Habla Ya Spanish School, Bocas del Toro Campus- Day Classes

Habla Ya Spanish School, Bocas del Toro Campus- Day Classes

Habla Ya Spanish School, Bocas del Toro Campus- Day Classes
5
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Sunday
1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
About
Habla Ya offers different types of Spanish courses: from group lessons (4 hours per day, maximum 6 students per class) and private classes.
Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

5.0
246 reviews
Excellent
206
Very good
31
Average
5
Poor
3
Terrible
1

Merle O
Anglesey, UK11 contributions
Feb 2020 • Couples
I spent a total of 5 weeks refreshing and learning Spanish Latin American style at HablaYa in Bocas del Toro Panama. I was able to meet students from other countries and had a great tutor Senor Briceno Jose for both Group and private study. I found my tutor both encouraged and motivated me to improve my speaking skills. On ending my studies at HablaYa I feel able to improve on the skills I achieved thanks to a very able tutor...gracias Jose.
Written March 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mark D
Surrey, Canada12 contributions
Jan 2020
We spent two weeks at the school. Of course it was not enough. My reading and writing were not too bad before I went but I struggled with listening and talking. I got a lot of this at the school so I am happy with the level of instruction and conversation. I know now some of the things I need to work on and I may try this again in another location sometime in the future.

I had a constant struggle in Bocas Town between studying in the afternoons and evenings or taking advantage of the other activities that are available: Snorkling, surfing, beaches, etc. I think I would have gotten more out of the school if I had concentrated more on the Spanish. There were two other students while I was there that did this and made tremendous progress.

There was good comaradarie amoungst the students and we had lunch together quite a few times. On the final Saturday, 7 of us did the Zapatillas trip together and had a great time.
Written January 29, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

