Study Spanish or Maya with Na'atik in Mexico!

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About

Our culturally immersive language courses in Spanish and Maya introduce visitors to the real Zona Maya (it’s not just ruins!). Na'atik Language and Culture Institute is located just off the tourist trail in the colorful, safe, and cultural town of Felipe Carrillo Puerto, in the southeast corner of the Yucatán peninsula, Mexico.

We offer immersive courses in Spanish and Maya, delivered by local native-speaking teachers for all ages, backgrounds, and language levels. Whether you're looking to advance your career, learn for the sake of learning, or just have an unique travel experience you are bound to have a great experience meeting friendly locals, trying out delicious local food, and exploring surrounding areas of natural beauty. By enrolling in this program, you will also be helping keep English classes affordable for Mexican Maya students in our community!

Highlights
  • Stay with a local homestay family
  • Learn about modern Maya culture
  • Study with trained native-speaking teachers from the area
  • Discover the real Zona Maya and use our off-the-beaten-track town as a base to explore Yucatan peninsula
  • Your booking subsidizes our English language programs for local students

Questions & Answers

We offer classes to students as young as 8 years old. We are happy to arrange daycare for younger children whose parents wish to take classes.

The school actually matched us. I didn't know where exactly I was staying or the details until I arrived in Carrillo. This also could be because I did not ask.. I was very open to whatever experience the program was going to provide me. The family was awesome and had hosted many students already so they were very familiar with the process. A friend I made who was also studying at Na'atik had a...

Totally and exactly they are decided by the level and I never saw a class bigger than 2. I came alone and had one other person come into my program a week in and they were at a similar level.

Reviews

9.89 Rating
based on 35 reviews
  • Academics 9.7
  • Support 9.9
  • Fun 9.5
  • Housing 9.2
  • Safety 9.9
Showing 1 - 8 of 35
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Theo
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Super Fun Way to Improve Your Spanish

I traveled alone at the start of 2018 as a 15 year old male. I had gone to Na'atik once when I was 12 with my family, but I did not remember that much and I had never traveled alone to a foreign country. I was nervous at first but as soon as I met my guide at the bus terminal my fears dissipated. Ananias, my guide, took me to Catherine and Simon, who were in charge of my activities, and they took me to my home stay family. My family was very kind to me and they food they cooked was delicious. Once I was there, I never felt nervous and Catherine and Simon did a wonderful job taking care of me. Pedro, my Spanish teacher helped me improve my Spanish grammar and vocabulary and my family really helped me improve my overall fluency. I take Spanish in school but I can't practice like this. I also became more confident when I talked. Despite the fact that it rained for the first week, I loved the trip. This program was wonderful and I would recommend it to any looking for a way to immerse themselves in the Spanish language and improve their fluency.

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Becky
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible experience

This was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I stayed for 5 weeks and loved every part of it - I wish I never had to leave! I already had a decent Spanish base before going, so the classroom portion for me was mostly practicing conversation and comprehension. Staying with a host family was my favorite part of the trip. I feel like I got to know them very well and loved how they involved me in all of their normal daily and weekend activities. My Spanish definitely improved throughout this time, although I don't think I realized it until I came back home. I cannot recommend Na'atik and their study abroad program highly enough. Do it! You won't regret it.

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Deborah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A fabulous week at Na’atik

My week of study at Na’atik and living with a host family was amazing, actually transformational. The small (3) class size, the experience of the teacher (Pedro) and the overall Na’atik experience exceeded my expectations in every regard. Our host family, Doña Fernanda and Don Modesto May, were lovely people, who were eager to know me and the friend who also stayed in their home. The simplicity of our housing surprised me initially, but it came to feel like “home” by the end of the week. The people of Carrillo Puerto are humble, hard-working people who were friendly and helpful. As far as I know, the 9 of us at the school this particular were the only Americans in the entire town- which meant that we stood out. It also gave us a great opportunity to speak to many different people, in stores, restaurants, and in the street. Carrillo is a quiet place, with not a lot going on socially, yet I had the feeling that if I had had more energy in the evenings, I could have found more of a social life. Overall, it was a wonderful experience!

