Name: Academia Surpacifico
Location: Manta, Ecuador
Avenida 24 y Calle 15 – Edificio Barre – 3er Piso
Telefono: (05) 2610838
Review: Academia Surpacifico is a private Spanish language school based on the coast of Ecuador in Manta. Manta is a seaport of about 250,000 people whose main exports are tuna and other seafood. Surpacifico is in a safe part of Manta and is within a 10 or 15 minute walk of most (if not all) of the host families. As seems to be the case in much of Ecuador, classes are one-on-one with a college-educated teacher and cost around $5 per hour. It is possible to have group classes only if you arrive with and are studying with a person at your same level of Spanish. In this case the classes are slightly cheaper. There is a well-equipped student apartment above the school but most students seem to stay with host families. Most people have good things to say about their host families though in one house they are reported to be a bit stingy with food and I seem to be the only person living in a host family who has hot water. The cost per day of a host family including laundry service and three meals a day is about $18. The student apartment is slightly cheaper but obviously does not include meals.
Manuel, the owner and manager of the school is extremely, extremely helpful and runs things very efficiently. He was able to change my arrival dates with very little advance notice after I was pickpocketed in Quito. I was also able to have my new credit/ATM cards sent to the school securely via Fedex. The school is small (about 10 students is a full house) and because of this, many of the planned activities don´t take place because we don´t achieve the 6 person minimum very often. There are special “Spanish+Surfing” and “Spanish+Kitesurfing” programs available as well as others (eg. medical Spanish, etc.) Surpacifico is probably best for someone looking to get away from the Gringo Trail and live in a non-touristy Ecuadorean city rather than a location (like Quito or Cuenca) where tourism is the mainstay. Manta is safer and friendlier than Quito though it lacks a bit in things to do. The beach and Malecon area are clean and safe though don´t bring anything of value with you to the beach. There are also many potential daytrips and weekend trips from Manta including paragliding/hangliding in Crucita (1 hour away), Puerto Lopez (the starting point for Isla de la Plata, 3.5 hours south), the eco-city of Bahia de Caraquez (about 3 hours north) and the nicer northern beaches of Canoa and Esmeraldas (north still of Bahia de Caraquez via a ferry).
Would I recommend this school: Yes, definitely.
Tags: 99 - South America Reviews, Crucita, Ecuador, Manta