The food: chuchitos, caldos, pupusas, every kind of taco, and a rainbow of colorful tortillas. ¡Qué rico!
The scenery: mountains, beaches, and famous ruins with mangrove rivers leading jungle. Beautiful.
The wildlife: viscous jaguars and scorpions, sweet llamas, and flying squirrels. Alive.
We. Love. Latin America.
So, obviously we want you to come and visit us, but not only that. Let’s plan a summer-long trip. Can you imagine? Sounds great, right? Well, summer is only 5 months away so you have PLENTY of time to pack, update your passport, and book all your hotels. But what about your Spanish?
5 months. Just give us 5 months, and we swear we can get you on the right track right for your trip to Latin America! In fact, you should probably jump over to our latest blog Spanish for Dummies which is a quick guide to get all of your basics and FUNdementals down.
How do you learn ‘Travel Spanish’ in 5 months?
That was the initial pitch. Now comes the ‘How.’ To help you out, we did some investigation. The first was with students from a local English class and we asked them, ‘What advice would you give to travelers who want to learn Spanish in 5 months?’
Oh, the enthusiasm in the ADULT classroom! We had never seen so much enthusiasm even when we brought doughnuts that one time… In the midst of all of the shouts, consejos, and ideas, the most agreed upon methods were:
- Learn key phrases and statements
- Tandem conversation partner
- Practice every day on an application
- Book classes at academies in each country that you visit
Learn key Questions: 6 Q’s
The best thing about travel is that you will most likely be making requests or basic commentary to the native Spanish speakers around you. All of the memory-making is thankfully going to be done with you and your traveling compadres. We trust that you have done the easiest things and booked all of your travel, hotel, and activities before your arrival. However, some of these phrases could possibly help in those areas too.
Learn key Statements: Compliments, Abilities, and Wants
So now that we have all of the questions out of the way, let’s add a little bit of personality to our Spanish for Travelers! Show them what you can do and what you like so you can try to participate in the culture!
Tandem conversation partners:
Woah! All of that Travel Spanish is going to be so useful for you to participate in the culture, advocate for yourself, and travel with such ease. But, what are you going to do when people respond?! Woah! There are so many different kinds of answers for these questions and any other comments that you make. Because of that, we recommend tandem conversation. Bring this list of questions and statements to a native speaker in your own community and pretend you are in the jungle or some other exotic place. You will FOR SURE learn multiple kinds of responses. Check out your local libraries or after school/university programs as well.
If you cannot find a native speaker to help you.
If you cannot find a native speaker to help you through your imaginary jungle – either concrete or full of cobras – we suggest you find recommended online sites like Homeschool Spanish Academy.
Yes, even us at HSA! After all, we are a Spanish academy based in Central America, and all of our teachers are native speakers. Because of this, our classes offer the most most life-like learning experience possible that would help you in your travels! When you get to Guatemala, you could actually say that you have friends here who you have talked to already. Check out our sign-up page to start the tandem conversing NOW!
Practice every day on an application
Tandem conversation, memorizing phrases, and asking questions will really get you far in your Travelers Spanish, but what about vocab and the BASICS? Well, in the midst of our ‘sample advice group,’ there was a HUGE agreement that using applications every day for at least 20 min will help build vocabulary and all of the basics that tandem conversation will not blatantly give you. There was even one native Spanish-speaking student who was learning English AND French on his applications. Because of his experience, he was able to provide great insight. Our top 3 suggestions are:
- Named the best app to learn Spanish by HSA, Duolingo is an interactive way to learn Spanish. Yes, there are tests and quizzes, but there are fun listening, speaking, and visual activities for every learner.
- This is a great application. Not only is it an instant phrasebook full of useful and instantly translated phrases for the country where you are going, but it is also a reliable electronic translator for those SAVE ME IN THE JUNGLE moments.
- Top 4 free Spanish apps of 2019
- Check out our own list of application suggestions! “Maybe you’re looking to start from scratch, or perhaps you are already in Spanish and just need extra support. Well, you’re in luck! We’ve compiled a list of the best Spanish apps of 2019 to learn Spanish for free! Check out which one will work best for you.”
As we talked with our ‘sample group’ of very enthusiastic English students, the final advice that they wanted to give everyone learning Travel Spanish was to keep studying even when you get to your destination. Don’t let all of the awe and wonder of your travels sidetrack you! Also, if you have a question, just ask your teacher. There are so many Spanish academies for travelers all around Latin America. Take Maximo Nivel, for example. You can take classes, have your native teacher show you the culture, and even stay at a local’s home so you can get a true Spanish immersion. How do babies learn a language? By participating to the fullest and eating as many black beans as possible! Why don’t you try it their way?
Alright, travelers! It’s time to get going!
Summer is just around the corner and these next 5 months should give you plenty of time to learn Travel Spanish! As your faithful ‘tips and trip’ advisers in the world of Spanish learning, we are always here to support you. So much so that we are even offering a free trial class with us! We want to help evaluate what your travel Spanish learning needs are and even help to give you a starting point as you work towards your 5-month travel fluency. Click here to sign up for a free class!
Have you ever wondered why Spanish names are so long? As you may have noticed, the names of people in Spanish-speaking countries consist of a first name and two surnames. Traditionally, you will see the first surname of the father followed by the first of the mother. Presently, laws have changed on gender equality and now allow any order, but we normally see the original order. People always use their full name in legal settings. In informal contexts, however, they use their first name and first surname to introduce themselves.
The first name can be simple, such as José (Joseph), or composite such as José Miguel (Joseph Michael). Nevertheless, in the given name, Miguel is not a middle name but is part of the name José Miguel. Contrary to English-speaking countries, the idea of a middle name does not exist and, as such, is very rare to see.
Transmission of Spanish Surnames
The two last names come from what is called a “generational transmission” from both parents. Currently, the two first surnames of each parent are combined. As stated above, the father’s surname is often first while the mother’s surname comes after. Interestingly, the paternal, or father’s, name will eventually eliminate the maternal name of the family line. An example of this is with two parents, Lucía López García and Jorge Rosales Castillo. Their child will most likely use the traditional order and hold a name such as Paola Rosales López. She will marry and her name will change to Paola Rosales Mendoza or Paola Rosales de Mendoza. As you can see, the maternal name has been dropped and replaced by the husband’s name. Nonetheless, the transfer of the father’s surname was not always the norm. Spanish-speaking societies once practiced the transmission of one Spanish surname, choosing between the mother or father.
The Four Categories of Surnames
When looking at Spanish surnames, a clear pattern emerges. History tells us that by the twelfth century, as populations grew, people needed a way to distinguish one name or family from another. They began to follow specific traditions that helped them understand which surname to use. Namely, four types of surnames appeared. They became the origin of most Spanish surnames we see today.
Patronymic and Matronymic Surnames
Patronymic means the surname comes from the father’s first name, while matronymic means it’s from the mother’s name. Now, if you met two men name Juan, you might mix them up. However, by distinguishing who their fathers are, their names suddenly become distinct. The paternal surname was a combination of the man’s father’s name and a suffix meaning “son of”: -ez, -az, -is, -oz (or -es), -as, -os. In other words, someone with the name Juan Fernandez means Juan “son of Fernando”. If he had a son, his name would have been Diego Juanez, Diego “son of Juan.” Given this fact, surnames weren’t at all consistent. Eventually, a specific surname stuck with the family and was passed to future generations. Matronymic surnames are less common, often a result of illegitimate children or a mother of higher noble ranking.
