La Calle Spanish School in Merida, Mexico (2018)

In January and February 2018 I spent two enjoyable weeks studying Spanish at La Calle Spanish school in Merida, Mexico, the charming cultural capital of the Yucatan.

Note: I never accept compensation or freebies for my reviews. If I recommend a Spanish school, it’s because I loved them and think you will too.


Learn Spanish in Merida, Mexico

One of the few days I wore long sleeves.

Previously, I had studied Spanish in Guanajuato and Puebla, Mexico, but wanted to head further south in January to escape chilly temperatures.


La Negrita, the most popular cantina in Mérida #meridayucatan

A post shared by Ingrid T (@secondhalftravels) on

Merida is known as the safest major city in Mexico and has become justifiably popular as an expat mecca. The city offers many cultural activities as well as a plethora of interesting restaurants, cafés, and bars.

Merida is especially famed for its traditional cantinas, and you should definitely try one of these fun venues for live music and free botanas (snacks).

Mérida's streets are full of charm.

Merida’s streets are full of charm.

Getting There

Merida has a small airport, but Cancun often has cheaper and more frequent connections from North America and Europe.

I used American Airlines frequent-flyer miles for a ticket to Cancun and continued on to Merida by bus after spending a few nights in the picturesque town of Valladolid.

Returning, I used United miles to fly from Merida back to the States through Houston.

When to Study Spanish in Merida

La Calle's swimming pool - Spanish school in Merida, Mexico

La Calle’s swimming pool was a welcome respite from the heat.

The best time weather-wise to visit Merida is from late November to February. I was in Merida from late January to late February, and by mid-February the days were getting pretty hot (highs of around 92°F, 34°C). Personally, I would probably not visit Merida any later than the end of February.

Choosing a Spanish School in Merida

Merida's main plaza

Merida’s main plaza

Merida is a popular place to study Spanish. From my research, I found two Spanish schools in Merida with consistently excellent reviews on TripAdvisor, Yelp, and 123 Teach MeHabla and La Calle, formerly Calle 55. I corresponded with both and found them responsive and helpful.

Habla receives rave reviews and seems like an excellent option. It costs more than La Calle but represents excellent value for money. For example, a daily home-cooked breakfast and lunch at the school are included.

A friend with many years of professional language teaching experience gave Habla an extremely positive review. He reported they are very progressive and current with their techniques.

However, I ended up choosing La Calle because another friend was also studying there. It’s also located in walking distance to the central plaza, which was important to me.

La Calle – Merida Spanish School

La Calle's beautiful patio, garden, and pool - Spanish school in Merida

La Calle’s beautiful patio, garden, and pool. They just moved to this gorgeous new location in January 2018.

La Calle is without a doubt the most visually stunning Spanish school I’ve ever seen. Centrally located at a 15-minute walk from the main plaza, the school occupies a gorgeous remodeled colonial house filled with colorful artistic touches and beautiful traditional tile floors.

The garden features a lovely patio and a swimming pool along with an outdoor shower and changing facilities. The swimming pool is important when it gets hot and sticky!

The outdoor space was very inviting, and many students spent their afternoons studying and hanging out on the beautiful patio by the pool.

Main hallway, La Calle

Main hallway, La Calle

La Calle - Spanish school Merida Mexico

The unassuming exterior of the school does not hint at the enormous and gorgeous colonial house and garden that extend behind.

Plaza San Juan, near the school. The school is in a colorful traditional neighborhood near the center that hasn't been gentrified yet.

Plaza San Juan, near the school. The school is in a colorful traditional neighborhood near the center that hasn’t been gentrified yet.

The school is owned by a Mexican-French couple, and the administration was friendly and helpful. I appreciated that Augustín, one of the owners, checked with me frequently to make sure everything was going well.


My Airbnb apartment near the school on the left. I was fascinated to learn the building was constructed in colonial times with stone blocks taken from a Mayan pyramid.

