Spanish School Jabel Tinamit

Spanish School Jabel Tinamit
Callejón Las Armonias
Panajachel, Lake Atitlan
+502 4244 0047
Rank 91%
Prices 275 USD for 20 hours of one-on-one tuition per week including host family with room and full board
150 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 15-35 students
Openings The school is always pretty occupied, especially so during high season. Please register in advance!
Summary Jabel Tinamit is a highly recommended Spanish school at the beautiful Lake Atitlán, situated opposite the Catholic Church in the "real" part of Panajachel. From here, you can explore the lake, and are near to attractions like Chichicastenango, Iximché and Los Tarrales. The school is well managed by a Mayan couple in Panajachel, Gregorio and Candelaria. They have many years of experienced teaching the Spanish language to foreigners as a second language. You can stay in welcoming host families and enjoy a host of interesting activities. The school has several computers and free internet and WIFI for students. It also offers an educational program to indigenous youth as part of their service to the community. The owners are very active in improving life in Panajachel and recommend students to volunteer jobs in local NGOs. After returning home you can refresh your classes very professionally via Skype.
Founded in 1997.
Total immersion: You get very near to it with this school, which is off the beaten track of Panajachel.

Please be aware that the schools fee, $200 per week, is the reduced fee for students who register paying $30. Students arriving without registering pay the normal fee, $210 per week. Registration helps us to contract good teachers.

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

Spanish School Jabel Tinamit - Details

Teachers The teachers are well trained with a lot of experience. They are able to encourage conversation as well as make use of grammar drills. They are able to remember what you know and build on it each day. ...more
Methods Each student is assessed with an initial test to determine what Spanish they already know. Then the teacher works with the student to plan what to study. There are periodic tests to be sure that you are ready to move on. The teachers have a good knowledge of English vocabulary and Spanish grammar. You receive a reasonable amount of homework each day. At the end of your stay teachers advise you on how to study back home. ...more
Materials The school has a reasonable amount of materials which they use in class. At times they print out worksheets for homework. There is a comprehensive school library of over 200 Spanish grammar and exercise books.
Special Programs The school has several teachers with the gift to teach children of all ages (starting with four years!). Panajachel is a safe place and this makes the school a good place for your family.
The school has a professional program for online studies via Skype. It costs $90 (10 hours) or $170 (20 hours). Studying online gives you the flexibility to learn from home at a time that suits you. Teachers are well-trained and punctual. It is especially recommended to refresh your Spanish.
Location Jabel Tinamit has a beautiful new building in the "real" part of Panajachel - away from Calle Santander which is very touristy. The classrooms are clean, airy and spacious, there is a well maintained garden and a rooftop terrace for beautiful views. The garden feels like a little oasis from the town. Water and tea/coffee is always available. ...more
Activities Every afternoon at 2 pm there is an activity like salsa classes, visiting a butterfly farm, a Mayan market, watching a movie about the civil war etc. Other options are Mayan dancing, boat trips and a trip to a ceremonial cave. You can also request shopping assistance in Panajachel downtown. It is hard to find a place in Guatemala with so many attractive sites in the vicinity. During the weekends, there are trips to Chichicastenango, Los Tarrales Nature reserve, Iximché, a tour on Volcano San Pedro and other options available. These have an additional cost.
Host Families Staying with host families is another way to boost contact with the local community and to practice your Spanish. Families are caring and provide comfortable rooms and tasty food. To stay with a host family costs $85 a week. ...more
How to get there How get there The school situated in the center of Panajachel near the Catholic Church, Callejon Las Armonias.

Students' Feedback

Bruce Wakeham
12 / 2016
I recently visited Spanish School Jabel Tinamit. Jabil Tinamit is an excellent Spanish language school in a beautiful part of Guatemala. Most of the teachers are college educated with many years of experience and are either bilingual or trilingual. The school organizes many activities to visit local villages and learn about the history and culture of Guatemala. I highly recommend the home stay program where you live with a local family and have additional hours to practice your Spanish. I bonded very closely to my home stay family and now consider them part of my own extended family. Great family, good food and 12 minute walk to school. School has large library and video collection and perhaps a dozen or more private spaces for lessons. Everyday there is an optional event or outing for the students, Gregorio and Candelaria strive for excellence in every aspect of what they do. The school has beautiful gardens and roof top terraces for one on one classes.