Geographic surnames tell us where the first person with a surname lived. This includes very specific surnames, such as de Soto (from Soto), from families that typically owned land. More general surnames like Iglesias (lived near a church) acted much like nicknames. Similarly, they may refer to what type of land the person lived on. For example, del Valle (from the valley) or de la Vega (from the meadow) depict certain features of the original homeland.
Occupational surnames refer to a person’s job or trade. Two types of occupational surnames are standard and titular. Standard occupational surnames represent a common trade, such as Zapatero (shoemaker) and Barros (an artisan or builder who used clay). Nobility often gave these surnames to the commoners under their rule. Conversely, the nobility used titular occupational surnames that denoted their position. For example, Hidalgo means “nobleman,” and Marques means “marquis.”
Descriptive surnames are less common and much more personal. They refer to a quality, characteristic, or physical trait of a person. It’s worth noting that this type of surname was frequently given to commoners as a form of insult. For this reason, the bulk of these surnames have not survived over time. Those that remain show a fairly neutral trait or a positive attribute. Examples include Bravo (brave), Cano (gray), Cortes (courteous), Delgado (thin), and Orejón (big ear).
Spanish Surnames in Foreign Countries
Entering into a foreign naming system often requires vigilance and necessary changes. One example is when a Spanish person lives under an English naming system. In order to avoid confusion, they may hyphenate their last name, turning Marcela Pérez Rubio into Marcela Pérez-Rubio. In view of the one-surname system used by English-speakers, there may be legal confusion and her name could become Marcela P. Rubio on a government document. This poses a big problem for her identity since, in her home country, her name would be abbreviated as Marcela Pérez R.
Foreign Surnames in Spanish-Speaking Countries
In Spanish-speaking countries, foreign immigrants keep using their cultural naming customs. However, if they choose to obtain citizenship, they must assume a name in the Spanish manner. If the person comes from a culture with a unique family name, they repeat it twice. As a result, an English name “William Stewart Mirren” turns into “William Stewart Mirrén Mirrén.” The law allows a person to adopt the mother’s maiden name if they choose to. Lastly, the Spanish custom connects the first and middle name making it the two first names for legal documents.
Top 50 Most Common Spanish Surnames
The chart below shows the top 50 most common Spanish surnames in Spain. As well, you will see the estimated population of how many people have this particular last name. Take a look at the chart and see how many names you recognize. Do you see which of the suffixes is most common among these names?
Prepositions “de” and “y”
There are times that Spanish surnames include a preposition between the paternal and maternal surnames. Some people choose to use “de” and/or “y” for three main reasons. Firstly, it shows nobility, such as the name of Gabriel de la Cueva y Girón, who was a sixteenth-century nobleman and military leader. Secondly, it denotes location, as is the case for the name Lope Félix de Vega y Carpio (de Vega means “of the meadow”), a famous playwright of undistinguished origin. Lastly, it helps to distinguish between the first name and a surname that could be mistaken for a first name like Antonio Miguel y Morales. In this case, we understand that Miguel is not his second name, but instead the first of his surnames.
Obviously, Spanish surnames give us the chance to learn about a person’s family history. Not only is it fascinating to take a closer look at the meaning of a person’s surname, but it is also educational. By learning how these surnames were created, how they’re used in present day, and how to understand them, we can better comprehend their importance. Furthermore, it allows us to appreciate the complexity of the naming system in Spanish culture.Read More
Spring Break is coming, and you may be thinking about traveling somewhere new. If you don’t yet have a destination in mind, consider Guatemala! People call this small country the land of eterna primavera, or ‘eternal spring’. Guatemalan weather is the perfect spring climate, because of how tropical the country is. There may be some rain, but usually the air is fresh, the sky is blue with a few clouds, and the sun shines without being bothersome. Additionally, there are many different touristic places across the country that fit everyone’s tastes. For example, you can find beaches, volcanoes, Mayan ruins, and the list goes on. Guatemala is the perfect getaway for your Spring Break adventures!
There are so many places you could visit, but I have prepared a list of my top 5 places in the country that you can visit during your Spring Break.
Top 5 Spring Break Destinations in Guatemala
5) San Pedro La Laguna
Guatemala is famous for Lake Atitlán, which is located in the Sololá department. Plenty of people travel to Guatemala during Spring Break just to see this beautiful lake. There are many towns around the lake, but San Pedro La Laguna is the most famous due to its cuisine and multiple places to relax. The variety of restaurants in San Pedro La Laguna is by far the best in Atitlán. There are many exotic places which offer food from other countries, but the best are the ones that offer national food. There are many restaurants and hotels that have a beautiful view of Lake Atitlán and the volcanoes around the lake, so you can enjoy a nice meal with an extraordinary view.
You can also find many coffee shops. You may have already heard about Guatemala because its coffee is famous throughout the world. All the coffee shops and restaurants in San Pedro la Laguna offer coffee that is cultivated by the locals. Make sure to read about all the things you do in San Pedro!
4) Semuc Champey
Semuc Champey is one of the most beautiful natural monuments in Guatemala. It is located in the Alta Verapaz department and is made up of a 300m limestone bridge. Underneath this bridge runs the River Cahabón, which will leave you speechless with its beauty. The river changes colors from green to turquoise to blue because of its crystalline water.
Semuc Champey is attractive to those who enjoy water sports, especially rafting. Many hotels and other companies offer rafting on the river, which is a great way to explore the river.
Another amazing thing to do in Semuc Champey is hiking on the different trails found nearby. Tropical forest surrounds Semuc Champey, and it provides with beautiful sights of local fauna and flora. You won’t want to pass up this opportunity; go ahead and start planning your trip here.
3) Yaxhá National Park
Guatemala is the heart of the Mayan Civilization. There are multiple ruins all throughout the country. The most famous one, and the one you have probably heard about, is Tikal. This ancient city is really beautiful and it has a lot of history involving the Mayans. However, there is another archaeological site in the Petén department that is just as amazing as Tikal, called Yaxhá National Park. This city is just two hours away from Tikal, and it is a secret Mayan city.
Many of the ruins in Yaxhá date from the pre-Columbian Mayan civilization and archeologists are still finding new ruins around the area. Here, you can find Mayan temples, ceremonial sites, sports fields, astronomical observatories, and many other structures built by the Mayans. Plus, an amazing bonus is that you can watch the sunset from the top of one of the Mayan temples. It is such a beautiful experience!
Yaxhá is the best option when visiting Petén during Spring Break. Due to the time of year, Tikal is usually crowded. Yaxhá doesn’t get as crowded because it is not very famous and your experience would be more pleasant. Book your trip to Yaxhá now!
2) La Sierra de los Cuchumatanes
If you are interested in cold weather and hiking activities, Sierra de los Cuchumatanes is the perfect place for you. This is the highest non-volcanic mountain range in Guatemala, and it is located in the Huehuetenango and El Quiché departments. These mountains occupy around 15% of the Guatemalan territory, and because of their altitude, they provide the most amazing sights you will ever see!
