Guatemaya Spanish School

Guatemaya Spanish School
7 mo. Callejón 1-22, Zona 1
San Pedro, Lake Atitlan
(+502)-4285-5015, 5691-3810
Rank 85.5%
Prices 175 USD for 20 hours of one-on-one tuition per week including host family with room and full board
100 USD for 20 hours of one-on-one tuition per week without host family
Study one hour daily more or less: add or subtract about USD 20 per week.
School Size 1 - 10 students
Openings This school currently has openings!
Summary This small school and its home stays are located in a beautiful part of San Pedro, just up the hill from the lake front and the touristy scene. The school is laid back, enjoyable and fun. Authentic snacks during the coffee break were a nice touch. For those who want to get to know something about Maya Tzutujil culture, Guatemaya Spanish School is especially recommended. Classes are taken on the second floor in a open space overlooking the center of town and the beautiful Lake Atitlán. I know that the view does not help you to learn Spanish, but it is really stupendous.
The school was founded in 2005 and formerly was named Flor del Maiz Spanish School.
Spanish immersion in San Pedro Center is good - you are surrounded by locals who get a kick out of improving your Spanish.
Registration

The school will ask you for a registration fee of $40. Example: You pay your registration fee of $40, and then you only pay $135 instead of $165 for your first week of tuition and host family. The local bank only changes 50 and 100 $-bills! Do not take small bills!

With a timely registration, the school can assign you the best teacher from its list. (Contact us for group discounts).
 Photo Gallery of Guatemaya Spanish School (click here)








Guatemaya Spanish School - Details

Teachers There are 5 permanent teachers. The teachers have an average experience of 5 years minimum. Some of them have gained their experience teaching at other schools. Classes are taken on the second floor in a open space overlooking the center of town and the beautiful Lake Atitlán. ...more
Methods Methods are similar to other schools in Guatemala, one-on-one. Teachers also tailor lessons to meet each student needs. ...more
Materials Photocopied papers, old text books and literature are used in teaching. There is a small library with about 50 books including literature texts.
Location Lessons take place in the top story of a home in San Pedro center. ...more
Activities There are three extracurricular activities per week: a conference, a documentary show, and a dinner for students (every two weeks). ...more
Host Families Host families earn a good $75 per week. You will be placed with one of three experienced Maya Tzutujil families for full immersion. Families host no more than two students at a time during busier periods. Most of the families will go out of their way to make students feel comfortable and welcome to their house. Host families are praised by most students here. ...more
Airport Pick-Up Service Guatemaya offers you two transportation options from the airport to San Pedro: With a private taxi, Guatemaya will pick you up at any time. The price is $130 and the trip will take about 3 hours.
The alternative is public transport in a ′chicken bus′ between 8 AM and 2 PM. The school will send a teacher to meet you, and he/she will pay for the taxi to the bus station and all bus fees. The trip takes about 5 hours. The price for this service is $60.
How to get there How get there If arriving by public transportation, get off at the corner in front of the park and ask locals for the Guatemaya Spanish School. If you arrive by boat, please call the school or take a taxi (tuc-tuc) and ask the driver to take you to the school, up near the central park. Do not take a "guide", because he will ask the school for a percentage of your fee.

