What is the World Saying about Habla Ya?
Featured on Share and Travel, July 2015.
"Combining learning Spanish (which makes you feel like you're achieving something) with the Bocas feeling of having to achieve nothing at all is why Bocas gave me something that could probably compete for being the time of my life."
As seen on the BBC Travel Show, August 2014 (featured at MINUTE 7)
Featured on Go Blue Central America GeoTourism MapGuide, by National Geographic, July 2013.
"Habla Ya Spanish School in Bocas del Toro offers world-class accredited Spanish learning by the Instituto Cervantes, using only professionally qualified native Panamanian teachers. Through their Spanish immersion program, students often choose to live with local host families, providing the most authentic cultural experience and superior opportunity to practice Spanish as it is really spoken, whilst also contributing directly to the welfare of the local community. Those who prefer more privacy can also stay at several hotels within different budgets at discounted rates."
Report from The Blonde Abroad, by Kiersten Rich, June 2013.
"I had an awesome experience taking Spanish lessons at Habla Ya. Whether you're a beginner, have experience, want private lessons, or want to enroll in a full language program, there's something for everyone."
Report from Matador Network, by Camden Luxford, March 2011.
"When I first started looking for Spanish schools to attend in Latin America, I was blown away by the difficulty of the decision. I weighed a million factors from the school's reputability and accreditation to local cost of living and even the number of gringos whom might distract me from the language at hand. Now that I've lived over a year in the region, the decision doesn't seem so overwhelming any more – I just wish I was starting from scratch again to enjoy the amazing programs on offer! In this article, I'm biased towards schools with cultural or volunteer programs, because they provide an excellent opportunity to practice and "live" Spanish. I also lean towards regions with a clearer accent (I'm afraid you won't be finding any Argentinian schools in this list!) I've listed accreditation for non-university institutes- for the uninitiated, Instituto Cervantes is the most prestigious. 4. Panama: Habla Ya Spanish School, Boquete. In addition to intensive Spanish courses, Habla Ya offers a range of social and cultural activities such as ecotours and adventure excursions, movie nights, charity quizzes and theme parties, latin dance and road trips. They take a communicative, conversational approach to classes."
Report from the Language Travel Magazine, by Gillian Evans, August 2010.
"In Panama, Habla Ya Spanish School also offers a rich cornucopia of experiences to get to know the country and its people. Besides the obvious immersion programme, where students get to live with a local host family, and weekly conversational sessions, where students get together with locals and each get a chance to practice their language skills, Habla Ya also provides volunteer placement services. In contrast with Costa Rica, Panama remains relatively untouched by tourism. Panama has many places where you just cannot shake off the feeling that you're the first person to be there. Panama is the path less travelled and many people are attracted to Panama because there are so many beautiful places that are completely untouched and pristine. Boquete is a natural choice for a Spanish language school. It has a charming rural feel of tranquility and peace which is ideal for someone wanting to relax and study. The town's 1000 meters above sea level takes 10 degrees celcius of Panama's average temperature and the opportunities for outdoor activites are literally endless... it comes to no wonder that Boquete is now considered Panama'as Eco-Adventure Capital."
Report from the The Statesman (Austin, Texas Newspaper), by John DeFore, July 2010.
"Luckily, my second school offered just this environment. In the cool, lush mountain town of Boquete, I lived for a week with a socially active couple who didn't speak a word of English. Francisco was a handsome rancher whose multiple businesses kept him hustling; his wife, Guadalupe, was the kind of matriarch who will gossip with you even when she knows you only get 15 USD percent of what she's dishing. I liked them immediately and was motivated to stretch the limits of my Spanish to keep up with them and their extended family, who visited often. The Habla Ya school there had the best reputation of any organization I researched - something I considered strange because Boquete is far from larger tourist centers like the capital and the burgeoning Bocas Del Toro beach zone. But the large, youthful staff here is as serious about ensuring students' enjoyment of their stay as about finding classroom methods that work for everyone. Headquartered in the town's most modern office center, they organize activities like white-water rafting, zipline tours of nearby forests and tours of Boquete's world-famous coffee plantations. (Gourmet coffee is free for students throughout the day - a good perk when you're trying to survive 24/7 without relying on your mother tongue.) Habla Ya catered to groups of visitors (like a gaggle of sorority sisters whose class was down the hall from mine) and to loners, four of whom made up my class. Our comfort levels with Spanish varied, but my instructor Ismenia made the most of that, pacing interactions with students so we'd learn from each other's progress as well as from her. Though Boquete is minuscule compared with Panama City, I would happily have spent far more time in the smaller town. Evidently, plenty of other Yankees feel the same: The area, with its public gardens full of exotic flowers, its nearby hot springs and its proximity to attractions like the dormant Baru volcano, has been picked as a top retirement spot by some American magazines. There's enough natural beauty to soak up in Boquete to make the challenge of learning a language less daunting even for a lingo-phobe like me. No, a week there didn't leave me able to watch Almodóvar films without subtitles. But it showed me how much I can digest in a short time, given a conducive environment - and introduced me to enough fascinating people and places to remind me how worthwhile learning another language is."
