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Bocas del Toro, panama

Bocas del Toro, the archipelago off the northern Caribbean coast of Panama, is known for its unparalleled beauty and vibrant nightlife.

The crystal clear waters, white sand beaches, world-famous waves, colorful coral reefs, the abundance of marine life make Bocas del Toro a tropical paradise. The laid back vibes of this surfer town and the constant flow of world travelers make for a very active and healthy nightlife. This unique atmosphere makes Bocas without a doubt the most popular destination to learn Spanish.

  • Welcome to Spanish by the Sea - Bocas
  • Teacher in Bocas del Toro
  • Zapatillas Island in Bocas del Toro
  • Family breakfast in Bocas
  • Office in Bocas del Toro Spanish School
  • Bocas is for Lovers
  • Surf Lessons in Bocas del Toro
  • Scuba Class - Bocas del Toro
  • Class is in session - Bocas
  • Beach cruisin Bocas style
  • Welcome to Spanish by The Sea - Bocas
  • La Iguana Bar - Bocas
  • Welcome to Spanish by the Sea - Bocas
  • Relax and Study with Spanish at Locations
  • Snorkel & pick.nick in Bocas del Toro
  • Why study indoors? Spanish by the Sea - Bocas

Spanish by the Sea - Bocas

Founded in 1998, Spanish by the Sea – Bocas del Toro, is one of three options in Panama to take spanish classes.  On the main island of Isla Colon, the school is one block off Main Street where you can easily walk to restaurants, tour operators, bank, bars, shops, airport, hotels, coffee shops, etc. The variety of Caribbean cultures native to the island mixed with its booming tourism industry creates an intriguing hub for linguistic and cultural exchange. Bocas is also a biologists dream come true. The conservation and preservation efforts have successfully protected much of the Caribbean wildlife here, including four of the eight species of sea turtles that nest on these beaches.

The largest of our 5 schools, it houses up to 30 students, a large front garden with fruit and palm trees, tropical plants, lounge chairs and hammocks for easy studying; and 8 unique teaching stations that create the perfectly relaxed environment to attend class. Read here how we work with you to teach you Spanish!

Who wants to study at Spanish by the Sea- Bocas del Toro?

High quality classes, world-class adventure activities, stunning natural beauty, and a very active and worldly night-life makes Bocas a place for everyone!


So why Bocas?

  • Relaxed Caribbean pace.
  • Perfect place to get your PADI Dive Certifications; Open Water, Advanced, Rescue, and Master.
  • World Class Surfing.
  • Adventure seekers paradise; sea kayak, horseback, zip lining, cycling, among others.
  • Night life! It’s always Friday night on the Island.


Coming from San José? 

Caribe Shuttle provides daily service between San José and Bocas del Toro. The shuttle, which includes a lunch in Puerto Viejo, will pick you up at your downtown hotel in San José (or at the Denny’s near the airport) and drop you off at the Caribe Shuttle Dock in Bocas del Toro. Book your shuttle trip here.

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All options for this location

Students in classes with Teache

Intensive Spanish Course

If you want to learn faster:

  • 6 hours of group lessons* per day/ 5 days per week
  • max 6 students per class
  • morning (8 till 12) or afternoon (1 till 5) + evening sessions (5 till 7) 

*When only one student with this level: 3 hrs private (same price).

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Three students on a table with study materials

Standard Spanish Course

What most students choose:

  • 4 hours of group lessons* per day/ 5 days per week
  • max 6 students per class
  • morning (8 till 12) or afternoon (1 till 5) sessions

*When only one student with this level: 2 hrs private (same price).

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People hanging out in hammocks and chairs on a tropical balcony

Bocas: Vacation Rentals

If you travel with a group of friends or family, you might want  to live independently from the school and hostel, You will have your private space to rest, cook and study. These homes might be perfect for you!

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Cabins over the water Bocas del Toro

Bocas: Other hostels & hotels

Although our hostel has lots of beds and is centrally located, it is still full sometimes or you might actually want to stay further away from the center of town.

To make sure we offer something for every possible taste, we selected for you one budget hostel, one middle-priced hotel and one luxury hotel in Bocas del Toro.



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Caribbean House of Familia Cerezo in Bocas

Bocas: Stays with a local family

Staying with a local family in Bocas del Toro gives you the opportunity to see how local people live and also to chat and interact with the family members.

There are a few small differences between what we call a “home stay” and a “stay with a local family”, one being that in a homestay you get to share more time and activities with the family and another difference is that in the last option, you mostly share the house (not your room) with other students.

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Front of a building with bicycles and kayaks

Bocas: Our hostel

If you choose to stay at our own hostel, part of our Spanish school in Bocas del Toro, you can be independent, make food, be lazy and alone or interact with fellow travellers.

Our little sanctuary is within walking distance to everything that Bocas Town has to offer,  with the comfort and security of your home away from home! With multiple hammock lounges, big communal kitchen and an open air feel, we have private rooms and rooms that each can be shared by 2, 3 or 4 students.



