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Linguaschools Cusco offers the unique opportunity to study and learn the Spanish language while immersed in Latin American culture. Our experienced teachers utilize the most innovative pedagogic and emphasize interactive way to study Spanish, a proven methodology for foreign language learning.

Our Spanish language school in Cusco, Peru, the former capital of the legendary Inca Empire in Peru is very conveniently located. From group classes to individual lessons, from the rain forest to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Linguaschools offers you the flexibility to study how and where YOU want. We understand that life is more than sitting in a classroom, so we have worked hard to offer you a plethora of choices to allow you to make the most of your time in South America. Our school also offers additional free cultural classes, such as Salsa and Tango lessons, traditional music instruction, and cooking tutorials. These complementary courses make our school in Cusco a distinct educational destination in South America.

Cusco is very well connected and you can travel safely to the most important places of the ancient Inca Empire with ease: Puno and Lake Titicaca, the Peruvian Amazon, the beautiful colonial city of Arequipa, elegant Lima and the impressive “Lost City of the Incas”, the ruins of Machu Picchu. Within a few blocks of the Central Plaza, Cusco remains very much a city of indigenous people and the markets are filled with bright colors and local products


Breathtaking views of the Andes greet you from the school’s doorstep. The school is only one block away from the main square, the Plaza de Armas, in an independent building with offices, multimedia classrooms, an internet café, a small kitchen, a leisure space and a lovely sunny terrace. The building also incorporates the Student Residence.The school is located in stunning Cusco, the former capital of the legendary Inca Empire, close to the world famous lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu. Our Spanish programs in Peru run in two locations: start with your Spanish lessons in the city of Cusco, and continue in the Spanish in Sacred Valley of the Incas or in the Amazon rainforest of Tambopata. The Inca civilization lectures are field trips and videos that enable you to learn more about this incredible civilization. You can study the origins of the Peruvian culture and the development they achieved in areas such as agriculture, medicine, ceramics and architecture. The highlight of this course is, undoubtedly, the ceremony offered by an Andean priest (shaman), at the famous Inca Ruins of Sacsahuaman, close to school. This is a homage to the earth and all natural elements that co-exist with the earth.

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Activities

At Linguaschools, we are like a big family. Our students tend to spend a significant period of time with us – from a few weeks up to a few months – and so our staff gets to know the students well and the students get to know the staff well. In addition, the students become very close with one another. They spend every day studying Spanish together, eating together, and sharing experiences together. The sense of community at Linguaschools Cusco is very strong, and we invite you to become a part of it.

The culture program provides a comprehensive view of the cultural area you choose to study, but we also have a range of complementary culture activities that run every evening. All free activities give you the opportunity to learn Spanish in a fun and dynamic environment while you deepen your understanding of Latin American culture.

In Cusco, many of our students live on campus while others stay with guest families and spend the day at our school. Each morning, students begin the day at the breakfast table before hurrying off to morning classes. Lunchtime is quite a social event, as well. Tables are spread over the terrace in the sunshine, and students catch up with each other’s volunteer activities and classes.

community

Throughout the year, we partake in local festivals, and we love being part of these customs and traditions in South America. During special times of the year, such as Christmas and Easter, our school reaches out to the community and helps those less fortunate. Past efforts have included providing gifts to local children and making special chocolate items and bread with them.


Spanish courses

Linguaschools Cusco offers a range of Spanish courses for all ages and levels. Not only do we create customized Spanish instruction at the level and pace that best suits you, our school conducts its Spanish courses using interactive, clear and personal teaching methods.

We believe the success of our interactive method relies on the personal attention our teachers are able to give you. Therefore, all of our Spanish group courses are small and are formed according to students’ abilities. The first day of the Spanish course begins with an oral and written placement test so we can assess your level as accurately as possible. This allows us to place you with other students at the same level.

 

We have founded Linguaschools in Buenos Aires in the belief that we have a special service to offer to our foreign students. All of us have worked with foreign students before, either as teachers, host families, or guides. None of us has found the kind of professional teaching, high-quality housing, and rich social life that we offer anywhere else in Buenos Aires. We believe that as a professional service provider, we must understand the particular needs of our guests from all over the world and meet their high demands.

The school is located in downtown Buenos Aires, 50 yards off the historic Plaza de Mayo in the famous San Telmo district. We have excellent transport connections to all parts of town. It is close to major tourist attractions, theaters, cinemas and nightlife attractions as well as the beach.

 

buenos aires

Linguaschools occupies the top floor of the building with access to the rooftop terrace. There are 10-12 classrooms available for teaching at any time. Add to that 7 PCs with internet access (plus wifi all over the school), a small library with books and DVDs, a movie room, the teachers’ room and, of course, the area where students spend their breaks (with student computers and kitchen corner with microwave oven).

 


Why study Spanish with us?

Our school uses a full-immersion, integrated learning method. This means that you will learn Spanish 24 hours a day, in professionally conducted classes, informally at home with your host family (if you choose this option) and during extra-curricular activities. Our approach is based on the idea that participating in a mix of different language situations is the most efficient way to learn a foreign language.

All of our staff are professional Spanish teachers with relevant university degrees from top universities in Argentina (or in their last year of study). All of them are native speakers, of course. Most of them speak at least two other languages and have extensive experience in working with students from abroad. As obvious as this may sound, our teachers are a key ingredient of our service offering and they heavily contribute to making your stay a productive and an enjoyable one.

Our teaching staff has been carefully selected. Academic credentials are a prerequisite for teachers in most schools. At our school, we also guarantee open-minded, motivated teachers who can bring across the necessary teaching content. Some of our teachers also teach literature at the prestigious Universidad de Buenos Aires.

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Our school in Buenos Aires is a language school accepted by SEA, Argentina’s language school association.

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Spanish courses in Buenos Aires

We offer many different options for Spanish courses in Buenos Aires. All courses run Monday to Friday and are taught in different levels, from absolute beginner to advanced. You can either learn Spanish in a group, individually or a combination of the two, the so called intensive 20+5 or 20+10.  If you are into Tango, you can take Tango lessons while learning Spanish at a discounted rate.