The most famous place in Sierra de los Cuchumatanes is the ‘Mirador Juan Diéguez Olaverri’ (see photo above), named after a Guatemalan poet. There are multiple stone engravings with the stanzas he wrote about the mountain range. Additionally, in Sierra de los Cuchumatanes, you can find multiple hiking trails that take you around the mountains. These trails allow you to explore the beautiful flora and fauna that grow in those mountains. If you are interested in booking a hike in los Cuchumatanes, visit this website to get started!
1) Semana Santa in Antigua Guatemala
I really love having Antigua, Guatemala as my number one place to visit during Spring Break because of Semana Santa. Everyone in Guatemala celebrates Holy Week; however, in Antigua, we have one of our most treasured traditions. During Semana Santa, sawdust carpets decorate the streets of Antigua. These carpets are designed to guide the processions. They are made with many colors and show beautiful handmade designs. People dress up and walk around the streets of Antigua carrying figures that represent religious beliefs from the Catholic church.
The whole event is a beautiful feast for the eyes. People participate in processions every day during Semana Santa and tend to decorate not only the streets but also their own houses. So, if you go to Antigua during Semana Santa, you will certainly find every door, window, and street decorated. You will even find small events where locals teach you how to do the sawdust carpets, so you can take part in the tradition and get a taste of Guatemalan culture.
Check out this website for tips on how to make the most out of your trip to Antigua during Semana Santa. Or, if you want to learn more while practicing your Spanish, read this article about Semana Santa!
I hope you find these five places interesting, and that you get to visit at least one of them during your Spring Break. Guatemala is a beautiful country, and it is full of a cultural heritage that can be explored in every touristic place. You only need to visit one place to fall in love with the country, and I hope one of these five places do the trick!
And while you’re visiting, you can practice your Spanish! Locals are very kind to tourists, so don’t be shy to try some Spanish phrases every now and then during your trip. You may practice while you ask for directions or while ordering some food at a restaurant. You will get plenty of opportunities to practice and learn new things. Be sure to study our Spanish for Dummies guide before you go!Read More
Body language accounts for 90% of the information exchanged between two speakers. Unfortunately, we may go to another country without learning important gestures and their meanings. However, by learning body language and practicing it before traveling, we will be better equipped to communicate. If you know where you’d like to go in order to enhance your speaking skills and comprehension, then you’ll know what types of body language and gestures to learn based on the region. Additionally, you will benefit from learning the body parts in Spanish and their idioms.
Spanish Body Parts: The Vocabulary
The Spanish-speaking world, known in linguistics as the hispanosphere, is bursting at its seam with a variety of slang. The Spanish body parts vocabulary provides a variety of slang. These can differ in each country, so we will just focus only on the general words used and understood in every hispanophone (Spanish-speaking) culture. With an excellent basic foundation in understanding, you will be able to learn the relevant slang words much quicker and improve comprehension more efficiently by asking questions. Let’s look at some Spanish body parts!
The Human Body
The Head and Face
Spanish Body Parts and Idioms: Using the Vocabulary
Learning idioms is vital when communicating with the natives of a foreign country. They are the informal, figurative language we use in daily life that expresses feelings or situations in a phrase whose meaning doesn’t immediately stand out. For example, in English, we say “Hold your horses!” when we want to express the idea that the other person needs to wait. Clearly, we are not asking them to hold back their actual horses! This is informal, figurative (non-literal) language. To truly understand the conversation and the culture of a hispanophone country, we must be aware of these figurative phrases exist. Also, don’t be afraid to ask about them when you hear a strange phrase pop up!
List of Idioms
Body Gestures: Latin America and Spain
Watch out! (¡Ojo! / ¡Cuidado!) – put your index finger to your eye and hold or tap just below
I promise you. (Te lo juro.) – make a fist, bring the thumb to the mouth, kiss it and then flick it outwards quickly with thumb up to show that you really mean it
Slow down! (¡Más lento!) – hand open with the palm facing outward, moving in a patting motion
It’s delicious. (Está delicioso.) – fingers come together at the mouth then moved forward and opened
Come here. (Ven aca.) – hand out with fingers down, palm face down, move fingers simultaneously together, making a motion from the person toward your body
Thief! (¡Ladrón!) – palm down, while each finger touches the palm one at a time. You can do this if you’re on a bus or in a smaller space, and you notice a pickpocket nearby. This would be a great way to warn other people.
Body Gestures to Avoid
In Spain, people consider yawning or stretching in public vulgar. So, no matter how tired you are, avoid making this mistake! It is also a common cultural mix-up to use the standard American gesture of “come here” with your hand out, palm up, and index finger wiggling. This actually portrays a romantic interest in Latin culture, and people only use it in very specific situations. Remember to turn your hand over and use all your fingers in a sweeping motion toward your body to signal someone to come to you. On the other hand, if you’re in Latin America, avoid gesturing with your hand turned sideways with your fingers spread. This motion is a strong insult against the other person.
Let Your Brain Learn and Your Body Talk
During your Spanish-learning journey, you can begin to expand your horizons and learn more about Hispanic culture. Idioms and body language are, of course, a big part of that experience! Every time you learn a new theme, such as food or travel, challenge yourself to look up idioms and gestures that are used to communicate relevant information. You will soon see that you’ve built an empire of knowledge. This will help you improve your speaking skills, comprehension ability, and capacity to integrate into Spanish culture.Read More
Yes, it is true! Valentine’s Day and Día del Cariño are the SAME thing, and it’s even on the SAME day in both the English and Spanish-speaking countries. There are lots of similarities: flowers, scary first dates, the card box at school that you pray gets filled to the brim by all of your classmates that you do not even know. Sometimes grandma even gives us that crisp $5 bill in a pity card just in case none of the above happens.he list goes on and on. Traditions and sentiments stay the same; however, the obvious thing that changes is…YUP! You guessed it: the way we say that we care about different people in our lives.
WARNING: this is not just a ‘Twilight Saga Bella and Edward’ turbulent romance post. Cariño and love are for everyone! Yes, the media has it saturated, but it is for our friends, family, crushes, and MAYBE the significant other who may or may not be able to read our minds when it comes to what kind of card we want. No worries, mis amores – our 4 Tips for Día del Cariño have got you covered.
Tip 1: Día del Cariño- Phrases for Friendly Cards
OK! So here we are. Let’s set the scene: classrooms with carpeted floors and boxes with your name on it. Or even more possible, cards may be waiting for you on the kitchen table next to your heart-shaped pancakes. Some examples could be:
Ok, ok, ok. Very punny, but let’s check out some Spanish and ‘Spanishpired’ ones:
So besides the ‘Taco of Love,’ both of our sweet Día del Cariño punny Valentines are focused on the ‘Te’ perspective. Now, in Spanish, we could do ‘Usted’, but we are talking about feelings, the warm fuzzies, and the “I’m so glad you are alive!” sentiments, which are not normally for the ‘Usted’ form. ‘Tú’ is for friends, family, and all your crew members. If you’d like more information about ‘tú,’ ‘usted,’ and other Spanish pronouns, check out our blog!