The Blonde Abroad
San Diego, CA18 contributions
Feb 2013 • Solo
I had the opportunity to take a Spanish course with Aicel at Habla Ya while visiting Bocas del Toro. It is an incredible school for such a tiny island with great teachers and an amazing campus. In just one class, I got a full refresher on my Spanish and felt confident in my communication during the month I was in Bocas. I'd highly recommend enrolling at Hable Ya whether you are a beginner or looking to master the Spanish Language. Gracias Aicel!
Written October 8, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Gagosha
Hilversum, The Netherlands131 contributions
Feb 2015 • Solo
I could not say, that my experience in HablaYa was bad, BUT... it was not what I was expecting after reading about it, so I will make myself unpopular and write what I think...
so first good things:
-STAFF - really friendly and friends like
-FACILITIES - nice classrooms, nice house, internet everywhere
-ENVIRONMENT - learning Spanish in spanish speaking country has its advantages for sure :)
not so good things:
- QUALITY OF TEACHING: well writing about having best program, I expected dynamic all round approach to it... However it was not so... my first teacher was only making us do excersizes - whatever not clear answer would be - read one more time... speaking 5 other languages that does not work for me... there were many other things, so I asked to change teacher... I changed also level, which was better - more challenging for me, sio I learned faster... Other thing throughout all teachers I had: to make ourselfves to speak we needed to make it happen ourselves - start talking about something - then we did that...otherwise - go back to the book.. Having experience myself teaching a language I could go one for hours... so CONCLUSION HERE: if you really wanna learn - either choose different place and school or you will work more after the classes than in classes..
- HOUSING: it seems, that school really pushes for their hostel Tungara... which has a very nice staff... however if you wanna hot water, clean place and peace - choose something else... Cala Luna that they suggest is on the other hand - just AWESOME... and in general - Bocas is full of hostels and hotels... CONCLUSION: be smart about it :)
BOCAS itself - well... again depends what you want... for me it was pretty borring since I'm not a big party person... there are few interesting things to do, but 3 weeks were too much for me... also NOTE: Bocas shops are very very limited in quality stuff (nicely said), so keep that in mind... also: POLICE and MEDICAL: get all your medicine you might need elsewhere and make sure you dont need any medical assistance - all experiences we made were impressive of a bad kind... Police - no comments there... coastguard were nice during the accident and otherwise such ignorant and passive police I've never seen in my life...
OVER ALL: Despite all the nice people I was lucky to meet Bocas as a place is a NO NO for me and language school maybe better one on the island, but in general has to work hard to live up their marketing slogans :)
Written March 17, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Melodious Butterfly
Montreal, Canada22 contributions
May 2015 • Solo
My experience at Hablaya was just amazing! I remember when signing up for it and before leaving canada for a whole month (by myself I might add) I really did not know what I was getting myself into. But I went for it!
I learned spanish before, for 3 years in high school and I stopped practicing for years. So I could undertsand spanish already, when spoken not too fast, and have an average reading comprehension. I had a bit of vocabulary and only remembered my grammar in the present tense.
Before arriving to Hablaya, I found that everything was very well organised! From the first emmail I sent to get some info, I always received quick responses and very detailled. After doing the placement test and the interview for the host family, I received a detailled description of my host family and the environement, and I was placed in the right level! When I got to bocas, Cesar (administration) came and pick me up at the port and brought me to my family. I received a warm welcome from them.
The next day I started school. I started at a A2 level and finished in B1. We were a small group (2) and the most we were in a group at one point were 5.
Ofelina was my teacher and Im sure I got the best one! She's a wonderful teacher and human being! She is very patient, funny, and did everything to adapt to our needs. I was comfortable with her teaching method. She taught us to start thinking in spanish, not in our mother tongue. She also thought us how to make an explanation in spanish of an unknown word, instead of just looking in the dictionnary from the translation, which is the easy way out!
We had a lot of fun in her class! And I learned a lot more than what I thought I would learn in a month!
The only CON of this whole experience I find, is that in the level I started which was A2, there was too many verb tenses to learn at once and it was difficult for me to integrate everything! From preterito indefinido, to imperfecto to condicional to futuro simple, that was too much for my brain to process. But I managed at some point. I also think that the books, even though they were well made, should have more vocabulary for us to learn.
But thanks to Ofelina! We had a lot of room to just conversate and as we conversate we learned a lot of vocabulary.
You do not need to worry about meeting people there! I met so many people from the first day I got there! we hung out, did excursions together, had lunch... etc!
Even the school staff and teachers are friendly! You will certainly meet some of them at la Iguana bar on friday nights for example!
The school also have a lot of fun activites and excursions. But for some excursions, I found out that they were a bit cheaper when booked elsewhere on the island! But to my opinion it is still worth it!

To you who is reading this! I strongly recommend to full spanish immersion program which is the group classes and the stay at a local host family. This is the best way to learn spanish, to be in the panamanian culture and experiment it to the fullest!
To this day, I miss Bocas and my host family. Love the Panamanian culture! I will certainly go back to Panama!

Have a nice trip!
Written July 14, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kristin R
none12 contributions
Jul 2012 • Solo
I had really high hopes for Habla Ya, unfortunately I was disappointed on MANY occasions by the owners and the management of Habla Ya.

On more than one occasion, they made me feel as though the only thing they cared about was money. The school and the education really didn't seem to be much of a priority, or at least it seemed to be no where near as important as profits.

