Learn Spanish in Costa Rica with Instituto Estelar Bilingüe!

Instituto Estelar Bilingüe


Located in the Guanacaste region in northwestern Costa Rica, Instituto Estelar Bilingüe is committed to helping people of all ages and backgrounds learn a new language and improve their lives. Becoming bilingual is a challenge that takes time, dedication, and perseverance on the part of the student. However, we know that the methods and materials used by the teacher play a significant role in the learning process. For this reason, we have developed a Spanish program that allows students to learn from highly trained, certified teachers while being immersed in the language and the culture of Costa Rica.

As a young school in the historic city of Liberia, our students benefit from small class sizes, attentive teachers, a welcoming staff, and fun bilingual events with local people in our English program. Our goal is to make sure that each student can do more than just communicate - after studying with us, they are stellar Spanish speakers!


300 Metros Norte del Hospital San Rafael
Provincia de Guanacaste, Liberia
Costa Rica


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Yes, I recommend this program

My whole visit with Estelar was wonderful. I came for 10 days with my high school last summer, and the institute did an exceptional job organizing our group of 19 people. Estelar was the perfect combination of service work, spanish immersion and exploration. My host family was very welcoming, warm, patient with my developing Spanish, and helpful. The day trips were incredible and beautiful and the classes were informative but also fun. I absolutely loved Club A - those kids are amazing. Overall a great trip.

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Yes, I recommend this program

My school has end of year trips where we go to different places and do hands on learning. So, Some of us decided to go to Costa Rica and take a 20 hour Spanish class at Estelar and stay in a Homestay for about a week and a half. It was amazing. Bethany who was the owner of Estelar was super great and helped us with everything. She rented buses for us and showed us all the cool places around Costa Rica. The Spanish class as well as the excursions and transportation were stellar! Definitely volunteer at Club A on Tuesdays if you go!

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Yes, I recommend this program

Estelar was the perfect combination of service work, spanish immersion and exploration for our high school group. I absolutely loved my home stay, my host mother treated me like her own child! My Spanish has improved so much in such a short space of time. The Spanish teacher was very friendly, likeable and I never felt lost. It also helped me grow my confidence in talking in Spanish. I can take everything I have learned and use it in real life context, which is awesome. Thank you to Bethany for organizing EVERYTHING! Pura vida!

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Yes, I recommend this program

The institute did an exceptional job organizing our group of 19 high school students. The homestay was the most influential and stable part for me. I highly recommend doing one, my family was kind, available, and loving towards me, even now I keep in touch with them. I really hope to go back one day. I loved my time in Costa Rica because of this school and I am so proud of the progress I made in the classes! It was easy to learn and with all of the extra events, there was never a dull moment. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Yes, I recommend this program

Overall, the class, program and professors were incredible. Starting from the top, Bethany and her support staff have made the process of learning at Estelar a breeze. They are exceptionally responsive, professional, and approachable. I knew that if a problem arose in my 8 weeks in Costa Rica, I could bring it to their attention and it would be fixed. They take classes and your learning seriously. Upon arrival, everything is done professionally all the while maintaining a lighthearted and relaxed environment.
Although this review is designed to be for profesora Nelly, I will make comments about all of the staff. First, you cannot go wrong with any of the professors. All are immensely different but share important qualities such as patience, enthusiasm, and creativity. I looked forward to each day because of the professors. Merlin was a gifted story-teller and downright funny. Class always ended too soon (figuratively) when I was in her classes. Nelly's strength was consistency. She never wavered in her patience or effort despite encountering particularly difficult exercises or my dense brain. She was consistently supportive and inspiring. Gabriella was also an excellent professor. Her darker humor and cynicism permitted us to explore Spanish in other topics... politics, crime, corruption, and so on. I left her classes stronger in Spanish and also better informed about Latin America. All in all, Bethany has done a splendid job locating professors that are of the highest quality. I can't wait to learn from them again.
My experience at Club A was perspective changing. Despite being a cliche, working with these children reminded me that I have so much. I am sincerely grateful to Bethany for developing this experience. I would love to return one day and perhaps expand the program into 2-3 times per week.
The staff and facilities are without flaw. I was astounded at how clean the facilities were and how friendly and helpful the staff was. Again, the Institute went far beyond beyond expectations.
Senora Clarita was a wonderful woman who always put my comfort first despite going through some hard times. My room was consistently kept clean and I was provided everything I needed to sleep comfortably. Clarita washed my clothes frequently and always was interested in talking. She advised me on how to stay safe in Liberia, and would wait up if I returned later in the evening to ensure I was safe. We watched movies, cooked, and laughed together. She truly reminds me of my grandmother - immensely caring, protective, and loving.


