5 Spanish Language Holiday Destinations for 2023!
There are endless benefits to learning a language but one of the biggest reasons is of course for travel! As well as being very useful practically (I’m thinking asking for directions and ordering at a restaurant etc), it helps you connect with local people and the culture on a deeper level that you just can’t do unless you know the lingo. Cactus language holidays bring both elements together into perfectly packaged language holidays in over 120 destinations all over the world. These Spanish language holiday destinations combine the highest quality teaching in fantastic locations.
There’s something to suit everyone depending on your interests, language level, number of hours per week, and budget. Each school offers lots of activities you can choose to do alongside your classes. This allows you to get the most out of the experience in every sense. Plus you can always extend your stay and do your own exploring or spend a few days soaking up the sun too!
In this article, we’ll take a look at 5 awesome destinations for a Spanish language holiday—the perfect guide to help you decide which location is the best fit for you.
5 Spanish Language Holiday Destinations
Oaxaca City – Mexico
Best for: Foodies, those wanting to immerse themselves in the local culture and learn about the Zapotec and Mixtec history.
Oaxaca City is the ultimate destination for those wanting to get a real taste of authentic Mexican culture. Plus it is awesome for the foodies out there! Oaxaca is also home to one of the country’s most important festivals ‘Dia de los muertos’ (day of the dead). If you can time your visit in early November you’ll see the city come alive with parades, costumes, and live music. It’s a truly spectacular sight!
The food scene has the perfect balance of traditional and modern cuisine that pushes boundaries. Grab some ‘carne asado’ from the food hall at Mercado de 20 Noviembre and try ‘chapulínes’ – dried and roasted grasshoppers. For first-timers try them sprinkled on guacamole! Oaxaca is also known as the ‘Land of the 7 moles’, which are traditional sauces that can contain up to 30 ingredients and are somewhat sacred!
On the doorstep of Oaxaca City are the impressive Zapotec ruins of Monte Alban and the region is also home to tequila’s smokier relative mezcal (a distillery tour and tasting is a must whilst you’re here). Wander the cobbled streets, admire the colourful buildings of this UNESCO World Heritage site, and venture out of the city to the stunning Hierve el Agua petrified waterfalls. At Don Quijote school, you can try your hand at cooking classes and scrub up your salsa skills too.
You won’t be short of things to do outside of class that’s for sure and you could always combine your language holiday with some beach time in Puerto Escondido or hop on a direct flight to Cancun.
Not to miss:
- Hierve el agua
- Monte Alban archaeological ruins
- Mezcal distillery tour and tasting in Santiago Matatlán
- Mercado Benito Juárez & 20 de Noviembre
- Visit the colourful neighbourhood of Jalatlaco
- Visit the Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca (botanical gardens)
- Sip margaritas at one of the many rooftops
- Ajejibres workshop – make your own Oaxacan mythical creature
Antigua – Guatemala
Best for: Coffee-lovers and chocaholics, those wanting to combine learning a language with a bit of adventure.
Surrounded by volcanoes, Antigua is a compact and historical city just 1-hour drive from the capital and main airport hub so is pretty easy to reach. It’s a great base because it offers a real mixture of activities and experiences around the classes. A walking tour makes for a perfect introduction to the colourful colonial architecture. Those seeking thrills and adventure should check out the overnight hike to Acanteguo – the 1500m ascent is well worth it for panoramic views over the region at sunrise and to watch lava spurt out of the highly active ‘Volcán de Fuego’.
The region surrounding Antigua has perfect conditions for growing coffee so you can see how it’s made by the local experts (and taste it of course!). Coffee and chocolate go hand in hand and Antigua is the birthplace of chocolate – the Mayans have been using it since the 6th century! You could also combine your trip with exploring other parts of the country like Lake Atilan, tubing in Semuc Champey, and visiting the impressive Mayan ruins of Tikal.
Antigua is quite a Spanish learning ‘hub’ so you’ll be in good company with like-minded people. There are plenty of opportunities for social dinners and experiencing the nightlife (hidden speakeasy-style bars and rooftops).
