About Us

ICIES stands for Instituto Costarricense Intercultural en Español and is a small organization devoted to helping students and young professionals in their plans to study or work in Costa Rica. Established almost 15 years ago, we have since helped dozens of Europeans and North Americans from 12 to 30 years old find internships, volunteering work, high school and university programs and arranged everything so that their stay was as smooth as possible.

Our mission is to provide you with the most genuine experience you can get. By allowing you to live with a host family or to be in contact with one during their stay, we make sure that you will be exposed to the living conditions, language, traditions and culture that make ticos who they are. You will form lasting friendships and create memories that will stay with you long after you go back to your home country. We will also put you in touch with diverse recreational activities like salsa dancing, cooking lessons and soccer as well as show you the best spots to eat, go out or watch a movie.

Finally, we also want you to discover the beautiful landscapes and the exotic fauna and flora that have made Costa Rica famous. Hiking on the flanks of volcanoes, walking in secluded beaches and visiting small towns and big cities alike, you will slowly drift into a slower and more relaxed state of mind that you will bring back with you. As we say in Costa Rica, pura vida!

What makes us different

There are dozens of other organizations offering services similar to ours so it might be hard to one to go with. Here’s a couple of reasons why we think you should choose us

Owned by ticos

Owned by locals, local staff

ICIES is owned by ticos and our spanish teachers and tour guides are all ticos too. We know our culture best and can offer you an authentic experience and you know your money is going to support a small local organisation
Focus on Costa Rica

Focus on Costa Rica

Most organizations offer programs in a variety of countries and are usually detached from each of thems. We only offer programs in Costa Rica so all our efforts go to offering the best Costa Rican experience you can get
Lower prices

Affordable prices

We are sometimes amazed at the prices some organizations ask for their programs. Since we only employ local staff and we focus only on the essential, our prices are much lower than our competitors
More individual support

More support for each participant

We handle a small number of participants at a time so that we can focus our efforts on making sure each one is 100% satisfied. For example, Our tours usually have 1 supervisor per 3 participants and our spanish classes have 1 teacher for a maximum of 4 students.
Conflict resolution

Host family selection

We study the participant’s and the host family’s profiles and we select the best match possible. In case of a bad match with your host family, school or workplace, we mediate to try and resolve the conflict.

If you want more information about our organization and what makes us different, don’t hesitate to Contact us for more information

Our team

Maria Gamboa

Program director and supervisor

Paola Gamboa

Coordinator and student representative

Carmen Gamboa

Tour and recreational activity coordinator

Edgar Solano

Administrative assistant

Christian Solano

Administrative assistant

Johnny Solano Gamboa

Program assistance and support