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Ecuador – Otavalo / ISE

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Language school Otavalo – Instituto Superior de Español

Your studies will be based conveniently in the cultural centre of this relaxed & welcoming town, every Saturday with a giant local crafts market on your doorstep. So why not head in to chat with the locals & try one of the famous Panama hats which actually originate from right here, in Ecuador. ISE Otavalo boasts a location with an average temperature of 16 degrees celsius in a region within the Andes mountains, where you can join your fellow students in A: learning the language from experienced Ecuadorian teachers in small sized personalised lessons and B: become an expert in the areas’ indigenous customs & traditions which are showcased at every turn in this characterful town. It is also very much worthwhile to adventure off into the nearby countryside with its tiny native villages & volcanic scenery. 



20 group lessons per week, 4 morning – lessons per day, all levels

$139 per week


Morning – group course x 4 lessons plus 2 extra hours one-to-one in the afternoon, per day.

$229 per week


Morning – group course x 4 lessons plus 3 extra hours one-to-one in the afternoon, per day. For super fast learning results.

$259 per week


One day course, 3 Spanish lessons with guided city tour in the afternoon. 1 to 4 persons. Pick up from & drop off to your accommodation as well as teaching materials are complementary. Your city tour includes the Historical centre & the ‘Middle of the world’ – Equator Monument.

From $99 for one day

PRIVATE COURSE – 20/25/30/35 lessons

To gain linguistic competence asap in the most efficient way. Fully bespoke & highly adaptable tuition. 4 to 7 hours per day. Min. 1 week. Personal support. Individual schedule.

$199 per week / 20 lessons

$229 per week/ 25 lessons

$259 per week/ 30 lessons

SEMI PRIVATE COURSE – min. 20 lessons

Start an individual Course with one or 2 friends of the same level. You can achieve more intensive learning in a very comfortable ambience. Bespoke & adaptable tuition. 4 to 5hours per day. Min. 1 week. Personal support. 

$159 – $179 per person, per week

DELE PREPARATION COURSE – 20 private lessons:

To arm yourself for the “Spanish as a foreign language Diploma” – examination according to your exam level. 4 private lessons per day & guided tours in the afternoon.

$249 per week

Check DELE exam dates, centres & fees at Instituto Cervantes …

*DELE exam applications have to be performed by the student individually at the Instituto Cervantes 

SPANISH FOR PROFESSIONALS – 20 private lessons

To gain linguistic competence asap in a professional field of your choice e.g. Hospitality, Healthcare, Medicine, Business, Teaching. 4 lessons per day in the morning – one to one, minimum level is intermediate

$249 per week 



Carefully selected host families. The options are: Double or Single room, shared bathroom or private bathroom, Breakfast/ Half- board or Full- board. Max. 20 min. walk or 15 min. via public transport away from school. 

From $17.50 to $29 per night


If you prefer this type of accommodation, the ISE Team is happy to advise you & provide you with a variety of options at close proximity to your school, dependent on your requirements.

From $105 per week, Bed & Breakfast


ISE collaborates with several volunteer organisations and is happy to give advise and organise volunteer positions related to humanitarian, educational or environmental projects in Quito, Otavalo, the Amazon jungle and the Galapagos Islands. You have to be at least 18 years old, the min. duration is 1 week.

Volunteering organisation fee $100



ISE can organise an internship placement in your requested professional field.

Internship organisation fee $200


Terms for Volunteering & Internship placements:

  • the organisation fee will only be charged if you are not a student at ISE
  • a complimentary airport pick up (one – way) from Quito airport is included
  • the school provides an orientation seminar
  • for projects within Quito or Otavalo: on your 1st day you will be taken to the location of your project
  • the school will give you advice & support during the duration of your project


The school offers a cooking party per week for free and there are many other free & paid activities on offer (depending on season & weather conditions) e.g.: visits to Parque del Condor, Taxopamba & Peguche waterfall, Mojanda lake, Plaza de Ponchos & Museo Viviente.

