F.A.Q + Reservations
Eco Spanish participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
There’s no way I can speak Spanish in just two weeks – can I do 3 or 4 weeks?
We’ve taught thousands of travelers how to speak Spanish in two weeks. We know that if you’re driven and properly apply yourself, you will speak Spanish in two weeks and experience our unique Maya jungle adventures and workshops. But perhaps you want to take it a bit more slowly and develop your conversational Spanish beyond two-weeks of Spanish immersion. Groovy – choose a 3 or 4 week Spanish immersion program and enjoy even more Maya jungle adventures and Maya workshops.
Is this a registered Guatemalan women’s nonprofit helping Maya villages of Petén?
Yes – Eco Spanish / ecoescuelaespanol.org supports all that and more.
Is Eco Spanish a Spanish School?
No. A few years ago a law was passed in Guatemala that made it impossible for poor Spanish teachers to unite and call themselves a Spanish school – unless they completed tons of paperwork, government Spanish school teacher workshops, employed a college graduate as a ‘Director’ – pay lots of money to lots of people. We’ve been told it takes ~20,000Q to legalize a ‘Spanish school’.
We simply don’t have that kind of money and even if we did, can’t justify the expense and increased/unnecessary bureaucracy. So, Eco Spanish cannot legally be called a “Spanish school”. That said, the Spanish class teachers at Eco Spanish have been teaching Spanish to foreign travelers for years. Rest assured you’ll receive the exact same or better Spanish language classes as any legal/official/approved/certified Guatemalan ‘Spanish school’ in Antigua, Xela or Atitlan.
Why study with Eco Spanish / EcoEscuelaEspanol.org?
The Maya communities we serve around Lake Petén offer Spanish students a perfect environment for Spanish immersion. You will speak Spanish in two weeks.
If you want to learn more about the ancient Maya, you’ll love our Spanish immersion program – it’s loaded with Maya jungle adventures to Tikal, Yaxha and more.
Also, as part of your Eco Spanish immersion experience, you’ll participating in our authentic Maya wildcraft workshops where you’ll learn about ancient Maya medicinal plants, make your own authentic Maya chocolate and lots more. You’ll be completely immersed in a rural Maya culture, surrounded by friendly, patient and kind Maya who speak Spanish. You’ll be immersed in Spanish. Spanish immersion is the best way to learn Spanish – not sitting in a stuffy Guatemalan classroom at some ‘Spanish school’.
What’s the weather like around Lake Petén?.
Like other tropical countries, Guatemala has two seasons – wet and dry. The dry season usually lasts from December to May, the wet season from June to November. During the wet season, mornings are typically clear, then thunderstorms build through the afternoon into a refreshing shower, then the clouds dissipate in time for a lovely sunset. The coolest months are January and February, while March and April are the warmest.
Can I bring my drone and selfie-stick with me?
Absolutely. Heads-up, drones aren’t allowed in any Maya ruins without the express written consent of CONAP, Guatemala’s version of the US Forest Service. If you’re caught with your drone in a Maya ruin without a CONAP permit, there’s a very good chance your drone will be confiscated or perhaps destroyed by some justifiably angry Maya… would you fly a drone in St. Peter’s Square 🙂
Is it easy to communicate with home while attending Eco Spanish?
Yes, Internet cafes with WiFi are everywhere and cost anywhere from 5Q per hour to 10Q per day. All Eco Spanish students who stay at the Permaculture Compound have access to FREE WiFi.
Is Petén Guatemala safe?
Yes – all our communities are safe and welcoming to travelers. It’s hard not to be charmed by the relaxed friendliness of the Maya communities around Lake Petén. In any village, on any afternoon or evening you can watch schoolchildren playing, older people leisurely passing the time of day, women washing clothes by hand in outdoor sinks (pila), kids kicking soccer balls and men struggling beneath huge loads of firewood.
Is there medical care or a pharmacy in town?
There are four hospitals within 30 minutes and pharmacies everywhere. Bring your prescription medicines with you.
What about accommodations?
If you’re wanting photos of two beds with a nightstand in the middle and air-conditioning, this Spanish immersion experience is not for you. This is about learn to speak Spanish and having lots of groovy adventure experiences – it’s not about the place where you lay down and close your eyes to sleep each evening.