The owners of the school, Gregorio and Candelaria, are very active in the community and do an absolutely amazing job of reaching out to the poorest people in the nearby villages and making their lives better by providing free education, building schools, libraries, providing health and hygiene education. Through their efforts three students from remote villages who would never have had much of a chance at a better life have received full four year scholarships to an American university. These are two amazing people who are changing the world one person at a time. I highly recommend this school and support all they do to make the world a better place.
Bruce Wakeham
Christine Koch
06 / 2014
One week of language school down & one more to go! My mind is on overload but I am really enjoying Jabel Tinamit language school in Panajachel, Guatemala.
I would highly recommend coming here if you want to learn Spanish, plus you get a view of the volcanoes and lake.
Nick De Clercq
06 / 2014
Our experience with Spanish School Jabel Tinamit is only positive. They are extremely professional by any western standards. Their approach is not only to the classroom but they are always willing to provide advice and assistance to any issues outside of the school.
We did a 4 week course in December2013 and then again one week June, 2014.
Regards to all at Jabel Tinamit. Nick
Manisha Mehta
05 / 2014
I spent a whole month (4 or 5 hours a day) learning intensive Spanish at Jabel Tinamit. My four-year old daughter also spent an hour a day learning Spanish there. And the whole experience was incredible. The teachers are great - they are engaged, adaptable, and patient. They go at your pace and really help you understand the language and its nuances. With my daughter, the teacher made sure to try different things to keep her engaged.
I am definitely going to continue my classes over Skype and would love to go back and take more intensive Spanish. And it is not just the teachers who are wonderful - the entire place is - they are very kind and hospitable. For example, I had to do some work related to my job there and Gregorio (the director of Jabel) let me use their space and internet. I am back now and I miss my experience a lot.
I would wholeheartedly recommend the school - you can't go wrong there!
John Deikis
03 / 2013
I also studied at, Jabel Tinamit Spanish School, in Panajachel for 1 week, in March 2013. I had Gladys for three days and Jose for 3 days. Both had good knowledge of vocabulary and grammar but neither could really speak English fluently. As our focus in this preliminary week was pretty much grammar, this was not a problem. Photocopied study materials were provided but limited personalization. There was an excellent cooking class one evening led by Candelaria Xep, who with her husband Gregorio Garcia, operates the school and lives upstairs. While I was there, no other activities were scheduled although videos of movies in Spanish are available to watch in a small video room.
I stayed in a beautiful unattached home surrounded by a wall and a garden. The house was clean and comfortable. The host was Anna who works with an NGO educating women on hygiene and prenatal care. Her daughter, Elohin, lives there as well but attends nursing school in Sololá. Because of their schedules, meals were not “family style,“ rather food was prepared for me and then one of them hung around to make conversation. They were very friendly and gracious but busy with their own lives. I would recommend the school highly. Candelaria and Gregorio are extremely responsive and involved and operate a school on the premises for rural kids to ready them for better middle schools. Their home, their Spanish school and their mission to the kids is all intertwined in a most wonderful way. -Thanks! John
Flavien Mabit
11 / 2012
My experience at Jabel Tinamit was excellent. The owners, Gregorio and Candelaria, of this great little school are extremely friendly and will make you feel at home. Panajachel is a touristy town, but the school is away from all the noise and businesses of the main streets. It is located in the "old" town center, close to the beautiful local church and "parque" and local market. You will feel like a local.
My host family was next door to the school and since they spoke no english, it was a good way to be immersed. Food was very good.
The school organizes activities led by professors. They are always interesting. All professors and workers at the school are extremely friendly and helpful.
My professor, Alex, was just the right person for me. Through conversations and short lectures, I was able to learn very fast with him. It was just perfect... In just a little over 3 weeks, I had the basic knowledge of the language that I needed to go on travelling in Guatemala. Thank you to Jabel Tinamit, and to my professor Alex!
