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“We began as a tiny enterprise, with four classrooms, the reception and a dance room. Adelita was the Spanish teacher and homestay coordinator, while Laura was the activities planner, marketing coordinator and occasional teacher.”

Laura Ellington and Adelita Jiménez

intercultura heredia campus


We (Laura Ellington and Adelita Jiménez) founded our language school in Heredia at the end of 1993, based on our experiences studying at and working in schools and NGOs, taking the best ideas from each area and combining them with our own vision of what a language and cultural immersion program should look like and how it should relate to the community where it is hosted. Academic excellence, cultural integration, business transparency, social responsibility, integrity and sustainable development were some of the ideals that informed our thinking and the school along the way.

We began as a tiny enterprise, with four classrooms, the reception and a dance room. Adelita was the Spanish teacher and homestay coordinator, while Laura was the activities planner, marketing coordinator and occasional teacher. We were also receptionists, cleaning ladies, messengers and any other position that needed filling! We had a lot of great people help us out along the way, from our staff and various collaborators to the owners of both our current properties, who sold them to us purely on trust and the strength of an IOU.

Ten years later, the school had grown organically from a one story house into a two-story center comprising three buildings, gardens, a full staff, and hosting Spanish immersion programs for foreigners from around the world as well as low-cost English classes for the local community. Intercultura's English Department is now our Foreign Languages Department, with a large number of tico students who have the chance to interact with our foreign students in our conversational exchanges "intercambios".
intercultura heredia campus


After running week-long beach programs in Dominical and Jacó, we decided in 2001 to look for our ideal setting; one that offered a beautiful, safe beach, a predominantly Tico community, and a place where we could make a positive impact with our community development-orientated project model. We have found it in beautiful Playa Sámara, where we quickly integrated into the community, and by 2004 had expanded the one-week per month program into a permanent campus right on the beach, with the generosity of one of our homestay mothers and the community as a whole, who from the beginning believed in the project and the benefits it could bring the community.

Today we are proud to have founded the Sámara non-profit CREAR association for local kids, to participate in community development projects and serve actively in the social and communal activities that help shape the future of this beautiful area.


Read more about how Intercultura got started by reading the article “Living in Costa Rica: An Immigrant’s Story” written by our founding director Laura Ellington.

Why Intercultura Costa Rica?

Widely recognized as one of the top language schools in Costa Rica, Intercultura has a variety of Spanish programs for all ages and learners.

You can learn Spanish in Costa Rica with Intercultura’s internationally recognized Spanish programs, offered year-round at both city and beach campuses. Each Spanish course is designed for full immersion in real-life contexts and social interactions.


Fun & Effective Spanish Courses

Our primary goal is to teach you the Spanish language in a warm yet intellectually challenging environment. Classes at both of our campuses – Heredia city and Playa Samara – are conducted entirely in Spanish, providing students from all over the world with a complete and intensive learning experience.

Dynamic, licensed & accredited spanish professors

Intercultura’s professors have advanced university degrees and teaching certification, and we are accredited through the US university system, offering undergraduate academic credit to those interested.

A Unique Language Learning Approach

The communicative approach in a total immersion context is the most effective method for learning Spanish quickly. Classes are dynamic, interactive, and structured to maximize the language acquisition process in our immersion programs with small classes and 18 different levels.

Exciting cultural activities program

You’ll get to know Costa Rica, its traditions and its rich cultural heritage by participating in our daily cultural activities and events. On a larger scale, we hope to promote global awareness and tolerance through this sharing of cultures. We believe that participation in programs such as this one teach not only a new language, but also effective tools for communication and understanding in the constantly evolving world culture in which we live.


The quality of our Spanish programs is among the highest in Costa Rica and Latin America, as evidenced by our references: We have been received students from Duke University, the World Health Organization WHO, Fulbright Commission teaching programs, the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS), the University of Connecticut, the University of Washington, the European Commission, the Costa Rican Consulate in the US, Colorado University, Collège de Maisonneuve, HEBO (Holland), the University of North Carolina, and more.