My Airbnb apartment near the school on the left. I was fascinated to learn the building was constructed in colonial times with stone blocks taken from a Mayan pyramid.

I considered a homestay, but the majority of the school’s families lived further out from the city center, and I preferred something in walking distance. I also wanted more privacy and the ability to prepare my own meals. I found a basic but inexpensive Airbnb apartment with a small kitchen around the corner from the school that worked well.

Excellent family-run juice shop I went to every day near the school on the corner of 67 and 68. A liter of fresh green juice was MXN$30 (US$1.60).

Excellent family-run juice shop I went to every day near the school on the corner of 67 and 68. A liter of fresh green juice was MXN$30 (US$1.60).

Beautiful colonial buildings typical of Mérida I passed every day on my three-minute walk to school

Beautiful colonial buildings typical of Merida I passed every day on my three-minute walk to school

School Lunches

Alex, one of the school owners, also serves as head chef. He and his staff cook a nutritious, tasty main course every day optionally accompanied by an agua fresca (fruit juice) and dessert. All three options together cost about MXN$115 (US$6.30). The chef’s Japanese-Mexican heritage is reflected in the international menus, and vegetarian and vegan options are always available.

Student Demographic

La Calle had a nice range of ages among the students, from 20s to retirement age. As a fortyish student, I prefer schools that aren’t dominated by a single age group, like all twenty-somethings or all seniors.

All the students I met were from Canada, the US, or Europe. La Calle seems to be the Merida Spanish school of choice for the interesting young digital nomads with online jobs who make the colonial city their temporary winter home.




The school has several independent guides it contracts with to offer short city excursions during the week as well as reasonably priced weekend outings to sites further afield.

I loved the creative itineraries of these trips, which often featured fascinating off-the-beaten-path destinations; we explored the city cemetery, visited an abandoned hacienda, and ate at the homes of local families in a Mayan village.

I took several of these tours with guides Raúl and Ángel, and they were both outstanding. Both were knowledgeable, spoke a slow and clear Spanish (and could translate to English if needed), and corrected any Spanish mistakes made by the students on the tour, which was much appreciated.

Other optional school activities with a small fee included cooking classes and a weekly movie night on the patio.


Cenote, Homún

Cenote, Homún

Aside from the tours frequently offered by the school on weekends, there are many cultural sights in Merida as well as interesting possible day trips.

Recommended excursions include the uniquely lovely Yellow City of Izamal, the flamingos of Celestún, or the incredible cenotes of Homún, a small town about an hour and a half by bus from Merida.

Classes at La Calle

Normally classes are Monday to Friday from 9am-1pm, but as with most Spanish schools the vast majority of students were beginner or intermediate, so there were no advanced group classes available for me.

However, the school was extremely accommodating in arranging afternoon classes for me that ended up being private lessons by default, since there weren’t any other students at my level. I really appreciated that they didn’t try to place me in a group class that wouldn’t have been the right fit.

La Calle was also very flexible about scheduling, and I was able to cancel or move around lessons when there was an afternoon tour that conflicted with my classes, for example.

All the teachers were enthusiastic and friendly. I especially appreciated how the teaching staff made the effort to always correct my mistakes, even in social hours after class. However, the quality of the instruction did vary depending on the instructor; other students I spoke with had similar observations.

The morning group classes have the same teacher all week, but in the afternoon classes my teacher often changed daily. On the positive side, I enjoyed the exposure to different teaching styles and accents (teachers at La Calle are from all over Mexico and even Spain), but it made it harder to have continuity between lessons. Again, this would not be an issue for the morning group classes which is what most students would be taking.

I did also note some mild disorganization at times on the part of the school in regard to class schedules and after-class activities. To be fair, I think much of this is cultural since some disorganization, minor delays, etc. are common in Mexico.

It also would have been beneficial to provide an orientation for new students to explain how things work at the school and perhaps give an overview of the city of Merida, things to do, etc.