Simple phrases: So if you have your pen and hand-made card ready, thanks to our friends, here are some great Día del Cariño phrases you could scribble down over all the glitter glue for your amigos y familia:
Great! Now you can copy paste, but if you are wanting to practice, notice the words that are most used:
- Amistad – Friendship
- Alegrias / Gozo – Joy and Happiness
- Regalos – Gifts
- Dulce – Sweet
- Loquita (Loca/Loco) – Crazy
Now, try and take these words and make your own short Día de Cariño phrases for your amigos. You just have to add the verbs! Notice that all of the verbs are in the ‘tú’ conjugation.
- Tú — AR verbs = +aste
- Abrazar- Abrazaste (to hug)
- Tú –ER and -IR verbs = +iste
- Compartir = Compartiste (to share)
- Querer = Quisiste (To Care about and LOTS of other things we will talk about in our next tips)
Tip 2: Día del Cariño- Activities and Vocabulary in the Media
Ok, stage change! Carpet floors in classrooms are swapped for welcome mats and oak front doors with daunting doorbells. Even the kitchen table is swapped for fish and balsamic-something salad that is at least three steps above heart-shaped pancakes. Regardless of who exactly you are with for Día del Cariño, you have to be prepared. Where are you going to go? What are you going to do? What gift are you going to give? Well, if you do what any sensible, stressed person would do, you would google specials events, ideas, and excuses; check these out:
Notice all of the fun things that are in this first advertisement for a community run. Cheers to all of you athletes!
- Amor -Love
- La Amistad – Friendship
- Premios al mejor disfraz – Prizes for the best costume
- Sorpresas y mucho mas – Surprizes and much more
- Entrada gratis – Free entrance
Now, if the first advertisement made you feel more judged and pudgy than loved, this second one if for you! Who doesn’t like going to las peliculas? This movie ad translates to: Valentine’s Day is coming soon and so are the gifts, flowers, and…..Romance Movies! Share your favorite romance scene from a movie and win FREE candies!
What a convenient and lovely time! Let’s See what vocabulary we can pull from this movie add so you can invite that special Spanish-speaking person to the movies (maybe AFTER the community run with your friends).
- Regalos – presents
- Flores – flowers
- Películas de amor – Romance movies
- Compartir – share
Ok, So we have the activities down (High Five!), but now we have to figure out exactly WHO we are taking to these Día del Cariño activities … maybe this final advertisement can help us see who we should or should NOT want to invite or possibly ditch at the last second.
#KeyTip (outside of the 1,000 tips that we share as the crew): In Spanish, because of the masculine and feminine categorizing structure, sometimes when people want to talk about both distinctions, they combine the O and the A with the power of technology and use the @ symbol!
So, who are you with today? This final advertisement will help us see the types of people you could possibly invite to our flawless suggestions.
This advertisement translates to: What is your sentimental situation?
- Solter@ – Single
- De novi@ – With a girlfriend or boyfriend
- Casad@ – Married
- Divorcicad@ – Divorced
- Complicad@ – Complicated
- Con Hambre – Hungry
We hope that this list simplifies your Facebook status and that it is not as complicado as before!
You now have cards, events, and people down for your Día del Cariño plans (double high five!).
But wait! There are just two more tips that IF you accidentally mess up, could possibly alter all of these flawless plans we just made.
Tip 3: Día del Cariño- Te Quiero or Te QUIERO?
So this is the sweetest, most romantic, confusing, and general phrase that we could think of for Día del Cariño: Te Quiero
So… Both digital cards are cute and give you the warm fuzzies, but one is only for friends and family and the other you could possibly say (while blushing like a crazy person) to your next-level crush.
- “Something from your FRIEND who cares about you.”
- “Every day I almost love you more.”
Woah! The confusion and craziness! How to choose what word for when??
Now, which one would we say to our sweet mother making pancakes, and which would we send to Justin Bieber? To each his own cariños!
Final Tip 4: Día de Cariño: Me gusta or me gustas?
So if you think that ‘Te quiero’ is confusing, well good news, Día del Cariño, amiguitos: Our final tip is about: Me Gusta – I like
1 Me gustan esos zapatos. – I like those shoes
2. Me gusta esa persona. – I like that person OR I have a crush on that person OR I almost love that person.
This card translates to: I LIKED you, I LIKE you, and I will keep LIKING you. Have a great day, my love!
Pregunta? What kind of LIKE do you think is going on here? The shoe liking one or that person you have a crush on and kinda love? If you guessed the first, we congratulate you on your shoe collection, but to answer the Spanish language question; the second would be correct!
Our rule of thumb is that when you gustar a tangible object, you are, in the literal translation, saying something is cool. But if you say that you gustar a person…you are going into romance territory, which is GREAT if you are on Día del Cariño, but on the daily you could get yourself into trouble considering that you would be saying that you LIKE someone..like your
Our final tip for ‘Me Gusta’ is to stick to phrases like :
- “Esa persona me cae bien”- There actually is no literal translation in English, but it could mean “I like this person.”
- “Que buena onda esa persona.” – “That person has good vibes.”
- “Esa persona es tan amable.” – “That person is so nice”
- “Que chilero esa persona!” – “That person is so cool!”
Ok, amigos, cariños, and lovers. Take our tips and run with them.
Bonus question: Can you change the above positive commanding sentence into a Spanish command? If not, check out THE FEARLESS FEW. Goodness knows they need these 3 tips too.
Feliz Día del Cariño!Read More
My guess is that no matter who you are or where your interests lie, you could probably win the final round of any game show that included famous quotes.
You would not be shaken by “To be, or not to be.” “Houston, we have a problem” would not be a problem.
“Let them eat cake” would be more of a cakewalk than a piece of cake. And, of course, for those who love Toy Story, we all know who has a “snake in their boot.”
But, besides winning game shows, what is the point of quotes? All the phrases listed in your final game show round are famous for a reason; but why? Is it just because we say them all the time, or do we use them to make references that help us sound more intelligent? The easy answer is, of course, always dependent on the user. However, the reality is that quotes are markers of historic events and of the people that have impacted history.
Not convinced? Let’s take a panoramic look at how using Spanish quotes can show us the history and treasures of any Spanish-speaking country. For example, let’s try Guatemala and see what we can find.
Guatemala: In the beginning
“Los secretos mágicos de sus abuelos les fueron revelados por voces que vivieron por el camino del silencio de la noche.”– Polpol Vuh- “Me llamo Rigoberta Menchu y así me nació la Conciencia” 1997 pg 84
“The magical secrets of their grandparents were revealed to them by voices that lived on the path of the night’s silence.”
Every country, culture, and family has its own folklore. The beginning story of the indigenous peoples in Guatemala consists of pre-ancestors who were full of wisdom and lived in the darkness before creation (in other words, the silent paths of the night). The first of our Spanish quotes comes directly from the original text called Polpol Vuh, which is written in the Mayan dialect of ‘Quiche.’ To make a long folklore story short, the grandfathers, after many interesting attempts, created man from corn. This, therefore, pushed the story from creation to consumption.
