All you need to know about Spanish schools in Quito

Tengo chuchaqui.
Una cerveza, por favor.
¿Dónde está el baño?

Learning these essential phrases will ensure your survival while traveling through Ecuador.
Actually, no (though they might be enough to ensure your survival in Montañita).

At Wanderbus, we encourage our clients, and really every traveler to Latin America, to make that extra effort and learn basic Spanish. Since you’ll be using it on a daily basis, you’ll learn much faster than you would in a classroom back home, and what you learn will serve you beyond your trip.

Honestly, Ecuador is an ideal destination for those of you that want to combine adventure with a bit of language acquisition. Not only is travel pretty cheap, Spanish classes are too! In the following blog, we’ll provide a number of Spanish schools in Quito that offer excellent rates for individual, group classes and other study programs.

Spanish school study options to consider

Over the years, Ecuador has become a popular destination for aspiring Spanish speakers and, given the competition, many schools have raised the bar quite a bit, offering airport pick-up, Latin dance classes, and dropping registration fees.

Depending on how much time you have to spare and how fluent you want to become, you can either opt for regular or intensive individual or group classes. Individual classes range from $6 to $12, and group classes hover around $6.

For beginners, most schools recommend starting with 20 hours per week (Monday to Friday), which amounts to 4 hours per day. More intensive courses may require 7-8 hours of learning per day. (Since that requires a lot of brain power, make sure to select a school that offers free, unlimited coffee!)

So that students also get a chance to explore the country and experience Ecuadorian culture, Spanish schools have begun providing the following package options, apart from just regular individual or group classes:

Ecuadorian Homestay

To speed up the learning process, you can sign up for a full immersion program that places you with a homestay family. This makes it a little harder to gravitate towards your English-speaking peers and you can expect to spend your weekends with your Ecuadorian family and their extended family (they’ll want to show you off. Do it. It’s fun).

A homestay experience will give you a glimpse into Ecuadorian life you may have otherwise never seen, but since it’s a bit outside of most people’s comfort zone, it’s a less popular option than the following two options.

Traveling Classrooms

The latest trend among Spanish schools has been to offer traveling classrooms. The attraction here is that you explore new cities and locations each week while continuing your Spanish coursework. The classes remain consistent while the setting changes.

You can learn Spanish in the Amazon rainforest, the Galapagos Islands, Cuenca, Otavalo and a number of packages are available, depending on your budget. For instance, the Simón Bolívar Spanish School offers a 1-week course at a fancy-shmancy luxury hotel spa on the beach, while Andean Global Studies offers an adventure-full week in Ahuano, in the Amazon.

For the SCUBA divers among you, word on the street is that underwater Spanish courses will soon be available in the Galapagos Islands. Stay tuned.

One-day course

Only a handful of Spanish schools offer one-day courses, which are catered to short term travelers, that might not have the time to commit to a week-long course.

The one day course usually includes around 4 hours in the classroom to cover basic grammar, useful phrases and common questions/answers. The rest of the day consists of visiting local sights, like the Old Town in Quito, and putting the newly acquired words, phrases and questions to use.

This might a great way to begin your trip, just to ensure you have some useful basic language to get you through the rest of your time in Ecuador (and possibly South America).

The schools that offer one day courses include: Simon Bolivar Spanish School, Andean Global Studies, and Ailola Quito.

Volunteer programs through Spanish schools

Finally, many schools partner with charity projects around the city (and country) where you can offer your time and services. Volunteer opportunities may include working at a local orphanage or rescue center, and often expose you to settings that require you to speak Spanish beyond the classroom.

If you’re a beginner, a volunteer opportunity is an good way to learn practical Spanish, and for the shy ones among you, this type of experience may be just what you need to speak up!

Spanish Schools in Quito

We’ve gone ahead and listed the top schools in Quito, based on their location. You’ll also find pricing for individual classes, registration fees, TripAdvisor ratings, and the all-important question of whether unlimited, free coffee is available.

Make sure to visit each website since every school offers different discounted rates and programs.

Spanish schools in la Mariscal

Simon Bolivar Spanish School

Simón Bolivar is the 2nd highest rated Spanish school in Quito, and is considered one of the most prestigious. They offer pretty much everything a student/traveler could want: city tours, weekend trips, and a cultural immersion program, and they’ve even written their own textbook.

You have the option of individual lessons, paired lessons (2 students / 1 teacher), or group classes, and possibly more configurations.

Registration fee: $35 per person
Individual lessons: $9 per hour
Rating: 5/5 on TripAdvisor (128 reviews)
Free coffee: YES

Free class with your first pass

We’ve partnered with Simón Bolívar to offer you 1 free Spanish class with the purchase of a Wanderbus pass.* Claim your free class today by contacting Simón Bolívar Spanish School:
Tel: (593-2) 223 4708 / 254 4558

*This coupon is only valid for classes in Quito, Cuenca or via Skype at Simón Bolívar Spanish School, one of the most prestigious in the country.

Spanish Schools in Quito

Cristóbal Colón Spanish School

Cristobal Colon Spanish School is located on the streets Colón and Versalles, this school is a bit farther from the center of the Mariscal district, but is still technically walking distance. They offer one of the most competitive prices for individual classes: $7/hr and don’t charge a registration fee.

