Are you wondering about the best countries to learn Spanish?
Studying Spanish in a foreign country and immersing yourself in the language and culture is one of the best ways to learn!
Spanish is the official and primary language in 20 countries, so there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to deciding where to learn Spanish.
I have personally studied Spanish in two of the countries on this list — one for two months, and one for two weeks. I’ll talk more about that below.
When it comes to learning Spanish, if you are still a student, you may be able to participate in an exchange program and earn credit for your studies. If you are not a student, there are plenty of private language schools in all of the countries mentioned below.
I have highlighted countries that offer a mix of the following:
- Inexpensive Spanish lessons and a low cost of living
- Countries with a “clear” or “pure” Spanish accent are better for language learners
- Amazing scenery, culture, and activities to do!
Not every country on this list will tick all of those boxes, but I will try to highlight the pros and cons of each place so you can determine if it’s right for you. Even if I haven’t spent time formally studying Spanish in each of these countries, I have traveled to them all, some for an extended period of time.
Here are the best countries in the world to learn Spanish:
Guatemala is one of the best places to learn Spanish. This Central American country is known for having lots of inexpensive Spanish schools and immersion programs where you can live with a local family, have three meals a day, and several hours of private Spanish lessons for as little as $200 per week.
These are some of the top destinations in Guatemala to study Spanish:
- Antigua: A charming colonial town surrounded by volcanoes and mountains, Antigua is one of the best places in Guatemala to learn Spanish.
- Lake Atitlan: A stunning lake dotted with distinctive towns, many of which retain a strong Mayan culture. San Pedro La Laguna is one of the most popular towns on the lake for studying Spanish.
- Quetzaltenango: Better known as Xela by the locals, this is Guatemala’s second-largest city. It’s extremely affordable and great for immersing yourself in the local culture.
I spent two months in Guatemala and studied Spanish at schools in Antigua and Xela. I would highly recommend either place, but I will say that in Antigua, it’s a much more touristy town and it’s easy to end up speaking English outside of class, whereas in Xela you will be forced to practice your Spanish more.
Colombia is another one of the best countries to learn Spanish. The Colombian accent is often regarded to be the clearest and easiest to understand, which is helpful for language learners.
Here are some of the best places in Colombia to learn Spanish:
- Medellín: This is the second-largest city in Colombia after the capital Bogota, and it’s known as the “City of Eternal Spring” due to its favorable climate. This is a major hub for Spanish schools in Costa Rica
- Cali: Another Colombian city where you can learn Spanish is Cali. Not only can you learn Spanish, but you can also learn to dance salsa or rumba in your free time!
- Cartagena: For those who prefer to be close to the beach, Cartagena is a good option. This city located on Colombia’s Caribbean coast is known for its colorful colonial center and Afro-Caribbean influence.
Colombia is also an affordable place to learn Spanish, with prices for many Spanish schools on par with those in Guatemala.
Of course, this list of countries to learn Spanish would not be complete without mentioning Spain! If you want to learn Spanish in Europe, there are tons of great places you can go in Spain.
And it’s not as expensive as you might expect. Spain is one of the more affordable countries in Western Europe, and the cost of living is significantly lower than France, Italy, or the UK.
These are some of the top destinations in Spain for learning Spanish:
- Granada: One of the best places to study Spanish in Spain is Granada. This smaller city located in the Andalusia region of southern Spain is famous for its Moorish influences.
- Salamanca: Salamanca is known for being a university city with a vibrant student culture, making it the perfect place to learn Spanish.
- Madrid: Spain’s capital is a great place to learn Spanish if you’re looking to enjoy a major European city with tons of things to do.
- Seville: Another great place to learn Spanish is Seville. This city is the fourth-largest in Spain and the capital of Andalusia, famous for being the birthplace of flamenco.
I spent two weeks studying Spanish on a program in Seville, and I really loved it. However, the costs are not as low as some of the programs you will find in Latin America.
For example, my private lessons in Guatemala cost 50% less than GROUP lessons in Seville. But that’s the tradeoff you make for being in Europe!
Moving back to South America, Ecuador is another one of the best countries to learn Spanish. Ecuador is a beautiful country, and it’s said to have a very clear, pure accent.
If you’re wondering where to learn Spanish in Ecuador, these are a couple of the best places:
- Quito: Ecuador’s lively capital city is a great place to study Spanish. You can enjoy the big city life and spend weekends exploring nearby destinations like the cloud forests of Mindo and Cotopaxi volcano.
- Cuenca: Located in the south of Ecuador, Cuenca is a beautiful colonial city that is popular with students, making it another good option.
Ecuador is another place that is very affordable to learn Spanish. If you’re looking for a country where your money will stretch further, this is a good place to go.
5. Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a great place to learn Spanish. This Central American country is the safest country in all of Latin America, and it’s stunningly beautiful. It’s known for being the most biodiverse country in the world, with lush jungles, pristine beaches, waterfalls, volcanoes, and more.
If you want to learn Spanish in Costa Rica, these are the top destinations to check out:
- San Jose: Costa Rica’s capital city is where you’ll find the most Spanish schools and programs. Although you aren’t on the beach or in the jungle here, you can spend your weekends exploring the country!
- Pacific Coast: There are several Spanish language schools dotted along Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast in beach towns like Manual Antonio, Nosara, and Tamarindo.
Although it’s not extremely expensive, Costa Rica is definitely one of the pricier countries on this list when it comes to cost of living, but it may be worth it to you if you want the chance to live in and explore this beautiful place.
Another country to consider for learning Spanish is Peru. This South American country is incredibly diverse when it comes to landscapes and culture. The Inca culture is still very prevalent in Peru, and indigenous languages are alive and well alongside Spanish.
It’s a good country for learning Spanish because the Spanish spoken here is typically considered to be easy to understand many Peruvians have a neutral accent.
These are the best cities in Peru for learning Spanish:
- Cusco: Located high in the Andes, Cusco has an illustrious history as it was once the capital of the Inca Empire. This is an amazing place to learn Spanish and spend your free time exploring destinations like the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.
- Lima: Far from the 11,000-foot altitude of Cusco, Peru’s capital city Lima is situated at sea level. This coastal city is known for its culture and cuisine.
As far as costs go, it’s not as cheap as Guatemala, Colombia, or Ecuador, but it’s still far from being the most expensive place on this list.
Finally, Argentina can be a great place to learn Spanish. Argentine Spanish is very different from the Spanish spoken in other countries. The Argentine accent is extremely strong and many words are pronounced differently in Argentina.
And while slang is common everywhere and varies from country to country, the slang in Argentine Spanish is next level!
That being said, Argentina can still be an excellent place to learn Spanish. These are some of the best cities to consider:
- Buenos Aires: The capital of Argentina has to be the best place to learn Spanish. You can take Spanish lessons by day and tango lessons by night, or explore the great dining and nightlife this city has to offer!
- Córdoba: Argentina’s second-largest city, Córdoba has half the population of Buenos Aires (1.4 million vs. 2.9 million) so it’s a little quieter while still having a lively big city vibe.
Argentina is currently one of the most affordable destinations in South America due to currency fluctuations and the country’s ongoing economic crisis.
This can make it a very cheap place to live, but that’s not guaranteed forever. Historically, currency fluctuations have meant that Argentina is either dirt cheap or quite expensive.
Best Countries To Learn Spanish
This post showed you the best countries to learn Spanish abroad. There’s nothing like learning Spanish in a foreign country to supercharge your language abilities.
There is nothing that compares to immersion in a Spanish-speaking country. Not only will your Spanish skills rapidly improve, you will also get to experience another culture.