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

Default avatar
Kinga
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Great immersion program!

I spent 4 weeks at Tico Lingo and I loved it! One of the greatest benefits of this program lies in the opportunity to join on any given week and stay as long as feasible. So you really have a chance to make this work with your schedule!
Another reason why I recommend Tico Lingo is their commitment to use only Spanish in class (with slight variations based on the group’s level). The students are invited to engage in meaningful conversation, encouraged to share opinions or even debate questions, all while keeping it light and funny. Don’t be surprised if you’ll be prompted to engage in philosophical discussions you might not have had even in your native language :)
And…Tico Lingo is a community of wonderful people—knowledgeable and fun teachers, kind and helpful staff, and adventurous fellow students! While it was great to enjoy the continuity offered by being with a core small group for the entire time, it was equally great to have new students join each week bringing some fresh perspectives to the class.
No host family in my case, but had a great rental condo so I was able to travel with my partner and pets :)

Pros
  • Flexible start day
  • Conversation-based practical approach to language learning
  • Enthusiastic and prepared teachers
Cons
  • It’s more of a tip: manage your expectations. Doing a language immersion trip is a unique way of visiting CR. You will get to experience the day-to-day, the town, and the people. If this is what you want, you will have a great time.
Default avatar
Sandra
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Tico Lingo is the best!

On your arrival someone from the school will pick you up at the airport then drives you to your family.
They had an evaluation prior to the start of the class so we would fit in the appropriate level.
4 hrs daily class of Spanish, lots of grammar and verbs.
Fresh coffee is always available as well as water and tea.
After class the option to salsa dance or do some yoga was available.
Cooking classes to learn how to cook a Costa Rican meal. And then eat it too!!
On the first day of school we got a guided tour of the city.

The host family was wonderful. Very kind and thoughtful. They prepared meals each day trying different fruits, main dishes and fruit juices. We ate together and spoke in Spanish.

The tour to Manuel Antonio was beautiful beside the rain, it rains a lot in Costa Rica. We saw monkeys and sloth, iguana and parrots.
A refreshing stop at the beach before heading to lunch. A long drive to get there but well worth it. Wish we had a guide from the park to explain a few things.

Ticos are so very kind and patient.
Loved every moment of my stay.

Pros
  • Small class
  • Very organized teacher
  • friendly staff
Cons
  • The tour was a rushed
Default avatar
Bob
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Way to Learn Spanish

My wife and I completed 2-weeks of instruction and wish we had stayed longer. I made rapid progress in this immersive program despite this being my first-ever Spanish instruction. The instructors are sensitive to the learning needs of students. The administrative staff are responsive and helpful. We greatly appreciated residing in a homestay where minimal English was spoken and we practiced what we learned in class. We welcomed interacting with the diverse student population. We plan to return. Thank you Tico Lingo!

Pros
  • Immersive learning opportunity
  • Expert and friendly instructors
  • Homestay opportunity
Cons
  • None
Default avatar
Finley
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

AMAZING!!!

i really am thankful for this experience. i have noticed my spanish levels change in just days and i really do care for my peers deeply. i could go on about how this experienced has impacted me as a person in so many good ways. There was never a time where I wasn’t having fun. now when I think of Tico Lingo, I remember all of the loving people I met, and how much they still mean to me. the host families are beyond generous and have made my experience ten times better. i went from not knowing how to have a conversation at the dinner table, to playing games and doing many activities with my host family. I genuinely think of them as my second family. the teachers were so very helpful and interactive with the students. the afternoon activities always put me in a perfect place to test and practice my spanish while also having a good time. traveling with other people around me brought me closer to everyone. this program pushed me outside of my comfort zone to the max, and i think that is what i am most thankful for.

Pros
  • spanish knowledge improving
  • making the most of the trip
  • safety
Cons
  • there weren’t any!
Default avatar
Anne
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Spanish immersion

An excellent, and professional experience I had at Tico Lingo. From the staff, and learning, to a supportive host family.
A step in the right direction, for people wanting to learn Spanish.
Have taken Spanish courses on two separate occasions, with Tico Lingo. First one I did, I did not stay with a host family, and I wish I did. Even though it is not home sweet home, with a little bit of flexibility on the students part, living with a Costa Rican family will benefit the learning experience. It will put more value into learning Spanish by having a taste of the culture behind it.

Programs

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3

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.
Thumbnail

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!