We've made a list of the most commonly asked questions about our Cuernavaca, Mexico Spanish School, we hope you find their answers helpful. If there is something we have
missed or if you would like information about our Tulum, Mexico location south of Cancun, please contact us.
What is the Natural Approach to learning?
The Natural Approach allows students to
"naturally" acquire a new language in a
low-anxiety, comfortable setting using real life situations and objects to support their learning. This approach is distinct from a
grammar memorization approach, where generally you learn,
not by doing, but through studying a book and memorizing grammar rules.
The Natural Approach at Instituto Chac-Mool stresses communication skills and conversational
fluency and our goal is to have you communicating in Spanish
as quickly as possible.
On what date do classes begin?
New classes for all levels begin each Monday throughout the year, although mid-week starts may be arranged. Students usually begin their homestay the Saturday or Sunday prior. (Please note school holidays.) Students may study for any number of weeks.
What are the registration, tuition and accommodation costs at Chac-Mool?
Tuition and accommodations are priced separately, Cuernavaca rates can be found on our rates page. Registration fees
are required by all first time students, they are the only fees quoted in U.S. dollars and payable in advance of arrival.
How and when do I pay my fees?
Typically only the registration fee is required in advance of your arrival, this fee may be paid by check or credit card.
The balance of fees are paid upon arrival and cash payments are requested. Upon registration, your confirmation for classes
will confirm all payment proceedures.
What is the Instituto Chac-Mool Money Back Guarantee?
Instituto Chac-Mool guarantees that all actively participating students will learn,
or their money back. This guarantee is offered only on tuition and to adult and teen students that are enrolled for 2 weeks or
longer and that have been an active participant in the classes. Requests must be made by the student to the school's director
no later than 1:30 pm on the second day of study.
What is the Instituto Chac-Mool refund policy?
Class attendance is the student's responsibility and tuition refunds will
not be made for classes missed. However, if a student formally withdraws from their course prior to their scheduled ending date,
days missed may be made up at a future time. Registration fees are non-refundable, however they are life-time fees.
What is the excursion schedule?
The excursions vary
in destination and are tied to the interest of the students attending classes. Saturday excursions are scheduled, plus Sunday excursions during
the busier times of the year, typically summer weeks. Some overnight excursions too may be scheduled upon request.
How can I receive college credit?
Instituto Chac-Mool is a fully accredited institution by the Mexican Ministry of
Education. Many colleges and universities accept study abroad credits granted by a higher education institution recognized by the
Mexican Ministry of Education. Since each institution has their own policy about transferring credits, we recommend that students verify
that credits are accepted by their home school before enrolling in Spanish immersion classes. If your school requires copies of documents
proving accreditation, they are available upon request. Be sure to bring your photo ID with student number, and the name and address of the school as the transcript must be mailed.
Also include the name of the person in the office who should receive your transcript, along with their telephone number.
A mailing fee applies.
Is a children's program offered?
Instituto Chac-Mool has a Spanish School for kids, more info is online at SAMMYE.com.
Do you offer a certificate of completion?
At the end of your course, the school will provide an official Certificate of Completion free of charge upon request. You must request this while at the school as they cannot be mailed to you.
Do you have wireless internet access so I can bring my laptop?
Yes, you will have access to free WiFi at Instituto Chac-Mool and some host families provide WiFi, however this should be requested upon registration. For those who want to
travel light, there are many inexpensive internet cafes near the school.
How can I make long distance calls from Mexico?
Instituto Chac-Mool sells prepaid phone cards that can be used from the school or from most host family homes. Since not all prepaid phone cards are alike do not purchase in your home country prior to arriving in Mexico.
What meals are included with the home stay?
The host families provide three (3) meals a day: breakfast (desayuno), lunch (comida), and dinner (cena). On the days of an excursion, students can request a sack lunch to take with them. The sack lunch consists of a sandwich or torta, a fruit and a drink.
Do the families provide laundry service for personal items?
The host families will launder your sheets and towels, but for personal laundry we suggest you use one of the neighborhood laundry services for inexpensive washing and drying of your clothes.
Does Chac-Mool have a doctor on staff?
What is the weather like in Cuernavaca?
In the "land of eternal spring" you will most often find temperatures in the 70's and 80's during the day, with cool evenings. Check the 5 day forecast.