My advanced classes were focused on conversation, listening comprehension using videos, and writing exercises for homework. The videos used in my classes were interesting and relevant; however, another student told me she felt the videos used in her class were outdated and lacked useful vocabulary.

If you are looking for a structured syllabus, a textbook, and lots of grammar drills, La Calle is probably not the right school. However, Merida is a vacation destination for many people, and so a relaxed, casual style of instruction is probably a good fit for many students.

One friend who spent more than six weeks at La Calle reported her Spanish improved immensely due to the highly social environment and resulting friendships with teachers and other locals. This natural immersion experience was much more beneficial for her compared to previous formal studies at another Mexican school.

Overall, students I spoke to at the school were happy with their experience. If you want to study Spanish in a relaxed, beautiful place, La Calle is an excellent option.

Merida Language Exchanges

For additional language practice, check out the Merida English Library‘s weekly English conversation club as well as a weekly Couchsurfing language exchange called the Merida Speakeasy in La Bierhaus pub. Both of these are good opportunities to meet locals as well as fellow extranjeros.

Yucatan Travels

I spent a month in the Yucatan in all, visiting Valladolid and Campeche in addition to Merida. Read more about my Yucatan travels here.

Have questions about studying Spanish in Mexico or a Merida language school recommendation? Please share your feedback in the comments.

Spanish School in Merida Mexico

27 Comments on “La Calle Spanish School in Merida, Mexico (2018)”

  1. Thanks for the information; I’m still debating between La Calle and Habla. Can you tell me the name of your Airbnb? Thanks, Mary

    • Hey, Mary, glad it was helpful. Just sent you the link to your email. If you don’t see it, please check your spam folder. Best, Ingrid

    • Thanks for your helpful article. Like some of the others, I’d be grateful if you could send me the link to your airbnb. Thanks.

  2. dear Ingrid , I’ve loved looking at your posts and your very lovely photos. Maybe I should sort my own photos out now!
    I spent 3 weeks in Mexico in April , including 10 days in Merida. We loved the colour, the architecture, the vibe from the people and the amazing cenotes. I’m considering two places for an immersion class in January and like the look of La Calle which looks like fun learning.. (I’m intermediate) . I’d appreciate it if you could give me the airbnb address too!.
    My other choice is Seville at the Giralda. This seems to have good reviews. Private accommodation looks very pricey though, but you can book into one of their flats.

    Yes I think the Spanish in Mexico has great clarity but I think I will manage in Seville as I am sure the class will be geared to an international crowd.I did a 2 week class in Barcelona and there was hardly a hint of Catalan .. except in the names of the staff !
    Speak soon

    • Hi Chris, thanks for your kind comments! I’ll send you the Airbnb link in a separate email. La Calle is definitely a fun, vibrant place to study. In a quick search I saw some mixed reviews for La Giralda, but if you have gotten a good impression from your correspondence with them then that’s a great sign. I’ve heard from other students that Seville is a fantastic place to spend an extended length of time. By the way, you probably have already considered this, but Airbnb might be a cheaper option for Seville since they offer weekly rates. I stayed in a shared house there through Airbnb and there were several longer-term student residents.

      You’re right, language schools in Spain do require their teachers to speak with a standard dialect… even at my school in Madrid, my teacher was from Andalusia, but spoke with a standard Castilian accent in class. I like to speak with locals outside of class when I can, so personally I try to avoid studying in places with heavy regional accents. Seville’s rich cultural heritage, though, could easily make up for that!

  3. Hi, I’m considering all the schools you recommend. I haven’t been to Merida since the 70’s but loved it then. Can you give me the contact information for your airbnb?

    • Hi Kathleen, just sent you the link in a separate email. If you don’t see it some reason, please check your spam folder.

  4. I enjoyed reading about your experience. La Calle was already my first choice for three weeks of class in Jan-Feb, so it was good to hear of someone else’s positive experience.

    • So glad it was helpful to you, Susan. That’s a great time to be in Mérida. Would love to hear from you about your experience when you return.