 


Activities

It would be a shame if we “only” taught you the Spanish language and neglected Argentina’s and Latin-America’s artistic, historic and literary legacy. At our school, we believe that language and culture go hand in hand. This is why we have designed programs rich in cultural content, the degree of which varies according to the duration of your specific program and skill level. These activities form an integral part of our teaching methodology to ensure that our students gain true insights and get answers about our history and culture.

Every Monday we propose our students a list of at least four daily events, including academic activities and upcoming city programs. The programs we organize and recommend share three characteristics.

  • Insider’s view: Experienced local experts will guide our students through the dynamic and real cultural context of Buenos Aires and Argentina to provide the insider’s view.
  • Customized options for all ages, interests and budgets: Our activities are planned to match interests and goals: most of them are free for our students (e.g.: language workshops, movie nights, guided city tours) and organized solely for them.
  • Variety (in theme, location and duration): In addition to the complimentary programs our students can choose from various excursions, tango shows and classes, day and weekend trips, estancia visits, theater pieces and more, which we charge at cost.

Why study in Santiago?

The city of Santiago is settled between the Andes and the Pacific which makes it the perfect base for trekking, climbing, skiing, sunbathing, or wine tasting. Chile’s sprawling capital city is cultured, unpredictable, and very ambitious.

santiago

Santiago is an incredibly modern city. It is the capital of Chile and has undergone steady economic growth over the years. In many neighborhoods around the city, high rise buildings line the streets (especially in Las Condes), there are dozens of shopping centers, and beautiful cafés can be found on almost any street corner. However, Santiago still has some extraordinary culture and old architecture. Many historical buildings (from the Spanish colonial period) have been destroyed from the country’s frequent earthquakes, but some great places to visit to soak up some culture. The city is a wonderful place for strolling, and each neighborhood has its unique flavor and tone. Head out for the day to take in the museums, grand architecture and pedestrian malls of the Centro, before an afternoon picnic in one of the gorgeous hillside parks that punctuate the city’s landscape. Nightlife takes flight in the sidewalk eateries, cafes and beer halls of Barrios Brasil, Lastarria and Bellavista, while as you head east to well-heeled neighborhoods like Providencia and Las Condes, you’ll find tony restaurants and world-class hotels.

 


Linguaschools Santiago has experienced and certified professionals. Our team of experts is committed with engagement for your goals and we offer high quality for maximizing your international investment. Our experts are able to speak at least 2 languages and have lived and worked abroad. Our phonetics workshop allows our students to improve their pronunciation throughout a dynamic and entertaining way. A Spanish teacher in our school always leads the workshop.

With 25 years experience in teaching Spanish as a foreign language in Chile, we know what your learning process makes successful: communication and interaction. All courses have up to 7 students per classroom, allowing you to boost your language learning and to promote this in extra curricular activities outside of the classroom and we are guided by the teaching methods of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).conseil_europeOur school offers you the possibility of free indoor & outdoor activities around Santiago . If you are practicing, you are learning. Our courses include weekly extracurricular activities that are free of charge for all of our students. We offer salsa classes, excursions to different points of interest in Santiago and after school Spanish grammar courses. The courses are designed to combine what you have learned in the classroom with real life situations in Chile. We love teaching and travelling and that makes the whole difference! We share the same passion for learning languages, travelling, making new friends and to contribute to the global interaction and cultural understanding.

 


Spanish courses in Santiago de Chile

We offer many different options for Spanish courses in Santiago. All courses run Monday to Friday and are taught in different levels, from absolute beginner to advanced. You can either learn Spanish in a group, individually or a combination of the two, the so called intensive 20+10 course.  Groups are very small, usually 3-5 students, maximum 7.


 

We invite you to the cultural neighborhoods of Santiago, together with a Spanish teacher, to practice your Spanish within a fun and dynamic activity and to visit unforgettable places in Santiago. If you are practicing your Spanish, you will learn faster and more effectively.  As a student at Linguaschools you will receive discounts for weekend trips in Chile accompanied by professional guides. From Monday to Friday you can meet our tour guides at the school. She will explain the day and weekend activities. We offer for example a half-day trip by car to the 4 best-known ski resorts near Santiago de Chile: Valle Nevado, El Colorado, La Parva and Farellones, we hike up the Glaciar El Morado, which has an altitude of 3200 m, we visit the famous vinery Concha Y Toro Winery or we take you on a tour through the valleys of Casablanca and Curacavi toward the Central Coast and many more. Here you get an impression of our trips.

Since 1996 Linguaschools Tamarindo has been offering Spanish classes to foreign students and residents. Our school is surrounded by a pristine environment and offers an ideal setting for people that are interested in learning Spanish by following a full immersion program.


Linguaschools Tamarindo is approved by the Instituto de Cervantes as an official DELE examination Center and our courses are also accepted in different German provinces (Bundesländer) for the “Bildungsurlaub”. The Instituto de Cervantes is a worldwide non-profit organization created by the Spanish government in 1991 and it is the largest organization in the world responsible for promoting the study and the teaching of Spanish language and culture.

 

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Our school is centrally located in Playa Tamarindo and just 150 meters from the beach and is situated in a beautiful tropical garden. On the premises the students can find three buildings and two small ranchos (open air dry palm huts).

tamarindo

 

All classrooms are distributed among the buildings. The classrooms are spacious and comfortable, with large open windows to create a comfortable and appropriate atmosphere to study. The main rancho has 5 classrooms on the second floor and the cafeteria with a snack bar on the ground floor. In the cafeteria students relax and enjoy conversations with other students while having some snacks and refreshments. It is also a good place to do homework during school hours or to take part in one of the dance lessons that are practiced after school on the main floor.

The Wayra Campus Tamarindo Costa Rica

At Linguaschools Tamarindo, the students can enjoy the local wildlife. Iguanas, birds, and many other small animals can be observed while listening to the braking waves of the ocean. Often, the tranquility is only interrupted by the howling of monkeys that takes away the breath of students each time they stop for a visit.

