Would you agree that every language comes with its own culture? If so, you’ll probably agree that learning a new language without learning its culture is almost equal to not learning it at all… That being the case, I come with my first review blog post about what I think is the best option for a Spanish course in the dreamy country of Costa Rica. Not only does Tico Lingo teach you the language, but they also provide you with full cultural immersion opportunities perfect for slow travel. Read on to find out more!
Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that if you click through & make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!
How I found it
I started diving into Spanish back in 2020 while unemployed and in lockdown. So, naturally, I got very obsessed… I started looking up cultural immersion programs that I could go to once things would open back up, and Tico Lingo came up on the first page of Google!
From here on out, I will be raving about how awesome this place is. Buckle up!
Technically speaking, everything about the school is an advantage… hahaha! But should you need to make the same decision one day, I’ve listed out a few hit points that can help you decide.
This honestly was the first thing that got my attention (after it being in Costa Rica, of course). The school has its own community of local host families that went through a thorough vetting process. Once you’ve signed up for the course and the homestay program, they’ll send you a preference quiz so that they can match you with the perfect family. All houses are within walking distance of the school, and your Tica parent is obligated to walk you to school on the first day too so you feel like a real local student!
The pricing is very competitive as well. Check them out here.
All classes are capped at 6 people here, which makes the learning environment extremely personal and inclusive. My classmates and our teacher still keep in touch today via a Whatsapp group chat. That’s how much of a community this school could be to you.
And if you’re lucky, you could get “private classes” at a group class rate for a week or two. This happens when you start your course at a time when your potential classmates have just finished their program and left.
Check out the Intensive Course in more detail here.
The morning hours are for group classes, while students have the opportunity to enroll in private classes with the teachers in the afternoons.
You could purchase the course with private classes included, or enroll later when you’re already at the school should you want to add any. But keep in mind that private classes are subject to classroom and teacher availability. So if you decide to enroll last minute, there is a chance that the schedule will not work out in your favor.
This is definitely another one of the best perks at this school. It’s located in Heredia, which is a smaller, much quieter town than San José. This makes the living and learning environment extremely laid-back.
At the same time, Heredia is only a 25-30 minute drive into the capital, which makes visiting museums and experiencing San José an easy opportunity as well.
An immersive program is nothing without its activities! Below, I’ve listed some of the things they provide.
First-Day Walking Tour
I remember wondering how long it would take me to get acquainted with where everything is in Heredia… then that doubt faded as soon as I got to school on day 1.
After the group class ends on your first day, the school takes you on a walking tour to downtown Heredia, telling you the important history tidbits while showing you the important stuff. By the end of the tour, you’ll know where the ATM is should you need cash, where the best restaurants are, and how to get from Tico Lingo to the train and bus stations.
We also stopped for lunch at the Central Market for our very first local meal.
Who wouldn’t want to join a Latin dance class when in Latin America?
The dance classes are free, offered on certain days of the week, and will take place right after your group class. So, head on right into the school’s activity room for some good ol’ fun and exercise. But a word of caution, the class is no joke. You’ll be dancing nonstop for the whole hour so make sure you’re fit!
Also free and offered on certain days after group classes, you’ll be able to check the school calendar and sign up for each week’s yoga class if you wish.
Among the classes offered, the cooking class is the only one that isn’t free. But if you consider the delicious food you’ll get to have by the end, it’s an amazing deal compared to paying for lunch elsewhere 😉
If you’re arriving without any weekend plans, you can also sign up for one of the school-provided weekend tours to neighboring towns and their famous spots like Manuel Antonio and La Fortuna. This will be another bonding opportunity you’ll have with your schoolmates and staff!
Have I convinced you? 🙂
Other Costa Rica Blog Posts
A month or two in Costa Rica sounds tempting to you now? Check out my other blog posts about Costa Rica below to help you plan!
- 15 Things to do in Costa Rica
- Driving in Costa Rica
- Tortuga Island and Bioluminescence
- How to take the Paquera Ferry