Probigua Spanish Academy

Probigua Spanish Academy
6 Avenida Norte N. 41B
Rank 84%
Prices 240 USD for 20 hours of one-on-one tuition per week including host family with room and full board
140 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 30 to 80 students.
Openings This school currently has openings!
Summary PROBIGUA is promoting development of rural Guatemala by ingenuous methods. Only women teachers. Good teaching!
It has mobile libraries in a chicken bus which tours poor villages. When you subscribe, it would be good if you can donate a book (optional) to these libraries.
With the help of Bill Gates, the school has equipped 10 computation centres for pupils in small towns. 22% of your fees go to these projects. Students can contribute or volunteer on these projects.
Founded in 1994 by Rigoberto Zamora.
Total immersion in Antigua is moderate (hard, if you hang with English speaking tourists).

Academia de Español Probigua fills up during June through August and at the end of the year and Easter. It is recommended that you register at least a month in advance to assure yourself a spot during these busy times.

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

Probigua Spanish Academy - Details

Teachers Reports on teaching have improved recently. Teacher?s salary: an average $40 per week.
See details for recommended instructors! ...more
Methods One on one teaching. The curriculum is the same as in most schools. There are also studies for groups (advanced students only). ...more
Materials No official textbook but verb and exercise lists. Teachers develop their own materials. Library: excellent. Video library: good. ...more
Special Programs Childrens´program. We have no reports up to now. ...more
Location Cubicles: simple. There is a small garden with some ruins and a good view. Kitchen: simple. ...more
Activities Very sparse activities. Dance lessons (Salsa) upon request. ...more
Host Families Families earn a good $100 per week. Student?s reports about host families are mostly good. ...more
Volunteering Excellent: You have to give the school a book when you inscribe. You can work in the schools own mobile library project. ...more
Airport Pick-Up Service Airport pick up service available ...more
How to get there How get there One block West and two blocks North of the "Parque Central".

Students' Feedback

Jelena Hawellek
05 / 2014
Although I would not especially recommend my teacher, Probigua Spanish Academy is a wonderful project! And still a wonderful school! My host family was okay.
Christine Reeb
02 / 2011
My husband and I took one week of daily Spanish lessons from Academia de Español Probigua and had a very favorable experience with teachers that were effective, engaging and patient. We were very pleased to make progress with the language and felt very comfortable with the environment of the school.
This school is run very professionally and is considerate and accommodating to your individual needs.
We had workbook pages and a notebook that we took notes in.
Timothy Tower
11 / 2008
Hello, I spent 2 weeks at Probigua Spanish School in Antigua also. This school has a large communal area with plant and open areas and views of Volcano Agua and of the forested hills. The back area is lush and soothing. I found these premises relaxing, as compared with other school which was a bit like being a sardine in a production line. Probigua gets full marks for helping me out when I though I had lost my passport. My teacher Rebeca took me to see the local banks about getting money, which turned out to be nearly impossible without a passport. I had a spare credit card and a copy of my passport, but no luck. Later she suggested I wire money directly to her bank account which worked great. Together we visited her bank and it took all of 5 minutes to withdraw the cash. I gave her a big tip for her trouble, and I think she was a little embarrassed by this. The other staff was also helpful and Tomas the assistant director took cell phone calls on my behalf while I was talking to banks in the US. Another teacher took me to the police to report the loss. Later, I felt very foolish when I found my passport and cash stuck in the far corner of under my bed. Probigua also allowed me to use their PCs for long periods to support a customer. Probigua and my teacher were also very flexible when I asked to switch from morning to afternoon study, to have mornings free for my customer in the US. My teacher rearranged her schedule to suit me. The school′s teacher works with the student on the first day of lessons to figure out his or her Spanish level. Probigua provided a nice folder with a notebook and other handouts, which were appreciated. An upfront exam is a good idea, as it is likely to be more thorough in highlighting gaps in one´s grammar. I attended only one activity at Probigua. This was a class activity in which each student was given a piece of paper with the names of two local Guatemalan fruit. The student had to track these down in the market and buy samples, to share the next day with the group. The student also had to find out information about the fruit and tell the others about it. It was a lot of fun. Possibly there were other activities but I did not hear about them. I enjoyed the families in Antigua. That of Tomas Ixcamey, was the quietest and had a more spacious queen sized bed. They had two kids (9 and 6) who were rather shy. Tomas would sit with us and talk to us at each meal. Food was basic, but wholesome... I liked the family, and felt they would do anything for their guests. One example of this was when our housemate, and young woman from Switzerland, woke up Tomas at midnight with cramps in her stomach. Tomas and I walked her to the nearby clinic, where she was examined and admitted for the night. The next morning Tomas returned and escorted her back home. (She was much better). Probigua gets the highest grade for its service to the community. I would recommend this school to others. Keep up the good work, Tim.
