• Karen Galiano

    Watch this amazing video made by a previous course participant, Karen Galiano, that sums up her experience at IH Montañita.

  • Interviews from a Third-Party Source

    At IH Montañita, we make it a priority to communicate an accurate representation of our services, facilities and the experience of earning the CELTA with us.   We are proud of the reviews offered in this section. 
    That said, if you are interested in hearing full-length interviews of past participants and a current CELTA tutor, please follow the links below.  These interviews were executed by an organization that is not affiliated with IH Montañita.

  • Paul B.

    Hello future ESL instructor!

    40+ years out of Uni, I attended and completed the CELTA session at Montañita and have a few thoughts to share that you may find useful...

    Yes, the other students were uniformly-brilliant --of course-- and most in my session had both previous ESL training and teaching experience (I had neither ) which made for a rich learning milieu. Likewise, the all-killer-no-filler course content and volume of material were at pace so I was super-happy to have elected Montañita with its five-week course.

    There were a couple of other reasons I’d selected Montañita that turned out true for me, including the on-site lodging with its meal plan and the smaller class sizes. It was just steps to freshly-prepared meals and classrooms from a private cabana with en-suite bathroom. The full-time support staff was outstanding.

    Our two instructors were stellar without pause through the many long days over the entire session; eliciting outside-the-comfort-zone performance with unfailing good humor and insightful readings of each student. Yes, it is all about the people...

    Here's a bit about Montañita itself, which turns out to be quite a way stop for the young and restless; just a short taxi ride away, however, is party-free working town with miles of empty beaches, well-maintained storefronts, and none of the crowds. Other quotidiana that may be of value: small denominations of U.S. currency, especially the $1 coin proved essential. Laundry services are conveniently-available for an additional fee on-site and of course there are laundromats in Montañita. I brought spices (red pepper, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric ) and packeted sundries ( almond butter, instant coffee) and shared. And no day is complete without insect-repellent. Old-school USB sticks, a 2-prong 9' extension cord, and a surge-suppressor will up your tech to game-ready. Don't forget the ziplocks and silica for the in-room safe.

    I hope yours is as wonderful a CELTA experience as I had --good luck! Paul B
  • Michelle Totleben

    I chose IH Montañita for my CELTA studies because it was a 5-week residential program that was priced very competitively for what it offers. I’d read from various sources about the notorious stress of CELTA program - long hours spent in class, preparation and teaching - and it seemed like a great idea to remove concerns about housing and meals from the equation. It WAS a great idea! And after a 5-week program, I can say unreservedly, if one has a choice between a 4 and a 5-week program – do the 5 weeks. You’ll appreciate every ‘extra’ moment. The residential aspect is a big help, but it’s about more than just simplifying the logistics of commuting and meals. You really have an opportunity to know your peers and to share the experience and all that you’re learning together. Having a ‘campus’ of sorts allowed us to support and help one another, laugh, eat and stress together! And when you need to have quiet and privacy, you can retreat to your own ample space for sleep or study. The center itself is lovely, with beautiful gardens to enjoy (which I did, daily!) and a pool for swimming. The meals were more than we could eat and were served promptly three times a day. We all learned to anticipate that dinner bell after a long day in class, lol!
    The facility’s support staff also was excellent. In addition to their professional responsibilities of technical support, campus organization, maintenance, food prep and more, they were invaluable resources to answer questions about local community and culture. They helped make the time at IHM even more pleasant.
    Our group of 12 candidates was guided by two experienced tutors who filled us to the brim with information until we didn’t think we could fit one more thing in our heads. And then, while we were still reeling, they scheduled us to start teaching. And while that sounds daunting (and it is!), our tutors made all the difference. They’ve been there, done it, they know what it’s like and they offer tremendous support and encouragement as they mentor each candidate every step of the way. They expect a lot, but they’re also there to make it doable, so that’s a pretty fair deal. One of the most valuable and educational aspects of the CELTA training is the immediate feedback on what you’re learning and applying in front of a class. Your tutors and your peers observe you and give you insights about what you’re doing well and where you can improve. It’s an information loop that I will miss when out on my own, so enjoy it and make the most of it while training.
    While CELTA trainings are standardized in that you’ll learn the same skills at any CELTA approved center, I can’t imagine that all CELTA centers are equal in terms of comfort, support and logistics. These are incredibly important contributing factors to a successful learning environment, and IH Montanita has them all. I wholeheartedly and without reservation recommend IHM to anyone considering making an investment in a CELTA training. Good luck!

