people and made some awesome memories and I have this program to thank!

How can this program be improved?

The activities were sometimes during class, so try to have them at different times so more people can experience them! Other than that, everything was good.

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Nicole
Female
21 years old
United States
University of Wisconsin- Madison

Spanish Study in San Jose

10/10

I took 3 spanish courses at Maximo Nivel in San Jose and it was an amazing experience. The staff is extremely helpful, my host family was amazing, and I got so much better at Spanish! There are also activities put on weekly and it is a very easy place to meet other students or volunteers. The location is wonderful, and there is a travel agency right next door that can provide excursions, bus tickets, etc. Highly recommend!!

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maddie
Female
24 years old
Florida
Other

Best Program Ever!

10/10

My time at Maximo Nivel, San Jose and Manuel Antonio, was one of the greatest experiences i have had out of the country. The program is well organized, and the teachers are excellent. Maximo is always there when you need them, and they really make sure your stay is as comfortable as it can get. The staff is very knowledgeable about the local areas. You never have the fear that something may go wrong with maximo, they always make sure everything runs smoothly. I spend two weeks in Costa Rica, with a program they host called Spanish camp, i have learned more Spanish in these two weeks, then a year of lessons prior.

David
Male

Awesome 6 Weeks Spent with Maximo

10/10

I took Spanish courses with Maximo Nivel in San Jose, Costa Rica for 6 weeks this summer and loved my time there. My language professors were great, which allowed me to improve more than I anticipated. I also was extremely impressed with the educational staff's ability and willingness to hear how classes are going for you, what you want to get out of them, and adapt within reason to make your experience better.
My home stay living situation was perfect for me. This is tougher to review because it will be different based on every family and each student is looking for and/or needs a different environment, but I do believe that Maximo Nivel does a quality job selecting host families and matching students with them.
The Maximo Nivel staff is so friendly and welcoming that I was sad saying goodbye to them at the end of the program. They care about you and your time in Costa Rica, work hard to do anything they can to help you, and always have a smile on their faces. I can't emphasize enough how wonderful of a team they have working together, and that will have a positive impact on your experience.
Also, Maximo offers some free events that are fun and a great way to learn new things and meet new people. We played soccer with other students and staff a few times, had a cooking lesson, and had salsa dancing classes every Monday night.
If you want to learn and practice Spanish, visiting Maximo Nivel in San Jose is a great way to do it!

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Hannah
Female
20 years old
Indiana, United States
Franklin College

Spanish Literature Class

10/10

The best experience I've ever had. The class was so much fun, and I learned a ton both inside and outside the classroom. The professor was super nice, and she always made sure I understood the material before moving on, and I enjoyed the diversity of the assignments and the activities. Also, the employees at Máximo Nivel are incredibly nice and helpful with everything I needed. I don't know too many schools that would be willing to answer questions literally 24/7. I would definitely recommend this program to anyone who is thinking about traveling abroad, and I hope to return to the program myself in the near future!

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Maria Rita
Female
22 years old
San Pedro

PURA VIDA

10/10

I had such a great time! Hope to be back soon! Btw, the food here in CR is really good! :) also I had the best teacher in the whole world, wich is Ana!! And I made wonderful friends as Chino and Ilda! I will never forget none of them! The experience of living the ''pura vida'' life was the most intense experience of my life. I'm grateful! Y con todo el español que aprendí aquí, yo pude practicar en otros lugares y me di cuenta como lo desarrolle en 3 meses!!!!!!!!!!!

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Ann
Female
49 years old
Anchorage, AK

Great Program!

10/10

After extensive research into language immersion programs we chose Maximo because of their professional website, quick responses to our emails with questions and online reviews. We are very happy that we did. There are things we would do differently should we chose to do a language immersion program again - but we will go with Maximo - or one they recommend if they don't have a program in the area we want to go to. They are very professional and supportive - they encourage you to ask questions and bring them any concerns immediately. We loved our home stay and have made life long friends. The last week we were there we traveled through their recommended agency and appreciated that Maximo kept tabs on us and confirmed that we had a good time.

How can this program be improved?

Since we had no Spanish speaking ability we wish we could have spent more time on survival Spanish phrases at the beginning of the program.

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Beth
Female
63 years old
Kentucky

A wonderful program

10/10

I work in several Spanish-speaking countries and needed to improve my very basic Spanish. I also happen to love Cusco, and was referred to Máximo Nivel by a Cusqueño friend. My experience was way beyond my expectations! The staff and teachers are friendly, effective and are able to tailor classes for individual levels and needs. I hope to return for more classes someday, and would recommend it to anyone! Absolutely first-class!

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Charles
Male
72 years old
Toronto, Canada
University of Toronto

It was a great experience

9/10

I came to Maximo-Nivel for four weeks to learn Spanish but did not do a volunteer placement. The course was intense, thorough and well taught. Since I was able to take the time to study outside of class and also to have the help of a tandem language exchange partner I am amazed at how quickly I have been able to develop a basic working knowledge of speaking and understanding Spanish.