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large group of smiling students

Dinners & Nightlife

Dinners, parties and going to the local bars and discos are a great way to get to know your fellow students, relax and have some fun. So don’t miss the get-togethers during the week and especially on the weekends! Panama City, Bocas del Toro and Puerto Viejo offer vibrant nightlife every day of the week. In Boquete and Turrialba it is generally more centered around the weekend.

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Two people holding entrance tickets in front of biomuseum

Museum & Reseach Institutes

In Costa Rica & Panama a great deal of research is done in tropical agricultre, biodiversity and conservation,  so you are in the right countries to learn about these topics. Furthermore, in Panama City there is a rich variety of museums where you can learn about the Panama Canal and the AfroAntillian Culture. The Gold and Jade museums are among several that can be found in San Jose, just a day trip away from Turrialba.



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Group of zumba people in local gym

Gyms for Workout

Working out has many benefits, not only physical ones but also some related to improvement of your studies. It boosts brainpower (it increases levels of brain-derived protein in the body, believed to help with decision making, higher thinking and learning). It also sharpens memory. With the availabilty of gyms nearby you can continue your workout routine while learning Spanish at our schools!


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Palm tree in foreground, boats floating in caribbean sea, paradise setting

Visiting Beaches

It’s so easy to be happy on the beach: beautiful views, the feel of the hot sun on you skin, a refreshing swim, an afternoon with friends. The beach is also a great place to truly unplug from your life because electronic screens don’t work that well in the sun! Costa Rica and Panama have stunning beaches on both the Pacific and the Atlantic coasts. Some are quiet with no facilities others are a bit more busy with small places to drink or eat.

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Group of girls dancing salsa

Latin American Dance Class

Once you get into dancing you realize what you have been missing .. you´ll remember you have a body, you have fun, it is cheap and you can meet interesting people. The hormone dopamine will be released and activate the learning centers of you brain .. so much needed to learn Spanish! You can learn salsa, merengue, bachata, cha-cha-cha and reggaeton. ¡A bailar!

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Two persons doing barbecue in party

Friday Night Barbecue

At all schools, every Friday, we organize a potluck barbecue in which the school provides some drinks for all guests and all participants bring some food to share. Various international dishes are often sampled at these barbecues. It is a nice way to finish a week of studying Spanish, connect and celebrate!

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Students cutting fruits and vegetables for cooking workshop

Local Cooking Class

What is a better way to study Spanish than learning all about the food, flavors and how to prepare tasty local dishes? Let’s combine the classroom with the kitchen and not only learn Spanish words for the ingredients and commands like ¡mezcla! but also prepare gallo pinto, arroz con pollo or bananas flambé and make sure you immerse yourself in the culinary culture of Costa Rica or Panama and enjoy some delicious food!


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Smiling girl in snorkel gear

Snorkeling & Deep boarding

Much simpler than scuba diving, snorkeling is something you can do without much practice and it requires only minimal equipment. Also, you don’t need to be a strong swimmer to be able to see what’s underneath the surface! Something new is deep boarding. With your mask and snorkel on, you’ll be dragged along behind a speedboat on a rope, holding onto a clear plastic semi circle. By tilting the board up or down, you go under the surface or emerge from the water to take your next breath. Just another way to enjoy the underwater world!

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Two girls in a kayak paddling through mangroves

River & Sea Kayaking

Kayaking in rivers and oceans is for anyone looking for an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors! In addition to being fun, easy and enjoyable, kayaking is also a great low-impact workout. You can combine it with going to the beach, fishing, camping, snorkeling or having a picnic next to the river or on the beach.

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Group hiking through costa rican forest

Hiking Tour

A healthy body is a happy body and one of the best ways to achieve this is to get plenty of exercise. Hiking is an economical way to increase your activity level, while offering plenty of health benefits. Hiking through a beautiful area in our unique locations can als calm your nerves and lift your spirits. Hiking with a group provides an excellent opportunity to learn about tropical ecosystems, socialize and exchange ideas with others!

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Vibrant multi-colored flower

Botanical Garden

Visiting a Botanical garden is a relaxing activity that will leave you in awe of nature’s beauty.  You also will learn about the natural history of the country. You will see a large collection of plants and trees with their flowers, seeds and fruits as you have a peaceful stroll along laid out paths.

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Smiling students eating their hand-made chocolate

Cacao & Chocolate Tour

“Theobroma cacao”, also called cacao tree is a small tree native to the deep tropical regions of Central and South America. Its seeds, the cacoa beans, are used to make cocoa mass, cocoa powder and chocolate. While cacao is no longer used as money, it plays a central role in cultures around the world today. Lot’s of people believe that chocolate is good for a happy and healthy life and global production of cocoa is climbing 2 percent each year!


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People riding horses on the beach

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding in the past was the only way people travelled through the countryside. It´s a very special activity because not only is it enjoyable, fun and relaxing, but you also get an up-close view of the beautiful natural surroundings.  While riding you can enjoy an abundance of flora and fauna. During a trip of a few hours you will establish a relationship with your horse and make you feel connected with nature!