For example:
- The school will set you up with a driver to pick you up from the airport --- this "shuttle" is at least $5 - 10 more expensive than if you set it up on your own. I later found out that the driver is either related to or close friends with the Habla Ya management.
- There are many hidden costs with the "shuttle" service - for example, they will offer you tours of the Panama Canal, etc, what they don't tell you is that they will charge you $90+ for such tours
- The hostel that they recommend in Bocas del Toro, Tungara, is RUN AND OWNED BY THE OWNERS OF HABLA YA. They tried to tell me that the hostel is run by another party, but if you look at Tungara's website, it very clearly states that Carlos Cabrera is the owner. This hostel is infested with bed bugs and they CONTINUE to recommend it to their students without any attempts at cleaning/fumigating/obtaining new mattresses. They simply don't care if their students get bed bugs as long as they are making money. Additionally, the private rooms in the hostel are approximately 2x more expensive than any other hostel in Bocas del Toro.
- They offer "tours" and excursions to the students (who are already paying >$225/wk for Spanish lessons) that are, again, at least $5-10 more expensive than other operators in town -- some of these tours are 2x more expensive than other operators! It seems like students who are paying for classes should get a discounted rates for tours, but that business concept is lost on the management of Habla Ya.

Additionally, at both the Boquete and Bocas del Toro campus, there are some serious issues with the accommodations that Habla Ya sets up for it's students:
- Tungara Hostel is both over priced and infested with bed bugs. The owners of Tungara completely disregard any guests who break the "hostel rules" this is true for minor infractions, such as guests who make noise and party after the 11pm quiet hours, but unfortunately this is also true for VERY SERIOUS problems such as blatant drug use by guests.

With these, very serious, problems stemming from the management, I would very, very strongly urge anyone looking into Spanish classes abroad to find another option besides Habla Ya. The classes themselves are fine, the teachers are good and kind, but they do not make up for the absolute unprofessionalism with the management and owners.
Written August 18, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
We regret having to bring the emotional nature of this review to public attention, however we are compelled to respond to such a vicious unwarranted attack on our school. This review was submitted by a student who made an ill-advised romantic advance towards one of our school directors. He declined, being a happily married man, and ever since that rejection this student found cause to complain about every aspect of the school and accommodation provided. We are extremely proud of our Tripadvisor rating, and feel it justifiably reflects our standing as one of the top Spanish schools in Latin America. We feel this review, whose content bears no relation to the reality of our establishment, is an attempt to discredit our excellent reputation and so we encourage Trip Advisor users to consider the rest of the reviews posted by our students. We have a reputation of providing top quality customer service and are always open to receive constructive feedback to improve, but when someone decides to write inaccurate information after threatening to damage our reputation we have no other option but to respond by stating the facts. Please allow me to answer the following to the reviewer: - We offered you a private airport pickup from Tocumen Airport and quoted $35. You accepted our quote. Your flight had a 4 hour delay, and your driver was waiting for you until you arrived. Regular taxis who charge $25 obviously don't do that. First of all, they don't wait for you with a sign with your name on it. And second of all, a taxi would have easily charged you $10 more per hour to wait for you. You even said yourself in your email on July 8th that "thankfully Enrique was still at the airport waiting on me. I just felt terrible that he waited so long." It's completely outrageous that you complain about an over priced airport pickup, specially taking into account these circumstances. We never hid the fact that you can also take public transportation. It's stated in the first email you receive and it's in every section of our website about getting to the school . We offer the shuttle