Sarah Feldmann
10 / 2008
I decided to go to Probigua Spanish Academy in Antigua. I studied for 1 week, 6 hours per day. The teacher was good, but I can´t remember the name. My host family was okay, I can´t recommend them. I Would recommend the school. Thanks, Sarah.
Helen Huber
07 / 2008
I also studied in Antigua. I attended Academia de Español Probigua which has an excellent mission supporting literacy through a variety of school run programs and sponsorship of model schools, libraries, computer centers and two bibliobuses (Mobil libraries). There were sporadic and bare minimum outside activities. The language component was very poor with a focus on worksheets and answering questions out of a workbook. I would not attend again, but support their mission. Thanks, Helen.
Marina Wilson
07 / 2007
I studied at Academia de Español Probigua in Antigua. I studied for one week at this school. I stayed at a hotel, so I can′t give you feedback on the homestay. They had a few activities during the week. I wish they had offered coffee throughout the day, but otherwise the materials and instruction were acceptable. I think it′s much better to stay at one school for at least a few weeks and I would recommend staying in one school to other Spanish students, rather than changing schools. Thanks, Marina.
Tineke & Dirk Hummel Springer
07 / 2007
I decided for Academia de Español Probigua in Antigua. I studied there for 4 days only. I did get a good teacher. Study materials there were ok. My host family was perfect. Greetings, Tineke.
Madhava Setty
02 / 2007
I studied at Probigua Spanish School in Antigua for one week. I chose this school because of its mission to bring books to rural Guatemalans via their "mobile library" using money earned from the Spanish school. The school itself is very pleasant. Students sit at individual tables with their instructors adequately spaced so that there are no distractions. My instructor was an intelligent woman in her mid-forties with reasonable opinions and warm smile. Although she was clearly experienced in teaching Spanish I felt that I would have benefited more if she spoke less and let me talk more. Although I had expressed this we would fall quickly back into the old pattern of her speaking and me listening. The activities (cultural presentations, salsa) were made available and they were in large poorly attended by the students. In general I was disappointed by the lack of association with the students as I believe we all needed to practice with each other. Free coffee and bread were provided every morning. There were computers available for internet access but I never used them. My host family was very polite but aside from the matriarch of the family, no one made an effort to communicate with me beyond a ′Buenos dias′ y ′Buenas noches′. The room was small and sparse and I shared a bathroom with four other adult members of the family. The single most important thing that could have improved my experience would have been to request a stay with a family that had at least one other student staying with them. I think I would have greatly appreciated the chance to speak the language at a more basic level with that person and have the chance to explore the town with someone rather than walking the streets alone. I hope this was helpful. I appreciate your work with the website. Keep up the good work. Sincerely, Madhava Setty
Elizabeth Mann
01 / 2007
After doing some Web research, including, I chose Probigua Spanish school (Proyecto Bibliotecas Guatemala) in Antigua. I studied there for three weeks, four hours a day. All the staff members were very welcoming and helpful. My teacher Delcia, responded to my needs and got me working to fill the gaps in my conversational Spanish. We followed my needs and interests, rather than a set curriculum, but she worked in the grammar that I needed. She patiently waited for me to form my sentences and corrected my mistakes. We had fun together and I was very pleased with my progress. I also appreciated the school′s easy access to Internet, which allowed me to keep in touch with my family and my clients (I do freelance editing). The school′s organized activities were generally quite interesting and opened a window into Guatemalan history and culture. I especially appreciated the outing to a rural school where we attended the opening ceremonies for three new classrooms that Probigua helped finance and build. This was an experience I could