The entire country of Panama, having a total population of almost 4 million (just as the city of Los Angeles) and a surface of only 75,515 km2 (about the size of the State of Maine in the USA), is a relatively small Central American country, so choosing where to study Spanish in Panama shouldn't really be a difficult task... so let's get to it!
Panama has Spanish schools in Panama City, Boquete, Bocas del Toro and Pedasí, so when deciding where to go there are mainly two factors that you should take into account:
- the environment that will surround you during your Spanish learning program
- the quality of the Spanish school
You can always divide your study time and get to experience different parts of Panama. In Panama you can study Spanish by the beach (Bocas del Toro or Pedasi), learn Spanish in the mountains (Boquete) and yet decide to improve your Spanish skills in Latin America's most cosmopolitan city (Panama City), but it's nice to be able to picture yourself in each scenario, specially if you're limited on time (or budget) and can't go to all of them and would prefer to focus on a couple, or at least you want to make sure that you'll spend more time in the most suitable place for you.
Spanish in Bocas del Toro
Spanish in Bocas del Toro is for those who dream about warm and turquoise Caribbean waters, white sand beaches, abundant wildlife (dolphins, turtles, toucans, monkeys, coral, tropical fish, and more), a funky island nightlife and water sports such as surfing, scuba diving, sea kayaking, snorkeling, or just taking in the sun with a cold beer or chilling out at the beach.
Check out our video about studying Spanish by the beach in Bocas del Toro!
Spanish in Boquete
Spanish in Boquete is for you if you love the mountains, being outdoors, fresh air (not hot as in the lowlands) and all the adventures that come from being in a cloud forest such as hiking (lots of it!), rafting, kayaking, coffee tours, horseback riding, hot springs, ziplining, mountain biking, etc.
Check out our video about studying Spanish in the mountains of Boquete!
Spanish in Panama City
Spanish in Panama City on the other hand is perfect if you're looking looking for a cosmopolitan city life, with fine dining, trendy art and music shows, an abundance of colonial culture, architecture and historic ruins, first class shopping malls with all the major electronic brands and clothing from the top fashion capitals across the globe. You can't miss The Panama Canal, Casco Viejo and Frank Gehry's Bio Museum. It also doesn't hurt that the Kuna's San Blas Islands, Taboga, El Valle or Las Perlas are easy weekend trip away.
In Panama City, just like at any other major city, you'll be able to find something for everyone
The Casco Viejo in Panama City is full of colonial history
Spanish in Pedasi
Spanish in Pedasi is a window to Panama's past. Rural Pedasi is a quaint and sleepy fishing village which makes the perfect base to explore the Azuero Peninsula, its traditions, culture and coasts. Also worth mentioning good surfing, big game fishing and other water sports.
In simplistic terms, the environment that you're looking for can be summarized as follows:
- Spanish in Bocas del Toro if you're looking to learn Spanish by the beach with a Caribbean island vibe
- Spanish in Boquete if you're looking to learn Spanish in the mountains with plenty of outdoor activities and eco-adventures
- Spanish in Panama City City if you're looking for a vibrant city life, colonial culture and architecture, art, fashion and shopping
- Spanish in Pedasi if you're looking for a peaceful destination, off the beaten path, with plenty of culture and traditions, and easy access to the coast
Now, the quality of each Spanish school can be determined by:
- its certifications
- and the reviews and ratings it's received from former students
In the case of Habla Ya Spanish School in Bocas del Toro and Habla Ya Spanish School in Boquete, both are Official DELE Examination Centers (the most prestigious certification you can obtain to demonstrate your command of the Spanish language) and both are accredited by the Instituto Cervantes, the worldwide authority when it comes to Spanish learning. Habla Ya Spanish School in Panama City, the newest addition to Habla Ya's network of Spanish schools, is currently in the process of also becoming certified. You can find more about Habla Ya's accreditations by clicking here...
In regards a Spanish school's ratings, there are a series of independent sites that collect and publish students' reviews such as:
- MyLanguageTravel.com: language school reviews by the students, for the students
- Trip Advisor: reviews and advice on hotels, resorts, flights, vacation rentals, travel packages, and lots more!
- 123TeachMe: Spanish Language Schools Directory
Once you're in those sites, you can also search for other schools' reviews.
You should also ask about the school's Spanish teachers:
- if they have university degrees related to languages
- what type of training they receive
- how many years of experience do they have teaching Spanish as a foreign language and for how long have they been working at the same school
- if they are hired full time as opposed to "on demand"
Many Spanish schools in Central America pay their employees by the hour or hire more teachers during high season. This can lead to students being forced into groups of a different level than their own (as under this scheme it's more profitable to have less teachers) and teachers being laid off during low season and thus working without proper training and inspiration.
Full time employed Spanish teachers with proper training and good salaries = happy teachers... and happy teachers = happy students who learn Spanish fast!
So basically that is our advice: think about the type of location you'd like to experience during your Spanish learning program, and then choose a quality Spanish school.
Panama has it all and if you want to learn Spanish in Central America it's always possible to combine several Spanish learning destinations to make up the perfect Spanish learning vacation!
And to make your research about where to learn Spanish in Panama even easier, as follows is a list of Spanish schools in Panama that are currently in operation (those who have a website but are effectively closed, aren't listed here):
- Spanish Schools in Panama City: Habla Ya Panama City Spanish School, ILERI, Spanish Panama, EPA and Casco Antiguo Spanish School
- Spanish Schools in Bocas del Toro: Habla Ya Bocas del Toro Spanish School and Spanish by the Sea
- Spanish Schools in Boquete: Habla Ya Boquete Spanish School and Spanish by the River
- Spanish School in Pedasi: Buena Vida Language School
If you were to ask us, go to ALL OF THEM as each show a very different, beautiful and unique side of Panama. Obviously if you're a beach type of person, spend more time in Bocas or Pedasi, or if you're into outdoor adventures, Boquete is for you, but the fact is you should really try spending a week at least in each location, and there will be no loss to your academic program (while studying at Habla Ya Schools in Boquete, Bocas and Panama City that is).
So, don't miss your chance to experience an exciting and authentic Spanish immersion program with one of Central America's most and best reviewed network of Spanish schools...
Small groups of students (average 3 - 4 per class, maximum 6) with classmates of your same level, ensure that you will receive the personalized attention required to learn Spanish fast! It also doesn't hurt that all of our teachers have university degrees related to languages and that we are accredited by the Instituto Cervantes, the worldwide authority in teaching Spanish as a foreign language. Spanish class at Habla Ya Boquete.