Laura Carter
06 / 2012
Our family of four came to Jabel Tinamit Spanish School for two weeks. The school was incredibly well-organized and everything ran smoothly. Gladys met us to show us to the school. We stayed with a family who had two children and loved it. Our host cooked great food that gave us an idea of the cuisine of many places in Guatemala. We took advantage of outings and trips in the afternoons and weekends. They really rounded out our experience of Guatemalan life and culture. The teachers who were chosen for each of us were perfect. My wife had a teacher who really challenged her, I had a teacher who was fun and focused on conversation, my daughter had a teacher who combined academic work with games and outings, and my son had a teacher who taught him Spanish using games, puzzles and outings. We were concerned that my son would feel bored, or frustrated by school, but he said it was his favorite part of our trip. All of us were really impressed with the amount of Spanish we learned in two weeks.
The school is beautiful and functional, conducive to learning.
01 / 2012
Wonderful school. Great staff very helpful. Delightful village. I loved the whole experience and felt cared for each step along the way. I really appreciated the staff at Jabel Tinamit Spanish School in helping with travel arrangements so I felt safe while in Guatemala. As recommended, I tried out my Spanish with everyone. The people were kind and patient and fun. My Spanish really progressed even though I am slow to learn language and vocabulary. My teachers were fun, had quick sense of humor yet kind.
I did all the available activities. Went to Mayan cave, market place, shopping in the tiendas, Mayan ruins, coffee plantation coop across the lake, weaving coop across the lake, downhill hike to the lake from upper village.
06 / 2011
I spent two weeks at Jabel Tinamit Spanish School whilst staying with a host family. The staff are all really friendly, you are always greeted with "Como estas!?" as you walk in and they are always pleased to stand and chat in Spanish at any time of day. If you need any practical help and you are not yet confident in the language they all speak good English and are able to help. The teaching was good, I do not know how it compares to other schools but with 20 hours of classes a week combined with a host family I went from knowing NOTHING to being able to confidently communicate with Spanish speakers. I am no where near fluent but I can communicate effectively with most people. I am traveling for another 6 months in Latin America, so survival by communication is the most important achievement for me. My only small frustration was that in terms of structured teaching, we simply followed a combination of text books. I felt in both my verbal and written work I made mistakes in my grammar, which were corrected, but often not explained. If I asked, then sometimes they could explain but other times they struggled to provide a rule or reason in order to help me to avoid repeating the same errors. Beside from this my teaching was great, the best way to use them is to just chat as much as possible. It took me a while to adjust as I am used to a more structured method of teaching languages at school. However, all I can say is I learned a lot and had a great time.

My host family were amazing. The Mom was an incredible cook and even when she was not able to eat with me, she would always sit and talk as much as I wanted to. At breakfast and dinner we usually ate as a family, the kids and dad would always make an effort too. If you are wondering whether or not to take a host family, I would say definitely definitely do it! You will learn so much more, you will become part of a real Guatemalan family and remember them for the rest of your life.
MIchael Gropper
06 / 2011
I would recommend Jabel Tinamit Spanish School to anyone looking not only for a Spanish school, but a family as well. I was welcomed into the school with open arms. They were not only focused on my learning Spanish, but during the time I was there that I was taken care of as well. My teacher really worked with me to learn Spanish, and my lessons were well constructed to meet my needs, and give me a true foundation to build on. If you decide to go, be ready for a great time with some great people!!
For activities, I explored, played, ate, and used my Spanish.
Jamey Kreun
02 / 2011
Hi, I studied at, Jabel Tinamit Spanish School in Panajachel, Lake Atitlan. This was my first time studying in this format. I am a beginner and I studied with Patricia. She was great. She incorporated just enough English to keep the flow of the lessons going. Otherwise I would have been stumped on certain things and spent too much time trying to figure out what she was saying. She gave me a lot of insight on how life is for the people living there (i.e. cultural morms, foods, religion, etc.). She was also willing to change the format of the class slightly to cater to my needs. I made a lot of progress and want to do this format again.
There is homework every night and if you want to succeed it is important to spend the time to understand it.
The owners of the business are very helpfull and nice people. I attended almost every after class function and thoroughly enjoyed them. The guide for the tours spoke in Spanish and was able to translate when I didn't understand.
My host family was nice. They did not speak any English, so I didn't understand them all the time. I ate by myself every meal, but the meals were ready on time and they tasted pretty good. I also had my own room with a key to get in.