not have had in any other way. Because part of Probigua′s profits go to rural school libraries and other educational projects, it seems to attract students and volunteers with an interest in community development and international aid. I found my fellow students to be a very congenial bunch and I enjoyed their company on outings and other activities. My homestay hostess, Elsa Mendizabal, was also very helpful and spent a lot of time talking to me at meals and waiting for me to answer. She is a very good cook and showed personal concern for the well-being and comfort of her guests. I highly recommend Probigua. Thank you for the assistance, Best, Betsy Mann from Ottawa, Canada
01 / 2007
I attended Academia de Español Probigua in Antigua. I studied for 2 weeks and had an amazing teacher which spoke great English and made learning much faster and easier, she had many years of experience and is friendly and patient, her name is Carmelina, I highly recommend her. She was very clear and organized in her lessons. I had two families, both were very warm and welcoming. I asked to move after the first week because my first family lived about a 20 minute walk from school and in somewhat spooky deserted area and there was only one bathroom for all the guests. The second family was right across the street from the school, and I had a private bathroom. It was a little scary to ask to move, because I didn′t want to seem picky, especially since the mother in the first family worked in the office at the school, but ultimately I was much happier in the second home. The activities at the school were fine; one activity was cancelled because of a funeral for the brother of a husband of one of the teachers was scheduled and the entire staff was going. They invited the students to come along too. I was the only student that did, very unique experience to go to a private home of a family in mourning. I had a really good feeling about the school. very friendly and warm.
James Simpson
08 / 2006
I attended Academia de Español Probigua in Antigua for one week at the beginning of September 2006. The teaching was fine, although from my brief but personal experience, I did not feel as much of a sense of togetherness at the school, between the teachers, staff & students. But this is based on only a week of studies there, so it may be an unfair judgment. The school DOES offer activities like dancing (salsa) lessons on a weekly basis, although I did not attend any permanently. The school also offers a long distance learning program called "Speak Shop", where former students can continue conversation practice with teachers via internet. The family I stayed with, one of whom works at the school, was wonderful. I don′t think students there are required to donate a book, though, they are certainly encouraged to. Sincerely, James (Jamie) Simpson
Audrey Yang
06 / 2006
I studied at Escuela de Español Probigua (Proyecto Bibliotecas Guatemala) for a total of 9 weeks, 4 hours a day in the mornings for the first 6 weeks, and then 2 hours, twice a week in the afternoons for the remaining 3 weeks. My teacher Yesenia was fantastic. Very friendly, very accommodating, and knowledgeable. Most of the activities were held in the afternoons, so I couldn′t participate for the most part because I volunteered at an education project in the afternoons, however, I heard good things about them. There were excursions to farms, pueblos, and other places of interest surrounding Antigua; salsa dancing lessons; Wednesday night movies; world cup viewing parties, cultural lectures, and more. There were generally about 3 or 4 activities a week. My family was AMAZING. I cannot speak highly enough of them. The Zamora Guzman′s are all incredibly friendly, accommodating, generous with their time and patience, speak clearly, and only want to provide the best experience for students. The food was healthy, savoury, and prompt, and my room was quite comfortable. I have absolutely no complaints. The location was perfect as well.
Gail Daniels
02 / 2006
Yes, I did go to two different Spanish Language schools in Guatemala. One was Academia de Espanol Probigua. I spent a week there living in a neighbouring hotel (Santa Lucia#3). My instructor was excellent, we became good friends. I attended 4 hours of class every morning. There were a variety of activities - film, farm tour, a bus trip to the San Antonio Women′s Cooperative Weaver′s Market. These were very good.
