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Home > Costa Rica > Schools > Arenal (La Fortuna)

Arenal (La Fortuna)

Program Overview

Our Arenal program is not a typical Spanish language school. In fact, there is no school building or campus. There are no extra curricular activities and no school director. Classes are held either at your host family or at a multipurpose office building in the center of town where we rent classroom space. For those on the Medical Spanish program, your medical Spanish lessons and clinical visits will be one-on-one with Dr. Arias at his private clinic.

This is not a program for students looking for a conventional Spanish school experience. If this is what you are looking for than all our other locations in Costa Rica are better suited to your needs. These private programs are for those students who want as intensive a language experience as possible, while at the same time being located in the adventure capital of Costa Rica. If you are a serious language student who is independent and not looking for a lot of bells and whistles, this program and locations might be the right fit for you.

Our materials, curriculum and teachers are of the same high standard as our other more traditional campuses. Students can still receive undergraduate and post-graduate college credit along with nursing CEU’s for their time in our program. Please be aware that there is very limited space with these programs, early registration is a must. Students will receive support from our San Jose office and staff. Emergency contacts and assistance will be provided along with airport pick up, our Student Guesthouse and our Welcome Program.

Program Outline

The Private 4-hour Language Program is four complete hours of one-on-one Spanish classes a day, Monday through Friday. Class hours are from 8:00 am to 10:00 am and from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm, with a 30 minute break in-between. All materials are included. This is the most intensive Spanish option offered in Costa Rica. The student and teacher will create an individualized lesson plan that will work on the aspects of the student’s language ability that need most improvement. All classes are strictly in Spanish as is all course material.

Private Lessons at your Hotel. This is a program where our teacher will meet you at your hotel for private lessons. You decided the number of hours and the schedule of your classes. Students must sign up for a minimum of 10 hours for this program and all materials are included. A second student can be added in the same class for an additional $15/hour. This is a great way for those on vacation who want a short but intense language option while they are in the Arenal area.

We offer a comprehensive Medical Spanish Program, as well as our accredited Nursing Spanish Program where students can receive nursing CEU’s for their time in the program. In the Medical Spanish program doctors and medical students have private instruction two afternoons a week by our in house physician Dr. Arias at he own clinic. He goes over medical terminology, patient interviews and clinical procedures. One other afternoon a week student will shadow Dr. Arias during patient interviews and appointments. The Nursing Spanish Program is set up the exact same way, but is taught by a nursing professional at Dr. Arias’s clinic. These additional Spanish classes as well as the visits to the local clinics are all done as private lessons. You are one-on-one with our local medical professional.


Homestays are with local Costa Rican families in the town of Fortuna. There is only one student per family and each student will have a private room with a shared bathroom. Couples can stay with the same family. Weekly laundry service is provided along with two meals a day, breakfast and dinner and all homestays are within a 10-minute walk from the center of town. The families are of middle income and usually professionals. Many have children and all can accommodate students with special dietary needs, such as vegetarians.


Costa Ricans or ‘Ticos’ as they call themselves are a very open and friendly people. Our host families are no exception. Living with a family helps students become better acquainted with the local community and culture. There are many festivals and holidays where the students can join the family during their celebrations.


The Arenal region of Costa Rica is famous for the Volcano of the same name. Our classes are located in the town of Fortuna, which has a stunning view of the volcano. Arenal is one of the most popular destinations in the country and not only because of the volcano. The lake nearby is the largest in Costa Rica with fishing and windsurfing. There are numerous hot springs, national and private preserves and a great deal of adventure activities. The Monteverde Cloud forest is only a 4 hour horseback tour away from Fortuna. The town has a population of approximately 7000 people and is a central location for all travel and commerce in the region.

Local Color

In Arenal/Fortuna the event that draws most tourists to the area is the hope of seeing the volcano’s hourly eruptions. On a clear night the show of super heated, red hot rocks and boulders being ejected from the cone is truly amazing. The rocks, sometimes the size of VW buses roll at high speed down the sides of the volcano and every time they hit pieces break off and create a shower of red and orange sparks. It is a sight worth seeing.

Hot Tip

The Tabacon Hot Springs Resort is one of the most beautiful in all Central America. There are streams, pools, waterfalls of all different temperatures, surrounded by lush vegetation with great views of Arenal Volcano. This is a must see if you are in the area and they have a first class buffet.

Start Dates

Every Monday of the year except on Costa Rican National Holidays. In the case of Monday holidays, classes will begin on the following Tuesday. The following Costa Rica Holidays are observed by the school; January 1, April 11, May 1, July 25, August 15, September 15 and December 25. There are no classes on Holy Thursday & Good Friday. There are no refunds for missed classes due to holidays.

Main points about the Arenal/La Fortuna programs

  • The most intensive Spanish option in Costa Rica.
  • Arenal Volcano is one of the top three sightseeing destinations in Costa Rica.
  • Lake Arenal is one of the best windsurfing spots in the entire world and is the largest lake in the country.
  • Undergraduate college units and graduate level credits available.
  • Private one-on-one Medical Spanish program with local physician that combines in class curriculum with clinical visits.
  • The only Nursing Program in Latin America accredited for continuing education credits.
  • Individual programs that can be personalized to fit each student’s specific language needs.
  • Spanish lessons at your hotel for travelers who want to get the most out of their time in the Arenal area, but can’t commit to a complete program.
  • Not a traditional Spanish school. There is no campus or school director. Only private teachers, homestays and medical programs with Dr. Arias.
  • This program is not for everyone. It is only for independent students.
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