Frequently Asked Questions
Choosing the right Spanish school is certainly not an easy task. But we are here to help and address your questions and concerns!
Below we have listed the questions we are most frequently asked and you might find the information you are looking for right here.
But if you have questions that are not answered here or you need to discuss specific details of your course, you are most welcome to get in touch with us anytime. You can
- fill out the contact form or send us an email
- send us a message on Facebook or Twitter
- call us on the phone at (+502) 7832-3440 anytime from 8 am to 5 pm Mon-Fri, 9 am to 1 pm Sat – we are on Central Time (GMT -6 hours) year round
- contact us on Skype; we are customerserviceixchel
- or if you are in Antigua already, just come by and we'll chat – we are on 9a Calle Oriente #5
view a map of Antigua Guatemala
We look forward to hearing from you!
Ixchel Spanish School
How long has Ixchel Spanish school been in business?
Ixchel Spanish School was founded in 1999. In just a few years we've become one of the leading Spanish schools in Antigua Guatemala due to the quality of our Spanish courses, our innovative teaching techniques, and our professional organization.
Is Ixchel Spanish School registered with the Guatemalan Ministry of Education?
Yes, the school is registered with the Guatemalan Ministry of Education (registration number 125-2002). We are also registered with INGUAT, the Guatemalan Tourism Institute (registration number 640-2002-D).
Additionally, Ixchel is accredited by Universidad Da Vinci de Guatemala, a private university in Guatemala City. Our cooperation with Universidad Da Vinci allows us to offer Spanish courses with college/university credits.
Where exactly is Ixchel Spanish School located?
The school is located on 9a Calle Oriente #5. The Central Park is only five city blocks away and just about any place of interest in Antigua is within easy walking distance.
View our location on a map of Antigua Guatemala
How do you pronounce "Ixchel"?
ee-CHEL. Pretty much like "eat shell" spoken rapidly.
Can I call you on the phone or on Skype?
Certainly! Our phone number is (+502) 7832-3440 and our Skype name is customerserviceixchel. You can reach us from 8 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday, and from 9 am to 1 pm on Saturdays.
How many students do you normally have?
The number of students varies from week to week. During the high season (early June through mid August) we usually have about 30 to 35 students, during the rest of the year about 20 to 25. In a really slow week, the number can dip down to 15, but rarely lower than that.
Do you provide internet access?
Yes, we have wi-fi throughout the school that students can use free of charge whenever we're open. We also have a couple of computers available for students who don't want to bring their own laptop or wi-fi enabled mobile device.
Can I buy lunch or snacks in the school or nearby?
Yes, we have a small cafeteria right here in the school where you can buy breakfast, lunch, sandwiches and snacks. The cafeteria is open whenever the school is open.
Immersion Spanish Courses
Do I have to begin my course on Monday or can I start on any day of the week?
Unlike other Spanish school in Antigua, we are very flexible with our schedules and allow our students to begin their courses whenever it's convenient for them. You can begin on any day of the week, even on Saturday or Sunday.
Can I have classes on Saturday and/or Sunday?
Yes, if you are in a hurry or have only a short time in Antigua, we can arrange for you to have classes on Saturday and/or Sunday. We recommend, however, that you take off at least one day per week. You can't study all the time!
How can I pay for my course? Do you accept credit cards?
You can pay with US dollars or Guatemalan Quetzals. We also accept all major credit cards, but due to the high bank fees for card processing in Guatemala, credit card payments carry an 8 percent surcharge.
Can I get college/university credits for courses I take at the Ixchel Spanish School?
Yes, you can! We have special courses that are accredited by the Universidad Da Vinci de Guatemala, a private and highly respected university in Guatemala City. Credits you receive for those courses can be transferred to many colleges and universities worldwide. Please see our page about college/university credits for details.
Can I change my teacher if we don't get along?
Certainly! We want you to be happy and enjoy your classes. While our teachers are well-trained and very competent, we recognize of course that there are personality conflicts occasionally. Requests to change teachers are rare at the Ixchel Spanish School, but if you want to change, we can usually give you another teacher from one day to the next.
Do I need to bring textbooks and a dictionary?
We provide all the class materials you need, so bringing textbooks is not necessary. A dictionary is something no Spanish student can do without; we can lend you one for the duration of your classes if need be, but we recommend you get your own dictionary and bring it. You can also buy one in Antigua, but while Spanish-English dictionaries are readily available, other languages are hard to find here.
Can I change my schedule if I find it's too much for me or not enough?
Yes, absolutely! If you feel that another schedule would be more beneficial to you, you can change the following week; or even the following day, if need be.
How long in advance do I need to sign up?
Normally, a week or two in advance will be fine. If you plan to be in Antigua during the high season – Christmas to New Year, Easter week, and June through August – we recommend you sign up as early as practical.
Family Homestay and Other Accommodations
If I live with a family, will I have a private room or will I have to share my room with other students?
We arrange a private room for each student and you won't have to share your room with anyone unless you want to. We do have double rooms available for couples, though.
Is there a curfew when staying with a family?
No, there is no curfew. You will get a key to your room and to the house and can come and go as you please.
