Celas Maya Spanish School

Celas Maya Spanish School
6. Calle 14-55, Zona 1
Rank 89%
Prices 290 USD for 25 hours of one-on-one tuition per week including host family with room and full board
224 USD for 25 hours of one-on-one tuition per week without host family
Study one hour daily more or less: add or subtract about USD 10 per week.
School Size 20 – 70 students.
Openings This school currently has openings!
Summary Celas Maya is a dynamic school and is considered one of the best in Central America by the Spanish Instituto Cervantes. This popular school offers customized Spanish language immersion courses at every level of proficiency.
Classes take place in a nice colonial courtyard where teachers and students can work in a relaxed yet focused atmosphere. On the first day of studies, teachers spend quiet some time assessing the Spanish and asking what students need, and then elaborating a weekly program. Some staff members live at the school, and often there develops a close-knit community of teachers and students.

Director Federico Velásquez is probably the most visionary person to run a Spanish School in Guatemala. Proof of this are all the services he offers to students:
- The school has a Lake Atitlán branch in San Pedro La Laguna!
- The school has WiFi on its grounds. There is an internet cafe. (Five hours of free internet access each week are included in tuition).
- a travel agency
- professional online classes.
- Celas Maya is accredited by the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) of Guatemala
- it is one of only two schools in Guatemala that are accredited by the Instituto Cervantes (in Spain). This allows the school to teach and administer the standardized DELE exams. (Preparation courses cost US$247 per week for 25 hours).
- Celas Maya is the only school in Guatemala with the accreditation to administer SIELE exams.
- The school has associations with a number of US universities that send groups to spend a semester at the school!

For professionals seeking a standardized and internationally acknowledged degree, this is the best tuition they can find in Quetzaltenango.

The school is located in Quetzaltenango (also called Xela), a busy town with a nice colonial center. Xela is a good place for Spanish immersion study because of the favorable relation of locals to strangers. Also, it boasts local Maya culture, adventurous volcano trips, and multiple volunteer opportunities.
Founded in 1999 by Federico Velásquez and Leslye Rivera Juárez, both previously teachers.

The school has a maximum capacity of 70 students. Therefore it is advisable even in low season to register in order to get a good teacher.
266 USD for 20 hours per week including host family
200 USD for 20 hours per week without host family
290 USD for 25 hours per week including host family
224 USD for 25 hours per week without host family

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

Celas Maya Spanish School - Details

Teachers 95% of the teachers have a mínimum of 5 years of experience, and receive regular training and workshops for improving teaching standards. They have undergone a training in teaching Spanish as a foreign language from the University of San Carlos. The school draws from the huge pool of under employed university students in Quetzaltenango. ...more
Methods The school uses one-on-on teaching and full immersion like most other schools in Guatemala. The curriculum is well designed and structured. Afternoon activities and host families complement teaching and make learning Spanish in Guatemala so efficient. ...more
Materials Teachers compile their own materials, often including the AMSCO books "Spanish First Year" etc. These books are supplemented by handout sheets with grammar exercises. The school also has a library that contains 75 grammar books, 100 fiction books, 175 non-fiction books and 200 videos. The videos can be watched in the movie room for free.
Special Programs Celas Maya is one of only two schools in Guatemala that is accredited by the Institute Cervantes (in Spain), which allows them to teach and administer the DELE exams. There is a program of medical Spanish and placements for gaining medical experience. There is an established online skype programme for follow-up when students return home. There are also Maya Kiche lessons. ...more
Location Classes are conducted courtyard garden located in a historic, colorful hacienda in the heart of the city. Every student-teacher team can request their own study room. You get free coffee, tea, and purified water. During the morning there is a half hour break with a snack. Teachers, cafe workers and administration readily mingle with students. A number of young teachers, guides and cafe workers live at the school, creating a family ambiance. ...more
Activities Activities during the weeks like films and lectures are included in the tuition fee (excluding bus fares and/or entrance fees). Weekend activities like volcano tours have an extra cost. The school arranges salsa lessons, guitar lessons and volunteer opportunities. For an extra $48 per week you can receive five hours of private salsa lessons. ...more
Host Families Host families are experienced and within easy walking distance of the school. Service includes:
A private, furnished bedroom with a bed, desk, and lamp
Hot water showers
Purified water for drinking at mealtimes (Celas Maya has a water purifier in the school which students use to fill bottles)
Three meals a day, seven days per week
Special menus for students with special needs (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, etc.)
Volunteering Celas maya connects volunteers to host institutions like Caras Alegres, Corazón para los Niños, Hogar Temporal . The school also provides host families for volunteers for $150 per week. ...more
Airport Pick-Up Service Celas Maya makes transportation from the aiport to Xela very easy working with several different companies in Guatemala City:
Patricia´s Bed and Breakfast, Villa Toscana, and Puntual Express. They provide the following services for us:
- Airport pick-up, drop-off at bus station = $10 (per person) Puntal Express
- Airport pick-up, night stay, breakfast, and drop-off at bus station = $25 Patricia´s Bed and Breakfast
- Airport pick-up, night stay, breakfast = $39 Villa Toscana + drop-off at bus station = $10 Puntual Express ...more
How to get there How get there Celas Maya is located about 2.5 blocks west of the Parque Central on Calle 6 between Avenidas 14 and 15.