I would definitely recommend this school to anyone wanting this type of education. Study materials of Jabel Tinamit Spanish School were helpful. I received handouts with verbs, time, and medical terminology when I asked. Thanks, Jamey.
Karen Dunn, husband and three boys
01 / 2011
My boys and I have been studying at Jabel Tinamit for about three months. The school has been wonderful. The teachers are great. The school environment is beautiful. The staff is very friendly. My 4 year old son started out three days a week. He liked it so much he asked to come everyday. He is now studying 6 days a week. Great teachers. Easy to talk to, flexible, and knowledgeable.
Panajachel is a great place to live. Safe, great restaurants, friendly people, nice culture. My family and I vacationed in Panajachel in Feb. 2010. We liked it so much we decided to bring our kids back for a school year. We have three boys, ages 10, 8, and 4.
Alyssa Rogers
11 / 2010
I studied for about 6 weeks. I went to Panajachel determined to learn Spanish and to learn about the culture; these two reasons were my main goals and focus while I was there. I do know for a fact and from my personal past experiences, if learning a language is not a primary goal then it will be very difficult for the individual to obtain.
During my stay, I really enjoyed Jabel Tinamit. The entire staff at the school are very supportive, friendly, and willing to help you in learning the language. The atmosphere of the school is a very relaxing and welcoming environment. You can either have class while you over look the town and volcanoes or you have class in the beautiful garden. I am very pleased with my education and I am hoping to return again someday. When I arrived, I could not speak Spanish at all except for the common phrases like Hello, How are you?, etc. and when I left to go back to the states, I had to reverse and try to remember how to speak English again. Also, the price of the classes is affordable and comparable to other Spanish schools around in Guatemala and surrounding countries. I really enjoyed the "one-on-one" learning atmosphere. This type of learning, I believe helps one learn at a much faster rate plus the teacher is able to cater to the level of the individual more specifically rather than trying to reach a group of people who are on different levels. I knew 4 other individuals that are family friends who attended the school before I did and they highly recommended me. I am very glad I took their advice!
The teacher that I had was excellent! She was very thorough in content, patient, and helpful during the lessons and conversations. I liked the fact that she would correct me, give me time to write down my corrections, and answer any questions that I would have about the topic or correction. She was good in helping me set goals to practice the language outside of class and she was willing to work with me at my pace. I am hoping to eventually continue and take on-line courses through Skype with the school.
My host family consisted of my host mom who was about 70 years old and two girls that worked for her during the week. The girls lived and stayed with her during the week, so this was nice to have the girls around to practice Spanish during the week as well. The family lived very close to the school within walking distance. I discovered though after a couple of weeks, the whole town is within walking distance, which is very nice!
After living in Panajachel for 6 weeks, I was ready to figure out how to move there permanently! I really enjoyed the town, the people, and the location. I felt very comfortable and safe within the town. I met a many locals outside of the school and my host stay that I was able to communicate with on a regular basis, they spoke either Spanish, English, or both. I wish I could have stayed longer to build on these relations. I hope someday to return or possibly find a job there, one never knows.
George Didier
11 / 2010
Mine was a terrific experience over 5 weeks. I discovered a family away from home. Competent and cordial tutors with a fully flexible schedule, personalized services, sense of humor, and sincere interest in me as a person. Beautiful gardens throughout the school areas. Arranged local services for me. Free wifi was a generous benefit. Pana is a very comfortable village. I have no reservations in recommending this group for your language needs.
Megan Cullen-Meyer
11 / 2010
I really liked Jabel Tinamit! Everyone who worked there was always very friendly. The environment was nice, especially the garden. It felt like a little oasis from the town. The grounds were very well maintained. Water and tea/coffee were always available. I often stopped by the school when I wasn't studying to use the free wifi. It was great to have that available for use. I plan to continue my studies at Jabel Tinamit next time I am in Pana. I highly recommend studying there!
Teachers were very good! I didn't know what to expect, as this was my first time to study Spanish abroad. I was very impressed with the quality of my teacher. She assessed where I was at when I began, and tailored everything to my level. She paid attention to what content I easily understood and what content was difficult for me. She made sure I was comfortable with the material before moving on to new information. There were a couple of things I asked her to teach me, and she taught me those things plus gave me a solid foundation from which to move forward. She advised me on how I should study after my lessons ended. I could tell over my time in Pana that my Spanish improved markedly.