  5. I’m torn between La Calle and Habla in Merida. I’m traveling solo,I’m 60, my Spanish level is very basic conversation, I’m planning on 4 weeks and want learn as much as possible for listening and conversing in Spanish in those 4 weeks. I plan on staying in an Airbnb so location is important. I just can’t differentiate between the 2 schools based on reviews. More advice please…..

    • Hi Kathleen, I think you could find a good Airbnb close to either school. What I would suggest doing to narrow things down is writing to both schools and asking detailed questions. I’ve found that usually I can get a better feel for the school from their responses, and one will stand out as the best fit. Buena suerte and let me know how you get on!

      • Update.. I went to La Calle for 4 weeks in February I thoroughly enjoyed the classes, the teachers, other students ( very diverse) and of course the food!! It is July and i have just returned for 2 weeks. I have learned so much Soanish and me encanta Merida!!!

  6. HI. La Calle is certainly my choice for Spanish immersion, based on your review and further investigations I’ve done. Would it be possible to get the name of your Airbnb?

  7. Thank you for such a wonderful and informative review!
    I understand Merida is a city and landlocked, but Progreso beach is a short 30 min bus ride away for fairly cheap? I’ve seen things about it having seaweed influx at times etc..

    I’m a huge beach/ocean person so is it practical to think I could get to the beach on a weekly basis (few hours one day a week?)?
    In your opinion, how is the public transport?
    A lot of review sites do *promote* for tourism so I appreciate your input!
    Thank you!

    • Hi, I definitely think you could visit the beach on a weekly basis. It’s easy to get to Progreso. Buses depart every 10 minutes from the small AutoProgreso terminal on Calle 62, about a 10-minute walk from the school. It takes about 55 minutes to get to Progreso.

      Progreso is a popular destination for locals, and the bus station can get crowded on Sundays and holidays… probably best to go early. I had read that Progreso beaches were suffering from an influx of sargassum weed this year, so you may want to check on current status before you go.

      There are many more recommended beaches, such as Celestún, Sisal, Chuburna, San Crisanto, and Chelem.

      Personally, I’ve only been to the beach at Celestún (on an organized tour to see the flamingos), and enjoyed it. To get to Celestún by public transport, buses leave every hour from Merida’s Noreste bus terminal on Calle 50 at 67; the trip takes about two hours.

      Not sure if you’re on Facebook, but if you decide to go to Merida I recommend joining the First Merida Amigos group ( If you search in the group for “beach” you will find many discussions and tips on how to reach the best beaches on public transport.

      Suerte and would love to hear how your Spanish classes in Merida go!

      • Thank you!! This is all very helpful and I appreciate the thorough and thoughtful information provided!

  8. I am considering where my first of what I hope to be several trips to MX and particularly immersive language schools could be. It seems most commenters have some sort of skills already. I speak no Spanish so would be a complete newbie. Do any of these places teach very basic intro to Spanish?

    • Hi Karin, I think any private language school in Mexico could accommodate an absolute beginner… language schools always have English-speaking staff, and the vast majority of students are beginner or intermediate. I would write to the schools you’re interested in and ask about their methodology for teaching beginners.

      May I add also that although the school will of course accommodate a complete beginner, you may find you get more out of your immersion if you learn a few phrases beforehand, maybe with some learning resources from your local library… Mexicans generally speak very little English, but are so wonderful and friendly, and you’ll have many opportunities for little conversations with your host family (if you decide to stay with one) and the locals. It’s one of the best parts of the experience to be able to connect with locals outside of class.

  9. Thank you again for this great description of your experience in Merida. I am torn between here or Playa del Carmen. Any opinions on the schools in Playa del Carmen? Thank you. I am 50 and want to stay at a school for 5 weeks. Thanks so much.

  10. Thank you for this information! Wondering if you know of any Spanish summer schools or camps for children? I would like to immerse my children in the language but we do not have family in Merida.

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