At our school maximize the students learning experience with a thoughtful balance of personal, cultural and academic challenges within a secure and supportive environment. The instructors are skilled in blending conversation with grammar to meet the individual needs of the group members.

In the classroom, we make learning an enjoyable natural process. Teachers encourage debate, conversation and exchange of ideas to promote critical thinking and verbal skills. Games, videos and music are frequently used in the classrooms.

Outdoor activities, such us walks in the nature reserves, visits to different businesses in town to gather information, conversations with people from the community, interviews or excursions to neighboring towns are all used to practice and learn more about the ecology, economy and culture of Costa Rica. Your language ability will grow as your outlook broadens. Every day the students are required to do about one hour of homework.


Costa Rica is recognized as one of the premier places in the world to go surfing. Made famous by the classic film, “Endless Summer II”, Tamarindo and the surrounding area is one of the most popular areas to go surfing in Costa Rica. Long sandy beaches, reefs, and warm water create an ideal environment for surfers, from beginners to pro´s.

Linguaschools Tamarindo offers a great Surf and Spanish Program. On Monday through Friday you will participate in the Standard Group Spanish Classes. On your free time and weekends you will have the chance to take surfing lessons and to surf some of the best waves of Costa Rica.

A typical Surf and Spanish program runs for 2 weeks. During this period you will receive 3 lessons of surfing instruction plus the use of a surfboard during the entire two weeks. This program is extremely popular. Linguaschools makes use of some of the best surf instructors in the area.

For those who want a longer program, either 3 or 4 weeks, you will continue to have the use of a rental board. In addition, you will be transported on the weekend to one of several outstanding surfing spots outside of Tamarindo. During this trip you can continue to practice Spanish with your surf instructor.

What is included in the Surf program?

  • 1 week Surf package: 2 group lessons total and free board rental.
  • 2 weeks Surf package: 3 group lessons total and free board rental.
  • 3 weeks Surf package: 6 group lessons total, free board rental and 1 weekend trip to a nearby beach or 9 group lessons total and free board rental.
  • 4 weeks Surf package: 8 group lessons total, free board rental and 1 weekend trip to nearby beach or 12 group lessos total and free board rental.

Students that sign up for our 3 and 4 week surf package will receive a free rash guard and a free picture of one of their surf lesson.

 

 

Last weekend was a long weekend in Ecuador and we took this opportunity to organize a special school activity from our school in Montañita and went with our students for a weekend trip to Quito.

After a bus ride all night we arrived in Quito where we took a taxi to the hostel. We arrived early in the morning so we had some breakfast, some people already explored the city a little bit and when everybody was ready, we went to the teleferiqo. This is a cable car that takes you all the way up to 4 km. From the mountains next to the city you get an awesome view of the city. We were really lucky that it was warm and sunny our first day, so we made a lot of photos on the top. Everybody walked around and took photos and when we all got a bit tired (it is hard to walk around at 4km height, not a lot of oxygen) we went dow again. There is an amusement park at the bottom of the teleferiqo where we walked around it for a bit and took afterwards the bus to Mitad del Mundo.

The teleferiqo

teleferiqo

 


Mitad del Mundo

It was a lot further then we thought but we made it in the end. It was still nice and sunny, so we walked around a lit bit, made a lot of photos again and took the bus back. We were all super tired because we didn’t sleep much on the way to Quito, so when we got back to the hostel everybody took a power nap. We already talked to an old student, who is living in Quito to meet up with us here, so our group went to dinner with her in the center of Montañita. After dinner we were all still super tired so we went straight to bed.


 

The next morning after breakfast in the hostel we went to Otavalo. Otavalo is a town 2 hours from Quito where they have the biggest market of Ecuador. If you want to buy crafts and llama sweaters this is the best place to shop! We spend about 4 hours on the market and everybody bought nice souvenirs. When we got back we had a really nice dinner.

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Everybody was super hungry, we went to a Mexican place close to the hostel and everybody was really satisfied after that meal. After dinner we went to the volunteer house the girls are staying we met the day before and had some drinks there and after we all went out. We were a huge group of mostly Europeans so every bar wanted us inside. I think in total we were with more than 20 people. Some people only went out for a little bit and some had a hard time the next morning.

Otovalo

 

The old with first picture: La basilica and second picture: Plaza grande

One of our students went to buy tickets back in the morning, but it turned out even more people wanted to go back from Quito. In the morning all tickets during the day were already sold out to Guayaquil. And only passport numbers weren’t enough this time, we needed the actual passports to buy tickets. When we met everybody again at the hostel, we explained this and decided all to go to the terminal and hope we could still buy a ticket. We said goodbye to a few students who were going to stay in Quito and went to the bus terminal.  When we got there Guayaquil was completely sold out, but in the end we found enough tickets in the same bus to Manta and we could take a bus from Manta back to Montañita. It took us all night and morning, but we made it back and didn’t have to stay an extra night in Quito.

Even though most bus travels weren’t going as smoothly as we hoped it was still a very nice weekend.

If you want to study Spanish in Mexico, Guanajuato is the ideal place to do it. For more than 200 years, Guanajuato was one of the world’s richest cities, producing 20% of the world’s silver in its heyday. Guanajuato today is colonial jewel, with lovely stone buildings and cathedrals, broad plazas, well-manicured gardens, and narrow alleyways lined with flower-draped, wrought-iron balconies.

Many of its cobblestone streets are free of traffic, thanks to a network of underground tunnels that channel cars and buses under the city center. Guanajuato state’s rich past brims with Mexican revolutionaries, artists, and politicians. Father Miguel Hidalgo, the great Mexican rebel, was born here and began Mexico’s independence movement in nearby Dolores Hidalgo. Guanajuato’s Juan José de los Reyes Martínez, also known as La Pipila, set the blaze that allowed rebel forces to win the first battle of the independence movement.