How far from the school are the host families?
Most of our host families are located within five city blocks from the school. At peak times it might be necessary to place you with a family that's a little further away, but in any case your family will be within easy walking distance.
Can my host family provide vegetarian meals?
Certainly. Just let us know when you fill out the registration form and we'll advise your host family accordingly.
Can I change my host family if I don't like the place?
We work with a variety of host families and if you are not comfortable with the one we place you with, we can move you to another one from one day to the next. Our host families are carefully selected and provide good service, however, and requests to change families are actually quite rare.
Can you place me with a family with children?
Yes, we have several host families with children of all age groups. Just note your preferences on the registration form when you sign up.
I'm allergic to cats. Can you place me in a home without pets?
Yes, certainly. Just advise us of any allergies and/or special requirements when you sign up and we'll select your host family accordingly.
Can I request a specific host family that a friend of mine stayed with and recommended?
Sure! If the family has a room available at the time, we'll be happy to place you with them.
Will my host family provide Internet access?
No, the host families don't provide Internet access. We do have wi-fi in the school, though, and there are many internet cafes in town, so going online is not a problem in Antigua.
Will my host family provide laundry service?
No, the host families don't provide laundry service. There are several commercial laundries in Antigua, though, where you can take your clothes in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon. They wash, dry and fold your clothes for less than a dollar per pound.
I'd prefer to stay at a hotel. Can you make arrangements for me?
Yes, there are plenty of hotels in Antigua, from basic budget hotels to five stars, and we'll be happy to make a reservation for you. Just let us know what kind of hotel you're looking for and what your budget is. Many hotels are booked out far in advance during high season, though, especially during Easter week, around Christmas and from mid-June thru mid-August, so you'll want to make your arrangements as early as practical.
Traveling to Antigua Guatemala
Which airport is closest to Antigua Guatemala?
The closest airport is La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City (airport code GUA), which is about 45 km (30 miles) from Antigua. Do not book a flight to Antigua Bird International Airport (airport code ANU) – that one is located on the island of Antigua in the Caribbean.
How do I get from the airport in Guatemala City to Antigua?
The easiest way to get here is to give us your flight details on the registration form and we'll send our driver to pick you up at the airport. We can pick you up anytime, day or night, and take you directly to your accommodations in Antigua. Please see the price list for the current price of the airport pickup service.
Other options would be to take a taxi or minibus from the airport to Antigua. Finally, you could also take a public bus, but that's definitely not for the faint of heart, especially if you carry a lot of luggage or arrive after dark.
If I book your airport pickup service, how will I recognize the person who meets me at the airport?
Our driver will be waiting for you at the exit of the arrival area (there is only one), holding a sign with your name. In case your flight is delayed, he will wait for you.
Which airline do you recommend I use to fly to Guatemala?
Several U.S. and international airlines offer direct flights from cities in the U.S., Europe and Latin America to Guatemala. Which one will be most convenient for you will depend on where you live. We have listed all airlines with direct flights to Guatemala on one of our resources pages so you can check them out yourself. Your travel agent will also be able to recommend the most convenient connections.
Do I need a visa to enter Guatemala?
Probably not. North Americans and citizens of most European countries just get their passports stamped at the airport or border crossing, which allows them to stay in Guatemala for up to 90 days. If you are in doubt, you can visit the website of the Guatemalan Immigration Office and check the entry requirements for citizens of your home country.
Do I have to take malaria pills while in Guatemala?
If you stay only in Antigua, malaria prophylactics are not necessary since there is no malaria here. Even in the lowlands – the coastal plains on the Pacific and Caribbean costs, and the Peten department, where Tikal is located – malaria is very rare and few travelers take malaria pills before they travel there. However, you might want to discuss this subject with your physician or healthcare provider to get more definitive advice.
Is Antigua Guatemala safe for travelers?
Yes, it is! In fact, Antigua Guatemala is much safer than larger cities in North and Latin America. We have our share of petty criminals, of course, pickpockets and bag snatchers mostly, but violent crime is extremely rare here. If you apply some basic precautions as you would do anywhere in the world, even in your home town, you are very unlikely to have any problems in Antigua Guatemala.
Which other places in Guatemala do you recommend I visit?
That really depends on your interests. If you're interested in Mayan history, you should definitely visit Tikal and maybe also Copan in Honduras. Lake Atitlan is also a favorite with many visitors since it's considered one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. The beach in Monterrico is also very popular, and of course the Pacaya volcano.
There are many other interesting places and we can arrange tours to any destination in Guatemala and neighboring countries for you.
What Our Students Say ...
The Ixchel Spanish School in Antigua is a great place to learn Spanish. The school is about five minutes away from the plaza.
My room was huge, two beds, television, big bathroom and very clean. The school also has two terraces with great view of the three volcanoes by which Antigua is surrounded. The food and personality of Ana, the hostess of the homestay situated in the school itself, are simply amazing. I found that the homestay is, apart from “extra Spanish lessons”, a great way to learn more about Guatemalan food.
The rest of the staff also are very nice, friendly, helpful, and fun people. I had some great time with them during small parties at the school.
Coen van Berkel, Netherlands