Guatemala: Surviving and Thriving
“Sembrado para comer es sagrado sustento del hombre que fue hecho de maíz. Sembrado por negocio es hambre del hombre que fue hecho de maíz.” – Miguel Ángel Asturias- “Hombre de Maíz” 1949 pg 73
“(Corn) sown to eat is a sacred sustenance for man who was made from corn. (Corn) sown for business is hunger of man (also) made by corn.”
Today, Guatemala is considered one of the most historically preserved countries in Latin America due to the fact that the indigenous community makes up almost half of the population! As a result, the idea that they are “Hombres de Maiz,” or “Men of Corn,” is a huge part of national pride and survival. This Spanish quote by the brilliant Guatemalan historian, Miguel Ángel Asturias, describes the balance of cultural progression perfectly: honor your culture to remember where you came from, but also use that culture to provide for the future. Speaking of the future…
Guatemala: Leading the future
“Mi padre decía: hay quienes les toca dar sangre y hay a quien le toca dar fuerzas; entonces mientras podamos, demos la fuerza.” – Rigoberta Menchú – “Me llamo Rigoberta Menchú y así me nació la Conciencia” 1997 pg 208
“My father would say: there are those who must give blood and there are some who must give strength; so while we can, let’s give strength.”
It is no secret that Guatemala has had its unimaginable trials. For instance, racism, genocide, and corruption are a few of the obstacles that these “Men of Corn” have had to overcome. However, this game-changing Spanish quote comes from an inspirational indigenous woman named Rigoberta Menchú. She is a leader in political justice, an advocate for women’s rights, and the beautiful result of combined influences from the writings of Polpol Vuh and Miguel Ángel Asturias. In other words, she has been a true leader by inspiring Guatemalans to follow their dreams, which now brings us to present day Guatemala.
Guatemala: Pursuing Passion
“Ya no somos los mismos. Disminuyen los latidos y avanzamos con un respiro agitado; acumulamos cansancio y regresamos cada noche con la voz y los pasos cansados. Dejamos de ser los mismos: ya no vemos lo mismo en el espejo. Somos el álbum lleno de estampas agotamos sus hojas.”
– Jose Carlos Payeras- “Entonces la Vida” 2019 pg 45
“We’re not the same anymore. Our heartbeats decrease, and we continue with restless breath; we accumulate weariness and return every night with our tired voices and steps. We stop being the same: we don’t see the same thing in the mirror anymore. We are an album full of stamps. We wear out all of its pages.”
If you feel like this final Spanish quote is heavy, think again. Looking back on the distance Guatemala has traveled through these four historic voices reflects a people that are always moving forward. From creation to consumption, from revolution to new opportunities: this final quote is from a fresh, self-made author in Antigua, Guatemala. By day, Jose Carlos Payeras is a talented chef at an adored restaurant in Antigua Guatemala, but by night he pursues his most focused passion for writing. As he mentions in the last of our Spanish quotes, we are never the same. That is to say, words form us, direct history, and inspire those around us.
Treasures in Spanish quotes: Now it’s your turn!
So, do you see how much historical ground we covered? We did not do it by just sitting in a lecture or googling ‘Discovering Guatemala.’ By simply following Spanish quotes, we can learn so much about the timelines, voices, and landmark moments. Spanish quotes are gems. Each Spanish-speaking country has treasure chests full of them. Not convinced? Try it with Spain, Argentina, Mexico, and beyond!
To learn more Spanish with these quotes and others, download our Spanish Quotes Study Guide. You will find an analysis of each quote with explanations of certain grammar topics found in each quote. Review it with your student today!
For more tips on how to study Spanish, click here.Read More
Exploring Spanish-Speaking Countries
Fascinating cultures and peoples.
Jaw-dropping snowy mountain peaks.
Salt flats that transform into mirrors of the night sky.
Given these points, it’s no wonder that South America is a top destination for travelers, explorers, and students the world over. If you are learning to speak Spanish, you can practice your skills by visiting some (or all!) of the nine Spanish-speaking countries in South America. Surely, this won’t prevent you from traveling to the four South American countries that do not officially speak Spanish. However, for the sake of language learning, let’s first dive into the countries that do. Together we’ll find out where Spanish fluency can take you in South America!
Which countries in South America are Spanish-speaking?
Of the thirteen countries in the South American continent, there are nine countries whose official language is Spanish. They are Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Where would you like to go to practice your Spanish skills?
Capital: Buenos Aires
Famous For: Natural wonders, unique dialect, tango
Argentina has an impressive number of natural wonders, from glacial lakes to dusty deserts. It is home to the highest peak of the Andes, a mountain range labeled the longest in the world. Uniquely, the Spanish spoken in Argentina is different from other Spanish-speaking countries because it is more similar to the pronunciation and rhythm of Italian. If you wish to study Spanish formally in Argentina, there are many Spanish immersion courses offered in big cities. For example, try places like the capital, Buenos Aires, or Mendoza, where you will learn the special dialect of Argentina. You can even learn to tango or to cook empanadas while you’re there!
Capital: La Paz
Famous For: Large indigenous population, diverse cultures, Spanish immersion
The rare treasures of Bolivia are found in its people. This is one of the Spanish-speaking countries with the largest percentage of indigenous groups. With this in mind, finding community-based tourism and local guides will allow you to learn about the customs, traditions, and native languages of over 30 indigenous groups. Interestingly, as a landlocked nation, Bolivia overcomes its blockage to the sea by positioning its navy forces in a base at the highest navigable lake in the world, Lake Titicaca. This lake is located along the western altiplano (“high plateau”) at 12,500 ft. above sea level. Given that English is not widely spoken in Bolivia, it is an excellent country to visit for deep Spanish immersion. You’ll be thrust into scenarios where only your Spanish skills can help you!
Famous For: Friendly, relaxed attitude, numerous beaches & ski resorts, wine culture
Chilean culture adopts rest and relaxation as foundations of a good life. As a result of this attitude and their world-famous wines, it is clear that Chile is the best place for slow travel among Spanish-speaking countries. Surprisingly, Chile only measures 175 km east to west while being flanked by the Andes and the Pacific Ocean. This gives the feeling of closeness even after a short stay in one area. Significantly, the famous Easter Island is a historical island off the coast where the longest cave system in the world exists. Rivers of lava carved out the caves that now lie under the rocky terrain. Take advantage of the homestay option if you choose to study Spanish in Chile! You can live temporarily with a local family who will show you the true meaning of Chilean culture, which is to create lasting friendships and enjoy every moment.
Government: Unitary Republic
Famous For: mysterious archaeology, clearly spoken Spanish
Colombia is the only South American country with coastlines on both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. This scenic country features heaps of archaeological ruins, dating back 13,000 years. Whispers of a lost civilization amaze us even today with their mystery. Above all, the city of Ciudad Perdida and the underground tombs called Tierradentro are great examples of this. Even though the country has suffered political unrest and civil warfare, it has been gaining economic ground and a growing sense of stability for some time. Colombians would say that “Colombian Spanish” is the clearest of all Latin Spanish-speaking countries. Due to its slow pace and cautious spoken word, it is easy to understand. There are many options to continue your Spanish studies in the capital, Bogotá. This is where you will find plenty of private tutors, college professors, and professional teachers.