because many students feel safer when they are picked up by our partner company. - There are no hidden costs in our shuttle service. The cost is $35 as stated on our website, and in the emails you have received. If you asked the driver of our partner company to give you an additional tour to visit the canal, obviously it will cost extra. Nobody works for free. If you have taken a canal tour, you have done so willingly accepting the price of the service. Habla Ya quoted you for the shuttle service only, not the tour. - Yes, Tungara is managed by our school staff, and as you say yourself, our website states this very clearly. Both Tungara and Habla Ya's website state it very clearly. Why would anyone of our staff tell you otherwise? Keep it real please. - You say that the hostel is infested with bedbugs and that we do nothing about it. First of all, you only stayed in one room. People have stayed in that room right before, and right after your left, and they have had no bites. Our staff also immediately responded to your complaint and inspected your room, and couldn't find any bedbugs (they are about the size of a tick and are easy to spot). Since we took over this hostel, we have replaced many mattresses (as indicated in various reviews about Tungara). We do fumigate the entire hostel every month, and the rooms are cleaned and inspected. If you were so afraid to keep getting bed bug bites, then why did you continue to stay at the hostel after we asked you to leave, and gave you a full refund for your lodging? If you had the money in your hand to book yourself in another place (as you mention there are cheaper places in town), why did you want to keep staying in a place that supposedly had bed bugs? Now we get it: you just wanted a free bed. - About the price of the rooms: calling Tungara "overpriced" is your personal point of view, and you knew the price of the room before booking it. Obviously there will always be cheaper or more expensive options in town, but you chose Tungara. If $35 for a private room in downtown Bocas del Toro is too expensive for you, please provide travelers with a list of hostels that offer cheaper rooms. - You say that we only care about the money. I believe that it is not fair for you to make such a statement, when you got a full refund of your stay at Tungara because you were not happy staying there. - Yes we do offer tours in town, which may be more or less expensive than other operators, but we choose our partners according to their quality of service, not just the price. Anyone can do their research in TA forums and hear about the horror stories experienced by travelers when booking a random boat captain. If that is what anyone would like to do to save $5 or $10, they are free to do so. - Yes students do get discounted rates for the tours that we offer. Prices are clearly stated on our website. Please compare the normal rates for the Catamaran Sailing Tour, Ziplining, Coral Surfing, the Cacao Plantation Tour, Surf Lessons and many others, and you will see that our students save money and have access to the very best tour operators. - About "hostel rules": After 10pm, we do not allow any noise, and when someone does not respect that rule, we call them out on it. The party you were referring to were people making noise in the street and in the building next door, which is out of our control, and that particular night we did everything we could to get people to party elsewhere which after 10 minutes we did convince them to do so. - You mention "blatant drug use by guests" - you were the only one who supposedly witnessed such behavior, and the only guest complaining about this. We talked to the guests you accused, and inspected their room, and no such substances were found. We talked to other guests as well and not a single person said the same thing. The truth is, the rest of the guests were begging us to kick you out. That is exactly what we should have done. It seems to us that you have a personal vendetta against one of the owners, and are not providing any constructive criticism. You review is based on baseless accusations, attempting a smear campaign against our establishment. We are glad to hear however that you did enjoy Spanish lessons, liked your Spanish teachers and from what we've seen from many pictures taken during your stay, you seemed to have a great time in Bocas del Toro, both at the hostel, our school, and everywhere else...
Written August 28, 2012
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

