WAYRA Instituto de Español offers a great surf and Spanish program. Throughout the week, you will participate in the standard group Spanish classes. On your free time and weekends, you will have the chance to take surfing lessons and to surf some of the best waves of Costa Rica.
To learn Spanish in Costa Rica, it is essential that you immerse yourself in the language. Living with a family is a unique experience that will give you the best opportunity to learn the language, experience the culture, and get to know the people from Costa Rica. The families are all screened and carefully selected. You will meet many people from the community, and your host family will try to make your stay unforgettable.
The families live in the towns of Villareal and Santa Rosa. These small towns are not on the beach and both are very rural and tranquil. Villareal is five kilometers and Santa Rosa is seven kilometers outside of Tamarindo. The homes are small and typical. In the homes, each student has a private room, unless otherwise arranged, and the bathrooms are normally to be shared with the family.
This is a very popular option for those who wish to experience both Spanish Immersion in Costa Rica as well as the local culture. This accommodation includes breakfast and dinner, laundry service, and morning transportation to school.
Casa El Mar, amidst a tropical garden, has four bedrooms and three bathrooms. The main floor is an open area with a large community kitchen, a comfortable living room and a spacious dining area, with a double door that leads into an outdoor sitting area. The setting of the main floor invites the students to have activities such as preparing dinner, playing games together, doing homework, or sharing their day's experience with others.
The bedrooms are assigned for women or for men and are to share. The rooms vary in size, and normally the largest bedroom with a walk-in closet and a private bathroom is assigned for the ladies. The midsize and the small bedroom share a bathroom and each has a closet. All of the rooms have a fan, a security box, and the showers have hot water. The patio is surrounded by large trees and a nice garden where students can relax in the hammocks or lounges for a shady retreat.
Casa La Carolina is located two and a half block from the school and three and a half block from the beach. This house offers all of the luxuries and comforts of a home in a lush tropical garden. The house is modern, spacious, and tastefully furnished and decorated. It has a fully equipped kitchen, a living room with a dining area, and a lounge room on the second floor.
The bedrooms are naturally cooled by a ceiling fan and air conditioning. Each sleeping room has two beds, a private bathroom, a closet, and a dresser. The bathrooms have showers with hot water. The rooms are to share unless otherwise arranged. Behind the main house, there is a one-bedroom apartment with a matrimonial bed, ideal for couples or for people that prefer a private room. The apartment has a kitchenette, equipped for two people, a private bedroom, and a bathroom. In the garden is a small patio.
The student house Casa Wayra is right on the campus, and is a newly built house with a spacious living room. All of the four rooms have AC. The largest room has a balcony from where the beautiful tropical school garden can be seen. This room has three beds and a private bathroom. The other three rooms have all two beds. Two rooms have to share the bathroom, while one room has its own bathroom.
Like in the other student houses, the Wayra student house offers a fully equipped kitchen to the students. In addition to that, they have in each of their student houses free wireless Internet 24 hours a day. Students are welcome to bring their own notebook with them. All rooms in the student houses do have a security box where the notebooks and other valuable things can be placed. This accommodation includes breakfast at a local restaurant or at the school.
All teaching is carried out in Spanish to enable students to be totally immersed in the language during study. Groups are small, averaging three to four students (maximum six students per class). The courses begin every Monday. The first day of class, all new students must arrive at the school by 07:15 to be evaluated and placed in their appropriate level and to complete any necessary paperwork.
According to individual progress, students may be moved to different groups during the program to maximize their learning. WAYRA will determine if the students attend the morning or afternoon session. Morning sessions are from 08:00 to 12:00 and afternoon sessions are from 13:00 to 17:00 with a 29 minutes break at 09:50 and at 14:50.
You can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. You can also introduce yourself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where you live, people you know, and things you have. You are able to interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.
You can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, and employment). You can also communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. You are able to describe in simple terms aspects of your background, immediate environment, and matters in areas of immediate need.