The artist Diego Rivera was born and raised in Guanajuato city, and his childhood home is preserved as a museum dedicated to his life and art. And Vicente Fox was elected president of Mexico in 2000 after a successful tenure as Guanajuato state’s governor. You can learn about Guanajuato’s history, enjoy art from colonial to modern times, and even view a rare collection of mummies in the city’s many museums.


What to do in Guanajuato?

As home to the University of Guanajuato, the city has long been a center of learning and culture. You can enjoy plays, symphonies, concerts and lectures at one of three renowned theatres. Its student population also lends a lively, bohemian edge. A favorite pastime here is exploring the city’s eclectic restaurants, relaxing cafes, and a vibrant nightlife. Guanajuato also hosts festivals throughout the year, including the world-famous International Cervantino Festival held every October. Artists, musicians and visitors from around the globe come to Guanajuato to celebrate the works of Cervantes and enjoy a variety of entertainment.


Here are the top places to visit in Guanajuato:

  • Jardín Unión: The Jardin Union in Guanajuato is the heart and soul of the city and home to the city’s best bars and restaurants. Enjoy this triangular park, a favorite spot for tourists and locals alike. At night there is an energetic and fun atmosphere as Mariachi bands and performing students entertain the restaurant patrons. The Jardin Union is the place to start your evening but the great food, free-flowing drink and never-ending entertainment may mean that your night ends there too!jardin de la union

 

  • Teatro Juárez: The Teatro Juarez is one of the most architectural stunning buildings in Guanajuato, themain entrance is in the Doric-Roman style, straight from ancient Rome, while the flamboyant interior is oriental inspired. The theatre is regarded as one of Mexico’s premier theaters and by the standard of the magnificent exterior and beautiful interior rightly should be.Guanajuato Teatro Juarez_2

 

  • Templo de San Diego: The facade is in the Baroque style and the architecture is astounding, equal to anything you would see in Spain. The church is located in the center of town so everything is easily located. Plenty of cool places to eat and drink surround the temple and you can find lots of street entertainment and things to do, just a walking distance away from it. During the week there are local vendors selling their goods, street food and many other typical things of the region. templo de san diego

 

  • Plaza de la Paz: This semi-triangular area is surrounded by some of the most beautiful buildings in city and has a monument to commemorate the War of Independence. At the back of the square, which is located in the heart of the city, there ist the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Guanajuato, which is one of the greatest and beautiful church of the city. basilica

 

  • Mercado Hidalgo: Guanajuato’s market (the Mercado Hidalgo) is housed within a classical iron structure, which dates from the final stages of the industrial era. It is a 2 story indoor market selling from touristy stuff (handcrafts, souvenirs, etc) to groceries (food, confectionery and clothing). It is said, the structure of this market was originally intended to be a train station in Antwerpen, Belgium, but it was brought to Guanajuato by President Porfirio Diaz and completed in 1910, shortly before the start of the Mexican Revolution. The façade of this building is made of pink quarry and boasts a tower. Mercado Hidalgo, Guanajuato’s market is a chaotic collection of market stalls, selling a wide range of items and a fantastic place for visitors to haggle for gifts. Built at the beginning of the 20th century, you can find typical Mexican sweets and artisanal products of the region.mercado

 

  • Monumento al Pípila: This monument was erected in honor of Juan José de los Reyes Martínez or “El Pípila”, who made possible the taking of Alhóndiga de Granaditas. To reach this place use the funicular (cable car) just behind Teatro Juarez. Juan Jose Martinez, or also known as El Pipila, is the legend of a hero who wore a stone slab on his back to protect himself while crawling to the only door of the Alhóndiga, or granary, in September 1810. He then tarred and set fire to the door allowing the rebels to enter and defeat the Spanish troops. The view is beautiful, particularly at night. it was built in 1939 by Augusto Gutierrez Visit the monument for a panoramic view of Guanajuato.  It´s spectacular day and night.

 

  • El Cubiliete: The Cerro del Cubilete is 2,579 meters above sea level and is one of the highest peaks in the state of Guanajuato. At the top is built a shrine dedicated to Cristo Rey, Christ the King, famous for its huge statue with open arms. Originally, there was also a smaller figure of Cristo Rey but it was destroyed during the last stages of the Revolution, the so-called Guerra Cristera (Cristero War). The current temple was completed in 1944 under the orders of Nicolas Mariscal, and consists of a large circular platform of three tiers in Art Deco style. Its form of the globe crowned by the enormous Christ (20 meters high and weighing 80 tons) has gone around the world. It also has the “Cristero Museum” which includes various historical documents and short films about this time. is one of the most frequented sites in Guanajuato, not only for religious pilgrims, but for those wanting to discover the national character.cubilete

 

Sheree is young at heart, athletic and lives in a small town in British Columbia, Canada. She enjoys mountain biking, road cycling, swimming, kayaking, camping, snow skiing and travel to experience different cultures.  After a career in finance, she is now a photographer and designs websites, but mostly she is retired and enjoys travel, life and everything about it.

 


 

Why did you decide to learn Spanish and why did you choose to learn the language during a language course abroad?

I spent quite a bit of time in Mexico and Spain as a high school and university student. I learned some Spanish, but later in life my career got in the way of using the language for many years. I’ve always loved the language and Mexico and I wanted to pick up the language again. A friend recommended Guanajuato and Linguaschools in Mexico, so I asked my partner Bob if he was willing to try it. We did and immediately we both loved the school and Guanajuato. We both feel that learning the language is the best way to completely enjoy the people, culture and total experience of being in another country, and learning Spanish in the country is the easiest way to learn.


How did your Spanish level improve during your stay?

Our first visit was for only 2 weeks, since then we have come at least once per year for 2 or 4-5 weeks.  We both began with 4 classes per day, Bob at the very beginner level, me at an intermediate level. I then moved to 2 private classes per day and Bob continues with 4 classes per day.  Each year our level improved.  Now, both of us can understand, write and speak Spanish much better than when we first came to the school, no doubt. I can now communicate effectively with anyone, my Spanish is “fluid”  say most people.  But my grammar and vocabulary always need work, of course. The school has made every effort to teach us, accommodate our needs and have lots of fun at the same time.