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Instituto Estelar Bilingüe
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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Meisha Grant

Meisha loves connecting with people while she travels. Meisha studied International Relations and Sociology at university. She has lived and worked in Indonesia for three years - studying Indonesian and working in community development.

Meisha has recently taken a break from her role in international health and is now exploring Central America. Meisha plans to work teaching English and has just completed her TESOL certification.

Why did you choose this program?

I choose this program as I wanted to learn Spanish as well as complete the final practicum for my Certificate IV in TESOL, which I was already undertaking with another provider in Australia.

The bilingual nature of Estelar really excited me as I could pursue both these concurrently and thought it would provide an interesting culture. Estelar provides many extracurricular and volunteering opportunities, as well as a homestay experience – and I wanted all of this!

I thought Liberia sounded interesting, as it’s an authentic Costa Rican small city.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

The program provider organized pretty much everything - the homestay (which included breakfast and dinner), Spanish lessons, extracurricular activities, and teaching opportunities. We received emails prior to arriving with all the details and a schedule as well as a profile of our homestay family. The institute also offered a Skype call to assess my current language abilities and ensure I was placed in the right Spanish course. They provided airport pick up so getting to the homestay was a breeze.

As mentioned above, I have been studying my Certificate IV in TESOL with an organization in Australia and as such the requirements and documentation for the teaching practicum was my responsibility to organize (e.g. filming, submit lesson plans, reflections etc). The institute was always willing to help, signing off on all necessary documentation. I received support with lesson plans from the usual teachers and was able to use the institute’s resources.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Embrace it all! There is so much opportunity to grow and learn with Estelar. I recommend getting involved in all the extracurricular activities, volunteering and making the most of the homestay by spending time getting to know your new Tico family and practicing your Spanish!

For teaching English, remember to have fun with your students!

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

I, unfortunately, could only spend 10 days with Estelar – if I could have stayed longer, I would have!

I arrived on a Sunday afternoon and was dropped off at the homestay. We got to know each other and ate dinner together. Every morning I had breakfast with my homestay family and then walked to the institute for my Spanish lessons, which were from 8.00 am-12.00noon Monday-Friday.

In the afternoons, I often went to lunch and walked around the city. In the evenings, I either participated in an extracurricular activity or taught English classes. I would then return to my homestay for dinner and to relax.

Weekends were free to explore!

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I think going abroad through an institute like Estelar makes it so much easier! They really have your best interest in mind, are organized, and have considered all the small details such as food preferences, transport, what you need to bring versus what they provide, etc. I felt confident in Estelar organizing all these details so my biggest fear was teaching!

Getting in front of a class as a new teacher is scary. Being prepared as well as having support from the institute helped me face this fear. As I got more experience teaching and through my reflection and feedback on previous classes, I overcame this fear, realizing it is a normal part of being a new teacher and reminding myself that is was a learning experience.

What did you think of the teaching quality at the institute?

Learning Spanish was so much fun and my teacher, Merlyn, was amazing! She encouraged lots of speaking and only spoke Spanish, so it was very immersive.

The classes were intensive and we covered a lot in one week but it gave me such a great foundation. I felt confident leaving that I would be able to practice my new language in conversations.