Tico Lingo - Spanish School in Heredia, Costa Rica

Tico Lingo

About

Located in the heart of Costa Rica’s Central Valley in the city of Heredia, Tico Lingo offers a complete Spanish immersion program curated by expert Spanish professors. We are devoted to helping students achieve Spanish fluency through immersion and cultural education. Our aim is to teach, immerse, and initiate a global understanding of Costa Rican culture and the Spanish language.

In addition to Spanish classes, Tico Lingo offers a Homestay program where students live in the homes with nearby families. We also offer volunteer opportunities, on-site cultural activities like yoga, dance, cooking, and art class, and adventure tours like white-water rafting and canopy zip line tours.

We are young, we are connected, and we are passionate about creating the perfect environment to learn Spanish and volunteer in Costa Rica. We want to spark cultural exchanges on a global level with people from around the world. Join our conversation – start learning Spanish today!

Reviews

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Steven
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Immersion Experience

Going to Costa Rica was my first time out of the country since three years old. And, it couldn’t have been better. I’ve been learning Spanish for four years and have become nearly fluent, so it was great stretching myself. I loved picking up on the idiosyncrasies of the “Tico Spanish” and have made some amazing friendships with camp mates and Costa Ricans alike. The journeys you would go on after Spanish school were always amazing and really made you feel immersed in the country. Overall, 10/10 would recommend for all people looking to improve their Spanish.

Pros
  • Great Spanish class program
  • Amazing immersion and Homestay
  • Has exchanges with local schools learning English
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Kelli
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Loved the summer teen program

My 13 year old girls had a great time at the Tico Lingo summer teen camp. The structure, the staff, the environment and all of the activities kept them learning and engaged.
This teen camp is all inclusive. The education, accommodations, excursions, activities, and food made the camp easy and affordable.
The kids had supervised freedom. They really grew with the language and the independence. Tico Lingo was organized and helped us with the whole process.
We would definitely take the summer teen camp again.

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Taylor
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Best camp ever

This experience was one of the best things I have ever done. While learning knowledgeable español we also were going on amazing adventures and learning new things everyday. We learned new things about cultures and other people and what their struggles were and how they lived their lives. It was something i will never forget, and being only 13 i already know that this is an experience I will take with me forward for many years. I loved the people and the camp counselors and my teacher was amazing! I hope to be back to next year.

Pros
  • Learned so much Spanish
  • Made a lot of new friends
  • The tours were tons of fun
Cons
  • Didn't get along with every camper
  • but that's pretty normal i guess
  • the teachers and the counselors were really really supportive
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Gavin
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Best program I’ve ever done

I loved this, because of Tico lingo I have a new best two weeks of my life! Cat and Chris were amazing, and so nice! I really hope to come back next year, I learned so much Spanish and made some amazing new friends! Although I do wish we had a later curfew, I loved it here. Chris is being nice, and extremely understanding. If you need to find a place to go, or a place to send your child, I very strongly suggest coming to Costa Rica, and attending tico lingo, for amazing people, fun teachers, and a great time

Pros
  • Sooo nice
  • Most fun I’ve had in years
  • Great for meeting new people
Cons
  • Not long enough
  • Early curfew
  • having to leave all my new friends so soon
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Taylor
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Tico Lingo was awesomeeeee

Tico Lingo was great. The people are so nice and Chris is the nicest and chillest person ever. You study from 8:00-12:00 with breaks. After 12:00 everyone gets lunch (Tico Lingo pays for it) and then you will do the daily activity which are super fun. Chris and Cat are very supportive and fun to hangout with, they do not judge. It was such a good time, I loved meeting all the new people and getting new opportunities to practice spanish! Overall I strongly recommend coming to Tico Lingo if you are under 18 looking to study Spanish.

Pros
  • Great activities
  • Homestays provide everything you need (I recommend Sindy)
  • The school is very safe
Cons
  • Having to leave at the end of the 2 weeks
  • You might not get along with some people

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

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

Why did you choose this program?

I researched many Latin American programs and chose this one on the basis of its flexibility of curriculum, its location in a temperate climate (I don’t do well in extreme heat) in the country I know and trust, and on the basis of many positive reviews.

