||About Our School
Bocas Del Toro
What Our Students Say
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Learn Spanish in Panama
U. in the enchanting islands of Bocas Del Toro and enjoy many exciting activities such as surfing, scuba diving and more...,
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*From members of our "El Paraiso Family*
"I have never gone on a trip like this before. I always wished I'd studied abroad
in college, but never took that opportunity, so this was my way of getting that
experience. I am so grateful I did because every aspect was incredible. My Costa
Rican family made me feel so comfortable - it really felt like home. There was an
instant camaraderie amongst the students - we learned together, studied together,
went to the beach and out at night together. Thus, my family was extended even
more. I not only learned about Costa Rican culture, but the cultures of my fellow
students (Swedish, Canadian, Japanese). The teachers at the school were so warm,
welcoming and helpful. Immersion is the best way to learn a language. I only
wished I was able to stay longer (trust me - one week is not nearly enough!) I can
not say enough wonderful things about Quepos and the school. Quepos was so
stunningly beautiful and easy to get around. I am already planning my return back -
for 3 weeks at least! The school not only taught me Spanish, but how to live PURA
VIDA! (a term you will instantly learn the first day in Costa Rica)"
Megan Neiner, USA
"The language course at El Paraiso was not my first Spanish course, but by far the best. I studied Spanish in Austria, Mexico and Cuba, but I never learnt nearly as much as I did in my conversation class with Carlos. The teachers are all extremely nice, helpful and make learning great fun. Studying surrounded by nature also helps to make the most out of your time, too. I can recommend this school without reservations."
Marie Trappl, Austria
"I stayed my last week of 3 months Costa Rica in Quepos / Manuel Antonio. And I
loved it, would go back. It's so nice there!! Adicionally I booked as well
spanish classes at El Paraiso Spanish School and have to say; it was great. I've
never had so much fun during spanish classes. Our teacher, Runia, was so
friendly and explained it really well. Even as I was confused about pasttimes...
The school is located next to the main street to Manuel Antonio under trees,
kind of feeling of a jungle. We could eat fresh fruits and fresh empenadas every
single day - just great!!"
"My experience at El Paraiso, Bocas del Toro surpassed all expectations. The
Espanol 351 Course in Spanish Literature was conducted entirely in Spanish in a
one on one format. My well-qualified Professor employed an array of written and
media resources to cover a broad survey of relevant literature, with a
particular focus on Central American literary history. Grammar and vocabulary
lessons were well integrated into the broader themes of the course. My relative
difficulty with the language upon arrival advanced rapidly to the point
near-fluency by the end of my stay. In the end, I was able to spend three weeks
of my winter break earning full graduate level Spanish credit in an ideal
setting while exploring a tropical Central American archipelago. The name
“paraiso” certainly fits.
Mil gracias a Profesor Castillos y todos de la Escuela Paraiso de Bocas. Espero
que les vea pronto!"
Clayton Snyder, USA
"Not a day goes by that I do not think about my many wonderful adventures in Costa Rica! Participating in Spanish with my home stay family and in class was the best learning experience My time with the school and my amazing family was as close to being Costa Rican as I could get without moving there permanently. The school's staff was so upbeat, and made learning fun. I look at my class notebook, and see all the things we covered. I'm still stunned at how much we covered. Our special conversation classes, cooking, dancing and surf lessons -pushed my language skills more than I thought possible. My friends and coworkers are stunned by the change in my ability to converse in Spanish - all because of El Paraiso School ! I know that I will be returning!"
Barbara Harmony, USA
"Watch the real-life video of our fun and exciting travel experience
in Costa Rica and the upcoming photo-gallery
of our entire trip"
Nikki and Dusty Green, USA"
"I had a great experience with the El Paraiso school. I found the teachers to be very knowledgeable and accommodating to each student's needs. Even though I was there for a short time, the environment was very welcoming and I immediately felt part of the El Paraiso family."