The course was fun and included a field trip conducted entirely in Spanish which we were able to not only understand but which also gave us a deeper appreciation of the Peruvian culture.

My homestay family was jovial, kind and very considerate. They never missed an opportunity to help me with my Spanish. They even included me on a family outing to an archaeological site.

The support staff could not have been more helpful and I'm so glad to have done this with Maximo-Nivel.

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Vania
Female
30 years old
Los Angeles, California
Other

4 months of language & internship

9/10

My program was 4 months in total. I did one month of intensive Spanish - 6hrs of class a day (2hrs private, 4hrs group) - then had 1hr of class/day for the remaining three months while I did my internship. The class and internship pairing was effective and extremely helpful.

Because I was with Maximo and in Cusco for quite some time, I took classes with three of their teachers, all of whom were excellent teachers. For the latter three months, I was with one teacher, which was extremely helpful in tracking my progress and in helping me with some of the Spanish content/translation for my internship.

I had a great internship experience. Having graduated with my Masters in Social Work, I was very specific with my requests and objectives with regards to the internship. Maximo offered me a very tailored placement and, as I had hoped, I gained valuable experience in the international development and social work fields in Cusco. I also received a great amount of support throughout from Maximo staff and the organization I interned with.

How can this program be improved?

It is relatively costly to volunteer/intern and hence, much more difficult to stay for a longer period of time for those who do not have the financial means. And unfortunately, time does matter for placements, especially when working in direct service/engaging with children in orphanages/schools. If at all possible, it would be nice to offer some sort of discount/package for such placements to incentivize applicants for longer stays. That would benefit the applicant and the host organization.

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Phyllis
Female
58 years old
Lacombe, Alberta, Canada

Maximo Nivel is the place to be!

10/10

As this was my second time with Maximo, it was great to see all the people we had met last time. It is a great thing to see a low turn over of staff, as it means things are working out well. I enjoyed my classes, and both of my professors, Robert (1 week) and Karla (especially since she was also my previous professor). I had signed up for group lessons and 1 hour of private but, I think I greatly benefited from the three hours of individual lessons time instead. I was able to work on many things, more importantly the pronunciation.
Staying with Ana was awesome, we were able to experience a normal working life in Peru complete with the meals and home stay.

How can this program be improved?

The first week was a bit hard, as Chuck and Kristopher work on construction in the morning and were finished by Noon, were my classes were well into the afternoon. It work a lot better in the last two weeks where we were all done around noon. I did learn a lot of Spanish, but with out the group or volunteer work there was very little interaction with other people, but that was ok also as this was my time to totally focus on the language. (and my husband refuses to dance...so no salsa night for me. perhaps next time.) It was good.

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Carla
Female
53 years old
Sao Paulo

Excellent classes

9/10

The classes were excellent! The teacher was very nice and efficient and we learned very fast. The class at Mercado San Pedro was really interesting! We tasted new fruits and learned a lot of vocabulary! The material was also very good.

How can this program be improved?

They could have given me the home address in advance. I would feel better knowing where I'd stay!

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Ryan
Female
29 years old
United States
Indiana Wesleyan University

Great Experience!

10/10

I thoroughly enjoyed my time volunteering with Maximo Nivel. The spanish lessons were extremely helpful and it was a relaxed, yet productive environment. The class size was small so that we were able to interact continously and make new friends. The overall program was great and very affordable, especially for the unique experience of learning spanish from a native speaker. I have been able to retain the information I learned there, and can now progress further.

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Louise
Female
Michigan
University of Michigan

Life-changing medical internship

10/10

I had an unbelievable experience with Maximo. Their support, my amazing host family and friends in Cusco and the invaluable time in the clinic far exceeded my expectations. Maximo provided me with the resources and recommendations that helped to make Cusco truly feel like a second home. At my volunteer placement I had daily, intimate patient interaction and learned quickly from the friendly, encouraging staff there. The team at Maximo was very involved in making my experience the best it could be, prompting me to make frequent reflections and comparisons and challenging me to go above and beyond. Finally, my Spanish improved significantly thanks to my absolutely incredible Maximo instructor.

How can this program be improved?

Keep being amazing!

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Nicholas
Male
Athens, GA
Medical College of Georgia

No better way to learn

10/10

During my five weeks in Cusco, I was amazed at how my comfort conversing in Spanish improved. Having never studied the language before, I did not expect to be having 30 minute conversations entirely in Spanish by the end of my fifth week. I especially like my teacher's willingness to modify her lesson plans to assist us with topics and phrases that we encountered elsewhere in the city. Between her and the wonderful support staff at Maximo Nivel, I gained not only comfort in speaking Spanosh but several good friends as well.

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Michael
Male
Louisville, Kentucky
University of Kentucky

Why you should choose to do this program!

10/10

Growth, Good times, Great people. You will gain a renewed and broader perspective in the field of your placement area and improve your spanish speaking skills exponentially. You will have the opportunity to build strong and lasting relationships with locals and volunteers. You may even be lucky enough to dance the night away to a mariachi band and sing karaoke until dawn... Do this program!

How can this program be improved?

More planned events with other volunteers and local people could only improve the program.