Population: 16.4 million
Government: Democratic Presidential Republic
Famous For: biodiversity, quality of life, The Amazon Rainforest
Ecuador, home of the Amazon Rainforest, is the most bio-diverse of the Spanish-speaking countries. Due to the multitude of diversified life in areas such as the Galápagos Islands, Charles Darwin was able to explore and create his theory of evolution. According to InterNations, Ecuador has been voted the “best country for expats” for two consecutive years due to the high quality of life and decent cost of living it provides. Moreover, Ecuador offers Spanish-learners affordable, fun, and professional education that promotes language learning in a lively environment.
Population: 7 million
Government: Representative Democratic Republic
Famous For: Atlantic Forest
Paraguay is the only country in South America that is not a big tourist destination. In fact, tourism is so rare here that hostels, public transport, and any other tourism supports are simply not offered. However, the country features the Atlantic Forest, which runs from Brazil to Argentina, passing through Paraguay. Due to wildlife conservation projects, it is a popular attraction for biologists and environmentalists. For the strong-willed, it’s a perfect place to immerse yourself in Spanish because there are very few English speakers.
Population: 32 million
Government: Unitary Presidential Republic
Famous For: Machu Picchu, Nazca Lines, Amazon Rainforest
Home to the famous Machu Picchu and Nazca lines, Peru has an aura of mystery, excitement, and adventure. Equally important, this country offers a foodie experience like no other. It has been nicknamed “the capital of Latin cooking” because its unique dishes combine influences from all over the world. Due to a lack of slang and regional accents in Peruvian Spanish, this is a great place to practice with locals. You can also explore one of the most interesting civilizations on the planet while you learn!
Population: 3.5 million
Famous For: Low corruption, excellent economy, beautiful beaches
In a country where cows outnumber people four to one, you may think this nation is a bit backward. On the contrary, Uruguay is one of the most progressive, stable, and prosperous Spanish-speaking countries in South America. Because of its booming middle class, responsive government, and powerful free press, this country provides a strong model for the rest of the world to follow. Additionally, the most popular destination for learning Spanish in Uruguay is in the capital, Montevideo. You can enjoy the city life or spend the day at the beach before you partake in evening Spanish classes.
Population: 32 million
Government: Constitutional Republic
Famous For: Diversity of natural beauty
Even with years of political and economic friction in this great country, Venezuela is still home to some of the most charming natural beauties. From the snow-covered Andean peaks to the sunny coast of the Caribbean, Venezuela holds great pride for its many distinct features. Grasslands, islands, and waterfalls are among the many unique gems that this country has to offer. Sadly, travel at present moment is not advised due to grave economic problems.
The Four “Don’t” Countries
Can you identify the four countries of South America that weren’t mentioned? The following countries are vital parts of the continent’s identity and culture. However, they do not consider Spanish to be their primary language of communication in society and/or official government business. These countries are Brazil (Portuguese), Guyana (English), Suriname (Dutch), French Guiana (French). You can visit these countries and use your Spanish to get by, but expect to say more with your hands than your mouth!
In summary, a great way to sharpen your Spanish skills outside of the classroom is to visit the nine Spanish-speaking countries in South America. By exploring what each country has to offer, you can find which one suits your personality and traveling style. Above all, studying Spanish online or in the classroom is an open door to new places and experiences that will boost your understanding of the world. ¡Hagámoslo!Read More
Spanish dances have withstood the hands of time, remaining surprisingly consistent and fixed in their unique choreography. Despite centuries of external pressure from evolving migrant caravans, zealous political figures, and major changes in Spanish society itself, the tradition of dancing persists. Spain is only about twice the size of Oregon, but it packs quite a punch of cultural delight and beauty within its relatively small borders. This vibrant country keeps its culture alive by embracing the glory, history, and living story of Spanish dance.
History of Spanish Dances
Spanish dances reflect the tumultuous history of Spain itself. Even before the 15th century, regional dances and music were an integral part of life and culture for the people of Spain. Although many of these dances have ritualistic and war-related origins, the Spaniards’ creative spark transformed Spanish dance. They pushed it into a new realm of free-flowing movements that developed into the dances we see today. By the 20th century, Francisco Franco’s dictatorship threatened the traditional dances of Spain. His desire to streamline the culture led to the ban of regional dances and their music for 35 years. After his death, the people of Spain filled the air with traditional music and danced with every ounce of pride they felt for the creativity, movement, and sound that had once defined their region.
Types of Spanish Dance
At one point, there were over 200 traditional and distinct Spanish dances. Although there are not as many today, we can still see the reflection of those dances in modern interpretations. The current well-known Spanish dances are combinations of those older choreographies that embody the spirit of the country and its people.
The Jota is a typical dance from northern Spain, which most likely originated in Aragón. It has spread to many different regions in the country where distinct groups have put their own touches on the dance. It features a quick-paced tempo as couples dance with their hands raised above their heads. They sometimes play castanets, which are percussion instruments made of two ivory or hardwood shells joined on one side by a cord and held within the palms of the hand. Other times they simply move their hands as if they had castanets.
Music: Guitars, bandurrias, lutes, dulzaina, and drums accompany the Castilian style of the Jota. The Galicians, though, use bagpipes, drums, and bombos, a type of bass drum.
Costumes: Interpreters of the Jota dress in regional costumes that reflect the history of their particular people group.
Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWsr5CWK94o
In what’s considered the “national dance” of Catalonia, multiple couples dance in circles using short, bouncy steps to move back and forth. While they start small, the circles grow bigger as more dancers participate, which acts as an artistic expression of unity.
Music: To perform the Sardana, the dancers need an 11-member band called a cobla. Various brass and woodwind instruments comprise the cobla, with the flaviol (similar to the flute) leading the group. The tambourine and bass help keep the beat for the dancers.
Costumes: Interestingly, this dance has no official dress. Because it is used to express unity, the dancers should wear their everyday clothes so they can communicate their desire for harmony between individuals from various walks of life.
Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhK0BIZoyac
Both pairs and individuals dance along to the music of the gaita, a form of bagpipe. This traditional and playful dance is typical throughout Galego, Spain. Also known as Galicia, this place is an autonomous Celtic community recognized by the government of Spain. The title of the dance means “millstone” and “miller’s wife” in the community’s regional language of Galician. The measured movements are equivalent to those of a jig or lively folk music in compound meter.
Music: Bagpipes and castanets weave together in a fast-paced, lively tempo that energizes the dancers. This prompts loads of jumping, kicking, and improvising in a cheerful, spirited expression of this Celtic art.
Costumes: The woman wears a special kind of apron, or matelo, along with a vest (chaleco), silk scarf (peno), shirt (camisa), and skirt (falda). The man wears a jacket (chaqueta) and trousers (pantalón). He accessorizes his look with a hat, or monteira, and a silk scarf called a pana de namorar.
Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8HUf750byQ
The zambra is a passionate and sensual “barefoot Flamenco” style dance, known for having different influences. It began as a Moorish dance then morphed into a traditional dance for gypsy weddings. The Spaniards have kept it alive by adapting it to the Spanish dance customs of Flamenco. However, it is highly distinct from contemporary Flamenco. In zambra, the dancer does not wear shoes and the music accompaniment normally features a woman’s voice in deep song.