Elizabeth Embry, USA
"I've been doing study abroad progams for many years and El Paraiso - Bocas is
at the top of its class. I felt I was taking a risk when I chose El Paraiso,
because the Bocas program is fairly new and I have a very advanced level of
Spanish. I didn't really need "to study" Spanish, but rather to tweak what I
already speak and extend my vocabulary. I was concerned that a school that is
designed from language acquisition might not be able to meet my specific needs.
In the first few minutes of class my worries were dispelled. My teacher, Edi,
adapted immediately to my level, anticipated my needs and designed engaging
"lessons" around magazine articles, poetry, songs and his vast knowledge of
Hispanic culture. Since I am a teacher myself, I have high standards of how
instruction should be delivered and Edi exceeded all of them. His ability to
transition from my private class to a group of beginners and maintain the same
clarity of instruction is the sign of an excellent teacher. It is very obvious
from Edi's enthusiasm, involvement with the students and positive attitude that
he loves the work he does and cares about the progress and satisfaction of his
I recommend El Paraiso School without reservation."
Gigi Austin, Spanish teacher, Dallas, Texas, USA
"I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the school. It is very well operated and has a
fantastic staff. The teaching methods are effective and teachers are great.
Thanks for your time"
Nick Harrower, USA
"For those seeking excellent Spanish language courses in a beautiful country with the most kind people, look no further than El Paraiso. Professors are thorough and patient, and offer engaging verbal, listening and written instruction. Courses outside the classroom were extremely enjoyable and an excellent way to practice Spanish while participating in the Tico culture. As a homestay student, my family was overly generous with their food (which is amazing) and hospitality, I look forward to returning to their house many times in the future. Gorgeous beaches and wildlife are extra bonuses to studying in Quepos.
Overall, my experience at the school surpassed expectations. Not only did I came away with a high level of Spanish comprehension, but the people and events which accompanied my studies are true life treasures."
Kathleen Wood, USA
"My husband and I spent two weeks at the El Paraiso School in Bocas del
Toro. We had a wonderful experience both in Bocas and with the school.
The instructors were fabulous- very much tailoring the class to our needs
and also giving us lots of advice and suggestions about the area and how to
best spend our free time. The class gave me exactly what I needed- a
thorough review and brush-up on my Spanish and the confidence to start
speaking more regularly with the Spanish speakers we encountered. We would
love to spend more time with El Paraiso in the future. We recommend it to
anyone who is looking for a quality school experience with warm and
Temple Cooley and Dameon Philpotts, USA
"I like the El Paraiso School very much because of several things! One, is directly in the forest and for that reason during the day monkeys Mono Titi and White face, iguanas and many pretty birds can be seen! The professors are very friendly and after couple of days one feels like a part of the family and can ask anything! They always helped me with any problem! I also liked the activities, such the class of cooking and class of surf very much!"
Clemens Binkele, Germany
"I was in Bocas del Toro in January. As a young female travelling through
Panama alone, I was a bit nervous at first. However, in my correspondence prior
to and upon arriving at El Paraiso school, I immediately felt welcome
and at ease. I have never spoken a word of Spanish before I arrived in
Panama, and I left being able to converse easily at any bar, restaurant,
shop or hotel. More importantly than the skills I learned though was the
friendships that I made. Everyone was so nice, my teacher so great, who not
only seemed to genuinely care about our learning in class, but even came out
with us after and would help us in our conversations outside of the school.
The school itself is clean, nice, has all the amenities that Bocas has to
offer, all you can drink coffee (!!!) and I would definitely recommend
staying there. Though one week is definitely not enough time to become
fluent in a language, everyone helped me make the most of my time, and I
definitely look forward to studying with El Paraiso again to better my
Alissa Kramer, USA
"I have nothing but positive things to say about El Paraiso. The family I lived with was wonderful...they did their best to make me feel at home. The classes themselves were exactly what I needed, tailored to my level and giving me the confidence I needed to use my Spanish more effectively. Furthermore, the one-on-one sessions made efficient use of the short time I stayed at the school."
Kristine Sykes, Canada
"I have spent four weeks at El Paraiso School and every day of these four weeks has been a great experience. I did not only learn the spanish language, but also the traditions and other interesting things about Costa Rica. If i had the chance to go there again I would do it immediately!"