 


Why did you decide on Guanajuato? Why should someone visit this city? 

Guanajuato is a UNESCO world heritage site.  It is old and very interesting, a pedestrian downtown with little vehicle traffic.  The small streets (callejones) are old, picturesque, often very steep and like nothing anywhere else.  Although Guanajuato ‘s population is about 175,000, it has the feeling of a much smaller town. The city is the capital of the state of Guanajuato, a Mexican tourist town and a University town, so it’s lively, vibrant and few people speak English, making it a perfect place to learn Spanish and have an enjoyable time doing it. There are many events, concerts, celebrations and activities to enjoy, so we never lack for anything to “do”. There are many cafés and restaurants of all types and it is easy to navigate on foot, taxi or bus. There are many weekend trip options from Guanajuato (Morelia, Patzcuaro, Mineral de Pozos, San Miguel de Allende, Dolores Hidalgo, Santa Rosa, Guadalajara), it all depends on your particular interests. Guanajuato is centrally located in Mexico, so it is easy to get a bus from Guanajuato to Mexico City, or Guadalajara (and then on to the coast).

[here you find even more reasons to visit Guanajuato]

The weather in Guanajuato is wonderful when we visit in the fall or winter.  Beautiful sunny days, cool high desert nights.  In contrast, late fall weather in BC is wet and cold rain before our ski area opens.  We are extremely happy to be in Guanajuato when it is poor weather at home for the outdoor sports we enjoy.

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What did you do during your time at Linguaschools?

The school offers group activities and various trips – we have learned how to create an altar for Día de los Muertos, experienced the Bicentennial exposition, visited the famous winter Monarch butterfly refuge in Michoacán, visited a tequila factory, and have been to the Peralta ruins. In the afternoons we have played Loteria, taken salsa dance lessons,  cooking lessons, and watched Spanish movies.

 


 

Which are your favorite things to do in Guanajuato?

The traditional tours will take you to the Alhondiga, Teatro Juarez, the Basilica, the Jardin, Mercado Hidalgo and several other wonderful places to learn about the city and its unique history, and Guanajuato has many annual celebrations with parades and music (Día de los Muertos, Day of the Revolution, Illuminaciones, Festival Internacional Cervantino).

We frequently check the signboards in the Jardin for upcoming events at the Teatro Juarez, Teatro Principal, University Film Club and Casa Cuatro.  These are outstanding performances of all types (and free or very low cost!).

It’s always wonderful to simply wander around town with a camera, watch the people from a bench in a plaza or sip a coffee in a café. But specifically, a few of my (and our) favorite things to do are:

El Pipila:  a walk up to the Pipila monument is good exercise rewarded with a wonderful view of Guanajuato and learning about some of the history.  There are several routes, so it’s a trip to do more than once.  You can walk the various routes or a  taxi can take you to the top.  It’s also very interesting to get up high in other parts of Guanajuato to get views of the Pipila!  Guanajuato is just over 2,000 metres altitude, so we walk slower the first week just because of the altitude.

Centro Acuatico:  the relatively new aquatic centre is a 50 meter by 25 meter lap pool and a separate pool with diving platforms.  To swim there, you will need to take an easy short swimming test and buy a pass for at least 4 visits.   It’s a short cab ride from the centro and is a wonderful complement to studying a few hours each day during the week.  There are state-wide and Mexican national competitions at the facility.

centro acuatico

 

Mountain bike riding and rock climbing: many people hike up, but I prefer to cycle up to the famous cave that is at the base of the Bufa, a mountain seen from most higher points in town.  There is a narrow path for hiking up, or a dirt road for cycling up.  Some cars will drive up, but only a few because the road is rough and steep in spots. The views are spectacular all the way.  There are about 80 rock climbing routes around the Bufa and Bob likes to rock climb up there, it’s all sport climbing.  Renting a mountain bike to explore the Panorámica road above Guanajuato and/or the Bufa provides wonderful views and the chance to see the various parts of the City. In late November there has been a very popular downhill mountain biking race down the steep and narrow steps and streets and this is a great spectator sport.


 

How can you summarize your language travel and stay in Guanajuato?

Learning the language has allowed us to enjoy Guanajuato and Mexico more each year.  Being able to communicate in Spanish has allowed us to make friends here, have interesting conversations in Spanish and learn even more about the wonderful people and culture of Mexico.  Because of Guanajuato’s central location, it’s been easy to visit many places near and further from Guanajuato, exploring and enjoying Mexico with new and old friends.  Bob and I sincerely appreciate all that Linguaschools has done to teach us Spanish.

I’m Marit, I’m 23 years old and I come from a small town around 30 kilometers above Amsterdam, the Netherlands.  When I finished university in September 2014, I had no idea what to do with my life. I studied Global Health and I realized needed to become more international in order to get a career in this field, so an extra language would be a good add to my resume.  So, why not choose to learn one of the most beautiful languages in the world, Spanish?


Before deciding to go to Ecuador, I followed a ‘Spanish for beginners’ course in Amsterdam. However, my bad language knowledge and lack of time to really study didn’t help me. That’s when I realized I needed to plunge in Spanish to actually be able to speak the language some day. But where to go? Spain is quite close to home and I felt I needed a challenge, an adventure. South America would be perfect for that. After searching the Internet for days, I found a cute little party town at the coast of Ecuador. As I love the beach and cocktails, the decision was easily made: I am going to Montañita!

Although I had some minor beginner knowledge of Spanish, in Montañita I started all over again in the beginner class. In total I had an 8-weeks of lessons. The first 4 weeks I had group lessons. I had 2 hours of lessons in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon. The group lessons were really good, especially in the beginning you need a lot of vocabulary, and it is fun to learn together with your fellow students with the help of games etc. The structure the teachers have with explaining grammar is perfect.