I stayed in a local hotel. My experience there was really good. The owner went to great lengths to make sure I was comfortable. I had asked Gregorio about budget hotel options in the area, and he had advised me on some hotels to look into when I arrived.
Pana sits across Lake Atitlan from 3 volcanoes, making for gorgeous views, especially at sunset. The town has a laid back feel. I traveled solo and never felt unsafe. Everyone was very friendly. There are many cafes, restaurants, shops, and internet cafes to choose from. I did most of my cooking at my hotel, but every meal I had out was wonderful. The weather was very pleasant in November/December, especially given that it was snowing where I am from. Pana was a great town to be based in for a couple of weeks. This was my first visit to Guatemala, and already I am planning on when I can go back.
Dave MacDonalds
10 / 2010
We studied via Skype video chat for six weeks before leaving for Guatemala, twice a week for one-hour sessions. With the homework in between, it was a real time commitment, but we could do our class before leaving for work. When we landed in Guatemala, we were "operational" in Spanish - real street Spanish, not just book Spanish.
Our teachers became our friends, because they genuinely cared about our learning and development. Using Skype was a great start, and when we arrived in Guatemala for our 5-month stay, we carried on with classes once a week, on site at the school. The school grounds are beautiful and comfortable, and a nice quiet break from the busy-ness of the street.
Teachers were excellent! They are patient and understanding, and really try to encourage the learning of "real-life Spanish", by conversing and forcing you to start "thinking" in Spanish. Sometimes you end up asking questions about unrelated things, having a conversation, and learning all sorts of great vocabulary, because you're just "talking with a friend".
We lived on our own, because we were there as a couple with our young son, but I have heard that the host families are excellent too. If you're a single person, it's a forced-learning situation then too, and also you might feel safer than living on your own.
Panajachel is a fantastic place to live and explore, and you couldn't have a safer and more accommodating place for a foreign visitor. You can spend as much or as little time with English-speakers as you want, the climate is amazing, and the local people are very welcoming. There are good cafes like the Bistro (sandwiches) and Chero's (pupusas), and of course, the best coffee in Guatemala at Crossroads Cafe (which is sort of like Cheers with coffee). You have easy access to Lake Atitlan, where you can hop on a public boat to visit the other villages. There are lots of volunteer opportunities as well - is a good one.
Patricia Dodson
09 / 2010
I took private spanish lessons from Jabel Tinamit online for approximately 3years and loved the classes so much that I recommeneded the school to several friends. They too are learning alot and enjoying their lessons. The quality of the teachers was superb. I needed to change my teachers a few times due to my schedule here in the US and the staff was accomadating . Ialways learned something new from each one. Each had their own style and each was able to teach in a clear manner and with lots of patience.
Recently I traveled to Pana with several friends and we studied at the school. This was a great experience. Not only was it fun to meet the people that we had been learning from but we were treated "royally." We went on afternoon excursions with the owners of the school and studied in the morning in the lovely gardens of the school. Pana itself was a lovely town. We felt safe walking from our host home to the shool. The hostess at the house and her family welcomed us in with "open arms." The rooms were clean and food GREAT and the water was hot!
Traveling around and visiting the various sites in and around Pana was a cultural delight. I learned so much each day. So as you can tell...I am very impressed by everything about the school from the the quality of the teachers, the cleanliness and professionalism of the school, the host family and the community in general. I look forward to returning just as soon as my life allows me to do so.
Barbara and Nick
07 / 2010
I love studying at Jabel Tinamit Spanish Language School in Panajachel. I've studied a week at a time four different years and have done some online classes through Skype as well. The teachers are well-trained, very patient, and lots of fun. You can go with your teacher to visit the market, visit one of the lovely villages around Lake Atitlan, visit the nature preserve with its monkeys and zip line or you can just do your classes at the school on the terrace or on the lawn. My whole family has studied at Jabel Tinamit over the years so we all know each other quite well. I definitely feel "at home" there each time I go. Panajachel sits on the shore of the very beautiful Lake Atitlan with its ever-changing volcano setting. There are plenty of excellent restaurants, hostels, hotels and shopping. The villages surrounding the lake are just a boat ride or a pickup ride away. The enormous market at Chichicastenango and the colonial city of Antigua Guatemala are easy day trips. Staying with host families is another way to boost contact with the local community and to practice your Spanish. My families have been caring and have provided comfortable rooms and tasty food. The school is Mayan owned and run so you feel that you are getting to know the real Guatemala. I cannot wait to return!