I had no personal knowledge of the school or of the individuals who created it prior to showing up.

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

All I had to do was let the extremely capable staff know my preferences and certain uncertainties in my schedule and they took care of everything. I really wanted a private bathroom at my homestay, I wanted to be sure that certain dietary preferences were not a problem, and I wanted the ability to add private lessons to my group curriculum after establishing just how much energy I would have in a given day of school.

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

I would advise other students who want to have private lessons, to arrange for them as soon as possible so that they have no schedule conflicts with other students.

This is a small school which is a great part of it’s charm, but there is a limit to the number of private lessons available at the times desired.

Having said that, I must add that I was able to get all the private lessons I wanted at the last minute. I just needed to be a tiny bit flexible with the times. Yenifer Who is the main person in the front office is a magician with schedules.

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

Each weekday has a four hour group class tailored to the level of expertise of each student group. I can only speak for myself, but my instruction with Freddy was spot on as far as what I needed to learn. For me, he was absolutely amazing.

I must add that the classes are flexible and in my experience adjust to the immediate needs of the student on any given day. These classes are not rigid with set milestones and specific examinations. Rather they are tailored to the individual needs of those attending each class.

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 had no fears going into this, but I was apprehensive about my own ability to learn a great deal in six weeks. A combination of their extremely competent instructors, their broad curriculum, and my own personal interest made for a very successful experience.

My long-term goal is to be able to understand local speakers in the street. I am not there yet. Six weeks is not enough for 64-year-old man to get that fluent.

However, I am now 100% certain that that goal is within my reach over the next year.

What makes this program special?

The school establishes a culture of camaraderie, positivity, and just plain fun.

Everyone who works there and, quite frankly, every student I met, contributed to an atmosphere of Community and a sense of progress.

I specifically recommend Freddy, the head of curriculum, as a marvelous instructor in Spanish grammar. This is largely because he has a deep understanding of both English and Spanish and is able to clarify confusion unlike any Spanish instructor I have ever worked with. He is a gem.

I am making this recommendation as a beginner who needed to understand the grammatical structure of this language in order to infill that infrastructure with vocabulary and experience.

My experience was 100% successful in this regard.

I shall miss this place and I plan to return.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Yóbeth Cabalceta

Job Title
Spanish Professor
Born and raised in the beautiful and sunny province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica, Yobeth started working as a facilitator in a Spanish school during her college days. She developed a fond passion for teaching and quickly had an opportunity to work as a university professor after graduating college with a triple major in education, literature, and linguistics. As her interest in working with foreign students grew later in her career, she began seeking smaller, private schools that focused on intensive Spanish. Thus, she found Tico Lingo and continues to teach students from around the world.
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What is your favorite travel memory?

I don't travel too often, I like to be close to family here in Costa Rica. Occasionally we take trips together out to the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. I think that my favorite experience was observing closely the whales and dolphins on the coast of the south of Costa Rica. Incredibly beautiful animals!

Which destination is most underrated? Conversely, which is most overrated?

In the world? Hmmm …I think that the whole rural zone is very underestimated in Centroamérica, Suramerica. There are still some indigenous peoples that live there!

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Education is at the core of everything we do here. Definitively, it is necessary to allow for creativity in the classroom and social interaction between the students and the teachers. Learning between walls and cubicles as well as using unnecessary technology that distances students is really not our goal. We want all of our students to connect with our community personally and walk away with a comprehensive educational experience.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I feel that here at Tico Lingo I can apply and experiment with all the teaching techniques I've learned over my 30+ years of teaching Spanish. Normally large language institutes keep a very strict and authoritative program where students are inside a classroom all day reading textbooks and filling out worksheets. If I've learned anything over the years, it's that each student learns differently and a level of flexibility is necessary to truly connect with each student. Tico Lingo allows that! They let me experiment with new ideas in the classroom, take students out into the community, and teach in a format that is fun, cultural, and informative.

What unique qualities does your company possess?

Warmth towards students and teachers! We get to know each on an individual level that allows them to relax in a new place, soak up the good weather, and study their brains out while they are here.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Whenever I find out that they use what I've taught them. It's always fantastic to hear students students applying what they learn in the real world, especially when it came from me!