    CELTA April/May 2019
  • Judith Midgley

    Before deciding to do my CELTA course at IH Montañita, I researched the options. Ultimately it came down to commuting from my home in central Scotland to the nearest CELTA centre in Edinburgh or choosing one of only two residential courses in the world. Here are the reasons I am convinced I made the right choice:

    • The CELTA course is intense. I have never worked so hard in my life. I have no idea how anyone manages to commute, feed themselves and navigate family demands whilst doing this course! By contrast, at IH Montañita the only thing I had to worry about was CELTA. I was fed three delicious and healthy meals every day, my private, en suite cabaña was cleaned twice a week and the classrooms, resource room and dining room were no more than 50 metres away. The support staff were always responsive, caring and helpful.
    • Most CELTA courses are 4 weeks long. The IH Montañita course lasts 5 weeks. Again, I have no idea how anyone manages to complete all the requirements in 4 weeks. As it was, I only took Saturday afternoons off and worked from 4am to 8pm every day. Others worked into the night, rather than getting up early. 
    • The two tutors we had at IH Montañita were excellent. They had very different backgrounds and teaching styles, whilst, of course, teaching the CELTA methodology. This meant that as trainees we had different models on which to base our teaching. Both tutors gave us detailed and targeted feedback throughout.
    • We were provided with extensive course material at IH Montañita, in both digital and hard copy formats. I left with more than enough resources with which to begin my teaching career.
    • The classrooms at IH Montañita are fairly basic, consisting of wooden desks and chairs and a whiteboard. What this means is that by the end of the course you are equipped to teach in virtually any circumstances. You are not reliant on power point and interactive whiteboards, something I fear you might be if you did your CELTA in a ‘high tech’ environment.
    • The students were from various Latin American countries, many working in the tourist industry in Montañita. They were enthusiastic, respectful and a pleasure to teach.
    • The group of 12 trainees was diverse in terms of nationality, colour, age, gender, sexuality, backgrounds.  I really enjoyed being part of such a mixed group. We gelled well and had many interesting discussions.  I now have teaching colleagues all over the world.
    • At the end of the course we were offered a meeting with the school Director. He gave us advice and contacts to support us in finding our first teaching jobs.
    • I costed Edinburgh versus IH Montañita and, even with flights from Europe to Guayaquil, there was not much difference financially. When I add on the private swim session I enjoyed in the IH Montañita pool each morning versus the £4.60 a day it costs me to swim in my local pool, I reckon it was actually cheaper!


    At the end of the course, my partner joined me for a three-week holiday. Ecuador is an amazingly diverse country, with coast, mountains and jungle to choose from. If you choose to do your CELTA at IH Montañita, I highly recommend adding a holiday in Ecuador on at the end.

  • Ansana Maharajh

    You won't find a better place to do complete your CELTA than IH Montañita!

    I’m from Trinidad and Tobago, and CELTA is not usually offered in my country, but if given the choice, I would still choose to go here!

    Anyone who has completed will tell you that it is extremely intense. From the sheer volume of content to absorb to the practicum sessions and the written assignments… it can be overwhelming and stressful. However while you focus on these things, IH Montañita will do everything else. All you possibly need to survive the course is on site, snacks included.

    There are a lot of small factors in your daily routine that you may not consider to be major. However, when it’s Sunday and you have both your written assignment and practicum session on Monday, you appreciate hearing a bell rang every few hours calling you to eat a hearty meal, you appreciate being able to take a reference book to your room, you appreciate having all the materials imaginable to make huge colourful posters, and you appreciate being able to print and photocopy all your materials in advance.