Cynthia Wolf
01 / 2006
I finally decided to attend Academia de Espanol Probigua Guatemala because of the information that I found on your site All of the information and feedback from former students was very helpful as well as the comparison of the other schools. I was supposed to study for 2 weeks however I had to go work after 1 and a half weeks. My teacher was great and very helpful. She pushed me and worked with me on my pronunciation and verbs. The activities were great and I really enjoyed all of the activities and the fellow students. There was a great mix of people at the school which made it very interesting. The only thing that I would change is that I would stay with a family next time. During this time I had to work at night and some afternoons so I did not stay with a family as I needed to have internet connection. I think that I would have been better at speaking Spanish if I had stayed with a family; however my office in Guatemala City was surprised by how much more I was able to follow conversations in the office. I would definitely recommend Probigua to anyone that is looking for a place to study and great people. I hope that this helps and have a great day. Thank you for the great information that you include on your site.
Carol Cohen
11 / 2005
I studied at Academia de Espanol Probigua for one week. I didn′t stay with a family. I had a really, really amazing teacher. She was the best (BY FAR) of the 4 teachers I had in Guatemala. She really improved my grammar and speaking, and I was only sorry that I had to return home so soon. I would have loved to stay there for another month at least. The library was great, and there was free use of their computers and internet connection.
Karl Malivuk
03 / 2005
I chose Academia de Espanol Probigua in La Antigua, because of their commitment to establishing libraries throughout the country. I studied with them for the month of March, 2005. My wife studied there for the first 2 weeks in March. We both believe we received excellent instruction from our teachers. I remained with my teacher for the entire 4 weeks and benefited from the extended exposure to one teacher. If I could repeat the experience I would also pay for a second teacher for some general afternoon conversation. Ideally, this would take place walking around the beautiful city. Probigua itself is an excellent choice in value. The student, working with helpful and friendly staff, has many opportunities available beyond the standard classroom study. Extra school activities along with field trips provide additional chances to use Spanish in different settings. As older students (both of us were 56 at the time), we avoided the night life, preferring to do our homework and interact with our host family. This kept us somewhat insulated from wanting to fall back on English too often. Our host family far surpassed our expectations. They are a warm and welcoming family who insisted we stay with them when we return. Except for breakfast, we shared our meals with the family and spent a lot of time talking after cena about world affairs. Being older than the parents, we had much more in common with them than if we had been a generation younger. When we left there were tears all around. To be honest, I spent one year planning this trip. I relied heavily on and other sites, along with personal endorsements from former and repeating students at Probigua. I subscribed to various country, regional, and hemispheric news sources. This was my first trip abroad from the U.S. and I had no intention of making a mistake. I prepared physically, emotionally, and intellectually by learning as much as possible before I went to Guatemala. The investment in planning paid off handsomely because this trip was, in all respects, a success! I will say that during my planning process I always returned to to review its extensive listings and rankings of schools. Your website was invaluable because of its details and ease of use. I congratulate you for hosting this site and encourage anyone considering studying in Guatemala to refer to the site often. Sincerely,
Ruth McDonald
11 / 2004
