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Home > Costa Rica > Schools > Turrialba


Program Outline

The Standard 16-hour Language Program is four complete hours of language a day, Monday through Thursday, Friday is a free day. Classes start at 8:30 am and end at 1 pm with two 15 minute breaks; maximum class size is six and all materials are included. The first week of your program, we have a walking tour of town. Then, each week we have a Latin Dance Class. The Intensive 20-hour Language Program is the same as the standard 16, but also includes 4 hours of conversation classes on Friday. The Super Intensive 4-hour + 8 hrs Private has the same group schedule as the Intensive 20-hour, followed by 2 hours of private lessons from 2 pm to 4 pm, for a total of 28 class hours a week. There are no private lessons on Friday afternoons. If you are the only student in a group program (16 or 20 hours/week) at a specific level, instead of moving to a different level class, you will switch to private lessons for three hours/day for that week.

The Medical Spanish Program and the Nursing Spanish Program are done in combination with either the Standard 16-hour or Intensive 20-hour Spanish language programs. In both programs there are four additional hours of medical specific Spanish classes each week in the afternoon. These medical classes including: medical terminology, patient interviews and clinical procedures. One other afternoon each week, participants go to one of the clinics in the area or the nearby senior hospital and shadow local medical professionals. The Nursing Spanish Program is accredited for Nursing CEUs.

The Children’s 8 to 13 Spanish Program has the same four hour schedule as the adult program above, so families can participate in classes at the same time. This program combines in-class and age appropriate lessons with out-of-class field trips and games and is designed with children in mind. The Kindergarten Spanish Program is a complete immersion program for children. The program is for children ages 2 to 7 years. Students are placed into an existing private school with local children. There are no formal language lessons in this option, students learn through play and interaction in a Spanish only environment. The Kinder program is a traditional school with only local Spanish speaking students and staff.

Our Survival Spanish Program is a crash course for those visitors looking to jump start their vacation with a quick two day refresher course. The course is available each week, Mondays and Tuesday, six hours each day. The first four hours of each day are level appropriate group lessons. The final two hours students go out into the community with their teacher and learn situation specific terms, phrases and vocabulary. You will visit the local bank, supermarkets, the bus stop, souvenir shops and restaurants. The Relaxed Spanish Program is specifically designed for longer term visitors who would like a less intense Spanish language option. The program consists of 6 hours of classes a week, three afternoons; Monday, Wednesday and Thursday for two hours/time.

Private Spanish Lessons are available with a minimum of 10 hours required each week. All students are given oral and written evaluations on the first day of classes. Students are then placed according to their ability.

On-Line Spanish Lessons are available with a minimum of 5 hours required each week. You can purchase hours in packets of 10, 20 or 40 hours. The more hours you purchase, the less expensive the hourly rate. All students are given oral and written evaluations on the first day and then are placed in the correct level in our curriculum.

A very popular add on to our Spanish Programs is our Adventure Package. This is for students who are looking to an adventurous and fun time while staying in Turrialba. The area has some of the best rafting in the country and most of our students want to join a tour. This option allows students to budget one adventure tour each week there are in the program. If you attend the Standard 16 hour Program, you can do the tour on Friday, which is your free day from classes. If you are on the Intensive 20 hour Program, you can do the tour either on Saturday or Sunday. A full list of the different tours offered is available upon request.


Homestays are with local, middle class and professional Costa Rican families in Turrialba. Every student will have a private room with a bathroom that they share, although some houses do have private baths. Weekly laundry service is provided along with two meals a day, breakfast and dinner and all homestays are within a 25-minute walk from the school. We have a great many host families from which to choose and all can accommodate students with special dietary needs, including vegetarians. We also have Rental Houses available for families looking for a little more privacy. Those students looking for a less expensive lodging option can choose to stay at our local Hostel. Those looking for a little nicer personal option can choose our Hotel Stay. More detailed information about all of our lodging options is available upon request.


We have some cultural activities are included in all adult Spanish Programs. Each week new students will be given a tour of the town of Turrialba. There is also weekly Latin Dance Classes. Also, for an additional cost, there are afternoon and weekend excursions available. These are great ways to see the surrounding and to get to know the country and people. We also have a great deal of volunteer options available for those looking to help out in the community. If you are interested, a full description of all options is available upon request.


Turrialba is a typical Costa Rican pueblo of over 40,000 people in a mountain valley on the Atlantic Slope between the colonial capital Cartago and the Caribbean coast. The area surrounding the town is rural with verdant green mountains, river valleys, farms, coffee plantations and rain forest. The school itself is located in our own compound on the hill overlooking town and the valley. We are just a 10 minute walk to the Central Park and very close to all of our host families. It is one of our most beautiful school settings in all of Costa Rica. The Turrialba area is very Tico (Costa Rican) and few people speak any English, so it is very immersive and safe.

Local Color

Turrialba is very active both during the day and at night and is the center of the region's social life and its economy. There are many different restaurants, bars, discos, markets, shops, a movie theater and a nice Central Park. Even though many tourists pass through town to ride the rivers, there are not many foreigners living in the area. This makes for a very good environment for students wishing to practice their Spanish and be immersed in the culture.

Hot Tip

The Guayabo National Monument is the smallest national park in Costa Rica and is located 45 minutes from Turrialba. Contained inside its primary rainforest is the countries oldest archeological site with ruins dating back over 2000 years. The park is easily navigated by a rainforest trail that takes you to all the sites. It is a hidden gem.

Start Dates

Every Monday of the year except on Costa Rican National Holidays. The following Costa Rica Holidays are observed by the school; 1/1, 4/11, 4/17 & 18, 5/2, 7/25, 8/15, 9/18 and 12/25. There are no refunds for missed days because of holidays. For weeks with a national holiday, students have the option of dropping down to the 16 hour program and price.

Main points about the Turrialba campus:

  • Small intensive group classes of no more than 6 students.
  • The Turrialba campus is in a picturesque mountain valley, with the best aspects of the city, countryside and mountains.
  • The area surrounding the Turrialba campus is very rural with lots of farms, ranches and coffee plantations.
  • Great afternoon and weekend activities such as rafting, kayaking and mountain biking.
  • 16 hour Spanish Program that gives students a three day weekend each week. Can be combined with Medical Program.
  • Best location in Latin America for families with small children.
  • Our Kinder Program for 2 to 7 year olds is one of a kind and offered nowhere else.
  • Turrialba is the most immersive school location with only Spanish speakers in the area.
  • Undergraduate college units and graduate level credit available.
  • The Super Intensive group 4 + Private is a great combination of groups classes and individual tutoring.
  • A very comprehensive Medical Spanish program, combining in class curriculum with afternoon hospital and clinical visits.
  • Nursing Spanish Program accredited by all 50 US states for continuing ED credits.
  • Extremely safe area, perfect for families and those traveling on their own.
  • Small school so it is very flexible and willing to set up special programs or group packages.
  • The actual school campus is located on a forested hillside overlooking the town and valley. It is a very picturesque and peaceful environment that is perfect for learning Spanish.
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