Students' Feedback

Kian Fatemi
08 / 2018
I would love to give you some info about Guatemaya Spanish School in San Pedro la Laguna:
I spent 4 weeks at Guatemaya Spanish Academy in San Pedro la Laguna in June 2018. I am a public school teacher from the US with an ESL endorsement who went to up my Spanish skills in order to better communicate with my students' parents. I did extensive research before heading to San Pedro, and I highly recommend going to this town for Spanish as the people are friendly and it is safe for backpackers and families alike. Here is my list of pros and cons for Guatemaya Spanish School:
PROS
-The family homestays are amazing. I stayed with Elena and Miguel who are incredibly kind, generous, and helpful; they are an asset to this school. Other students at the school reported having great homestays as well when they stayed with local families (with one exception: one of the owners, Javier, does a homestay at his house as well, but its more of a hostel situation than a homestay).
-This is one of the cheapest schools in San Pedro.
-The view from the classrooms is great, open air, located in a very local area away from the tourist streets, as accurately depicted in their fotos on the website.
CONS
-The teachers are nice, but some are very unorganized. The teachers need to be guided to meet your needs since they don't use a curriculum or even plan together as a school.
-The school does not appear professional. It's two 'bros' who run a 'school' - not even sure about their accreditation. They are very friendly, though much like a shop owner who is interested in your patronage rather than your personal needs.
-I asked for volunteer work or some sort of community connection as their site advertises, but did not receive any. I asked about Trek for Kids and they explained that one doesn't directly get involved, but proceeds go towards the program (allegedly).
-The website boasts many things that are untrue - for example, it says the school and families all have WiFi, which neither was true; but the fact that they know this makes them dishonest. Also, I experienced the 'weekly traditional dinner' activity only two times in one month.
-I made an appointment to meet with the owners to kindly give feedback, and they blew me off and didn't show. I had to ask repeatedly for a receipt, which I received after several days.
-One owner, Javier, treats some of his teachers disrespectfully. He also teaches classes and half the time he is looking at his phone, uninterested. He is definitely only in this for the business (Spanish schools are a cash cow).
-The other owner, Jose, is a primary school teacher and a great guy; however, the two owners don't communicate well together. For example, I told Jose that I wanted to continue on for two more weeks, but he didn't tell Javier and then Javier booked someone in my spot and I had to move to afternoon classes.
As many advise, the moment you don't like your teacher or school, make the change immediately. I decided not to because I fell in love with my host family. Also, my teacher, Maxi, was great as she's had several years experience at other schools in town, so I got lucky. But ultimately I was unimpressed by how the owners were more interested in my tuition rather than my experience.
In the end, this is a laid back school where travelers can come and learn some quick Spanish from friendly teachers at a good price. However, if you are a serious student with the expectation of professionalism, I would recommend the Cooperativa, Corazon Maya or some other reputable school in town.
Publishers note: Please note that Kian was very happy with his teacher as well as his host family. We apologize for not being able to accommodate Kian during morning classes. The school is small and we had other paid reservations for morning classes first. We apologize for this communication problem and hope to resolve this better in the future.
Lorette Medwell
lcminthesun@yahoo.ca
04 / 2016
Hola! I studied at Guatemaya Spanish School this past Feb. This is the third school I have attended in Guatemala. My experience was very positive. My teacher Jose is excellent & lovely person, informed & open-minded. He helped me progress where needed in my learning, and also taught me a lot about Mayan culture & history.
My host family, the Gonzalez-Tuchs, were wonderful. I did not get the 'boarding house' feeling one sometimes gets, but rather was made to feel like a special friend visiting. Vegetarians will find Conchita very receptive to learning vegetarian options. The two children were well behaved & a treat to be with.
San Pedro has a large touristy area, but if you chose to live with a family, spend time with them, and stay mostly in the locals' town, you will get a full immersion experience, which can not be beat for learning a language.
Lorette Medwell, a Cdn in Florida
Jonathan Rorech
rorechj99@students.ecu.edu
06 / 2014
I was extremely impressed with the Guatemaya Spanish School and the home stay. Both Jose, the director the school, and Javier, my teacher and family host were extremely professional and communicative throughout the entire process. The school and homes are in a beautiful, local part of town, just up the hill from the lake front and the touristy scene. Javier and his family were very welcoming and friendly, providing everything we needed, including 3 meals a day and 7 nights in our own large private room. Their house also has a rooftop patio, providing amazing panoramic views over the town, lake and mountains.
Javier was a very helpful and instrumental part of my learning process, working with me for 4 hours a day, then requiring me to complete 2-3 hours of additional homework and study each evening.
The school itself sits over the lake with wonderful views, water, coffee and snacks. From what I saw and from talking with the other students, all of the teachers did a superb job in their instructional ability with the students.