You’ll be given a safe, dry place to sleep – yes, including a mosquito net.
You could be sleeping on a typical Peténero bed of woven string with a grass mass on top – very comfortable, cool when it’s hot and the fresh cut grass smell is delicious. You could be stretched-out in a handwoven Maya hammock under a typical guano thatch roof next to the woodstove in a shared room with 4 other people. You might be sleeping on a futon in a treehouse. You might be in a tent with a sleeping bag. You might have a private room to share with your traveling companion. There is absolutely no guarantee of what type of accommodations you might get. We’ll put you wherever works best for the program, the communities and the families we support.
Are vegetarian or vegan meals available?
Absolutely – just remind us of your preference when you arrive. At Eco Spanish we are very active in the education and preservation of ancient Maya traditions, and that includes ancient Maya food. Many ancient Maya dishes are vegetarian and vegan. You’ll be enjoying authentic ancient Maya meals.
Can I change my host family if I don’t like the place?
We work with many host families in many communities and if you don’t like the one, we’ll move you to another. All our homestay families provide great atmosphere and good food, requests to change are very rare.
Can I stay somewhere with/without children?
This is Latin America and kids are everywhere, all the time. You may be living with children, or perhaps not – can’t commit on the kids/no-kids situation one way or the other. Truth is kids are some of your best helpers when you’re learning Spanish.
I’d prefer to stay at a local hotel/hostel. Can you make the arrangements?
Nope – it’s impossible to be in the required immersive Spanish if you’re in a hotel or hostel. Besides, we’re here to support Maya communities and your participation with Eco Spanish does exactly that 🙂
What day can I arrive/start my Spanish program?
Start any day you like. So there are no misunderstandings, your first day will be mostly orientation so you can understand and properly respect the local Maya culture in the villages we support around Lake Petén.
Are Spanish classes available on Saturday/Sunday?
Spanish classes are not offered on Sunday. Most Spanish students spend Saturday and Sunday studying.
How can I pay for my Two Week Spanish program with Eco Spanish?
Online, right here at EcoEscuelaEspanol.org. You will need to reservice your spot a minimum of two weeks before your desired arrival date.
What about cancellations/refunds?
We DO NOT offer refunds of any kind. If you need to cancel and reschedule for another time or want to assign your spot to someone else contact us.
Can I change my teacher if we don’t get along?
Certainly! We want you to be happy and enjoy your classes. Requests to change teachers are very rare here. Our teachers are well trained and very good at adapting their instructions to their students’ needs, interests and learning styles.
Do I need to bring textbooks and a dictionary?
We will provide all the Spanish materials you’ll need. That said, a small pocket dictionary is something no Spanish student should be without – buy those and bring them with you to Eco Spanish. We DO NOT RECOMMEND any mobile apps – your brain simply doesn’t easily learn language like that. It’s your Eco Spanish immersion experience and your fingers shuffling through the pages of your small pocket dictionary that will make your Spanish Stick.
What else should I bring?
Solid walking shoes and shower footwear
Light long sleeve shirt and pants
Dollars or travelers checks
Credit Cards or Bank cards with the Star icon
Photocopies of important documents
Rain Protection, especially during the rainy seasons (May-September)
Medicines for first aid + prescriptions
How much does the two-week, all inclusive Eco Spanish adventure+immersion program cost?
Everything is included from your arrival in Santa Elena / Flores / San Benito. We’ll meet you at the terminal/station and take you to the Permaculture Compound for your Eco Spanish orientation and first 3 days of Spanish immersion. Once your first three days are completed you’ll be assigned to the next, waiting, homestay family. Yes, everything is included – 4 hours daily Monday through Friday with your Spanish language partner, all the park entrance fees, transport and guides, all your meals and family homestay — we’ve got you covered.
$900 for 2weeks, $1350 for 3weeks and $1800 for 4 weeks with a 25% deposit ($225, $337.50 or $450) to save your spot. Balance is due not less than 30 days prior to your arrival.
Yes, you’ll need to bring a bit of extra cash for personal items, beer, movies, excellent Guatemalan street food, gifts to take home and whatever else you might want.
Do you offer any discounts?
Nope – that’s not how we role 🙂
But wait, I have another question…
Always happy to answer questions – Contact Eco Spanish.