Willy Lynch
04 / 2010
I give very high marks to the Spanish School Jabel Tinamit in Panajachel, Guatemala. I studied there for around a month in an intensive Spanish course at the end of which I was speaking acceptable Spanish. Today my Spánish is essentially fluent. I run a sports program for Guatemalan kids with some 1500 participants plus 5 schools. All work is done in Spanish and all my staff is Spanish speaking. I can write Spanish capably, give TV interviews as well as speeches in Spanish.
The teaching staff at Jabel Tinamit is excellent. Their Spanish is good and free of any peculiar accents. Also they dont speak English or German, which is a plus.
I didnt have a host family so I cant comment on that. Re Panajachel, its a very nice place to study Spanish. The downside is that it is popular with tourists so that there are too many opportunities to speak languages other than Spanish. But if you are serious about learning Spanish, you will spend your free time with Spanish speaking people rather than with people from your own country.
Joe Betsill
02 / 2010
My wife, Cindy, and I retired at the end of 2009 and moved to Panajachel in early February 2010. We began Spanish classes the following week at Jabel Tinamit and studied with them for a little over 4 months. Jabel Tinamit's school building is new and easily accessible, their garden is beautiful, and we found Gregorio, the school's director, to be helpful, flexible with our needs, and encouraging in our goals to learn Spanish. We both had excellent teachers - friendly, patient, and knowledgable of Spanish and the process needed to learn a new language. We're both in our mid-50's and it seems to be a little more difficult to learn a second language at our age but our teachers adapted well to our own unique interests to help us learn. Both teachers being Mayan, we also enjoyed learning some of the Mayan traditions and ways of life during the daily lessons. We even enjoyed our classes on the rare occasions that we had 'substitute teachers'. Our 5 year old grandson took a few weeks of lessons last summer with Cindy's teacher. She is also great with kids and he still remembers much of what he learned from her. Even though its been almost six months since our last class at Jabel Tinamit, we still consider our teachers to be friends and enjoy good relations with them outside of the school.
Panajachel is the major (yet still small) town on beautiful Lake Atitlan and attracts many different kinds of people - Mayans from the various villages surrounding the Lake, other Guatemalans from the 'big cities', and tourists from around the world. Because of the almost-perfect year-round climate, world-class natural beauty, accessible infrastructure, and relative security, there is also a sizable English-speaking community (young and old) that lives year-round in Pana. We believe Pana to be the perfect place to learn Spanish in Guatemala and Jabel Tinamit is a great school to do so.
David, we did not stay with a host family during our studies so although I heard positive things from fellow students that did, I cannot comment on that aspect. I did not use the names of our individual Spanish teachers but would be glad to do so, if desired. If you need anything else or this 'narrative' format does not work, please let me know. As implied above, we had a great experience at Jabel Tinamit and would recommend it to anyone.
Erna Maj
01 / 2010
This was my second time in Guatemala and my second time in Panajachel and the Lago Atítlan area. This area is absolutely wonderful with its picturesque volcanoes and Mayan villages. Panajachel is safe, the locals are friendly and helpful, the local market is colorful, shopping is great, the restaurants are quaint and affordable, cultural and nature experiences are available through travel agencies at reasonable prices — and then there is Jabel Tinamit!
Jabel Tinamit is a wonderful language school, tucked away on a small street and yet close to the tourist area. Its facilities are wonderful in that most lessons are given outside in their beautiful garden or in a semi-open classroom on the roof with wonderful views of the surrounding mountains. The owners could not be nicer. They are helpful and friendly and bend over backwards to accommodate your every need and desire. In addition, they are involved as mentors in the wonderful organization Starfish One-by-One which helps Mayan teenagers stay in school and gain life skills. I spent four hours a day at Jabel Tinamit with my wonderful teacher Zoila. Not only was Zoila a very competent and experienced teacher, she was also a most interesting person who shared her knowledge of Guatemalan society, Mayan culture, etc. with me. She studies Women’s Rights at the university in nearby Solola. Her English was very good, and she was able to discuss grammar at a quite technical level which was very much to my liking as I have a Master’s in Linguistics. Due to her excellent instruction and endearing ways, my Spanish improved a lot.
