¿Cuáles son tus resoluciones de año nuevo? (What are your New Year’s Resolutions?). For many people, a New Year’s Resolution is to aprende un idioma (learn a language). That’s probably why you’re reading this blog! In this post I’m going to talk about los mejores lugares para aprender español en 2020 (the best places to learn Spanish in 2020).
¡Antigua es un gran lugar para aprender español! (Antigua is a great place to learn Spanish!). This is a beautiful colonial city that’s full of excellent Spanish schools. Las clases de español son asequibles aquí (Spanish classes are affordable here).
In my experience traveling in Guatemala, the people are quite friendly and are also patient with gringo Spanish. Perhaps it’s because Spanish is a second language for so many people here as well, as there are 21 different Mayan languages spoken in Guatemala.
Antigua es una ciudad muy tranquila (Antigua is a very tranquil city). In your free time, you can relax in the lovely Parque Central (Central Park), take a walk up to Cerro de la Cruz (Hill of the Cross), or just do your Spanish homework in one of the many cafes here. ¡El café de Guatemala es muy delicioso! (Coffee from Guatemala is very delicious!).
If you decide to study Spanish in Antigua, consider lining your classes up so that you can be in the city during Semana Santa (Holy Week). The city hosts some of the biggest processions in the world and it’s an amazing cultural experience. You can read more about it here and check out my short video from last year:
Speaking of Easter processions, another great choice for learning Spanish is Cusco, Peru. Not only is this the closest travel hub to Machu Picchu, but it’s also the location of the massive procession of el Señor de los Temblores (the Lord of the Earthquakes).
Tienes muchas opciones para aprender español en Cusco (You have many options for learning Spanish in Cusco). It seems like there’s a Spanish school around every corner here. Many travelers decide to slow down and stick around here for a while to improve their Spanish.
Everyone knows about Machu Picchu, but there are several other points of interest in and around Cusco to keep you busy in between classes. It’s a great base for exploring el Valle Sagrado de los Incas (the Sacred Valley of the Incas). Consider checking out other ruins like Pisac, Ollantaytambo, and Saqsaywaman before making that big bucket-list trip to Machu Picchu.
These days, a very popular city to learn Spanish is Medellín, Colombia. This is a city with a dark past yet a very bright future. It’s gone from being one of the most dangerous cities in the world to being one of the most innovative. Local people, who are known as Paisas, are incredibly welcoming and eager to help you practicar español (practice Spanish).
One great thing about Medellín is the weather. After all, it’s known as la Ciudad de la Eterna Primavera (the City of Eternal Spring). It never gets too hot or too cold here, making it a pleasant city to stay for a while.
Estudié español en dos escuelas diferentes en Medellín (I studied Spanish in two different schools in Medellin). I feel like my Spanish improved a lot during my six weeks in the city. In fact, I enjoyed the experience so much that I’m going back very soon to spend another two months there and take more classes! Click here to read more about my experience studying Spanish in Medellín.
La Fortuna, Costa Rica
One of my favorite places I visited last year was La Fortuna. Es un pueblo pequeño en las montañas de Costa Rica (It’s a small town in the mountains of Costa Rica). Despite being a pretty small town, there are quite a few Spanish schools here.
Puedes tener muchas aventuras alrededor de La Fortuna (You can have many adventures around La Fortuna). From hiking around Arenal Volcano, to walking across the Hanging Bridges, to searching for sloths, there’s a lot to do here.
There are also plenty of interesting cultural events going on here. When we visited, there was a cowboy parade and a rodeo one night and a carnival going on all week. Read more about La Fortuna in this post about traveling in Costa Rica.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
There are many excellent places to study Spanish in Mexico, including San Miguel de Allende and Oaxaca City. Mi recomendación es estudiar español en Puerto Vallarta (My recommendation is to study Spanish in Puerto Vallarta). I’m definitely a bit biased, as this has been my home away from home for the better part of three years, but it really is an amazing destination.
There are a few Spanish schools in town, but I went with Spanish School Vallarta. Maestro Melchor and his wife Martha are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet and are both great Spanish teachers! They use the famous Warren Hardy method and have four different levels of classes, each lasting three weeks. If you’d like to learn more, read my detailed post about studying Spanish in Puerto Vallarta.
When you’re not in Spanish class, puedes relajarte en la playa (you can relax on the beach). That’s not all, though. Hay muchas cosas divertidas que puedes hacer en Puerto Vallarta (There are many fun things you can do in Puerto Vallarta). Read this post for 31 of them!
Next up on our list is the town of Baños in the Andean Highlands of Ecuador. La gente en Ecuador habla español clara y lentamente (People in Ecuador speak Spanish clearly and slowly). This makes it a popular choice for people to study Spanish.
Es un buen lugar para aventuras como el ciclismo de montaña (It’s a good place for adventures such as mountain biking). You can rent a bike in town and ride it to several different cascadas (waterfalls).
This scenic town in Ecuador is not named after the bathroom, but rather the hot springs that are located here. These make for the perfect place to relax after a busy day of learning Spanish and exploring. I really enjoyed our short stay in Baños and would love to go back there to take a Spanish class.
The final spot I’m recommending is Sucre. It’s known as la Ciudad Blanca (the White City) for its beautiful white stone buildings. It’s definitely one of the most tranquila cities in all of Latin America with a very laidback atmosphere.
Sucre es una de las capitales de Bolivia (Sucre is one of the capitals of Bolivia). That’s right – Bolivia has two capital cities. Sucre is the official capital, but the executive and legislative branches of government are in La Paz.
Hay muchas escuelas de español en Sucre (There are many Spanish schools in Sucre). Classes are very affordable here, and the general low cost of living attracts many people to stay here for weeks or months to improve their Spanish.
These are just seven of my personal recommendations from places I’ve traveled. There are lots of other great choices. I’m always looking for new ideas for places to travel to, especially places where I can effectively learn the language. That being said, I have one important question for you…
¿Dónde quieres estudiar español este año?
Where do you want to study Spanish this year?