    I didn’t even have to worry about my laundry; the service was fast and quite inexpensive. As for tidying, the en suite cabana in which I stayed was cleaned twice a week while I was in class, so there was no inconvenience when it came to cleaning or washing.

    The location is ideal. Montañita is known for its nightlife but the site is in a quiet, remote area. At the same time, within minutes you can walk to the town centre, or just take a relaxing walk along the beach on mornings before class.

    If you're concerned about expenses, in total I spent about $20 USD offsite (on ice cream and souvenirs) in the five weeks. I did not need to buy food from outside as I was never left hungry. Also, I never had to pay for any stationery-- we were each given a generous supply of printing paper that lasts the five weeks, and large poster paper, coloured markers and pens. Even file folders for storing handouts were also available.

    Above all, I think doing the CELTA at IH Montañita gives you peace of mind. I was able to work from 5am to 10pm every day and enjoy it because my sole concern was my work. I was also able to appreciate my practicum sessions and get the most out of input sessions because I didn’t have to worry about a myriad of other things like having to commute, feed myself or purchase class supplies. I can't imagine absorbing the CELTA course on a non-residential, four-week program.

    I am glad that I chose IH Montañita and I would recommend this site to anyone considering taking the CELTA!
  • Nardu Anderson

    After completing the CELTA in MONTaNitA, I could not recommend the course more highly.

    Additional to the benefits of a 5 week residential course, the staff and setting by far created a course that excelled in every aspect.

    Throughout the 5 weeks the course instructors excelled in their ability to provide highly experienced professional teaching support alongside much valued personal encouragement. Their dedication to ensuring the course was delivered to an extremely high standard was noted alongside their commitment to troubleshooting students\’ needs to optimise course success.

    The International House staff certainly stepped up to the mark to provide excellent day to day support, regardless of the nature of the difficulty. The site manager ensured all students needs were met in a timely and efficient manner, alongside his staff who provided healthy delicious meals of local cuisine and maintained the cleanliness and presentation of the cabanas and compound.

    The course itself, a great entry point to the English teaching world, was fabulous. Not only did I come out with a rich base of practical and theoretical skills but with confidence to create and deliver a quality English lesson!

    So, if you are thinking about it - do it! I could not recommend the CELTA course at IH Montañita more highly. Of course, the setting near the beach and the friendly locals were an added bonus - if you are considering completing the CELTA, definitely strongly consider the CELTA course at IH MONTaNitA!
  • Richard Wilson

    As a first formal classroom teaching experience, the CELTA program in Montañita has been transformative in terms of my understanding of teaching, my own teaching strengths and areas to focus on for continued growth. I began the program with the intention to teach English in Language Institutes, focused on business communication. I have not changed plans, but I know I am able to teach a much wider variety of students because of the CELTA training.

    The CELTA tutors for my course modeled a proficiency in teaching English that engaged me so effectively as a learner that it took some time to recognize their seemingly effortless flow as a carefully constructed and minutely controlled, multi-stage processes. They served as coaches, critics and models of extraordinary teaching skill.

    As the tutors engaged our group over the course of the program I studied their methods for moving us through a wide array of content. I recognized how engaged -and how well taught- I was, as were my peers. Their world-class modeling of teaching methods delivered the highest value to me as a student teacher. They led me to identify a combination of skills areas to build: student-centered content presentation, classroom management, communication and feedback that I will utilize to achieve excellence in teaching.

    The location in Montañita, Ecuador is ideal for this course. The facilities are beautiful, peaceful, comfortable and conducive to learning. The pool at the school and the nearby beach at Montañita were perfect respites from the rigors of the course. You can get to this funky surfer town easily, but the pace of the course will keep you from getting into (too much) trouble. ?

    And the pace is very challenging! The 5-week program was intense! I cannot imagine how people get through the CELTA in 4 weeks, especially if you must find a place to stay and manage your meals, laundry, study, lesson preparation… It seems impossible!

