Instituto Chac-Mool Instituto Chac-Mool
Instituto Chac-Mool Spanish School


Our newest Instituto Chac-Mool Spanish School is located in Turrialba, outside of San Jose, Costa Rica. Full details and rates can be found at

We also invite you to study the Spanish language at Instituto Chac-Mool Spanish School in the town of Tulum, Mexico, south of Cancun. The website can be found at

Progressive Language Learning

Progressive: relating to an educational system that allows flexibility in learning procedures, based on activities determined by the needs and capacities of the individual.

Instituto Chac-Mool Believes...

-"language acquisition" versus "language learning" is the best way competence in a second language occurs.

- the new language should be naturally acquired and not formed through mental translation from one's first language.

-a low anxiety environment, with sympathetic and motivating instruction, is essential to acquiring the target language.

-Spanish teachers should not only be native Spanish speakers, but masters in second language acquisition.

-a program should be tailored specific to student's interests and needs, with the flexibility to maximize and accelerate learning even when working within a group.

-personalized attention is essential in helping students achieve their language goals.

-an understanding of the culture of Mexico makes it easier to acquire the new language.

-actively participating students will learn Spanish quickly.

Why is Immersion better than trying to learn Spanish with products such as Rosetta Stone® or Pimsleur®?

Learning a new language while everything around you is in your current language is difficult and a very slow process. Most people dedicate an hour or so a day to these language learning products and then quit because they don't receive outside motivation or advance at a measurable speed. The products don't allow you to check your progress with professional instructors, or other speakers. This interaction is very important, as is staying surrounded by the new language every day. While learning a new language, input from others about how you use the language (verbiage, pronunciation, vocabulary) is the most valuable tool you can have.

Instituto Chac-Mool Spanish Instructors

In addition to being university educated and native Spanish speakers, all of our teachers have been specially trained in Stephen Krashen's Theory of Language Acquisition. Stephen Krashen is an expert in the field of linguistics, specializing in theories of language acquisition and development. Much of his research has involved the study of non-English and bilingual language acquisition.

Our Spanish instructors are also taught Seven Intelligences enabling the instructor to identify each ones learning ability so that instruction may be tailored specifically to the individual.

Spanish School for Kids

Instituto Chac-Mool
Spanish Language Immersion Schools


Chac Mool statue

"Chac-Mool" (figure above) was first discovered in the late 1800's by French explorer Augustus LePlongeon at Chichen Itza, an ancient Mayan city in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. This reclining figure found throughout Mayan cities, is lying on his back with his knees up and his head turned to one side, with both hands holding a receptacle.

Chac-Mool, pronounced CHALK MOOL, was considered the messenger to the gods and the receptacle he holds served to receive the Mayan offerings. The most well known Chac-Mool sits atop the Temple of the Warriors at Chichen Itza.

At the entrance to the Temple of the Warriors, facing the Castillo, is one of fourteen examples of Chac-Mool sculptures found at Chichen Itza. It was used as a sacrificial stone. While not part of Maya artistic tradition, and thought to have been introduced by invading Mexican groups (such as the Toltecs) in the Post-Classic period, the Chac-Mool may have been based on Maya imagery of captives and sacrificial victims.

Our Progress to Become a Top Spanish School

In 1996 Instituto Chac-Mool Cuernavaca began offering students an innovative program for learning Spanish in Mexico. Cuernavaca was lacking in Spanish schools that were progressive in the art of teaching second languages, and ICM quickly became one of the top choices of students who were interested in an interactive approach to learning Spanish.

In 2001 Instituto Chac-Mool began offering classes all year long in Cuernavaca, with a Monday start date, to students of all levels from beginning to high advanced. Plus the very popular workshops for teachers were expanded.

In 2003 specialized semi-private courses for professionals were developed. Additional instructors began the 5-6 month training process so more students could be admitted to Instituto Chac-Mool. Several of our students this year have started their Spanish studies at our Tulum campus and followed them up with weeks at our Cuernavaca school.

In 2004 the number of specialized children's instructors was increased, as the Spanish School for Kids began filling to capacity in the summer months.

In 2005 Instituto Chac-Mool in Cuernavaca proudly became accredited as a higher education institution offering students college transcripts. The special teen summer program was introduced, becoming an annual event.

In 2006 Instituto Chac-Mool celebrated their 10 year anniversary in Cuernavaca with a huge party in July for students and host families. Also a relationship was formed with California Lutheran University so that Professional Development Credits for teachers and Continuing Education Units for professionals could be earned while studying Spanish.

In 2007 Instituto Chac-Mool began offering more levels of Spanish classes for kids for those who have had previous exposure to Spanish at home or in bilingual schools. The workshops for teachers and educators continued to be a big success with summer participation better than ever. This year we welcomed more homeschool families than ever before.

In 2008 we revamped and improved programs for families with children, and the feedback rating from these students during the summer was the highest we've ever received. A larger number of students are requesting a college transcript for their Spanish studies at Instituto Chac-Mool. Winter "Young at heart" students have been registering in greater numbers than years before.

In 2009 the number of travelers to Mexico is down and many schools are scaling back their programs and some are closing their doors. But not Instituto Chac-Mool! We are happy to say we have many students of all age groups, and our Cuernavaca programs are not scaled back at all this year.

2010 left us optimistic that travelers are starting to return to central Mexico for their Spanish immersion studies. Instituto Chac-Mool did not increase rates again this year in order to make it an affordable learning vacation.

2011 announced a new Instituto Chac-Mool Spanish School located in Tulum, south of Cancun, Mexico. The Cuernavaca school is proud to now have a satellite school in Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula.

2012 is a busy year for our new Tulum Spanish School, students who have attended our classes in Cuernavaca are registering to study at the Tulum campus without paying another registration fee. Yoga classes at the Tulum school have been a popular offering and kid's Spanish programs (seen at are attracting childen whose parents are studying at Instituto Chac-Mool in Tulum.

2013 welcomed our new director in Tulum, Paulina Barrientos. Paulina comes from our Cuernavaca campus and we are excited by the enthusiasm she has brought to this beach town campus.

2014 we closed our Cuernavaca school and will focus more on the very popular Tulum location and our new Turrialba, Costa Rica Spanish School.

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