This school is by far the best place in town for value, experience and a learning environment. Check-in to the school was extremely easy and communicative.
William & Christopher Zang
05 / 2014
Lo pase bien en San Pedro en casa con Javier y su familia en Guatemaya Spanish School. Estudie por una semana en San Pedro y me gusto la ubicacion de la escuela porque no esta en gringolandia. Es decir que cuando estudias en esta escuela estas mas en la zona de los guatemaltecos que con los demas gringos que van para estudiar en San Pedro. El mercado queda muy cerca. La casa de Javier esta conveniente. Su familia es bien agradable tambien. Lola es una mujer graciosa y amigable y ella cocina bien y si tiene algunas preferencias con respecto a la dieta, ella se conforma con tus deseos--por ejemplo yo soy vegetariano y ella me preparo comidas sin carne. En fin, recomiendo que Uds. vayan pa estudiar español en esta escuela. Es una escuela humilde con buenos maestros.
Julia Bale
01 / 2013
My teacher was called Javier and he is also the director of Guatemaya Spanish School (formerly Flor del Maiz Spanish School). He was a really great teacher and a really interesting guy. I learnt so much, along side Spanish language, such as Mayan history and religion, local environmental issues and recent Guatemalan history. We had a salsa class one evening- with the other students, a guided tour of the surrounding area and on the last night a really good bbq and a trip to the fiesta in the next town - lots of fun!
We stayed with Javier and his family, which was really comfortable, great food and friendly.
I would really recommend the school, especially having spoken to other travellers since who studied elsewhere. I loved the fact it was a really small school, so very personal and friendly. It was also laid back enough to be enjoyable and fun but organized enough to learn a lot - they have a really good balance there.
Correspondence with the school was smooth and helpful, despite the very short notice on our behalf.
Anonymous
11 / 2011
Flor del Maiz was a great little school, with a nice view of San Pedro too boot. The instruction was based upon what I wanted to learn rather then the usual format of a language course. Authentic snacks during the coffee break were a nice touch. All in all a really helpful atmosphere and nice place to learn Spanish in.
Ian Green
01 / 2010
I studied at Flor del Maiz Spanish School for 6 weeks last year. I was learning Spanish and after studying in Antigua and Xela I returned to San Pedro as I prefered the school's teaching which was conversational and lesson time passed quickly with my maestro (teacher) who made the most of my Spanish and helped me build it up.
I was keen to do some teaching myself and the school helped me organize a placement in the local school where I supported and "team taught" with their English teacher which was a great experience.
The school offered a really friendly homestay and also helped me arrange local rented accommodation for a month when I decided to stay longer. I have really fond memories of the teachers of Flor del Maiz and would recommend it for a personalized, high quality language learning experience.
Ian Green - England
Pauline Dumont
beau1@ntl.sympatico.ca
01 / 2009
Hello, I had the pleasure of studying two weeks at the school Flor del Maiz in San Pedro. I recommend it for their professionalism, the individual attention and the relaxed ambience. I take home an enriched level of the Spanish language, of Mayan culture and numerous personal discoveries. The school is located in a quiet part of the village and lessons are held in a pretty garden. Though the school supports two Community projects, there is no pressure to participate in them. Several accompanied activities are organized free of charge. I especially appreciated walking in the mountain, visiting points of interests of the village and meeting people at coffee breaks. There was a small beach not far from the school, where I could relax while admiring the nearby volcanoes. It was my third experience of linguistic stay in Latin America and I must confess that it was the best. Pauline Beaubien Dumont. Canada.
Sarah Safford
saffo1953@gamail.com
07 / 2008
I also, had a great week of lessons at Flor del Maiz Spanish School in San Pedro, La Laguna. This is a small, friendly school with a relaxed, unpretentious atmosphere, in a peaceful, beautiful setting. The two men who run the school are excellent people with a strong commitment to social activism and a vision of how they can work toward positive change in their ′Pueblo′, town. My teacher was a lovely young Mayan woman with a good sense of humour and a lot of knowledge about her culture and current events in Guatemala. We had some interesting discussions and I learned a lot of Spanish while building my conversation skills. The family we stayed with was warm and welcoming and they fed us well. I learned how to make tortillas and taught my house mother how to make pesto. There were good snacks and delicious coffee every day and a few fun activities in the afternoons. My godson and I also volunteered in the organic garden, learning about the reforestation projects and growing local produce. The total experience was wonderful and I would recommend this school highly for anyone interested in an authentic immersion in Spanish language and Guatemalan culture. Gracias, Sarah.
Elaine Toogood
elainetoogood@yahoo.com.au
10 / 2006
Hi, I ended up choosing a school called Flor Del Maiz in San Pedro. I studied there for 3 weeks and stayed with a host family. My teacher was excellent and the family stay really wonderful. The school has some great programs happening with children and growing organic food for sustainable community development. All the people studying at the school were great and we had many family meals together, dancing, lake visits etc. I highly recommend this school!! Thanks, Elaine
Jessie McVeagh
jessiemcv@yahoo.com.au
04 / 2005
Now I am studying at Flor Del Maiz also in San Pedro. I have been here now for about three months, as this school not only teaches the Spanish language, but the teachers have an interest in sharing their Tzutujil-Mayan culture, conservation, organic gardening, and political issues. Yes, that′s why I moved schools when Jose did. The family was fine, great food, but the location was very noisy, and I moved to my own rented room.