John H
Australia43 contributions
Aug 2012 • Couples
Upscale school. One of the nicest buildings in town. Airconditioned. Instructor Abelardo very professional, efficient, organized, and personable. Very high priced--like double or more the rates in nearby Nicaragua. The school is more formal, atmosphere more uni-like, activities more expensive than the schools in several locations in Nicaragua.
The learning was good, but for trying to get a flavor of local culture, schools in Nicaragua we thought were more involving.
Written September 21, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi Johnnytropics, Thanks for your feedback. Yes, fortunately for us, the standards of living are much better in Panama than in Nicaragua. A Spanish teacher in Nicaragua working full time can earn around $150 per month. In Panama, the same teacher can easily earn 4 times that if not more. This naturally will make Spanish schools in Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador and in almost every country in Latin America, cost more than those in Nicaragua. It's just how the world economy is... it's not our choosing. So when you decide to study Spanish at a school, that is accredited and hires their teachers full time as opposed to laying them off during the low season (and in that way maintain the high quality that you refer to), then yes, it will cost more. Glad to hear you really liked your Spanish teacher. All the best!
Written September 23, 2012
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

squircle
New Orleans, LA4 contributions
Feb 2016 • Solo
I spent 2 months at the Bocas del Toro campus and 2 months at the Boquete campus. The instructors were great! They were helpful, nice, and patient. The schools were in great locations. There were many fun things to do and adventures to be had. If you want to have more adventure time I would not recommend doing group and private classes like I did. The private classes would interfere with some of the school activities. But if you really want learn more group and private lessons were helpful. I liked in the private classes that we went on field trips to help with some real world stuff and mix things up a little bit.
One of my favorite teachers was Beni. Beni made learning Spanish fun. We would joke around in Spanish. Joking around and making it fun made it easier for me to learn because it wasn’t so serious and stressful.
Over all I would say the instructors were great. Most of the administrative staff was nice. As a whole the school could improve their organization and communication with the students. The Habla Ya school is a good place to get the basics and rules. The key is to practice Spanish with people outside of class but only in Spanish. In town there will be many people that will speak to you in English, but stay strong, just speak Spanish. You will learn so much more that way, learn from my mistakes:)
Thank you Beni!
Written January 13, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mari K
Los Angeles, CA9 contributions
Jul 2016 • Friends
I just finished Graduate School, enroute to my first year of teaching 1st grade. I work at an elementary school in the inner city of Los Angeles, which is home to a large population of latino families. I could barely eek a few sentences of Spanish and I understood even less. I wanted to be as effective an educator as possible, which meant I needed to communicate with the families in my community. I sought out programs and finally decided on Habla Ya because of the location and because of other online reviews. I, like you, wanted the most for my money and time. I cannot express how satisfied I was with the program at Habla Ya, specifically with Tonis (a professor within the program). Learning a second language can be exhausting and can make one's affective filter go up, but I always felt at ease in Tonis' classroom--I knew that no matter how badly I pronounced a word or butchered a sentence, he would carefully correct me and restore my confidence. The hours were flexible (I attended from 8am till noon, 5 days per week), the extracurricular activities were designed for Spanish practice, and the school aspires to be as eco friendly as possible. FYI, the city is noisy. If you want to stay away from the hustle and bustle, I suggest staying toward the Smithsonian Center. Otherwise, enjoy your time!
Written October 15, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mark R
New Orleans, LA38 contributions
Jun 2015
Habla Ya truly lives up to its exceptional reputation. I was very nervous dedicating 4 weeks to a school that could have been a flop, but could not have been happier with my experience. My small group of 3 students and an amazing teacher was always fun and productive. After feeling lost the first day (I hadn't listened to spanish in a long time), I quickly improved thanks to my teacher's (Yuriella) ability to always challenge me at the right level. never too easy, but never drowning. The classes are 100% spanish, and are aimed to challenge you. If you WANT to learn and if you ENJOY spanish, this is perfect. The staff there also does a very good job of getting you acquainted with Bocas and making sure you have everything you need to enjoy your stay. Yes, an 8 AM class is not ideal in a town where any night can be a wild party. If you don't think you can balance the two, I would recommend taking afternoon classes. Bocas is also not the easiest place to practice spanish outside of class. For that, I would suggest Boquete. But overall, the small group classes, support, and professionalism of Habla Ya in Bocas really is fantastic and worth every penny. The students typically do a lot together, and as a Solo traveler I felt like I had a good group from the moment I arrived.
Written July 10, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Showing results 1-10 of 213
Is this your Tripadvisor listing?
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
Claim your listing

Habla Ya Spanish School, Bocas del Toro Campus- Day Classes - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about Habla Ya Spanish School, Bocas del Toro Campus- Day Classes

Habla Ya Spanish School, Bocas del Toro Campus- Day Classes is open:
  • Sun - Sun 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
  • Mon - Fri 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Sat - Sat 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Hotels near Habla Ya Spanish School, Bocas del Toro Campus- Day Classes: View all hotels near Habla Ya Spanish School, Bocas del Toro Campus- Day Classes on Tripadvisor


Habla Ya Spanish School, Bocas del Toro Campus- Day Classes Information

Excellent Reviews

206

Very Good Reviews

31

Habla Ya Spanish School, Bocas del Toro Campus- Day Classes Photos

31