    In sum, International House Montañita is an amazing, transforming and enlivening place to study for your CELTA. I will be thankful forever for the experience, the friends I made and, most of all, the brilliance, support and ‘love filtered through a teaching persona’ (with plenty of sharp correction!!) from my world-class tutors!
  • Gustavo Santamaria

    I started working on the EFL industry three years ago. I didn’t have formal training and I wasn’t sure how long I wanted to continue in it. My teaching experience was gained through trial and error. I always have tried to do my best for my students. Trying to reach my students, make them learn and keep them happy and motivated was hard to achieve. Trying to be a student-centered committed teacher with no training led to stress and anxiety. As a result of always trying to give the best to my students I decided to get formal training and chose to do the CELTA. The CELTA course is intense, so I decided to do it at IH Montañita because it is a residential program. Doing a residential program helped me do my best. CELTA was the only thing I had to worry about. I didn’t have to waste time worrying about my meals or commuting. Having completed the CELTA has given my confidence a boost. Now I really know what I’m doing in the classroom ?.
  • Stuart Crofts

    I chose to do my CELTA course at Casa Casique because it was one of the few training centres that offer on-site accommodation. All meals were provided throughout the 5 weeks and these were of a very high quality. This course can be quite intense and a little overwhelming at times, and living on-site removes the need to worry about commuting and cooking. You are able to focus solely on your studies. The other trainees were fantastic! Because we were all going through the same things, we were able to provide support and assistance to each other. I formed many great friendships with the people from my course.

    The trainers at Casa Casique are great! The support they provided us was of the very highest standard. As a result all trainees were able to achieve their best possible results. The other staff were also wonderful - no reasonable request was denied, and my stay was made all the more pleasant because of this.

    Before attending this course I had spoken to a previous trainee who told me what to expect with regards to the accommodation. So I had high expectations before my arrival. I was not disappointed. The cabañas were private and comfortable. Each room has a double bed, work space and private bathroom. Also on site is a large pool - this was great for relaxing and cooling off on hot days and nights.

    During the last week of the course, many job offers came in for work all over Ecuador. Half the participants accepted positions in various locations. The others either continued traveling or found work in other countries.

    There were so many positive aspects to doing this course at Casa Casique that I would highly recommend it to anyone considering obtaining their CELTA.

  • Sophia Andes

    The CELTA is vital step for success in the ESL world.  Choosing Southern Cross Ecuador (soon to be an International House) was an incredible decision.  I did have my doubts about completing my CELTA in a South American country compared to a reputable city in my home country, Australia.  My expectations were surpassed in every way.  The quality of instruction and passion of the trainers for ESL education was the ultimate highlight.  Combined with onsite living arrangements, and the tranquil location within the limits of Montañita; CELTA Ecuador was wonderful.  The students that we had the opportunity to teach and train via were incredible - you learn so much about educational and cultural contexts and how to adapt.  Furthermore, as CELTA Ecuador is a bit off the beaten track, the course attracts adventurous and open minded people from whom you have much to learn from.  

    Post the CELTA course, I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with the British School of Language in Quito, which has been both a rewarding and educational experience.  Starting in August 2014, I have been offered, and have signed a contract for the 'Universidad San Francisco de Quito', Galapagos Academic Institute of Arts and Sciences program.  At GAIAS, I will be a professor of English for the University Marine institute on the island of San Cristóbal and this incredible position would not be possible without my CELTA.  I thank CELTA Ecuador for creating a unique and entirely professional and educational learning centre in an incredible corner of the world.  

  • Ashleigh Whelan

    My experience with CELTA Ecuador was outstanding. My trainers were truly amazing, and I will forever be grateful for their knowledge and support. I am so thankful I chose to study in a residential program. The course is intensive, and because I was living onsite with daily meals provided, I was able to concentrate more on my studies, which I truly believe enhanced my performance on the course. It was also nice to live with my fellow trainees, as we were able to collaborate and help each other along the way. In addition, I also enjoyed getting to know our Ecuadorian students, who always came to class with big smiles and a desire to learn
  • Fergus de Rooy