In the beginning I was in a class of mostly 5 or 6 people (which is the maximum for group lessons), but later on higher levels I had just one or two other fellow student. Despite the fact that I liked the group lessons, I really wanted to switch to private lessons. Being in private lessons forces you to talk, as there is nobody else to answer questions or to help you translate something. Also, when you are in private lessons you can choose what you want to learn and if you want to slow down or move quicker. For example: I needed to practice more speaking in stead of learning all grammar forms, so for the last 2 weeks of classes I mostly chatted with my teachers. I love that during these 2 weeks we talked a lot about the Ecuadorean life and habits. Talking about these things learns you a lot about culture too, which was really interesting.

My experience with Linguaschools in Montañita was amazing. The teachers and staff were always friendly, fun and enthusiastic. The positive vibe really helps you to stay motivated, as learning a new language can be frustrating sometimes. Everybody at the school is flexible and helpful.

Thanks to the school my Spanish improved greatly. I went from knowing some words when I arrived, to being able to chat in Spanish, which I am so happy with. For example: when I arrived in Ecuador, a driver picked me up from the airport (you can arrange this pick up with the school, I really liked it, especially when you arrive at night!). The driver didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak Spanish, so there was a huge language barrier there! But when I left Ecuador 8 weeks later, I was talking to people I met on the airport, and chatting with them in Spanish.


Next to learning Spanish, the school also offers surf lessons. Often you surf in between classes. For example you have Spanish class 8-10, surfing from 10-12 and class again 13-15. And yes, you need a nap after that! I really liked the surfing classes, there are amazing teachers who help you and are very motivating and cheerful go get you standing on the board. The lessons are given in the next town where it is quiet, a perfect place to practice. Transport is included. I had a total of 10 lessons and I had a lot of fun during them, and I am definitely able to catch some good (baby) waves now!

During my stay I went on 2 trips organized by the school. To Baños and Cuenca. Both trips were beautiful, really well organized. Great hostels and great activities. Both cities are definitely worth visiting. Baños is a place where you have a variety of extreme sports, of which I tried ziplining, mountainbiking from a mountain and rafting! Cuenca on the other hand is a beautiful city with lots of churches and culture.


During my stay in Montañita, I had a room in de Cabanas, which is close to the school (around 5 min walk). I loved this place. Almost everybody who stays here is also a student at the school. At the cabanas there are many events like water volleyball in the swimming pool, barbeques, cooking nights, movie nights and of course lots of pre parties! The Cabanas have dorms and private rooms. I had a private room, which was huge! The room was cleaned everyday, bed sheets every week. Although you don’t spend that much time in your room, I loved it, as it was a perfect place to have some quiet time on your own.


About the little town: Montañita is amazing. It’s definitely a touristic place, but it’s really fun and sociable. There are so many cool people from all over the world who visit this place. The beach is beautiful; I loved swimming in the ocean and jumping over the big waves. Then there is the cocktail street, where you can buy impressive cocktails for only 3 dollars! After you finished your cocktail, you are ready to dance in a nice bar called Caña grill. Often there is life music early in the evening, and later on the DJ puts on some nice booty shaking music to go loose on. Off course there are so many more bars and clubs in Montañita, but to be honest I have been in Caña grill most of the time, as it was a lot of fun.

As a vegetarian I was a bit worried about the food before arriving in Ecuador. But luckily for me Montañita is full of nice little places and restaurants where you can enjoy yummy lunch or dinner with great vegetarian options too! There is for example a fruit salad street where there are little stands where they sell amazing fruit salads, omelets, sandwiches and yummy smoothies. Perfect for lunch! Also I loved a little restaurant, which we called ‘the wrap place’, as they sell great wraps. But my absolute favorite place to go was Kaffeina, a small restaurant near the church in Montañita. For me as a vegetarian this place was heaven, as they had vegetarian burgers and green curries, all freshly made. And then I didn’t even tell you yet about their perfect deserts! Further I recommend going to Savannah LaMar, a small bar at the beach. Try their cocktail called basil smash, its so good! Oh, and after dancing your butt off in Caña grill, don’t forget to treat yourself on an delicious empanada they sell on the way to the cabanas!

Although Montañita is full of places where you can have yummy food, most of the time I prepared food together with friends in the cabanas. Fruits and veggies are really cheap in Montañita. Therefore, cooking dates, hangover pancake-baking mornings, toast-brunches and avocado-lunches were often seen in the Cabanas.

I am so glad I chose this Linguaschools to learn Spanish. I don’t think this experience couldn’t have been any better. The combination of learning Spanish, surfing, partying and chilling in such an amazing little town was perfect. I met so many cool people and we all had a great time together. I am really going to miss this place and I am pretty sure I coming back to Montañita someday to study more Spanish! (just like a lot of other travelers do as well)

© Kenneth Moore

Cusco, Peru

Cusco is a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cusco Region as well as the Cusco Province. The site was the historic capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th into the 16th century until the Spanish conquest. In 1983 Cusco was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. There are many impressive things to see and do in and around Cusco and it is such a great place to discover heritages of the old culture of Peru with its old Inca ruins. Here is a list of the most impressive ruins:

  • Machu Picchu: The most beautiful and impressive ancient Inca ruins in the world, Machu Pichu was rediscovered in 1911 by Hawaiian historian Hiram after it lay hidden for centuries above the Urubamba Valley. The “Lost City of the Incas” is invisible from below and completely self-contained, surrounded by agricultural terraces and watered by natural springs. Maccu Picchu is 75 km north-west from from Cusco were the capital of the Incas was situated. Since 1974 it has been an archeological national park and in 1983 it became UNESCO world heritage. In addition the ruins were listed in 2007 as part of the new seven wonders of ancient world.