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing I would change is sending the Orientation package out earlier to participants, to give us a clearer idea of what the entire experience will be like. I hope to be able to return with my husband soon.
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Karen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A rich cultural and academic experience

My companion and I spent 2 weeks at Na'atik in Phillipe Carillo Puerto Mexico. It was an amazing experience. From the information we received prior to the trip to the communication and support we received as we were traveling to the program to the wonderful staff and students, it was a thoroughly delightful and enriching experience. I could not have imagined how comfortable I would be bicycling around a small city, visiting local shops and restaurants and using my Spanish as I acquired it.
The school staff were so welcoming and conscientious that I was completely comfortable, and my host family was very experienced and made every effort to help me with my language skills. I greatly admired my patient teacher who "endured" 4 hours a day of Spanish conversation with me
as I learned and used my newly acquired Spanish. I was the only one in my class as my skills fell just above very beginning and below those accomplished conversationalists. I appreciated the care that was taken in placing me just at my level.
There were two field trips planned, one to a Mayan medicinal plant forest and one for kayaking and swimming. We also took a trip to Tulum (one hour) and to the beach town of Mahuhual on our own. Bus transportation is very convenient.
We will be returning next year.

What would you improve about this program?
Because I am a visual learner, I would have liked a workbook with vocabulary and phrases in it.
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Maddie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Fantastic Experience

I spent the month of July in Carrillo and had one of the best experiences ever. The classes were great, they were super small so I felt like I got plenty of attention. My host family was great. It was good practice to have to talk to them in Spanish and the food they made was amazing. I felt very safe in Carrillo, even as a 16 year old girl by myself, and had a great time exploring other cities nearby on the weekends. I would definitely recommend this program.

Renee
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

One week cram course

For a short review: I had a week to spare between semesters and I'm so glad I picked Na'atik as my program. It exceeded my expectations and I left learning so much about the language, culture, history, and the wonderful people that live there!

Academics:
Prior to Na'atik the only Spanish I knew was the little bit I picked up from Duolingo and that sort. Edwin was my teacher and he was very patient with me. Our 4 hour classes were very interactive and I was lucky enough to have picked a convenient week that allowed us to explore the community during class hours to gain real life experiences outside the classroom. We hit subject after subject in just a week and I learned so much more than I expected from vocabulary, confidence, to culture.

Support:
The school is 100% there for you. I think after every class I hung around the school to chat up with the English teachers, site coordinator and the owner. We went out for dinner, we went to a lagoon, we kept in touch through messages and I always knew who to go to with questions or concerns. I have so much love and appreciation for my host family. My host parents sat with me everyday after meals to help me practice my Spanish. Even though I was a total beginner in the language, they never stopped and they gave me just enough vocabulary so I can keep up.

Safety:
I'm 19, petite, and hadn't traveled much ever, so I had my concerns about flying into Mexico and navigating my way to the town on my own, but it was so, so easy. The bus ride from the airport to the town was my biggest concern, but there was absolutely no need to worry. The town itself is very welcoming. Everybody smiles and says hello, and when I practiced my very broken Spanish to people in the community they were so nice to me.

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Susan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Living in Carrillo

After researching Spanish language schools for nearly 6 months and making contact with a few, I found Na'atik to be the most responsive and safest option. They have staff from the area as well as from the USA and UK. It was helpful having both the ease of being totally understood when needed but the challenge of being immersed in the culture and language in classes and at the home stay. My family home was beautiful with my private room and bath. I had the option of sleeping in a hammock which is the area norm, or in a double bed. I was able to go on a few outings with our home stay family and got to meet the mom's precious grandparents. The school provided an outing to a lagoon for kayaking and a fun optional class for learning to make tortillas and juice. Both activities were led by Spanish speaking individuals who loved what they were doing. This was another fun opportunity to develop my language skills. Carrillo is a very friendly and safe town with a lovely plaza in the town center. I would recommend this program to those who like to be away from the city center and like to feel a warm connection to new people and culture.

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Kelsey
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible!

I stayed in Felipe Carrillo Puerto in a homestay and studied with Naatik for 2 weeks. I had the experience of a lifetime and loved every second! Both the staff contacts (Layla and Poppy) were responsive, helpful, and accessible throughout the entire process. I loved the classes, which allowed for so much more individual attention than I ever received studying Spanish in the United States. It was very immersive, the town is not touristy at all but it is easy to travel to nearby locations such as Bacalar and Tulum. My homestay was amazing, and I even loved sleeping in a hammock every night! I had my own room and bathroom, and the family had two little dogs who were very friendly :) The central square is a great place to go and people-watch and drink agua fresca and the mercado has tiendas to buy gifts and food.

This is a great program for anyone serious about immersing themselves in Spanish and having a unique, wonderful experience! If possible, I would try to schedule a weekend into your trip to explore other nearby towns as well..but day trips after classes are also do-able.

What would you improve about this program?
I can't think of any way to improve the program! The staff are very receptive to any concerns. Just make sure you are looking for an off the beaten path experience, as the website suggests, because it is not a major tourist destination.