Antigua has close to 100 language schools, and the task of choosing the right one can seem downright daunting. It really boils down to the quality of individual instructors, though some schools are definitely better than others. Look around and ask plenty of questions.
If you decide midway through a weeklong course that you’re just not jiving with the instructor, don’t hesitate to pull out and ask for a new one.
Among the recommended Antigua schools are Academia de Español Antigueña (1a Calle Poniente #10, tel. 7832-7241, www.spanishacademyantiguena.com), a small, well-run school with space for 10 students at a time.
I’ve personally had the pleasure of working with Spanish School La Unión (1a. Avenida Sur #21, tel. 7832-7757, www.launion.edu.gt). They offer quality one-on-one instruction and are involved in a variety of social projects.
Escuela de Español San José El Viejo (5a Avenida Sur #34, tel. 7832-3028, www.sanjoseelviejo.com) has its own very attractive campus where you can stay in comfortable accommodations with facilities that include a tennis court and swimming pool amid lovely gardens and coffee trees.
A longtime student favorite is Christian Spanish Academy (6a Avenida Norte #15, tel. 7832-3922, www.learncsa.com), a very well-run school set in a pleasant colonial courtyard.
Antigua’s oldest language school is Proyecto Lingüistico Francisco Marroquín (7a Calle Poniente #31, tel. 7832-2886, www.plfm-antigua.org), run by a nonprofit foundation working toward the study and preservation of Mayan languages. It comes highly recommended.
Academia de Español Probigua (6a Avenida Norte #41B, tel. 7832-2998, www.probigua.org) is run by a nonprofit group working to establish and maintain libraries in rural villages.
Another good choice with comfortable accommodations across the street from the school is Centro Lingüistico Internacional (1a Calle Oriente #11, tel. 7832-0391, www.spanishcontact.com).
The recommended schools range in price $140–225 per week, including 20–35 hours of instruction and a stay with local family. While the schools provide everything you will need to learn the language, it might be a challenge to have a total language immersion experience because of the overwhelming presence of foreigners in Antigua. If this is an issue for you, consider taking Spanish classes in Cobán or Petén.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com