What students said about this school: 

Being at ISE was incredible! I feel like I learned a lot and all of the teachers that I had were really wonderful. They all made for a wonderful experience, and made it easy to be excited about learning Spanish! (Natalia, USA)

After three weeks in Quito I spent two weeks in Otavalo. Otavalo is very small and quiet and a nice break from the exciting Quito. The school is really super! In the two weeks have learned a lot. What I liked most is that here very much Spanish is being spoken at class. Of course you also learn grammar. In general, the aim is to ensure that you practise more of what needs improving. My teacher was very nice and the atmosphere is very cozy. I did enjoy the time here very much, also because in the afternoon there is lots to see and do. I can recommend a visit to Otavalo. (Sophia, Germany)

Otavalo – info

Situated in the north of Ecuador just a 3 hours bus ride from Quito, this small & peaceful town is not famous for its grand architecture, contrariwise the focus here lies on the locals, who pride themselves of their rich indigenous heritage & traditions. Besides the much acclaimed hospitality, the artistic talents of this community can be witnessed at one of the largest, most spectacular handicraft markets in Latin America which is said to go back to pre-Incan times: Every Saturday hundreds of Otovaleños & indigenous families from nearby villages come to the Plaza de Ponchos to sell their handwoven textiles, hammocks, hats & souvenirs. Seeing as Otavalo is located within the Imbabura valley at 2500 metres altitude and surrounded by the three volcanos Imbabura, Cotacachi & Mojanda, it forms a fantastic starting point for many excursions to the surrounding landscape to discover hidden lagoons, waterfalls, forests & wildlife.

Things to do in & around Otavalo: 

Cascadas de Peguche: Sacred 18m high waterfalls, approx. 3km north of Otavalo. Around the 21st of June locals & pilgrims gather here for the ‘Inti Raymi’ – solstice celebrations, which includes bathing in the waters with the aim to “get rid” of bad luck & disease.

Mojanda lakes: Located 17km south of town, you can find 3 beautiful lakes at 3700m altitude & encomplassed by High – Andes grasslands. You can do extensive walks around the lakes or hike higher up to the summit of the ‘Fuya Fuya’ mountain at 4363metres, which once was Mojandas twin volcano.

Intag valley: The 1.5 hours drive from Otavalo is really worth while as you will be enjoying supreme coffee, relaxing in thermal hot springs & exploring the magical cloud forest reserves.

Mercado 24 de Mayo: Get your fresh local produce from this authentic food market – open all week.

Ice cream in Ibarra: In this so called “white city” the unique ‘helados de Paila’ are being created. Try the delicious fresh fruit sorbet whilst admiring the towns’ impressive colonial architecture.

Ilumàn: A 15 min. drive away from Otavalo lies this laid back & delightful indigenous village which is known for its many shamans. Have a look around & learn more about medicinal plants & traditional healing rituals.


Courses start Mondays / 2 to 6 persons per group / 1 group lesson = 55 minutes – 1 private lesson = 55 minutes  / course materials included as well as several activities & airport transfer (Quito).

Arrival Sunday – Departure Saturday / accommodation can also be booked individually. 

One time registration fee is $40. 

To participate in any of the ISE programs or courses, the student is required to organise their medical and life travel insurance and provide the school the necessary information for any case of emergency.

Start dates & Holidays: 

Course beginn: Every Monday

One-to-one courses: Flexible.

School closing dates: The school is open all year round, except 25th December & 1st January

Getting here

Aeropuerto Internacional Mariscal Sucre/ Quito, approx. 1h20min drive by car, 80km to Otavalo

[Buses to Otavalo leave from the ‘Terminal Carcelen’ in northern Quito. To get there you can catch a ‘Metrobus’ or taxi at the airport]

Terminal de autobuses, 10 min walk, 850m to town centre

To book your Spanish course with this language school, please fill in the form below and press the submit button. ISE will be in touch shortly. 

Instituto Superior de Español- booking form
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