You can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, and deal with most situations likely to arise while traveling in an area where the language is spoken. You can produce simple connected text on topics that are familiar or of personal interest. You can also describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes, and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.
You can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in your field of specialization and can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party. You are able to produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
You can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognize implicit meaning. You can express ideas fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions and use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. You are able to produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organizational patterns, connectors, and cohesive devices.
You can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read and can summarize information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation. You can express yourself spontaneously, very fluently, and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in the most complex situations.
WAYRA maximize the students learning experience with a thoughtful balance of personal, cultural, and academic challenges within a secure and supportive environment. The instructors are skilled in blending conversation with grammar to meet the individual needs of the group members.
In the classroom, WAYRA makes learning an enjoyable natural process. Teachers encourage debate, conversation, and exchange of ideas to promote critical thinking and verbal skills. Games, videos, and music are frequently used in the classrooms.
Outdoor activities such as walks in the nature reserves, visits to different businesses in town to gather information, conversations with people from the community, interviews or excursions to neighboring towns are all used to practice and learn more about the ecology, economy, and culture of Costa Rica. Your language ability will grow as your outlook broadens. Every day the students are required to do about one hour of homework.
WAYRA has developed its own classroom methodology. Their textbook is designed to accelerate the learning process. Grammar is presented in an organized and logical manner followed by examples. An array of practice exercises and short stories give the students and teachers many conversational opportunities.
Additionally, WAYRA incorporates materials from various conversational text sources. This results in an eclectic system that enables the student to learn Spanish as quickly as possible, with special attention paid to individual learning styles and modalities.
Costa Rica touches the heart and mind through its incredible natural beauty and its gracious people. No one feels a stranger here for long. It is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world, a treasure house of flora and fauna unequaled within such a small area. Travelers fall under the spell of this natural wonderland with its tropical forests, rushing rivers, exotic animals, high mountains and impressive volcanoes. Come and visit the many national parks, famous throughout the world.
Costa Rica is known around the world for its national park system, now protecting about 12% of its total area. It is a country without an army. The national hero is not a general but a young, barefoot campesino (country person). It has one of the highest literacy rates in Central America and a social security system that offers health care to its entire population. Costa Ricans like to say they have gained through evolution what other countries try to attain through revolution.
Costa Rica's national costumes, music, food, and even the national tree 'the Guanacaste', all emanates from this region. The province of Guanacaste is located in the northern part of the country on the Nicoya Península, it is about 140 kilometers away from San José. The coast is indented with bays, peninsulas, and warm sandy beaches that are some of the least visited, least accessible, and yet most beautiful in the country.
Guanacaste is famous for its-spirit filled typical fiestas with traditional corrida de toros (bull riding), topes (the regions colorful horse parades in which the Guanacastecans show their meticulously groomed horses), and night dance parties with live music. The bands usually play Merengue, Cumbia, and Salsa. The students often go to the many villages in the area to participate with the local people in celebrating their 'Patron Saints Day'.
You could be part of the Costa Rican style rodeos and bull riding. This is an authentic experience to be in contact with the Guanacastecans and their rich culture and traditions. From December through May, there is a fiesta almost every weekend in a different town. After May, the fiestas are not as frequent.
Playa Tamarindo is located on Costa Rica's west coast, on the Nicoya Peninsula the province of Guanacaste. Tamarindo has about 1,000 habitants. Some of the homes of the residents are spread on the hills, overlooking the impressive ocean. The students can find most of the restaurants, hotels, tour operators, surf schools, supermarkets, and other major businesses on the main roads.
The white sand and crystal clear water of this spectacular beach attract nature lovers, surfers, giant-turtle watchers, and sun-seekers all year round. Tamarindo is a small, multicultural town that attracts national and international tourists all year round. This growing town offers many amenities: art galleries, handmade crafts from all over the world, and a wide variety of restaurants and cafes. Tamarindo's night life includes: live concerts, many bars, and a casino. Typical "fiestas" move from town to town but are never far away.