Students' Feedback

John Willard
07 / 2014
I had a wonderful experience with both my maestro and host family. Celas Maya did a wonderful job of finding just the right maestro to customize my unique needs around liturgical and sacred Spanish in my role as ordained clergy.
The host family have become friends, I will cherish for the rest of my life. The care taken at both the school and host family were remarkable!
School´s Physical conditions were perfectly fine.
05 / 2014
My teacher at Celas Maya was Astrid Aparicio. I studied with her all four weeks because she was very, very good. I did not stay with a family. The program was professional, yet informal. Astrid very much designed the program for my level and learning capabilities and interests.
I very much enjoyed my stay in Quetzaltenango. People were wonderful; I felt safe; and there were nice little cafes to get a coffee or something to drink.
Maja Harris
06 / 2013
I only attended Celas Maya Spanish School for one week; however, I thought it was very worthwhile. My teacher spent time on the first day assessing my Spanish and asked me what I wanted to learn about and then organised a programme for the rest of the week on that basis. He stuck with the programme and I thought he did a very good job.

I thought my host family was very welcoming, especially my host mother. I was sick for a day and she was very caring and helpful.
I only did one afternoon activity. I visited a village close to Xela with a very colourful church and nice view of the surrounding valley. It was enjoyable.
Sara Skinner
09 / 2010
Hi, I decided to go to, Celas Maya Spanish School in Quetzaltenango. I studied for 5 weeks there, during September and October of 2010. My instructor Maggy Mendez, was an excellent English teacher. Study materials were very well prepared. After school activities were excellent, great variety. I got an excellent host family, their name is, Diaz family. I would absolutely recommend the school. I loved my time at Celas Maya and would love to return. Sincerely, Sara.
Els Boeren
09 / 2010
I studied again at Celas Maya Spanish School in Xela. I studied the second time for 2 weeks in September 2010. I had different teachers, but they all were good. Their names were Miriam, Monica and Lucy. Study materials were good. There were a lot of after school activities I liked, so I joined them a lot. It is also possible if you want to go somewhere or to organize something to tell it so they can plan it for you. My host family was fantastic. They are my second family! The first time I lived with them for 3 months. When I came back the second time it was like I came home again. The last name of the family is Aparicio. I would definitely recommend the school to others. Regards, Els.
08 / 2010
I spent four weeks studying at CELAS Maya Spanish School in Quetzaltenango, this past summer, and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. The location was beautiful, and the instructors were extraordinarily friendly and professional. Having studied Spanish ten years ago in college, but not having used it in the meantime, I was looking for a way to recover my lost Spanish. My instructor, Loyola, designed a personalized curriculum to suit my specific needs, and gave me great exposure to Guatemalan and Mayan culture as well. Although, this was my only experience with a Spanish language school in Guatemala, several of the other students indicated how fantastic the school was in comparison to other schools that they had attended.
One thing that separates CELAS Maya from other Spanish language schools is that it is truly a whole-life experience. There were so many interesting evening and weekend activities that a student had to be careful to set aside time for actually practicing Spanish. Whether climbing the Santa Maria volcano at midnight, traveling to Lake Atitlan, visiting Tikal, visiting San Simon in Xecul, San Andres or Zunil, visiting a local women's sewing cooperative, attending a lecture on traditional Mayan homeopathic medicines, visiting a women's prison, participating in cooking lessons for indigenous dishes, taking the weekly salsa dance classes, or attending the weekly graduation party, there was nobody who could not find a lot of diversion through the school outside of class.
The facilities are first-class, and the attached internet cafe is of great convenience, providing a ready-made way to communicate back home to friends and family, whether by internet, email, or Skype.
My host family experience was excellent as well; they made me feel very comfortable, and invited me to return at any time!
I have recommended CELAS Maya to all of my friends and family, and I thoroughly recommend it to any student who wants to grow in his Spanish knowledge, learn about Guatemalan history and culture, and have some fun at the same time. Thank you, Jeffrey.