In answer to your query, I chose Academia de Espanol Probigua in Antigua after browsing through your (really rather excellent) website, Guatemala 365. I wanted to attend a school which gave something back to the community, and which paid its teachers an honest wage. As I discovered when I arrived in Guatemala, some teachers are paid scandalously low salaries - as little as a dollar an hour, in some cases. I only had two weeks to spend studying in Guatemala, and I was anxious to get as much as I could out of the experience, so I opted for five days a week, seven hours a day of study at Probigua. It′s difficult to be critical of the school, because despite any niggling doubts I had about it at the end of the stay; they do a terrific job in their charity work. Guatemala is horrendously poor by Western standards. In some areas, the poverty is absolutely crushing. One of my worst memories of the month I stayed there was going to Tikal, and seeing people living in desperate conditions on the road to the park, as I sped by in my nice air-conditioned tourist bus. So it was hugely important for me to choose a school that had some sort of social element and redistributed its profits to help the local community, so I could feel that in some tiny, insignificant way I was actually doing a little bit to help. All Probigua profits (as far as I′m aware) go to fund a library project for schools. "Book by book, Guatemala is changing" is their motto (at least I think that′s how to translate it). Their standard of teaching is, from what I saw, certainly on a par, and probably slightly better than most other schools in Antigua. My teaching was heavily grammar - based, and my teacher moved at a very rapid pace. Put it this way, on day three I was using the future tense -having arrived on day one with no Spanish at all. One caveat-I do think if I had even a slight grasp of the language before arriving my progress would have been a lot swifter. The niggling doubts I referred to at the beginning? Well, I would have preferred a more assessment based type of teaching. PROBIGUA uses the one - on -one style of teaching so popular in Guatemala, but because you′re not in a class, you don′t really get any sense of how you′re getting on. Are you learning fast enough? Do other people really have these problems with this tense, or is it just you? I know other Schools in Antigua do have tests and assessments - I would have liked it here. My teacher was good, but our learning together wasn′t as good as it should have been because I spoke no Spanish at the start, and she spoke no English. There′s nothing as frustrating as trying to get a concept across to someone who desperately wants to teach it to you, and the only thing standing in your way is your complete inability to get your bafflement across. Trust me, in some cases even sign language doesn′t help. Added to that, my seven hours a day, five days a week schedule nearly wiped me out - it′s very intensive work. I didn′t stay with a family, as I had such a short time there, and I was worried I would be stuck with English speaking types. So I retired to the very nice and very good value Posada La Merced, just around the corner - let me get in a gratuitous plug for them; they are great people and very patiently let me practice my verbs conjugations on them. And the fabulous Fernando′s coffee shop is just around the corner (great for breakfast in the morning before class)....I do urge you to check it out. And the lovely and very helpful Patty who works there became a second teacher to me - and gave me no end of help with my Spanish conversation. But this is well getting off the point. Would I study at PROBIGUA again? Yes - if only for their ethos. They support a good, well established charity, and they pay their teachers a decent living wage. That gets two thumbs up for me. I met so many travellers in Guatemala who said they only visited because the country was so cheap. One of the reasons WHY it′s so cheap is that many of its citizens work in conditions that would be unimaginable to a Westerner. There was the waitress I talked to who worked six days a week, ten hours a day for what a tourist would pay for the price of a return shuttle ride to Copan. Or what about the girl in the dry cleaners who held down three jobs to feed her family - and brought home in one week what I would spend on a night out at home? I would urge anyone to go study at PROBIGUA, if they′re thinking of going to Antigua. Or choose a similar school with a good ethos. Or at the very least, when you′re choosing a school ASK how much the teachers get paid, and BOYCOTT the ones that don′t pay decent wages. Antigua runs on tourists - no tourists, no money. If we start to boycott schools that pay unfair wages, we can make a bit of a change. Thanks
Rita G. Wirkala
07 / 2004
I took my students to Academia de Español Probigua in Antigua, the program is usually for three weeks most of my students get good teachers, most of the students had a good experience with the families. If they had any problem, the school was very helpful in finding another family. You can get more information in my website about Guatemala: Good luck!