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Surfer in the ocean at sunset


Surfing is a highly addictive water sport and one of the most popular boardsports ever invented. There are over 20 million surfers in the world and the number is growing fast. Riding a wave is a breath taking experience that compels the surfer to forget about the daily struggles and reconnect with the present moment. The connection to the ocean and its elements, coupled with the mental, physical and often times spiritual aspects of the sport, lends itself naturally to healthy living. This, and the virtuous blend of salt, sand and sun have without a doubt a positive impact on the overall happiness of the surfer.


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Person ziplining through moutain forest

Ziplining in the Canopy

Ziplining is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing and most thrilling adventure activities! Safely clipped in a harness, you glide from platform to platform by way of free-moving pulleys suspended on cables high above the ground. This is a unique and exhilarating experience!



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Scuba diver underwater

Scuba Diving

Scuba diving will give you see a window to a fascinating world seen only by a few. The underwater world is very peaceful and quiet so you can empty your mind and just let yourself be amazed. Scuba diving is not an extreme sport and the only skills you need are being able to swim and … breathe! Due to the unique nature of this sport, a specialized course is required to participate.

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Waste Management Non-profit Org

Wasteless World is a non-profit organization located in Bocas del Toro – Panama and it has an important mission:  to create a community-run plastic recycling project that can introduce a new economy while at the same time reduce plastic waste.

A volunteer can help with clean, separate and catagorize plastic waste, organize events for fundraising, education, beach clean-ups, among many other activities.

Spanish by the Sea offers a bed in the volunteer room, pancake+fruit breakfast, laundry in exchange of 18 hrs volunteer at the recycle center and 6 hrs at the School-Hostel to help improve recycling here (24 hrs in total)

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European girl with Panamanian doctor in clinic

Medical Clinic

Working as a volunteer in a medical clinic is beneficial for both you and the community!

It will not only help you  build your medical Spanish skills,  but also give you valuable insight into the unique healthcare challenges facing Costa Rica and Panama. You will build connections with healthcare professionals in these countries. Observing doctors working, taking vital signs and joining doctor meetings are just some of the activities that you might get involved in.

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Foreign girl writing on a blackboard in Costa Rican Classroom

English classes for children & adults

Spanish speaking people often have a basic grasp of English grammar, but you can help them improve their pronunciation skills!

By providing conversational English classes you can greatly enhance the learning experience and the future prospects of thousands of children and adults. As you assist with the local curriculum, your students will enjoy learning about you and your culture. You will have the option to volunteer in a school setting or in some other community initiative.


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Two students with men in wheelchair

Old people’s Home

Working in a nursing home can be life changing experience for various reasons!

Besides practicing Spanish and learning about different therapies, working in a nursing home will put your own problems into perspective. You will learn from the experiences of people who have enjoyed a long life and will see death as much less frightening. You’ll hear another history every day and you will need to slow down and live in the moment. By sharing conversations, helping residents move from one place to another and assisting in physical/occupational therapy, you will be serving the community!

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Two girls with snorkel gear getting into the sea

Spanish & Adventure – PANAMA

Wow! Learn Spanish & enjoy nature in Panama which this package.

Best places and activities of  Boquete (mountains) and Bocas del Toro (island) are included. At both locations you can add other activities for an extra cost or volunteer work. You can also arrive before or stay afterwards, paying $12 per night for a shared room at our hostel.

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Tourist showing a mask in the form of a tucan

Senior program

This package focuses on the needs of people that finished school quite a while ago and are no longer accustomed to the rigors of study. 

If you are a beginner, you are probably interested in learning Spanish for real conversations (for example ordering food in a restaurant) but if you already have a foundation, you might want to focus on grammar, improve you pronunciation, expand your vocabulary to use in different situations and learn about the culture. Fewer class hours per day, more relaxed learning atmosphere, upscale lodging accommodations and tours designed to meet your specific interests are some of the characteristics of this package.



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Two girls in a kayak paddling through mangroves

Spanish & Sea Kayak

Combine Learning Spanish with your passion for sea kayaking!

Bocas del Toro is the perfect place to combine learning Spanish and enjoy some sea kayaking in your free time! In this package deal you receive instructions on how to paddle and manouver your kayak as you visit different locations on two afternoons.

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Surfer walking down the beach with waves in background

Spanish & Surf

Combine Learning Spanish with your passion for surfing!

In this Package you will receive two afternoons of surf classes on Panama’s or Costa Rica’s top surf locations. This will provide you a kickstart to continue practicing surfing on your own, giving you a new life changing hobby.

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Yoga on the balcony of Spanish by the River - Turrialba.

Spanish & Yoga

Combine Learning Spanish with your passion for yoga!

What a perfect combination, exercising the mind through studying Spanish and relaxing the mind through yoga!

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Scuba diver underwater

Spanish & Dive

Combine Learning Spanish with your passion for diving!

In this program you will take any of the PADI dive courses in combination with learning Spanish. What a perfect combination for an educational holiday.  The dive schools organize the courses in many different languages, not just Spanish.

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Especially for students that want to travel, learn Spanish ánd visit 4 of our amazing locations!

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