The prices at Jabel Tinamit are very reasonable.
Tim Craker
08 / 2009
When I first started learning Spanish at Jabel Tinamit, I literally knew nothing. Today, Gregorio and I look back on that first week and laugh, but the truth is that I learned an awful lot that first week. That summer I only spent a little over a week in Guatemala, but I fell in love with Guatemala and have been back fairly often since then. One summer I stayed about 4 weeks and made tremendous progress in my Spanish; another summer I took undergraduate students to Guatemala and we visited Jabel Tinamit; now, my kids are taking lessons there on our trips! The teachers are great, the area is beautiful, and the village, Panajachel, is better than Antigua and Xela for learning Spanish. Antigua gets so crowded with other 'gringos' that it becomes difficult to stay relatively immersed, and Xela is cold and big. Panajachel is a place where there are enough English-speakers that it is "comfortable," but there aren't so many that you can't be immersed in Spanish if that is what you want--and the climate is perfect!
Cindy and BJ
06 / 2009
We appreciate the web site and have used it various times. It is helpful to read what others have to say about things in Guatemala. So I am happy to add my opinion.
I studied at Jabel Tinamit for 3 weeks in June 2009, and again for several weeks in August and September 2010. My husband and I are retired and moving to Guatemala to do volunteer work. We are returning to Jabel Tinamet in January 2011 to study for 2 more months before starting to work.
We had intended to study there in November 2010, but the rains had washed out the road to Pana and the road was closed during November and December. We ended up at a small school in Xela. We loved being in Xela, but the school was not as good as Jabel Tinamit. We visited and interviewed several schools while we were in Xela, and realized what a gem Jabel Tinamit is.
Jabel Tinamit has a beautiful new building in the "real" part of Panajachel--away from Calle Santander which is very touristy. The classrooms are clean, airy and spacious. We really enjoyed having class out in their well maintained garden. They have alot of computers and free internetand wifi for students. The school also offers an educational program to indigenous youth as part of their service to the community. The owners are very active in improving life in Pana.
The teachers are well trained with a lot of experience. They have a reasonable amount of materials which they use in class. At times they would print out worksheets for homework. Each student is assessed with an initial test to determine what Spanish they already know. Then the teacher works with the student to plan what to study. There are periodic tests to be sure that you are ready to move on. The teachers have a good knowledge of English vocabulary and Spanish grammar. They are able to encourage conversation as well as make use of grammar drills. They are able to remember what you know and build on it each day. They give a reasonable amount of homework each day.
Jabel Tinamit also offers classes via skype. We used this in the US, as well as for a while when the road was closed. This enables you to continue to learn at home, an option many schools don't offer.
There were not regularly scheduled activities, but the teachers were willing to go on trips across the lake, or to nearby sites. We had already been to Pana many times, so did not request these. There is plenty to see and do on your own in Pana. Many interesting places to shop, good restaurants, many places to walk to. The nature reserve nearby has a great set of zip lines and wonderful views of the Lake. There is a lot of night life also, but we stayed with a host family on the outskirts of town, and did not have any interest in that.
Our host home had a lovely room for us with a bathroom to be shared with another student. We especially enjoyed the host mom's cooking--plenty of food and good variety. She and her family would spend a lot of time talking with us and gave us extra practice with our Spanish. We felt very safe walking all around during daylight hours. There are also an abundance of cheap Tuk-tuks to get you where you need to go.
We highly recommend Jabel Tinamit!
Jenni Mead
05 / 2009
I studied for three weeks at Jabel Tinamit and continue to take Skype lessons once a week. I enjoyed the school very much. It was a beautiful setting and everyone was extremely friendly. The teachers were great and very helpful.
Panajachel is a wonderful, unique town. It is very easy to become acquainted with.