Carolina Rodeike
06 / 2004
Thanks for your message - so, finally I decided for the Academia de Español Probigua. In Antigua. it was great to meet Rigoberto Zamorra and to see, how his school and his project work. he does a great job while helping the people, especially the children learn to read. it makes a lot of fun when you get participated in one of the actions, when they are going with their rolling library - the old bus full of books - to the villages where books are very rare. I studied Spanish only for 2 weeks there, and together with the experiences of other students there I can say, that it depends much on the teacher you have, what quality your Spanish gets. Some are not so well educated, so that they can do a good job teaching the basic and intermediate level, but actually only a few are able to work at an grammatically advanced level. Surely, if you just know about the complete grammar, you can train conversation; Latin-American idioms etc. with them, but actually you then don′t need a Spanish school anymore. However, the family where I lived with was very friendly and helpful, but they were really really poor, so the room was more then basic, but clean; had no water after 7 p.m. and the area made me feel a bit scared. But the meals, Rebecca served us, where very very good, even for the breakfast we had muesli, fresh fruits, coffee, juices and more (i heard about rice and eggs every morning..). -its just the thing that i always felt a bit shamed of the poorness they lived in and my personal standard of live. Finally i would say it was a good experience for me choosing this school for learning Spanish. It can be recommended for those who want to learn Spanish for basic and intermediate level, I′m not sure about the advanced level, but for example the girl I lived with had a really good teacher for that level there- and you always can ask Rigoberto for a change if you are not satisfied. Further more, the social project, you can get participated, makes the school something special in the big pool of Spanish schools in Antigua ok, that′s all greetings,
Lisa Krause
04 / 2004
I decided for Academia de Español Probigua studied for four weeks four hours a day Yes, my teacher was a very nice Mayan. The lessons were very intense and we made a lot of the Spanish Grammar in the four weeks. Next to the Grammar we read fairy tales and did a lot of vocabulary on practical examples (for example we went to the market to study all the fruit and vegetables). My teacher told me a lot about the Guatemalan life and her family and friends (all in Spanish (she was not able to speak a lot of English) which was very good for my understanding) in the afternoons were activities like the Salsa-course and cooking Guatemalan food which was fun. It was possible to enter the school all day long, so that you could read books there, use the internet for free or to sit in the garden to do the homework. I enjoyed my time at the school very much and was glad to have such nice people around me like the director of the school and his brother and the rest of the staff who were really helpful. My family was really nice and friendly. The food was delicious and I made good friends with the grandma in the family. It was a pity, that the children were a little bit too young (14 and 10) to do activities together. Anyway, I played cards with them and went to McDonalds with them which was very good fun. I was able to come and go whenever I wanted and had no problems with my family. It is a little bit late to answer, but I still was in Mexico and had no time. You are welcome. Bye, Lisa. A very good site to inform about the schools in Guatemala - especially the ranking of the schools.
Frank Guergens
04 / 2004
Academia de Español Probigua My teachers were good, My host family was good to excellent.
Sandy Heathers
10 / 2003
Probigua: 4 weeks. My teacher was very good! My family was Very friendly and helpful!
Gillian Nycum
07 / 2003
I studied for 1 week in Probigua. My Spanish: Estoy bien, Gracias, perro no recuerdo mucho d′espanol. Yo apprendo rapido y olvido rapido! My family: I felt like I was staying in a hotel. We didn′t eat together, they didn′t talk to me, the TV was always on, but they were nice people, just not interested in me more than the money I owed them at the end.
Cathy Mendelsohn
06 / 2003
I stayed at the Probigua School in Antigua. I was there 10 weeks. I did 2 different home-stays while I was there. I had a great experience there -- learned a lot of Spanish grammar/vocabulary, home stays were good, the people at Probigua were terrific.
Max Umiker
04 / 2002
Rigo wurde schon zweimal mit einem Preis geehrt, so wurde er Patriota de Guatemala und Heroe del país im Jahre 2000. Seine Schule läuft sehr gut und die Schüler können sich an dem Projekt der Bibliotheken und Computer beteiligen. Etwa die Hälfte der Schüler kommen aus Europa und die andere aus Nordamerika. Von Herbst bis Frühjahre sind 30 - 40 Schüler in der Schule. Im Sommer sind es bis 80 wenn die Universitäten in den USA ganze Klassen zu ihm schicken. Da mietet er noch ein Haus dazu. Das Ranking der Schulen in Guate auf Deiner Webseite finde ich nicht so gut. Das ist sehr schwer zu messen und viele Leute empfinden das wieder anders.