    Having just finished the CELTA course in Montañita at Casa Cacique, I feel a bit bereft. I still want to be doing it. It was such a positive experience.
    The quality of the teaching from the trainers was of the highest quality. I have been in teaching in one form or another for over 20 years and I felt I had loads to learn from these guys.
    The living conditions on campus were terrific. Spacious cabins, great food and friendly staff. I was ready for it to be a bit rough, it was the opposite.
    I think a big advantage of doing a CELTA while living on campus is that you can completely focus on the study. It gets intense at times,so it is great not to worry about commuting, cooking etc. You can just concentrate on getting the most out of the course.
    Montañita is a great little town. Lots of bars and the beach is a genuine surf beach.
    Best of all was the other trainees. Maybe because you need to be a bit adventurous to come to South America, the group were all great fun, open and lively.Spending five weeks with this lot was a pleasure and I was sorry to say goodbye.
    I know i am being suspiciously positive here, surely it cant have been all so wonderful? I can honestly say it was. Thoroughly recommended. I would rate it highly in all areas.

  • Dr Angela Geary

    The new Casa Cacique location at Montanita for the Southern Cross CELTA course gave a great impression on arrival! It’s a superb, bespoke facility complete with comfortable well equipped Cabanas, lovely swimming pool and hammocks for all. After five weeks of travel in Ecuador encountering very variable facilities the high pressure, hot water shower in my Cabana were much appreciated! Considerable thought has gone into the location and set up of the site and it functioned very well as a facility suited for the rigours of a CELTA course. The programme is fully catered and it was so helpful to be able to completely focus on the coursework and not have to worry about preparing or buying meals myself. The chefs went out of their way to keep us all well fed and with ample supplies of coffee and tea. I am a veggie, with some special diatary needs and I was impressed by how much care was taken to make sure I had suitable meals.
    An easy 10 minute walk from the Casa Cacique site, Montanita is a very popular tourist destination on the Ecuadorian coast. The lively nightlife and outstanding beach offers plenty of scope for relaxing at the weekends. I prefer some peaceful relaxation time, so it is nice that the site is located far enough from town to be quite a tranquil place. Something to be aware of is that the mosquitoes are a bit fierce on the coast – do bring some effective repellant and cover up exposed skin in the evenings!
    So, the Southern Cross CELTA…Well, the “intensive” bit is certainly true! However, its five week timetable does make it more doable and with more time to develop skills, in my opinion, than similar four week programmes. Do be prepared to work consistently hard for the duration – but I did find that there was still time for sunsets on the beach and some weekend excursions. A hugely rewarding aspect of the course was the local students that came to our teaching practice sessions. They were so appreciative and great to work with. Their enthusiasm and engagement really helped me to be confident to explore new teaching practice methods and experiment with materials.
    The quality of the teaching by the CELTA trainers was excellent throughout. While a lot of thought and planning has clearly gone into designing programme, the delivery of the course by the trainers is such a critical aspect. I felt that this consistently exceeded my expectations, both in terms of teaching quality and supportiveness. It is a demanding course, but the CELTA really did a thorough job for preparing me to teach effectively in the real world and with ample theory input and high quality feedback to provide a strong basis for developing my teaching skills on the course and independently thereafter. I had previously researched a number of CELTA and TESOL courses, including several UK based programmes, and I am very happy with my decision to do the Southern Cross CELTA. I’m my view, it is designed and delivered to a high international standard of quality.
    While I will be returning to the UK for a while, all the trainees on my programme seeking work were placed into positions throughout Ecuador soon after the course. The CELTA seems to be a very sought after qualification by most reputable employers and it is clearly a great market in South America and worldwide at the moment for EFL teachers. I’m now looking forward to fulfilling my world travel plans with my CELTA qualification and to working in some very interesting places in the months and years to come.

    Academic and recently qualified EFL teacher.

