Costa Rican Culture and Language Institute - ICLC - The Place where you can learn spanish abroad in Costa Rica


Frequently Asked Questions

Host sister for spanish student

Faculty with host mother

ICLC Facilities

ICLC Facilities

ICLC Facilities

Spanish student taking a break

Spanish student taking a break

Spanish student taking a break

Spanish student

ICLC Internet Café

  1. Home Stays
  2. Children
  3. Language Program
  4. Atmosphere
  5. Other
  6. Instructions for late arrival at night
  7. What to bring
  8. Medical insurance


  1. Most of our host families are located in the country side within a short distance from the Institute. During low season the students can use taxi service from the host family home to the front door of ICLC campus. Public bus service is available in the mornings during high season.

    The host family stay give the students the possibility to practice the Spanish language and they will also learn about Costa Rican customs. Typical breakfast and dinner are included on the program and also laundry service.

  2. Only one student lives with a family; however, couples may stay with the same family.

  3. A student always has a private room unless he/she wishes to share the room with a companion.

  4. A family provides for the student two meals per day: breakfast and dinner. These usually consist of typical dishes plus local vegetables and fruits (lunch is not included).

  5. An entire family can stay with the same homestay family upon request.

  6. Some families have accommodations with a private bathroom, which a student may request.

  7. There is no special price for the children. Even the ones under 5 years old do not get a reduced price.



  1. The youngest student accepted into the regular group program is 15 years old.

  2. A special program for small children is possible during low season if there are teachers available. The cost of the Spanish Program for children is the same as the cost of the Spanish Program for adults.

  3. Childcare is available upon request and for a minimum of 6 hours per day, due to the regular amount of hours that students might be out of the homestay -normally Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.- The cost of childcare is US$10 per hour, per child and must be paid in advance, before arrival to Costa Rica. The cost mentioned does not include any type of snacks. Parents are responsible to provide daily lunch and snacks. Additional hours for childcare could be requested once in Costa Rica but they will be offered depending on availability.



  1. There is a maximum of five students per class. This small group encourages a greater participation from all the students in the class and allows them to develop topics orally.

  2. The different levels of proficiency in Spanish include the following: three levels (low, medium and high) each for beginners, intermediate and advanced. Students with a superior proficiency are placed on the superior level (they must be fluent). These levels have been settled according to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).

  3. The emphasis of the Institute's methodology is upon the use of real-world experiences in class to help the student excel in any situation in a Spanish spoken country. Classes integrate elements of grammar, listening, reading, writing, vocabulary, fluency and culture.

  4. Classes provide visual aids, music, video and other class materials according to the level.



  1. Students attending the Institute come from different countries, such as Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Japan, Belgium, Canada and the United States.

  2. The Institute offers a variety of extracurricular activities on a regular basis. Some examples:  Visits to the museums and the local zoos, typical supermarkets and theatrical performances, lectures etc... Students will cover expenses of public transportation and entrance fees.

  3. The participants are usually college and university students, professionals or independent travelers.

  4. The study environment is comfortable and surrounded by gardens with tropical plants and fruit trees. Classes are indoors and outdoors.



  1. The best time to study, based on weather, is the summer from November to May while the best time to study, based on cultural events or festivals, is the winter from May to November. During the high season that goes from May to September, there is a morning class term and an afternoon one, the student groups are switched every week.

  2. Participants must be careful with the pick-pockets while walking in the capital city, San José, or in any large city. It is not recommended to wear valuable jewelry nor to carry purse because they can be easily snatched away. Students should carry their shoulder bag or backpack across their body rather than over their shoulders.

  3. During the rainy season, it rains specially in the afternoon. An average of two hours should be expected every day.

  4. The mini-courses (e.g.:  Uses of medicinal plants, Costa Rican fruits) and the complementary activities offered throughout the week, which are aimed to increase the student's knowledge of the culture and the language components of the program. It is not an obligation for the student to participate in these activities if she/he does not wish to. All the complementary activities and mini-courses are conducted in Spanish at no cost.

  5. There is an information board that lists all the special activities taking place during the weekend. The tourism office of the Institute specializes in giving specific information to the participants as well as making the reservations for the most wonderful tourist sites of Costa Rica.

    The most common destinations are: Tortuga Island Cruise, Poás Volcano National Park, La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Tortuguero Rain Forest, White Water Rafting, Arenal Volcano at night, Carara Reserve and Jacó Beach, Manuel Antonio National Park, Corcovado National Park, Coffee Tour, Aerial Tram, Canopy Tour and much more.

Instructions for late arrival at night (please follow this link)

For questions or information not listed on these pages please contact us at:
Instituto de Cultura y Lengua Costarricense
P.O. Box 609-4050
Alajuela, Costa Rica
Phone: +506 2458-8485 / +506 2458-8473
Contact link form

Last Update:  2017-03-09

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