Will I need an electrical converter?
Will my cell phone work in Mexico?
Cell phone usage is popular in Cuernavaca. Please check that you have an international phone with your phone service provider or you can purchase disposable cell phones in Cuernavaca or at the Mexico City airport.
What form of payment is accepted in and around Cuernavaca?
Mexican pesos are easily spent in Cuernavaca and you can purchase them at "casa de cambios" around Cuernavaca. You can also get them at the Mexico City airport (or your home airport) however the exchange rate is not favorable.
ATM machines at area banks will dispense pesos.
Traveler's Checks are no longer readily accepted by businesses in Mexico as a result of the large number of
fraudulent checks being passed. If you wish to travel with Traveler's
Checks please be aware that only YOU, not the business or individual made payable to, will be able to exchange
them for Mexican pesos at a bank or casa de cambio.
You will find a few businesses will accept Visa, MasterCard or American Express, but not many.
Are there ATM machines in Mexico?
Yes, you will find ATMs that dispense only pesos in the airport in Mexico City as well as in banks around Cuernavaca.
In advance of your trip find out your bank's international ATM fee and notify them that you will be using your ATM outside of your home country. This step is helpful as your bank is trying to protect you from fraudulent use of your card.
What are typical business hours?
Government offices and businesses are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 2pm, close for lunch and then reopen from 4pm to 7pm.
Museums and archeological sites are usually open 8am to 5pm, but museums are usually closed on Mondays.
When and how much should I tip?
You may tip your host family and private airport transportation driver, but it is not required. The tipping rate in Mexico restaurants is generally 10%.
What should I pack?
Dress is informal, so casual clothes such as jeans and shorts are acceptable.
Lightweight layered clothing is a good idea as is something warmer for nights and higher elevations. Comfortable walking shoes are a must,
as is a hat, if you tend to burn. There is a pool at the school if you want to pack a swimming suit. For class, pencils or pens and papers are
necessary. Bring any medications you might need, be sure to put these and any other valuables ONLY in your carry on luggage (do not check this bag).
Does my host family provide towels and linens?
Yes, and they will launder them once a week for you.
If you are planning to swim, please bring your own towel from home for use at the pool.
Do you have any advice about the Mexico City airport?
Before you pick up your luggage, use the rest room
as this will be easier without bags to keep an eye on.
Once in the main terminal, ignore drivers that may come up to you to sell a service, this may not be safe
(you can pre-arrange a pick up service through the school).
The porters that will transport your luggage are convenient and can escort you to the commuter bus area
in the terminal. Be prepared to pay/tip about a dollar per bag.
If you need an airport hotel, Hilton and Camino Real are connected to the airport.
Close by is a Ramada and Fiesta Inn.
There are now two international terminals at the airport, your ticket should state in which terminal you will arrive. Both terminals offer
full services and there is a train connecting the two.
Is there a bus from the Mexico City airport to Cuernavaca?
Yes, there is a non-stop Pullman de Morelos luxury commuter bus that leaves frequently from the two terminals at the
Mexico City Airport.
Please be aware that seats on the last buses of the day may sell out. Bus schedule.
Once at the bus station in Cuernavaca, buy a taxi zone ticket for your destination, about 40 pesos. Have your destination address ready.
Is there an airport pick up and delivery service available?
An airport pick up by an independent, licensed and insured
driver can be scheduled for you by the school, upon request. All passengers will be picked up inside the
terminal in which they land and taken directly to their accommodations. Service available 24 hours per day, check in advance for the rate as it is subject to change. Complete pick up instructions will be given to you upon reserving this service.
Delivery back to the airport can be scheduled while you are at the school.
How much spending money should I bring?
This is difficult to say without knowing your spending habits, but students generally budget an average of $135-270 MXN (approximately $10-20usd) per day for incidentals, shopping, nightlife, etc.
What documents are required to enter Mexico?
Passports are now required, be sure to check in advance that yours has not expired or will not expire within 6 months of your departure date from Mexico.
Are additional documents required for persons under 18 years?
If a minor child is traveling with only one or without either parent, additional paperwork may be required. Check with your airline for required notarized authorizations and documents.
What immunizations are required for Mexico?
None are required to enter Mexico but you may want to check with your local physician for recommendations at least several weeks before traveling.