How to Choose a Spanish School in Antigua, Guatemala

When I found myself with free time on my hands during our house sit in Guatemala, I decided it was time to enrol for classes at a Spanish school in Antigua. A quick Google search for “Spanish school Antigua Guatemala” will pull up thousands of results, which is no surprise as this city is the most popular place to study Spanish in the country, along with Lake Atitlan. With a school on every street corner, just how do you choose a Spanish school in Antigua?

White out street in Antigua Guatemala - charlie on travel

Read Reviews of the Spanish Schools in Antigua

The absolutely first thing I did when searching for a place to learn Spanish was look for reviews from people who had studied at Spanish schools in Antigua. I had a quick flick through Lonely Planet Guatemala to see which schools were listed and then searched online for some of the schools that appealed to me. Comments on TripAdvisor forums and the Lonely Planet forums can be really helpful, as can reading travel blogs on the subject and the blog comments. Use reviews as a way to find out about the attitude of the school – some are more serious about language learning, while others are much more laid-back. Different styles suit different learners, so make sure to think about what kind of teaching would work for you.

Do You Need a Homestay?

There’s no doubt about it, homestays are the best way to be fully immersed in language learning. Homestays mean staying with Spanish speaking families who usually speak very little or more often no English at all. While this can be awkward at first when you’re a complete beginner, being in a position where you actually have to speak Spanish will be hugely beneficial for your learning. However, not everyone is so keen to participate in a homestay, especially if learning Spanish isn’t their primary reason for being in Antigua. Luke and I were house sitting while we were staying in Antigua, so I was only looking for Spanish lessons rather than Spanish immersion.

How Long are the Lessons?

Most Spanish schools in Antigua run lessons for a minimum of 2 hours and up to a maximum of 6 hours per day. Depending on how much time you are able to commit, make sure to check with your school what their standard lesson length is and whether this is flexible. As I also had house sitting and work commitments, I was only looking for 2 hour classes but found that I had no problem finding a school happy to accommodate me, even at short notice.

Cambio Spanish School in Antigua Guatemala terrace - charlie on travel

How Much Do Lessons Cost?

At Spanish schools in Antigua, you can expect to be between Q46 – Q78 ($6 – $10) per hour for one-to-one lessons.  Nearly all of the Spanish schools in Antigua provide one-to-one lessons, but be sure to check that this is the case before signing up. If you’re able to commit to a larger amount of lessons it’s quite likely that you will be able to get a discount if you pay up-front.

Ask to Try Before You Buy

The golden rule with any language lessons is to pay just to have one lesson before you sign up for a whole week or more of lessons. I much prefer to pay on the day for each lesson, but some schools may ask you to pay the whole amount up-front or to at least pay a deposit amount. In the first lesson you’ll be able to get a sense of how well you gel with the teacher and how much you could learn in your lessons. If you’re not feeling too great about the experience, there’s no reason you shouldn’t try another Spanish school or a different teacher.

In my opinion, you learn much better in a positive environment and with a teacher who you feel comfortable with. The first guy who I had a lesson with in Antigua made me feel quite uncomfortable as he was very critical – even though he tried to be jokey about it – of my basic Spanish. He also tried to insist on me paying for my week’s classes before we had even begun the first lesson, and as we had met in a café rather than at an actual school, I refused.

Cambio Spanish School in Antigua Guatemala all - Charlie on Travel

So Which Spanish School in Antigua did I Choose?

After deciding not to continue lessons with the Spanish teacher that I met with at a café, I was so relieved to receive an email from Cambio Spanish School who were able to offer me a week’s worth of classes at short notice. Cambio was my first choice of Spanish school in Antigua because it’s the only school that donates 100% of it’s proceeds to Niños de Guatemala, an Antigua-based NGO that works to provide a better education for the children of Guatemala.

Cambio Spanish School is based in Casa Convento Concepción, an old convent which is surrounded by a beautiful garden. The lessons take place on a terrace overlooking the garden. Everyone at the school was extremely friendly and they were very flexible about letting me pay for each class on the day. My teacher was great at keeping the conversation going until I was able to understand and respond, and I learned a great deal about the history and culture of Guatemala from her.

Have you studied Spanish in Antigua, Guatemala? How was your experience?

Charlie Marchant

Charlie is a long-term traveller from the UK who writes about simple ways to travel sustainably, including how to become a house sitter and slow traveller, eating local and vegetarian, and making responsible travel choices.

9 thoughts to “How to Choose a Spanish School in Antigua, Guatemala”

  1. Continental is also a very good Spanish school. Extremely friendly and flexible teachers in a very nice and quiet setting.

  2. Hey Charlie,
    I love your blog, quality content, very inspirational. I haven`t studied in Antigua but i`ve got a good experience in another school in Guatemala, so why not to share it? :)
    This year, during my travels in Central America I`ve decided to take a longer break and study Spanish somewhere. Guatemala seemed to be a good place to learn and I was about to cross the country anyway… I started to browse the internet, check out the guide books and ask fellow travelers about their experience…Antigua, Quetzaltenango (Xela) and Lake Atitlan came up the most frequent…one girl though mentioned a recently opened school in Livingston which I`ve never heard before (neither the town nor the school)…
    I like experimenting with new things so I gave it a try and as it turn out I found a hidden gem. I had a blast during my two weeks at Casa Iguana Spanish School. The school offers accommodation in two places: one is right by the Caribbean in a stunning location, 15 minutes walk from the town center, the other is in Casa de la Iguana hostel which is the only hostel in town so most of the young backpackers are staying there. The teachers are really good and flexible, they come to the location where you`re staying at and speaking English as well (it was really important for me since I`m a beginner so I needed further explanations in grammar details etc). They offer various types of activates, my favorite was the shopping tour when we went out on market day with my teacher, bought the stuff and then cooked it together. In just couple of hours you learn so much about the language, the country, the culture etc. in such an engaging way.
    Moreover they offer online lessons as well so once you get back home you can continue practicing the language for dirt cheap with the same teacher you started with. I think that`s a really innovative approach teaching languages.
    So people out there who are trying to find a really good Spanish school and like to go on the hidden path take Casa Iguana Spanish School in consideration as well.

  3. What a wonderful way to learn another language. Thank you for sharing, I’ll be sure to get started now that you’ve inspired me.

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