Music: The cante jondo, also known as deep song or Gypsy song, guides the zambra dance with its unique sound. One prominent note provides the foundation for the melody, which is then led by the guitar. Foreign influences have greatly influenced this style of song over the years. It now frequently utilizes the flamenco guitar coupled with Middle Eastern melodies and rhythms. This gives the cante jondo a fuller sound with beautiful highs and a tight low end.
Costumes: The costume used for Zambra includes a full skirt with ruffled edges and several underskirt layers that can be wielded as a cape. The look is completed with a blouse tied under the bust baring the midriff and a wide hip scarf with or without coins.
Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wZiNT-82I0
The bolero is one of the oldest and most traditional of the Spanish dances. In contrast to many others, the bolero was primarily a dance for a solo female performer whose hand and arm would move in sync to the accompaniment of castanets. The dance consists of sharp turns and revolutions of the body, with short quick rushes of two or three steps, going to one side, then to the other. The beating steps (called battements) are set in time to the music. When there is a sudden pause in the tune, the dancer stops rigidly in a picturesque pose, bending her body slightly backward, her hands on her hips, and her head erect and defiant.
Music: A slow Rumba-style music provides the beat for the bolero. However, many contemporary dancers use any song that has a very slow beginning, a faster-paced middle, and a slow end to it.
Costume: As a dance, bolero has evolved tremendously over the last two centuries and has tweaked its style along with the various costumes that show off its purpose. Some more traditional female dancers still use large, wide skirts with a frilled bottom and a long-sleeved shirt. Other dancers, though, wear a sleek, tight dress with slits on either side of a long skirt to highlight the various movements of their legs.
Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jpRaua4srM
There is some controversy about the origins of this dance, but it seems likely that it was born in Andalusia, Spain. Although it started as a folk dance, it was later copied and modified in other parts of the world. At one point the fandango was the most famous dance of Spain, where dancers usually “compete” to expand upon one another’s movements. Some movements include snapping their fingers or using castanets. The rhythm signaled by these maneuvers escalates throughout the song, making it a lively, happy Spanish dance.
Music: The Spanish both dance and sing the Fandango. Regardless, foot-stomping, hand-clapping (or palmas), castanets, and a clean, crisp guitar sound usually accompany the Fandango.
Costumes: Like many Spanish dances, the Fandango dancers use a particular costume. The woman’s dress is detailed with black lace, which contrasts the bright color of her short dress. Likewise, the man’s embellished vest reflects the details sewn into the woman’s dress.
Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFOcR-8M45s
The Paso doble has a rich history with Spanish and French roots, danced as an embodiment of the Spanish bullfight. This quick one-step dance is a performance of great pride, arrogance and strength displayed by the man, who represents the torero, or bullfighter, while the woman dances around him with graceful curves as she morphs into the bullfighter’s cape that taunts the bull.
Music: This dance requires a fast-paced beat as it allows the torero to showcase his strength and prowess in movement. A good example is the traditional music faena, which is played during a bullfighter’s entrance into the ring – the paseo – or during the dramatic moments just before the torero kills the bull. One song in particular, the “Spanish Gypsy Dance,” has become the universal anthem of the Paso Doble.
Costumes: The costume is central to this dance, as it represents the full story of the bullfight in action. The man often wears a traditional bullfighter’s costume while the woman, acting as the cape, wears a long circular skirt whose sensual fluid movement enhances the drama of the dance.
Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ONCE5aGfaQ
A soulful, passionate dance that originated with the Roma (gypsies) in Andalusia, Spain, flamenco has become internationally known for its emotionally riveting dance moves, hard foot stamping in rhythm with the guitar, and intense outpour of palpable sentiments. Finger snapping, hand clapping, and shouting accompany the song and dance.
Music: The core of flamenco lies with the music since the canto, or song, sets the tone of the entire dance. There are three forms of song in flamenco: profoundly tragic and deep, moderately serious, or light in themes of love and nature.
Costumes: Women wear colorful dresses with multi-layered sleeves and skirts – batas de cola – to add dramatic flair to their movements. Although the women’s costumes are much more elaborate than the men’s, the gentlemen also wear impressive costumes. Their attire mimics the style of the traditional matador’s costume that was worn during bullfights.
Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLnEjHuMFsA
It Takes Two
Spanish dances have a clear and present impact on dance all over the world. It continues to evolve and grow into new forms of artistic expression for those who choose to dance and embody them. The dancer and the dance develop a special bond, which is one of the most sacred expressions in the human experience. One dance in particular, Flamenco, has proved to be of such value to Spanish culture itself. In terms of defining and characterizing it, that UNESCO has named it an “Item of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”. Learning any of the aforementioned Spanish dances is an exceptional way to open your horizons. These dances open the door to learning more Spanish and provide the perfect excuse to travel to Spain!
For the Love of Latin Dance
Are you looking to learn more about dance in Latin countries? Look no further! We visited a Guatemalan latin dance instructor named Martin to give us the best tips on how to cha-cha-cha and more. Check it out here!
In this video, you’ll see how to shake your chest and hips in dances like the Bachata – native to the Dominican Republic – the Merengue, and the Cha-cha-cha. You’ll even learn some salsa steps from Puerto Rico. You don’t want to miss it!Read More
Did you know that people in Spain think it’s fun to get chased by a group of giant bulls running down the street? It’s true! Every July in the city of Pamplona, Spain there is an eight-day festival commonly referred to as the Running of the Bulls.
The Origins of the Festival
This festival began as a religious gathering in honor of a saint. Saint Fermin was a man who died in battle against the French army back in the year 303. Someone built a cathedral in Pamplona in the place he died and people honored him for the first time in July of 1196.
Local butchers in Pamplona also moved their animals through the city in July. They wore long, white aprons while moving their bulls from one end of town to the big corral about a half mile away. They needed the bulls to run fast to get to the corral, so they would shout and run next to them. The bulls pounded the cobblestones with their hooves, eager to get into the big, guarded enclosure. They ran in groups of six to ten bulls at a time and people came out to see the powerful animals take over the streets.
Soon, people joined the butchers in guiding and running with the bulls. More runners came along to keep the animals moving and soon it was a big event. The people of Pamplona blessed each run by singing a religious song to Saint Fermin three times before the bulls came out.
To run with the bulls, festival-goers wear all-white outfits and a red scarf. The white color shows respect to the original butchers who moved the bulls long before there was a fun festival. It’s also important to wear a red scarf – that’s to help everyone remember Saint Fermin.
It’s traditional to wear a red, cloth belt known as a sash. Though the sash may not honor anyone, it is a custom staple that keeps participants looking stylish in the streets.
How to Run with the Bulls
Pamplona’s running of the bulls takes place each year from July 6-14. Starting on the 7th, a bull running takes place each day at 8 a.m. The runners gather in the streets to get themselves pumped up for the big, fast animals. They sing, dance and climb up onto each other’s shoulders. Some even dive into the crowd and let the people catch them.
A rocket that explodes over the city signaling that it’s time to start running – here come the bulls! The crowd takes off for the corral with twelve giant bulls behind them sprinting at full speed.
The goal is to join the bulls in the street, not to torture or tease them. A lot of runners hold out a rolled-up newspaper to help keep a respectful space between themselves and the nearest bull. No one touches the bulls as they go down the street – as that tends to make the bulls angry.