  • Anne Canning

    There is a lot of things written on the internet saying how hard and stressful the CELTA course is.
    Don’t get me wrong this course was hard work but definitely manageable! The trainers were fantastic, they provided more support than we could have asked for, the course was well structured and spread out, doing it over 5 weeks instead of the standard 4 definitely helped to take some of the pressure off. The volunteer students were fantastic, we really got attached to them! The site where the course is held is about 10 mins walk from the centre of Montanita and the beautiful beach. There are loads of bars, clubs and restaurants in Montanita, there are further quieter beaches and towns 10 mins up and down the coast easily accessible by bus. The accommodation was a very pleasant surprise, each person gets their own cabana with ensuite bathroom, double bed and importantly a Mosquito net! The swimming pool on site was an added bonus! The food they provided was really great, it was nice having someone cook for you during the course, one less thing to think about! It was a real mix of food, from Ecuadorian specialities to battered fish and chips. The staff on site went out of their way to help you, can’t thank them enough. We were assisted in finding work after the course and I’m now teaching in Quito alongside some of the great people I did the CELTA course with!

  • Joe Taylor

    The Southern Cross Celta course hugely surpassed my expectations.
    The campus was perfect, the food and drinks provided were excellent and in a great location. The pool in the centre of the campus is ideal for relaxing in when you get some spare time in the middle of the week or for weekends. The site is located about 10 mins walk from the local town which is good for food and drink on the evenings if you want to get out and about, and also has a really good beach for relaxing.
    The course itself was one of the best things I´ve ever done, it can get slightly intense but is manageable thanks to the trainers. They are hardworking and really dedicated to getting the maximum out of you.
    Job placement post course was brilliant, I was offered jobs at the end of the course in 3 different locations throughout the country. I am currently working in the capital, Quito at a language school and really enjoying it.

  • Jessie Swanson

    To anyone interested doing their CELTA in Ecuador through Southern Cross, I highly recommend this option. Although Ecuador seemed a neat location to take the course, I had my doubts whether it would be a good course to take, what the town would be like, living arrangements, etc. In the end, every aspect of my experience here was excellent. The course itself is informative, challenging, practical, and very useful… I definitely walked away feeling confident in teaching English. The instructors (tutors) were great and exceeded my expectations. They were very experienced and knowledgeable in teaching English, professional, fun, and helpful. Accommodation was a pleasant surprise… I was expecting an old basic cabana but it was like walking into a hotel room with a new comfortable double bed, a desk, and a clean spacious bathroom. The view from the front window looked onto the pool and beautiful grounds of the school, and we each had our own personal hammock on the deck of our cabanas. The course includes three meals a day and the chef was excellent; breakfast was often pretty simple but lunch and dinner were great. I really enjoyed all the people I did the course with and we ended up having a great time together during and after the course. The students were locals in and around the town that are appreciative to come and learn English for free and were very friendly. Montanita has a lot to offer… it has beautiful beaches, great surfing, fun night life, shopping, all kinds of food, and amazing weather!! I wish I could come up with some critiques but there are none worth mentioning and all in all it was an unforgettable experience in every way… enjoy :)

  • India McIndoe

    Beginning the CELTA course i was extremely apprehensive, having no previous teaching experience and having been out of formal education for a few years, however, on my arrival I was instantly made to feel at ease with some time on the Sunday to get to know my trainers and my fellow teachers. The course is intense and challenging but it is staged brilliantly so that at no point did I feel too overwhelmed. Also, although independent study and self discipline is encouraged I have not once felt alone or without support during the course. The trainers are very approachable and give concise and honest advice.
    After my first lesson I actually cried because I felt like I had done everything wrong, however, talking to my tutors and other teachers was a huge support and rather than feeling demotivated I was given clear goals to work on and by the end of the course I saw the clear progression I had made and in after my last lesson i felt amazing.
    I would recommend this course to anyone, it has changed my attitude towards teaching in a really positive way. Not only that but the staff, the food, the cabañas and the consideration for our individual needs was excellent.
    My time at the course may have been a little unusual because of the earthquake but the trainers and staff responded so well that at no point did I feel unsafe. Whether you have teaching experience or you are a complete beginner like myself, if you embrace the learning style you will get a huge amount from this course.
    A massive thank you to everyone that made these five weeks so special and I hope I can inspire other people to embark on the journey.