 

 

  • Ollantaytambo: During the Inca Empire, Ollantaytambo was the royal estate of Emperor Pachacuti who conquered the region, built the town and a ceremonial center. At the time of the Spanish conquest of Peru it served as a stronghold for the Inca resistance. Nowadays the Inca ruins of Ollantaytambo is an important tourist attraction and one of the most common starting points for hike known as the Inca Trail. It’s known as the living town of the Inca’s in Peru due to the fact that it was literally built on Incan terracing and foundations. The Incan irrigation system still works and water runs through stone canals on the sides of streets. In short, Ollantaytambo is gorgeous. With ruins not only peering down from their perches high on surrounding mountain sides, but also forming the very basis of the town center, Ollantaytambo is indeed as close as you can get to a living Incan town. You find the ruins 170 km north-west from Cusco.
© Jan Beck
© Jan Beck

 

  • Choquequirao: Seated on the border of Cuzco and Apurimac, Choquequirao (meaning Cradle of Gold), is located 3085 meter (10,120 feet) above sea level. The Inca ruins contain a staircase configuration, made up of 180 terraces. Built in a completely different style than Machu Picchu, Choquequirao is much larger in area. One can only travel to Choquequirao by foot or horseback, and as such, is visited much less often than Machu Picchu. Without benefit of wheels, the trek to Choquequirao from Cachora can take up to four days!

 

© Mark Rowland
© Mark Rowland

 

  • The ruins of Sacsayhuamán: The greatest and nearest to Cusco of the Inca ruins, Sacsayhuamán reveals some of the Incas’ most extraordinary architecture and monumental stonework. Usually referred to as a garrison or fortress — because it was constructed with forbidding, castlelike walls. It was more likely a religious temple, although most experts believe it also had military significance. The Inca emperor Pachacútec began the site’s construction in the mid-15th century, although it took nearly 100 years and many thousands of men to complete it. Massive blocks of limestone and other types of stone were brought from as far as 32km (20 miles) away.

 


Cusco seems to be full of Inca ruins – but there is much more! The old capital of the Inca Empire, offers also great options for trekking and other adventure sports such a rafting, hiking and mountain biking. Here you find 8 fun things to do in Cusco that aren’t Inca Ruins:

 

1) Take a walk in the typical neighborhood of San Blas.

Cusco’s most atmospheric and picturesque neighborhood, San Blas, a short but increasingly steep walk from the Plaza de Armas, is lined with artists’ studios and artisans’ workshops, and stuffed with tourist haunts  many of the best bars and restaurants and a surfeit of hostels. It’s a great area to wander around due to the fact that there are many interesting shops, galleries, restaurants and cafes. The neighborhood also affords some of the most spectacular panoramic vistas in the city. In the small plaza at the top and to the right of Cuesta San Blas is the little white Templo de San Blas, said to be the oldest parish church in Cusco. As the sun is going down the neighborhood of San Blas invites to relax with some snacks and a drink and enjoy the beautiful scenery.


2) Relax the park next to the Coricancha

Coricancha, originally named Inti Kancha or Inti Wasi (Quechua for “sun house”), was the most important temple in the Inca Empire, dedicated primarily to the Sun God. It was one of the most revered temples of the capital city of Cusco. The Coricancha (sometimes spelled Qoricancha) was the centerpiece of a vast astronomical observatory and calendric device for precisely calculating time movement. According to ancient stories the Inca took over an earlier sacred site at the center of the city, upon which they constructed their primary temple and astronomical observatory.

The temple is just 10 minutes walking down Avenida el Sol from the Plaza de Armas. Lots of local people take a break here during sunny days. It is a beautiful spot to catch some sun and chill out, maybe have an ice-cream. So plunge into a cultural time travel, relax and sunbath at one of the most important historical relics of Peru and the Inca Empire.

© Mr Hicks46
© Mr Hicks46

 


3) Try some typical Peruvian (street) food

In recent years, Peru’s cuisine has earned acknowledgement as one of the world’s finest. But while quinoa and pisco sour cocktails have migrated to become favorites around the world, the best Peruvian specialties are still found in their home country. Here are some to try en route to Machu Picchu that are all amazingly good, tasteful and cheap.

Ceviche

If Peru had an official national dish, it would probably be this preparation of raw fish marinated in citrus juice. The acid in the fruit “cooks” the fish, giving it a delicate flavor and slightly chewy consistency. The dish is usually spiced with red onion and aji pepper, and served (typically at lunch) with sweet potato or choclo, a white Andean corn with dime-size kernels.

  • Cuy: This staple meat raised in many households of the Andes goes by a different name in English: guinea pig. The meat, which is quite bony, is usually baked or barbecued on a spit and served whole—often with the head on. It has a pleasant, gamy taste like that of rabbit or wild fowl.
  • Lomo Saltado: A hundred years before anyone had heard of Asian fusion cuisine, boatloads of Chinese immigrants arrived in Peru looking for work. The ingredients and techniques they added to Peru’s food vocabulary are probably best exemplified by this hearty hybrid stir-fry, in which beef, tomatoes, peppers, and onions are blended in a pan with soy sauce and fried potatoes. It’s usually served over white rice.
  • Anticuchos: These skewers of grilled, marinated meat are served everywhere in Peru. High-end restaurants offer them as entradas, or appetizers. Street-cart vendors sell them slathered in a garlicky sauce. While almost any meat can be prepared this way, the most traditional—and best—anticuchos are made with beef heart, a practice believed to trace back to the days when Peru’s Spanish conquerors would consume a cow’s choicest cuts and leave the organs for their slaves.
  • Lucuma: Lucuma is a tree fruit that looks like a mango, but it has a custardy taste akin to maple syrup. It’s usually used as a flavoring in desserts, and is justifiably popular as a variety of ice cream.
  • Pollo a la Brasa: This Peruvian-style roast chicken is so delicious and popular that it’s now available in cities around the globe. The secret is marinating the bird in soy sauce flavored with red peppers, garlic, and cumin, which gives the meat and skin a smoky, salty taste. Outside Peru it’s typically paired with French fries, but the more traditional accompaniment is fried yuca, a waxy tuber that has a pleasant chewiness and holds its own against the spicy dipping sauces with which pollo a la brasa is typically served.
© gtitourism
© gtitourism

4) Explore and take a chocolate making class in the Choco Museo.

Everybody knows about Belgian, Swiss or French chocolate but have you ever heard about Peruvian, Guatemalan, Dominican or Nicaraguan chocolate? Choco Museo decided to make chocolate in countries where cacao grows. They source the best quality cacao beans and then process them artisanal to obtain delicious chocolate.