WAYRA is centrally located in Playa Tamarindo and just 150 meters from the beach and is situated in a beautiful tropical garden. On the premises, the students can find three buildings and two small ranchos (open air dry palm huts). All classrooms are distributed among the buildings. The classrooms are spacious and comfortable, with large open windows to create a comfortable and appropriate atmosphere to study.
The main rancho has five classrooms on the second floor and the cafeteria with a snack bar on the ground floor. In the cafeteria, students relax and enjoy conversations with other students while having some snacks and refreshments. It is also a good place to do homework during school hours or to take part in one of the dance lessons that are practiced after school on the main floor.
Daily breakfast is included in the casa WAYRA accommodation, while the host family accommodation includes daily breakfast and dinner. The host mothers will prepare a variety of fresh and tasty meals. The cooking is normally traditional, but if the student has a specific diet or preference, his or her host mother will do everything she can to meet the student´s needs.
In some houses, the mother cooks on typical mud stoves with wood, and in others, on more modern kitchens, but regardless of the method they use, the meals are well enjoyed by the students. With a host family the students will have the opportunity to taste different fruits and vegetables that could be difficult to find in any other place.
Visit to the historical town of Nicoya or take a guided tour into the Barra Honda cave.
Visit to Guaitil, where pottery in Chorotega style is made.
Enjoy a visit to the cheese factory, humming bird gallery, Finca ecológica, or simply take a night walk in the beautiful park.
Take a trip to the the waterfall and visit Cabo Blanco National Park.
Join in on a boat tour to observe wildlife on Tempisque River.
Go hiking and animal watching in the park, take a little trip to La Casona, enjoy beach time at Puerto Soley, watch the sunset, and dinner in La Cruz.
Playa Tamarindo is at the heart of Las Baulas Marine National Park where giant leatherback sea turtles come ashore at night to nest their eggs in the sand. The nesting season at Las Baulas are from October through February and at this time of the year, WAYRA arranges excursions to visit the Baulas Museum to learn about the turtles followed by a guide to visit the park to witness the nesting process. These tours are at night and scheduled during high tide.
Go hiking in the forest and do some bird watching, enjoy the beauty of natural hot springs, go on a night visit to the volcano, and a trip to Venado Caves.
Please book your flight to arrive at Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) or Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO). Transfer from and to Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) is available upon request. The price is 25 USD per person for arrivals between 11:00 and 1:00 p.m.. For any other arrival time, the price is 65 USD.
You can take the bus from San Jose International Airport (SJC) to Tamarindo. Interbus is a private bus company that offers direct service to Tamarindo. This bus ride takes about four and a half hours to reach Tamarindo. Interbus offers daily service at a price of 52 USD. The buses are air conditioned and comfortable. The departure time is at 8:15 a.m. at the Hotel Berlor (if you stay at this hotel) or at 3:00 p.m. at the restaurant 'Dennys' by the airport and it arrives in Playa Tamarindo approximately at 1:00 p.m. and at around 6:30 p.m. respectively.
The ride with the public bus takes approximately six hours from San Jose. As this is a public service, you cannot make a reservation; therefore you must purchase the ticket personally as early as possible. Students with a homestay reservation should inform the bus driver to drop them off at the bus stop in Villareal. Since the reception of the school closes on Sundays at 4:00 p.m., students staying at a student house should not take the public bus to Tamarindo. There is no problem for students to take the public bus if they stay with a host family. At the bus stop in Villareal, they will be picked up by a member of the host family.
"We live in Tamarindo in the summers and immerse our children in Spanish every summer. The staff at WAYRA has always been very professional. The lessons are very well organized and specific to what the student needs to learn. We were not pleased with ISLS because they charged 500 USD per week and the entire time our children were in classes with eight to 10 other speakers with were only English speakers at many different levels. The lessons at ISLS were not immersion lessons at all. At WAYRA the staff has a history of teaching Spanish in an immersion-style manner. In addition, WAYRA is certified by the Cervantes Institute, which is very well-known in Europe."