If people need to stop, they typically jump up onto a barricade on the edge of the street or jump into a doorway.
Kids under 18 can watch, but only adults may actually run with the animals. However, there are lots of fun things for younger visitors to do in Pamplona.
The Festival for Kids
Pamplona’s big party is for everyone. Giant stilt characters walk down the street and give children a friendly bop on the head. Shops sell ice cream and treats all over the city and there are free concerts of every style of music.
In the evenings, the kids get to run with a special fake bull that shoots off fireworks. Are you brave enough to run with a bull full of sparklers?
Why People do This
Pamplona’s big festival is a reminder to live life to the fullest. As we don’t live forever, we need to enjoy ourselves! During these special days, people in Pamplona generally don’t work so they can focus on celebrating every moment; they eat delicious food, dance with their friends and spend memorable time with their loved ones. There’s no question that the event can be dangerous and that some believe the event to be unfair to the bulls, but in Spanish culture, it’s truly a tradition that has a great deal of history behind it.
Even if you don’t want to run in front of a bull, just being within the city alongside locals is an experience in itself. If you ever get a chance to go to Spain and this sounds like something up your alley, consider stopping in Pamplona during the first two weeks of July and check Running of the Bulls off your bucket list
Already planning a trip and need to work on your Spanish? Sign up for a Free Class trial with HSA today. It’s fun and effective!Read More
Travelling takes on a whole new meaning when you can walk out of the airport confident in your Spanish. You connect with the people and places around you, actions and experiences take on a deeper meaning and the world becomes more accessible. Kids and adults alike travel with an enhanced level of confidence when they can say so much more than “Hola.” Simply put, becoming fluent in Spanish can increase your access to the world.
We’ve put together a list of fabulous destinations to inspire your studies and keep your eyes to the horizon. Grab your passport and coordinate with your loved ones for a new getaway that lets you put your Spanish to use.
Buenos Aires, Argentina: A city that brings together the cultures of the world with food to eat and places to visit. Start with the government Pink House, the Latin answer to the White House. Then, hunt down local, delectable, chocolate dipped cookies called alfajores in the Palermo district full of delicious coffee houses.
La Paz, Sucre, Bolivia: Both La Paz and Sucre share the title of capital in Bolivia, a country at the heart of South America. Bolivia is a great place for budget travelers. Museums, markets, and even Spanish immersion programs are available at the right budget in these capital cities.
Santiago, Chile: A gorgeous city you can stare at all day, Santiago is also home to tons of great attractions. Start with a thrill at the scary stories in the General Cemetery. Then visit hidden gorge Cajon del Maipo or sip a Chilean grappa as you luxuriate in this stunning city.
Bogotá, Colombia: This city is delicious at every turn. Start your day with a Bandeja Paisa, a plate of meats, beans, and eggs that are delicious in the capital city. Satiated, check out the art scene all over the streets and in Bogotá’s museum.
San José, Costa Rica: Fly out to the islands and spend time in San José, the city between the volcanoes. Wander the central market and taste a rambutan or get great selfies in the Spirogyra Butterfly Garden. Taste some local coffee at the Historic National Theater then use that caffeinated energy to hike the Central Valley. Oh, and eventually go to the beach.
Havana, Cuba: A country now open to more travellers, this is also a trip back in time. Take a break from your phone and computer, (internet is only in the most expensive hotels), ride in a classic car and pick up a book at La Plaza de Armas. Havana is a great place to slow down and remember what’s important in this life while still increasing your access to the world using your new Spanish.
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: A coastal city that offers tons of flavor and color, Santo Domingo is a great place to explore. Eat the flag or, a bandera, made from white rice, red beans and stewed meat. Finish it with a cup of extra strong, sweet Café Santo Domingo, the national coffee. Learn about the Traino, a tribe wiped out by Spanish colonial forces and see La Zona Colonial, the city’s oldest and most preserved section. Rich in history and great stories, Santo Domingo is a great destination for your next trip.
Quito, Ecuador: If you love great architecture, soft, fresh bread, and beautiful mountains, you will love Quito, Ecuador. Right on the equator, the country is a gorgeous, Latin destination and the city is replete with surprises. Make sure your Spanish is outstanding so you can get the most out of this small city.
San Salvador, El Salvador: Bordered by Guatemala and Honduras, this small country is easy to miss on the map, but unforgettable in person. San Salvador’s coast is an explosion of greens and blues. In the city, they celebrate the art of Él Salvador in public spaces and museums. Grab a pupusa and some fresh fruit as you stroll around this stunning city.
Malabo, Equatorial Guinea: Another coastal getaway, Malabo has scenery for days. Rent a bike and pedal around to see for yourself why this is a great destination. After your trip, grab a coffee at the Café Malabo. Be sure to use your Spanish to order a round of delicious tapas to round out your day of exploration.
Guatemala City, Guatemala: A stunning, modern city surrounded by soft, rolling mountains, Guatemala City will take your breath away. This metropolitan city is like nothing else in the country, which hosts the largest preserved rainforest in the Amazon. Go climb the trees, but soothe your sore muscles in a fancy hotel room bath when you make it back to the city.
Mexico City, Mexico: A huge, diverse place, Mexico City is home to a mix of cultures and friendly people who will be happy to sit with you as try the local tacos and practice your Spanish verbs. Buy great tops at the boutiques, visit Frida Kahlo’s house and take the city in. It will make a great impression on you.
Panama City, Panama: Take in the natural beauty of the ocean and the man-made grandeur of the Panama canal in one visit to Panama City. This capital is beautiful and full of history and a tradition of international relations. Book a table at Schooner’s so you can stare at the beach as you munch on seafood.
Asunción, Paraguay: The lack of direct flights from the US or Europe to this small country means it’s not a massive tourist draw. Asunción is a great place to explore, to experience the nightlife and visit the Lopez Palace and House of Independence. Above all, be sure to taste the delicious food like roasted pork with local cornbread.
Lima, Peru: A beautiful city perched right on the sea, Lima is the gateway to the wonders of Peru. Seated below the Andes, the city has European style architecture and restaurants full of international influence. Be sure to eat lots of fresh seafood and drink your share of Piscos, the national cocktail.
San Juan, Puerto Rico: San Juan is a colorful, tasty city with easy access to beaches in every direction. Check out the central market where you can pick up tropical fruit or chat with herbal healers about natural cures. Or go to Old San Juan for great coffee and to take some beautiful photos of the colorful buildings. This is a great spot for beach enthusiasts and adventurers, but culture junkies will love it, too.
Madrid, Spain: A city full of fierce pride and non-stop energy, Madrid is famous for a reason. Home to historic art galleries, the city has experienced a renaissance in the wake of economic troubles. Now a modern home to tons of music, beautiful works and of course, great tapas, Madrid is sure to enchant you when you visit.
Montevideo, Uruguay: Take a deep breath, and relax in the city of Montevideo. Check out the restored mansions that serve as theaters and hotels or enjoy the new, modern structures that go right up to the edge of the coast. Montevideo has a beautiful climate and tons of boulevards to stroll down. Uruguayans love their meat, so be sure to partake in the local parilla or bbq.
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