Blake Learned
08 / 2010
Hi, we attended Celas Maya Spanish School in Xela. We studied for two weeks in August of 2010. Our family had four instructors since there were 4 of us. Their names are, Vivi, Maria, Jessica and Antonieta. Study materials were very good. For after school activities, we traveled on a one trip which was very good. Our host family was excellent!!!! I would definitely recommend the school!!! Regards, Blake.
Anne Schlesinger
08 / 2010
I spent three weeks last August in Guatemala to learn Spanish. The classes I took at Celas Maya Spanish School in Quetzaltenango (Xela), were intense but great! The teachers and other staff were excellent. I was supposed to travel to Guatemala with a group for Spanish immersion, but the others cancelled a week before the trip.
I was very nervous about traveling to Guatemala alone because I did not speak any Spanish. But the school took care of all the details to get me to Xela safely on my own. I was treated with care and utmost respect. When I experienced any difficulties, they were quickly solved by attentive staff members. Each afternoon we were given interesting activities to do as a group, keeping us safe and learning about local culture in Spanish. I am still a beginner, but my Spanish comprehension grew with leaps and bounds!
I highly recommend Celas Maya Language School to others. Sincerely, Anne Schlesinger. California, USA
Jodie Madigan
08 / 2010
I recently returned from 3 weeks studying Spanish at Celas Maya Spanish School in Quetzaltenango. I found the school to be inviting, welcoming and safe. I had 2 different teachers during my 3 weeks there. Both of them were excellent. Very professional, followed guidelines and made my classes interesting. I liked the structure of the classes with a break included and enjoyed the various activities offered by the school after classes. The location was great and the family I stayed with provided me with an enriching cultural experience. The staff were approachable and willing to assist me with anything I required. All in all, an enjoyable and productive experience.
I would (and already have) recommended Celas Maya to others wishing to study Spanish whilst visiting Guatemala. Sincerely, Jodie Madigan.
Heather Curl
07 / 2010
Hi there, I took two and a half weeks of classes at Celas Maya Spanish School in Quetzaltenango (Xela), Guatemala from the end of July to the middle of August, 2010. I had an amazing instructor! Her name is Monica and I hope to return to Celas Maya and work with her again in December. She was a lovely person and taught me a lot. My comprehension improved a great deal and I also got to know her. We made copies most days of homework, and I took time taking notes and learning rules, and then applying them in conversations and/or reading paragraphs (where sometimes the words were quite hard). Each week we would make a study plan and we generally stuck to it pretty well. We also went shopping a few times and I learned a lot of vocabulary that way as well.
The school activities were good - the travel agency, Icaru tours did a great job of supporting students and arranging for trips. Josue who works there is really great and helpful! The smaller activities which Cesar ran were also enjoyable - I particularly liked the afternoon hilkes and/or trips to saunas around the city. It is such a beautful place!
My family was WONDERFUL! I still keep in touch via email with the 12 year old, Tanya, from the family and I plan to stay with them if I return in January. The mom. Aura, and I became particularly close. I also stayed there with another American woman and we all had a party to celebrate the day before I left. Lots of fun! I would definitely recommend the school as I plan to return. I have continued to take spanish classes here throughout this semester at the university where I teach, and so am trying to improve on my own so that I might return and further my learning/speaking abilities. Thanks, Heather.
Ingrid Quigley
07 / 2010
This past summer my husband and I attended Celas Maya Spanish School in Xela, for three weeks from July 19-August 6, 2010. The experience was extraordinary and we speak glowingly to anyone who will listen about the experience. Our host family was extraordinary as were the staff. I had three different teachers over three weeks, following the school's recommendation to get a broader and varied experience. I'm glad I did. Rebecca, Carlos and Norma were all excellent in their unique way and I believe I learned more by changing. Study materials were excellent. The host family was Esmeralda Aparicio, and her three children and two dogs. We loved them! We had many opportunities to practice our Spanish conversation, from talking about mundane needs for our room and meals to discussions about culture, religion, education and politics. The optional afternoon and weekend activities were great, offering time to stay close by and go further out into the region. We would highly recommend Celas Maya Spanish school and most definitely the city of Xela as a place to study. We visited Antigua for a weekend, which we enjoyed very much, but we were glad that our studies were in Xela. Regards, Ingrid.
