I can seriously recommend Intercultura, I had 12 weeks in Heredia with a fab family and then followed that by 3 weeks in Samara where I surfed every day and kayaked and hired a 4x4 and did yoga at school every day and I have now returned to Heredia for what was supposed to be my final week but I loved Samara so much I will return in 2 weeks as I have to leave the country as 90 days have passed.... the school is serious... you get 4 hours of class every day and homework every night and an exam every Friday which you need to pass in order to move up the ladder.
There are dance classes and movies and weekend trips which I have taken and they are fantastic. There are also trips to San Jose to the museums and theatre and also cookery and jewellery classes which I have enjoyed.... I did not stay with a family in Samara as I chose a hotel so I cannot comment on that. I hope this is sufficient information for you Kim. By the way I am 42 years of age and I am doing this for myself not university (obviously!!!). So, good luck in your endeavours and if you should have any more questions feel free to ask. Also I had zero Spanish when I arrived but after 14 weeks I have learned so much.
THE ABOVE EMAIL WAS A RESPONSE TO THE FOLLOWING INQUIRY:
My name is Kim and I am a 20-year old Canadian searching for the best opportunity in Central America for studying Spanish. I am very interested in Intercultura Costa Rica. What were the pros and cons during your stay? Did you earn credit for university? Were the teachers very qualified and the classes serious? How did you find activities while there? Did you like the town and the beach? Is it possible and affordable to surf in Samara (that's my dream!)? Did you volunteer there? Do you think it could get a tad boring or repetitive after seven weeks (I have lots of credits to earn, lucky me)? How was the homestay?
Have you heard of any other great Spanish schools which combine serious academics and a beautiful location (preferably beach or surf)? I would really appreciate any help! Thanks so much and espero que pase un buen dia!