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Eliza
Female
Ottawa, Canada
Carleton University

Experience of a lifetime - my educational internship

10/10

Maximo Nivel is an incredible organization! Not only do they provide amazing volunteer/intern opportunities but they are 100% commited to ensuring your adventure is amazing. The staff are always there for whatever you need and are absolutely incredible. Whenever I needed any guidance, support or even a recommendation on somewhere to eat - they were always there to help. Throughout your time volunteering/interning with them, they will be there to support you and ensure you're experience is awesome. My experience with Maximo Nivel was nothing but positive. I would go back in a heartbeat!!

How can this program be improved?

The tour company that Maximo Nivel is paired with is quite pricey and the guides they use in some tours can sometimes leave much to be desired

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Anonymous
Female
32 years old
Houston, Texas
Sam Houston State University

Highly recommend for improving your Spanish skills

10/10

I participated in a 1-week Spanish Immersion course at Maximo Nivel in San Jose, Costa Rica. The daily classes I attended were extremely helpful and thorough. The testing process to determine each student's language level was very accurate and did a great job of identifying the areas we each needed to focus on to improve our skills. My teacher had creative and fun ways to help improve my vocabulary and I really appreciated learning from a native speaker as opposed to an English speaker who also speaks Spanish. The school was very well-kept and secure with a friendly, helpful staff and convenient amenities like an on-site currency exchange service and snack bar. The Maximo Nivel staff were all extremely attentive and helpful - they each went above and beyond to meet all of my group's needs and everyone felt safe whenever we were at the school or around town with the staff members. Our group ambassador was extremely helpful and knowledgeable about the Costa Rican culture, and he truly made the trip worth our while. He organized excursions and paired us with Spanish-speaking students seeking to learn English, so we truly were practicing and learning Spanish every minute of the day - even when we weren't in the classroom. And our group instructor made the learning process fun and exciting, which also made it effective. We all agreed we wish we could bring him back to the States with us to continue our Spanish education at home! Overall, I would rate the Spanish Immersion course at Maximo Nivel as outstanding. I highly recommend this program for anyone with a basic understanding of Spanish who is looking to improve their skills while having a great time learning and experiencing the Costa Rican culture.

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Meranda
Female
42 years old
Detroit, Michigan
Other

Maximo Nivel Native Spanish Program in Guatemala

10/10

I attended Maximo Nivel in Guatemala on a Study Abroad trip with my college. My overall experience with Maximo Nivel was fantastic, we were only in Guatemala for four short days but the staff did their best to pack our days with classes and amazing experiences!

How can this program be improved?

I was only able to attend Maximo Nivel for four days and had a great experience so I don't have any critical feedback.

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T.S.J.
Female
42 years old
New Jersey
Other

A Wonderful Experience for Children

9/10

During our one week stay in Antigua, my daughters (13 and 11) and I enrolled in a four-hours for four-days immersion program. The one-on-one attention was fantastic. The instructors' command of English was excellent (although it wasn't used during our lessons!). They also displayed considerable patience :). As novice Spanish students (Mom VERY novice) we were challenged outside of our comfort zone-that was a good thing. I would highly recommend Maximo-Nivel. I am considering one of the other Maximo-Nivel locations for next summer. The staff was VERY helpful.

How can this program be improved?

Our classes were in an annex to the main school. I did not realize there more than one building. I was a little apprehensive at first; but I got used to it.

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Peet
Male
57 years old
I am in Monster , Holland
Other

A perfect location with good teachers to learn and improve your Spanish language

8/10

For my work I had to learn the language Spanish . I started with some courses in Holland but that was not fast enough, and also not working well.
For that reason I contacted Maximo Nivel and my first visit and experience was in april 2010 with a first course for two weeks , with 6 hours per day . Everyone in my neighbourhood told me that this would be very intensive and to heavy , but in the way they teach you in Maximo Nivel it was really very good to do.

In April 2010 I really could not speak any word of Spanish , but now after 4 courses of two weeks , even with my age of 55 years , I can speak and communicate in Spanish.
These teachers from Maximo Nivel are really great that they fixed it to learn me a new language .
Also the organisation and the friendly surrounding gives you soon the feeling that you are a part of this big (school) family

For sure I will continue in Maximo Nivel with my courses of Spanish to improve the language more and more.
I can recommend this school to everyone who want to learn the language Spanish.

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Sean
Male
32 years old
Virginia
German

Spanish Learning Program with Maximo Nivel

9/10

In the three weeks, I have increased my fluency and never was "bored" in any of my classes. Everyday was different with different objectives and topics for the classes. I liked having two different professors with different backgrounds; subtle differences in their accents, cultural differences, different views and ways of teaching. If I had chance to change something from the experience would be the location of the host family: the host family was great and provided an awesome environment for living (except for Wi-Fi) but was a little far away from the school (30 minutes bus ride). Other than that, I would recommend the program to anyone who is looking for a foreign language immersion program.

About The Provider

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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-cultural experiences. Our programs include: Volunteer Abroad, International Internships, TEFL Certification, and Spanish Language

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