Two days was all I could take.
I went to Antigua, Guatemala, for two weeks of total immersion Spanish tutoring–one on one, four hours a day, with a private room.
Now, I know my expectations weren’t too high. I mean I didn’t expect top-notch accommodations at that price. I figured it’d be a typical school with a dorm-type room hovering around hostel level. Considering their reputation, and my cousin’s glowing review from her studies there in 2019, I DID expect it to be clean with working plumbing, electricity, and wifi.
First, they didn’t pick me up from the airport in Guatemala on Friday night. They were, oh, seven HOURS late, claiming they misunderstood my arrival time. Seriously?
That was my first sign. Strike #1.
I was soooo tempted to leave right away and catch the next flight out to Costa Rica while I was still at the airport, but I really wanted the lessons and my cousin had spoken so highly of them I decided to give them another chance.
They killed that on arrival.
When I entered my room, it was dirty. I literally had to ask someone to come clean it. In this COVID era, especially, a filthy room is another really bad sign. Strike #2.
I started looking for somewhere else to stay only to find other accommodations nearby were either full, not worth it, too far, or outside my budget. That meant I had to either stay put or leave Antigua altogether.
I Lysol’d the room and went straight into social distance mode—which was easy since I didn’t understand 98% of what they said anyway. They offered me tours of a volcano, Lake Atitlan, and the city, but I was busy social distancing. Plus the adventure I was having in that room already was more than enough to deal with, and I still wasn’t sure if I was staying five minutes past their office opening on Monday.
I was greeted by at least two terrorist mosquitoes in my room, both of which I finally succeeded in smashing after being bitten a half dozen times. Not trusting the cleanliness of the sheets either, I slept inside my sheet sack and on my own pillow. It was stuffy in the room, yet I couldn’t open any windows (no screens, of course) nor the door (see mosquitoes above), and there wasn’t even a fan in the room to circulate any air. All I had to cool off with was my cell phone fan plugged into my iPad…and cold water, which there was plenty of.
There was NO HOT WATER. The hot side of the faucet on the sink didn’t even produce water at all. The showerhead was so clogged that water sprayed in every direction when I turned the cold knob, and the hot water knob produced…a cold trickle.
I couldn’t even take a shower!?!?!
Strike 3! Time to go!
So that’s the story of my two days in Guatemala. By noon Monday I was outta there and on my way to San Salvador to spend the time instead with my cousin who’s based there and my best friend who just HAPPENS to be there this week! I lost $120 on my nonrefundable flight I won’t be taking from GUA to Costa Rica, but I saved $330 on that school, my trip to San Salvador cost me $50, and flying one-way from SAL to SJO, Costa Rica, is only $89.
Ixchel School gets a rating from me of 0 out of 5 stars.