Over the years, I have taken part in total immersion classes in countries such as Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru and Guatemala. I started at lower intermediate level from my first trip to Costa Rica and ended up at the advanced/proficient level a few visits later.
While total immersion is one of the best ways to learn/improve your Spanish, if you are a total beginner, I recommend a quick course of the basic Spanish before getting on the plane in order to maximize your result. While you don’t have to be an expert in verb conjugations, it certainly helps tremendously to have a good idea of how Spanish verbs conjugate (change in forms) based on the subject of the verb. The same is also true that Spanish nouns have specific gender assigned to them. Likewise, adjectives agree with gender and number of the nouns they modify (i.e., plural nouns require plural adjectives).
A basic introduction course of a couple of weeks will do the trick. This will save you a lot of headache and frustration when you jump in with both feet once you land in the destination of your choice where you will have the most enriching learning experience. How often in life do we get to learn something in a classroom and get to test/apply that knowledge outside the classroom immediately? Picking a school such as Personalized Spanish that is serious about teaching will guarantee your satisfactory experience.
Andy - Computer Professional