Sina Foster, Germany
"Althought I was not a student at EL Paraiso School in Manuel Antonio for very long, I have to say that it was very easy to feel like a part of the family. The instructors were all friendly and tailored the spanish lessons to the level of the students. We had class outside in outdoor cabana type huts so we were exposed to the smells and nature all around us. At one point, we even stopped class to go and check out a sloth that was hanging from a tree. All of this made the learning environment intimate and comfortable. I am greatly looking forward to returning to El Paraiso to continue with my spanish lessons."
Vanessa Hutchinson, USA
"I loved my two weeks at El Paraiso. The school is set in the jungle, squirrel monkeys came by and ate bananas out of our hands. The director, Pedro Luis, was enormously helpful about every aspect of our trip beginning with picking us up at the airport. My teacher Dmitri was sharp as a tack. The Cortes family made us feel a part of their home, and Jessenia is a
marvelous cook. "
Peter Silverman, USA
"The setting: Most places one travels don't live up to the hype or the pictures. On
El Paraiso's brochure, they have a picture of students learning in a classroom
outdoors, taking place in kiosks. The setting of the school is beautiful. Learning
outdoors, is much better than being cooped up in a traditional classroom. Quepos
and Manuel Antonio were nice places as well.
The one disappointing thing about Quepos and Manuel Antonio was that all the stores,
restaurants, and businesses speak perfect English. That's great for tourists, but
not so good for those of us trying to use our Spanish. However, I simply refused to
speak English in the stores. Even though they would speak English, I continued to
use Spanish and asked them if they would speak Spanish to me. They all obliged.
The teachers and the staff: The nice things about the El Paraiso teachers and staff
are that They all have very different and varied types of personalities and teaching
styles. It really is impossible to get bored. My plan was originally to come for
three months. I was only able to stay for one. I can't believe how quickly the
time flew. I could have easily stayed there and not have ever gotten homesick or
Also the teachers and staff interacted with the students on a personal level. Many
of the teachers and staff are the same age or just a little older than most of the
young students who come. Of course I was much older than all the students,
teachers, and staff. But I know that I and the other students enjoyed going out to
restaurants, clubs, and bars with them. It was fun.
The program: I think the program was perfectly balanced. In other words, the
academic program was rigorous enough to challenge the student, but not so rigorous
that the student doesn't have time enough to enjoy life in Quepos and Manuel
The home stay: At first I was thinking of living in a hotel because of my age.
Being a little older, I think I have a tendency to be a little fussy and cranky.
However, I can't begin to tell you how glad I am that I chose the home stay. The
family was absolutely fantastic. In fact, we had all become so close that it was
emotionally traumatic for me to leave. I'm sure we will be friends for life.
I just can't believe how quickly my time at school flew. I will miss everyone; the
students, teachers, staff, home stay family, and friends I made in the towns."
Dr. John Carlini, USA
"I've honestly got to admit, that I had no specific reason for chosing THIS school, but definetly don't regret my choice. In the contrary, I had a lot of contact to other students from other schools in Manuel Antonio and believe that my school was or is the best in the region. From the very beginning, this school was more than a school to me; it felt like family. Many activities and meetings were held with the teachers, and their incredible engagement and care ( especially my teacher, Carlos ) were the reason for my feelings. The organisational skills of the director, Pedro, were incredible and definetly contributed to my outstanding view of this school.
It can be difficult to find your way around Costa Rica, therefore you have got to rely on good connections and friends, wherever you are, especially whilst traveling for a longer period of time. Whether you’re looking for a reliable doctor, buying a surfboard, without being ripped off, gaining insight into the nightlife, or last but not least, receiving help with the organisation of a voluntary internship, the school was helpful in every possible way. The classes are exceptional and personal problems with teachers don’t exist, due to a staff rotating system, if you stay longer than a week. Student’s special wishes and ideas were encouraged and nothing seemed impossible.
The final and most convincing aspect of the school ( especially for people who don’t like air conditioning ) is the incredible atmosphere under roofs in the middle of the park-like setting, amidst iguanas and monkeys!
The adventure started here........"
Aram Sander, Germany