"I spent only two weeks at WAYRA, but I learned a ton and had a bunch of fun. I attended four hours of morning classes and one hour of private lessons for medical Spanish each afternoon. Class sizes are small - I had three peers the first week and only one the second - and the curriculum is geared entirely toward communicating effectively (a welcome change from the vocabulary-heavy class structures in the US education system). In addition, they teach Spanish in Spanish, from the lowest levels onward. Some teachers don't seem to speak English, which is an advantage. Everyone remains extremely disciplined about speaking only in Spanish throughout class time. The instructors I had were truly gifted educators. They adjusted their class plans on the fly and seamlessly integrated our priorities into their lessons. Teachers kept each class fresh by maintaining a balance of different pedagogical techniques, from games to hard grammar to shooting the breeze. They even assign homework - not necessarily something you need to do, but a testament to their interest in your education. The administration at WAYRA was really effective as well. They hold after-school activities on Mondays and Wednesdays, and really do their damnedest to solve any problem you might have. I wasn't satisfied with my surf lesson, so they spoke to the owner of the shop and got me another one for free. My classmates provided an awesome (mostly Swiss, not sure why) community to go out with to the bars. Tamarindo itself is maximally touristy, but you're insulated from that vibe by the relationships you forge with fellow travelers and your teachers. On the free weekend, I rented a car with four pals to go to Monteverde. Really has the hostel vibe - everyone's friendly and everyone has a story. Most students stick around for at least a month, so there are certainly ties that bind. If medical school allows, I hope to go back again to continue to bolster my Spanish abilities. I endorse WAYRA wholeheartedly."
"WAYRA is located about four blocks from the main street of Tamarindo, so it is very easy to get to. Lodging is available with host families and at the school, but if you really want to learn Spanish, you want to live with a host family. The families that host students for WAYRA are great and take much care to ensure that students feel at home. Families provide breakfast and dinner and laundry service and live in the nearby towns of Villareal and Santa Rosa. WAYRA provides transportation to the school every day, but only back from the school on days they have activities- Monday and Wednesday. Students need to find their own transportation home the other days. There are 'colectivos' or private taxis everywhere, so it is easy to get home for about 1 USD. However, if you are part of a larger group, the school can arrange a private bus for 40 USD per day. With 20 people, that's 2 USD a person and is well worth it since public busses are not 100% reliable may be full. The classes themselves are high quality and the teachers make learning fun and expect 100% Spanish in the classroom. Students really get to know their teachers well and teachers care about each student's progress and provide input regarding what students need to do to improve. There is a also a nice café there with a reasonably priced (5 USD) and delicious lunch. All in all, WAYRA was a very good experience and I would definitely consider going there again but I would make sure to arrange transportation beforehand if I was traveling a group."
"After studying at WAYRA in 2005, I decided to go back to Tamarindo to brush up my Spanish and I can say that I had again a great time there and was able to improve my Spanish quickly. This time I decided to stay in a student house where I was able to live together with other students. I can highly recommend this school and I hope to come back again in the near future!"
"I attended Wayra for two weeks. I had taken one year in Spanish before in high school about 10 years ago. The classrooms are in open air beautiful gardens with about five or six students a class. They are taught pretty much all in Spanish so you are fully immersed in the lessons. At first it was a little overwhelming but I was surprised how much Spanish came back to me. They switch teachers times and classrooms every week which gives you a good variety and all the teachers are great! The first week I stayed in a home stay in Villareal (about five miles out of town) with a local family who were very sweet. They cooked breakfast and dinner for me and we also went out to local dances and soccer games. It was a great way to practice my Spanish. The second week I stayed at the house at the school which houses about 10 students or so and is very close to the beach. Everybody was very helpful with each other and happy to be in such a beautiful atmosphere. All the staff at school were very friendly and helpful. I had a great time, learned a bunch, and wish I had had longer to stay."