Registration fee: $0
Individual lessons: $7 per class
Rating: 5/5 on TripAdvisor (19 reviews)
Free coffee: UNKNOWN

Galápagos Spanish School

This is one of the longest standing Spanish schools in Quito and operates from the Galápagos Hostel (hence the name). They offer homestays, housing (in apartments or the hostel itself) and include activities and even salsa dancing in their packages. Somewhat surprisingly, they don’t offer Spanish on the Galápagos Islands.

Registration fee: $40
Individual lessons: $7 per class
Free coffee: UNKNOWN

Banana Spanish School

The Banana Spanish School offers Spanish courses all over the country, including Tena, Coca and Puerto López, as well as the Galápagos Islands. It’s probably the school with the most classroom locations in this list.

Among this school’s numerous activities are trips to nearby volcanoes like Guagua Pichincha, Cotopaxi and Quilotoa Crater.

Registration fee: $0
Individual lessons: $7.50 per class
Free coffee: YES (and BANANAS, no lie)

Spanish schools around La Carolina Park

Andean Global Studies

This is yet another well rated school on TripAdvisor that advertises many Spanish program options, including one-day courses, traveling classrooms, and volunteer opportunities. They have five branch locations: Quito, the Amazon, Montañita, Cuenca and Manta and, in Quito, offer free tutoring and conversational Club 4 learning.

Registration fee: $20
Individual lessons: $10 per class
Rating: 5/5 on TripAdvisor (88 reviews)
Free coffee: YES

Academia Latinoamericana de Español

This is a family-run school with locations in Quito (Ecuador), Cusco (Peru) and Sucre (Bolivia). They offer a variety of Spanish courses, including private, semi-private, university credit courses and a program called Activa, which includes Spanish in the mornings and guided activities in the afternoon. Generally speaking, their courses appeal more to people that come to Ecuador with the intention of learning Spanish, rather than short term travelers.

That said, their three locations may appeal to travelers planning to spend time in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia without losing momentum in their studies.

Registration fee: $0
Individual lessons: $15 per class
Rating: 5/5 on TripAdvisor (9 reviews)
Free coffee: UNKNOWN

Spanish schools in the Historic Center

Yanapuma Spanish School

Yanapuma is a long-standing Spanish school that has gained recognition due to its numerous volunteer program partnerships. Yanapuma operates out of Quito and Cuenca.

Group classes here are small and the environment is very friendly, which lends itself to new friendships with other students and the instructors. They offer a Spanish course for families, which is unique, and organize regular excursions and activities with students.

Registration fee: $0
Individual lessons: $9 per class
Rating: 4.5/5 on TripAdvisor (14 reviews)
Free coffee: THEY BETTER (website was temporarily down)

Ailola Quito Spanish School

The highest rated Spanish school on TripAdvisor, Ailola has a program option for everyone, including homestays, volunteer programs, traveling classrooms (Galápagos Islands!), private, the list goes on…. Their group Spanish classes appear to be quite grammar-heavy, but you can always go for a private or semi-private class.

A perk they offer (but don’t appear to strongly advertise) is free airport pick up (valued at $25).

Registration fee: $40
Individual lessons: $10 per class
Rating: 5/5 on TripAdvisor (167 reviews)
Free coffee: YES (and CROISSANTS)

Spanish School Instituto Superior del Español

Another well-rated school, ISE is comparable to Ailola in what it offers, including traveling classrooms across the country and volunteer programs. This school has been around for 29 years and is located in the heart of the historic center.

Registration fee: $40 (includes airport picky up and a few other perks)
Individual lessons: $11 per class
Rating: 5/5 on TripAdvisor (76 reviews)
Free coffee: YES (and FRESHLY BAKED BREAD)

Spanish schools in La Floresta and La Vicentina

Atahualpa Spanish School

Named after the Incan Emperor, Atahualpa, this is a family-run Spanish school in Quito that has been in the business for 24 years. Along with all the regular Spanish programs and activities, Atahualpa Spanish School keeps it flavorful with cooking and salsa classes.
Registration fee: $0
5/5 on TripAdvisor (9 reviews)
Individual lessons: $12 per class
Free coffee: YES

Vida Verde Spanish School

Last, but definitely not least, is the Vida Verde Spanish School, which offers Spanish courses in the jungle and the coast (including one at Rio Muchacho Organic Farm – super cool!). They also offer homestays, volunteer opportunities and weekend excursions.

Registration fee: $35
5/5 on TripAdvisor (6 reviews)
Individual lessons: $10 per class
Free coffee: YES

Para cerrar…

Hopefully this list has been helpful in narrowing down your search for a Spanish school in Quito! We’ve tried to include the top-rated schools*, but if you know of another school that we missed, please mention it in the comments sections below.

To end, we’ll leave you with another sentence in Spanish you will most definitely need on your trip. Repeat it, memorize it, and keep it close at hand:
Tres tristes tigres tragaban trigo en un trigal en tres tristes trastos. En tres tristes trastos, tragaban trigo en un trigal, tres tristes tigres.

Happy wandering!

*Don’t base your decision entirely off of the TripAdvisor ratings. Keep in mind that many schools use Facebook reviews and Google reviews as well.


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