Anne Howard Lindquist
06 / 2010
Hi, we decided to go to, Celas Maya Spanish School in Quetzaltenango. We studied for 1 week there. Our entire family of 5 got good instructors and enjoyed them very much. Gloria was one of them - wonderful knowledge and soccer enthusiasm! Study materials were basic, but fine. Instructors were resourceful and played some games with the kids. Unfortunately mudslides wrecked the lovely hot springs. We went instead to an outdoor man made pool with hot springs water. Not really so great, looked fairly unsanitary. But it was an interesting experience seeing the countryside. Our host family was pleasant, kind to our children, and quite flexible and helpful. We suggest having 2 blankets per bed as it was quite cold at nights, so we wore lots of clothes to bed. I would recommend the school. A fabulous location and lovely place even in cold, damp weather of June. The tea and bread mid-morning, and the coffee shop for studying were so wonderful. The staff was very pleasant and helpful for our Spanish studies. I suggest the school ask students who are planning to come study to bring donations of games and books in Spanish for kids. A few more games and action would be wonderful for the youngest students, and maybe the older ones too!Sincerely, Anne.
Rob Fuller
06 / 2010
Hello, I have a recommendation for Celas Maya Spanish School in Xela. I studied at three different schools in Guatemala this year (and I've been to language schools in a few other countries too), and Celas Maya was outstanding. Their teachers are all highly experienced (unlike some schools), and the school is very well-organized about defining learning objectives and making sure that students make progress. It's also (I think) the biggest school in Xela, which means there's a good community of students and usually the critical mass they need to organize good activities. I had originally enrolled to attend this school for two weeks, and ended up staying for three months. I'd thoroughly recommend it to anyone. Hope this is helpful to others.... Rob Fuller. Winchester, England.
Jennifer Hess
05 / 2010
Hello, I elected to go to Celas Maya Spanish School in Quetzaltenango. I studied for 2 weeks at this school. I got excellent instructors, their names are Carolina and Ligia. For study materials, the professors had many texts that we worked from and/or copied homework. This school, partners with a local tour company (Icaro) and had weekend trips that tended to be big trips, like to Tikal or the east coast. These trips meant either missing class or rescheduling makeup classes with professors, which I did not wish to do. Activities during the week at the school tended to be great cooking classes, ping pong etc. Some of this was due to Tropical Storm Agatha (at both schools) which created bad weather and washed out roads). I did wish that the school had more 1-day trips on the weekend, like climbing Santa Maria volcano. I did contract with Icaro Tours to go to Chicabal one Sunday. Celas Maya also had weekly evening movies with hot chocolate, and soccer games once a week. The activities program at the school were very similar to other school in Xela, where I have studied several times. This school, also had Thursday lectures. I only attended one, which as a Mayan ceremony and very interesting. I forgot my host family name. The contact was an older Mayan woman named Berta. I liked this school, the program of study, after school activities, quality of education, and families were all excellent... The one thing I missed here was the emphasis on social justice issues that is very present at other school. I would recommend this school. Thank you, Jennifer A. Hess, DC, MPH, PhD
Els Boeren
05 / 2008
I decided to attend Celas Maya Spanish School again when I went back to Quetzaltenango. The first time I was in Xela I stayed at Celas Maya for 4 weeks, two years later I was only able to stay for 2 weeks, but those were the most amazing weeks I ever had. Not only the Spanish teachers and the study materials are really good, but I also, had a lot of fun meeting new people, some of them turned out to be really good friends and doing a lot of different activities with them. Also, my host family was really nice, I ended up staying with them for 3 months. Everyone made me feel so welcomed that, I can say that I found another home and family in Guatemala! Regards, Els.