Frequently asked questions
Who owns and operates the Spanish school? Is it licensed?
The Co-Operative of Guatemalan Spanish Teachers (Cooperativa Spanish School) is a true cooperative started in 2004 by a group of experienced Spanish teachers from San Pedro La Laguna who believe they have a responsibility to the community which they are from. All fees paid by the students go directly to the teachers, the outreach programs and maintenance of the school. There is no one collecting an administration fee. The teachers are equal partners in the school, and the pride of ownership shows in their professional and caring attitudes. The Cooperativa is fully licensed by the Guatemalan Board of Education and by Inguat, the Guatemalan Board of Tourism.
Courses range from one week to one month or longer. Instruction ranges from 3 to 6 hours each day, 5 days a week. In addition to learning Spanish from the most experienced teachers in San Pedro, students have the opportunity to live in the home of a local family. Many students discover the richness of living within the culture, speaking Spanish in an immersion setting, and practicing their skills with members of their new family as the most satisfying way of developing their Spanish.
Can I receive College Credits?
Yes, a former student in the United States can arrange for credits. You must contact her directly. This service is not part of or associated with the Cooperativa.
If you are interested in receiving US college credit for studying at the Cooperativa School, contact Stacey Holeman at email@example.com or (541) 296-1980.
We offer you a private service from Guatemala City to San Pedro La Laguna.
Shuttle from the Airport to San Pedro La Laguna for a total cost of $120 U.S. for 1-2 persons or $160 total cost for 3-12 persons.
If you want to arrange your own transportation we recommend you take a shuttle from the airport to the nearby colonial town of Antigua you can contact the travel agency Maya Tzutujil for this.
Is Guatemala safe for travelers?
Yes, San Pedro is very safe for travelers. Many solo female students come to San Pedro for school because of the security they feel here. The country of Guatemala is generally quite safe, but you do need to be mindful of where you are.
San Pedro La Laguna, on the shore of Lake Atitlan, is a traditional Mayan town in the center with a strong traveler/international presence on the outskirts. The local Tzutujil people are friendly and welcoming, especially when visitors remember to respect local customs and the local people.
Guatemala City is a large and impoverished city with a high crime rate. Reputable tour operators operate quite safely here, but it may be unwise to take local taxi cabs or wander in the city.
How does the money work?
San Pedro and most major towns in Guatemala have ATM access. You can get Quetzales, the local currency, at a very good exchange rate from them. You may pay in dollars but only tickets $50 and $100. It is almost impossible to get Canadian dollars exchanged and also often difficult to exchange Euros. Most businesses including hotels and hostels DO NOT accept credit cards, so be sure to get some cash shortly after arriving in Guatemala City for food and travel. The airport has a bank that will take many other currencies and exchange them for Quetzales.
What do things like lodging and food cost?
You can often find lodging with a shared bath and a clean bed for as little as 25 Quetzales a night and for 40 plus Quetzales a night you can have your own bathroom. Many hotels and hostels offer scantly equipped kitchens for their guests use. When negotiating room prices you will almost always receive a discount for stays of a week or more. Try to avoid paying for more than a few days in advance and never pay for more than a week in advance in case you decide you want to change hotels.
Meals at local comidors, simple set menu local eateries, can range from 15-35 Quetzales. If you want to eat at one of the many foreign run traveler spots you can expect to spend 25-75Q for a meal and a beverage. A beer runs 10-15Q and a cup of local coffee goes for about 7Q.
Are there volunteering opportunities at the school?
Yes, along with our social outreach and school programs there are other volunteering jobs at the local hospital for disabled children and adults.
Is there anything to do at night?
Yes, there are a wide variety of restaurants, cafe’s and bars to socialize at. San Pedro currently has a mandatory closing time of 11pm for all restaurants and bars. There are some that show English language movies almost every night for free, or at the cost of a beverage to drink while you watch. You can enjoy live music and dj’s at many of the Bars/Pubs several nights a week.
Is internet available?
Yes, it is available at school, with the service at the home of families, cafés / bars / restaurants of San Pedro, so keeping in touch with family and friends is easy.