Report from The Sydney Morning Herald, January 2010.
"Rural and idyllic, the highland town of Boquete is the place to base yourself if you like long walks in the verdant countryside, quiet evenings and fine coffee from the award-winning local plantations.
Panamanians say Boquete has changed beyond all recognition in the past decade because of the influx of elderly Americans retiring there. But it's still a sleepy place and Spanish is, by far, the dominant language used on the streets. Boquete's highly rated Habla Ya Panama Spanish School (hablayapanama.com) offers a selection of tailor-made courses, with discounts the longer you stay."
5 stars from About.com Central America Travel, by Kirsten Hubbard, September 28, 2009.
"I had the chance to experience Spanish lessons at Habla Ya Spanish School in Boquete, Panama, and let me tell you -- if you're looking to study Spanish in Central America, Habla Ya should top your list. The Bottom Line: top-quality Spanish teachers, flexible lessons, a comfortable yet stylish space, and cultural immersion activities every day of the week make Habla Ya Panama not just the preeminent Spanish school in the country, but one of the best in Latin America. Fully recommended."
From Abroad 101, by Martha Staid, October 6, 2009.
"Whether you're planning to study abroad or just want to travel somewhere cheap and off-the-beaten-path, Central America is a great destination. Here are five top places to visit, and things to do there. All of these towns are easily walkable and have Spanish language schools, if you want to brush up on your español or start from scratch.
1. Boquete, Panama. Get out of the heat of Panama City in this laid-back town in the (very pretty) highlands. You can take small, personalized Spanish classes at the super-friendly Habla Ya Spanish School, or just let them arrange your activities: rafting, hikes, dance lessons, volunteering and more. They offer homestays with local families, too..."
From the Lonely Planet Travel Guides, Panama, 4th Edition, by Matthew Firestone, November 2007.
"The reader-recommended Habla Ya Language Center (tel. 730 - 8344); www.hablayapanama.com; Central Av.) offers both group and private lessons. Five hours of group/private lessons starts at $50/$75, though significant discounts are given for lengthier programs - 25 hours of group/private lessons is only $200/$300. The language school is well-connected to local businesses, so students can take advantage of discounts on everything from accommodations to tours."
From Frommer's Guide Books, Panama, 2nd Edition, by Jisel Perilla, December 31, 2008. This extract was also published on the online version of The New York Times under Spanish Language Programs.
"Habla Ya Language Center, located on Avenida Central above the Global Bank (tel. 730 - 8344; www.hablayapanama.com), offers intensive "survival" Spanish courses, as well as more advanced conversational and fluency courses. Beginner survival courses are ideal for the traveling monolinguals with little time in Boquete but who'd love to speak enough to get around; weekly group classes cost $46 for 5 hours, $170 for 20 hours; weekly private courses cost $75 for 5 hours and $260 for 20 hours. If you plan to spend a lot of time in Boquete, note that the institute offers dance classes and other activities."
From Moon Handbooks, Panama, 2nd Edition, by William Friar, November 2008.
"The Habla Ya Language School (Los Establos Plaza, tel. 730 - 8344, cell 6480-4506, www.hablayapanama.com, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. Mon. - Fri., 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sat., closed Sun.) offers a flexible menu of Spanish courses that includes an ultra-compressed "Spanish for Travelers" package (10 - 20 hours over 2 - 5 days), beginner crash courses, and longer-term, total-immersion packages that can include homestays with local families. Prices are per hour, starting at US$105.95 (group class) or US$150 (private lessons) for 10 hours. Special offers are sometimes available. Free extras at the school include a café with wireless Internet, Wednesday-night Spanish-language movies, conversational sessions, and Saturday afternoon salsa and merengue lessons. The school can also arrange lodging, field trips, and outdoor adventures."