So why not making chocolate where cacao grows? Their mission is to promote the positive side of the coca leaf and its traditional uses. They also have an amazing variety of products made from the coca leaf. Also good to check out is the Choco museum, the museum of Scared, Magical and Medicinal Plants and the Centro de Textiles Traditionales.

The chocolate making class is a two hour workshop starting from the cocoa bean, taking you through the whole process to know how to make delicious chocolate. There is also a shop with loads of chocolate products.

 


5) Walk to Cristo Blanco

On a hill only a 10-minute walk from Saqsaywaman and overlooking the city of Cusco is the statue known as the “White Christ” or “Cristo Blanco.”  The towering statue of Christ greatly resembles the “Christ the Redeemer” statue atop the Corcavado in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. However, the impetus for Christo Blanco statue is a far different and interesting story. The Cristo Blanco statue was actually a gift. The statue was erected by a group of Christian Palestinians who were seeking refuge in Cusco in 1945. Cristo Blanco represents a symbol of their gratitude to Cusco for accepting them and the statue was a parting gift when they finally returned to their home country. Cusqueños believe the statue serves as a reminder “that good deeds do not go unnoticed.” To get there, walk to San Blas up the street Atocsaycuchi and just keep going up (be prepared there are a lot of stairs), you will pass a sports court and eventually reach the main road again, turn left and keep walking until you reach the statue.

© Rainbowasi
© Rainbowasi

 


6) Take a trip to Tipón to eat cuy

Tipón is a very important Archaeological site that has numerous impressive terraces that are still being cultivated today. Even more impressive is the irrigation system that is still serving agricultural areas nearby. It consists of carved stone channels, precisely calculated and sometimes with almost vertical falls that all together constitute a hydraulic engineering masterpiece.

Tipón is famous for its Inca ruins but also for its cuy (guinea pig, a typical Peruvian dish). It is about a 45 minute bus ride from Cusco and equipped with great restaurants to choose delicious cuys from. The “cuy al horno” meaning roast cuy will come with a heaped plate of noodles, potatoes, stuffed pepper and a blood sausage. Don’t forget to ask for it to be chopped up to make it easier to eat. Buen provecho.

 

© Adrián Mandado
© Adrián Mandado

 


7) Visit the be Inti Raiymi, the biggest festival of Peru

June is probably the most colorful month in the city of Cusco, full of events and activities. The most important day, June 24, is approaching quickly: it’s the day of Inti Raymi.

Inti Raymi is a traditional Inca festival literally translated as sun festival. It is celebrated in villages all over the old Inca Empire in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. But of course the biggest festival is held in Cusco, the former capital of the Inca Empire.

Inti Raymi was a religious ceremony which honored the sun god (Inti) at the time of the winter solstice. The ceremony was also said to tell tales of the mythical origin of the Incas. It lasted for nine days and was filled with colorful dances and processions, as well as animal sacrifices to give thanks to the Gods and to ensure a good harvest.

The first Inti Raymi was held in 1412, it was a tradition created by Sapa Inca Pachacuti to celebrate the Inca New Year. The last Inti Raymi with the Inca Emperor’s presence was carried out in 1535. After this the Spanish banned the ceremony in an attempt to kill off indigenous culture. The ceremony was re-created for the first time in 1944 mostly based on the writings of Garcilaso de la Vega – a famous chronicler, and son of a Spanish conquistador and an Inca noblewoman. Since 1944 this theatrical representation of the religious ceremony has been taking place at the Inca Fortress of Sacsayhuamán, above the city of Cusco. That’s is about 3km away from where the original ceremony would have taken place in the city´s main plaza.

Nowadays Inti Raymi attracts thousands of tourists each year, both foreign and national. Ceremonies take place at three main locations in Cusco:

  • At the Templo del Qorikancha, – which was the main temple in the time of the Inca – the ceremony will begin at 8.00am, they will re-enact the ceremony in which the Inca will make offerings to the gods. El Sinchi (general of the inca army) las accllas (the hidden women) las t’ika t’aqaqkunas (the women who lay flowers on the floor for the Inca to pass) los pichaqkunas (the men that clean the floor) and the Inca´s wife will all make an appearance. After the ceremony they will be led to the Plaza de Armas.
  • The Plaza de Armas, is where the second act takes place. More ceremonies are carried out including when the Inca would have sacrificed a llama. They are then led to Saqsayhuaman for the final part of the ceremony.
    We took the left rather than the right, though, as we wanted a short easy stroll. We walked along the dirt road on the other side of the river until the next bridge crossing back over, about 2 hours of leisurely walking. Along the whole road we saw ruins, from terracing to small complexes of buildings. The day was beautiful, and the scenery idyllic with cows grazing about us and crops bursting out everywhere, even amongst the ruins.
  • At Saqsaywaman, at approximately 1.30pm, the third act of inti Raymi will start. There is a grand ceremony, the most important and impressive of the day. Including the Inka and all his helpers plus the Inca army. All in the spectacular setting of the fort of Saqsayhuaman.

 


8) Zip lining in Peru in the Sacred Valley

Ever thought about zip lining in Peru? If you ever feel the urge of feeling free and you have the itch to do something adventurous during your travels in Peru, you should. The Sacred Valley Zip line will give you the shot of adrenaline you (might) need and you want to feel. So just go for it and try it yourself! The tour is safe and fun and is designed for all ages.

The spot is about one hour drive away from Cusco in the Sacred Valleys. Before you receive and revise your equipment, you get an introduction and safety talk on how everything works. In total, there are five different zip lining lines, including one for practicing. The Zip Line is a system of six or seven connecting cables for a total of 2500 meters. In addition not only zip line itself makes it an unforgettable experience, the surroundings of the Sacred Valley contribute to an amazing daytrip. Mountains covered with snow in the background, natural green mountains and fields in front as well as shrubbery and trees made make this trip in Peru even more special.

 

 

 

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