- Chocolate making class
- Visit a coffee plantation and tasting
- City centre walking tour
- Overnight hike to Volcán Acanteguo
- Walking tour of the historical centre
- Ulew secret bar (enter through a phone booth!)
- Exploring further afield – Tikal ruins, Lake Atilan & Semuc Champey nature reserve
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Manuel Antonio – Costa Rica
Best for: Wildlife lovers and those seeking tropical beach vibes!
If you’re after coconuts on the beach, zip-lining through the jungle, and hanging out with sloths then Costa Rica might just be the right destination for you! Manuel Antonio is a small beachside town on the West Coast and although a lively town, it’s a place you’ll be able to relax and unwind too. It’s the perfect place to escape for some Winter sun but you can visit year-round.
The best thing is that you’ll be on the doorstep of the National Park where you can take guided wildlife tours, canopy safaris, diving, night walks, white water rafting, diving, and plenty of other activities. You can choose to do have a jam-packed itinerary or take things at a slower pace alongside perfecting your Spanish skills. The town is a popular spot so you won’t be short of restaurants to try, from fresh juices, and taco trucks and you can even dine and watch the sunset in a converted cargo plane!
Not to miss:
- Nayuca waterfall
- Relax on the beaches – Espadilla, Biesanz, and Manuel Antonio
- Give surfing a go with a lesson!
- Canopy walk and rainforest ziplines
- Sunset catamaran cruise (you might spot some whales or dolphins if you’re lucky too!)
- Guided rainforest tour for wildlife spotting (also night tours)
- White water rafting on Savegre River
- Walk one of the longest-hanging bridges in Costa Rica in Los Campesinos.
Malaga – Spain
Best for: City explorers, those into their art, and those wanting to hang out eating tapas with a cerveza!
In Málaga, you’ll get the best of both worlds where the city meets the beach. It’s the birthplace of Pablo Picasso and the city inspired some of his work – there’s a whole museum dedicated to him as well as countless other art galleries. Málaga’s rich culture means that there are no shortage of festivals and celebrations to get involved in like Semana Santa and Feria de Málaga in August where the whole city parties at one of the biggest celebrations in Spain! The Christmas markets here are also excellent.
Malagueños are friendly and are nicknamed ‘Boquerones’ (anchovies – don’t worry they won’t be offended)! The great thing about Málaga is that the locals LOVE that you’re trying to learn their language and will support and encourage you.
The city’s food scene is excellent, particularly seafood and there are pintxos bars on every corner – smaller than tapas, usually served on bread with a cocktail stick and the waiter will count up the number of sticks left at the end to work out the bill. Málaga comes alive at night, especially in the Old Town where you can hop from bar to bar or party through the night at one of the many clubs.
If you’re wanting to venture a little further you can add on Cordoba, Cadiz, or Seville. Also check out nearby Ronda, a medieval hilltop town, or a day trip to hike Caminito del Rey (if you dare!). The suspended walkway isn’t for the faint-hearted but you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views.
Not to miss:
- Alcazaba de Málaga, Roman Theatre & Castillo de Gibralfaro
- Mercado Central de Atarazanas
- Picasso Museum
- Eat! Try La Tranca, La Taberna del Pintxo Larios, El Pimpi, & Carmen)
- Rooftop cocktails at AC Marriott Hotel
- Hammam al Andalus – Arab baths
- Wander the Botanical Gardens
- Watch a Flamenco show
- See art collection at Centre Pompidou
- Outdoor cinema (Summer only)
Best for: Those seeking year-round sunshine, those wanting to fulfill their adventurous side, or to party the night away.
Tenerife is so much more than just a Spanish-language holiday destination! The island has such a diverse landscape. From tropical beaches, mountains, and volcanic terrain, which means there’s plenty to see and do off the beaten track. Take some surfing lessons, admire the island from above by paragliding, or challenge yourself to hike Mount Teinde – a dormant volcano and the largest peak on the island. A night hike will give great stargazing opportunities too! After all that you’ll need to kick back with some sunset cocktails on the beach or spend a leisurely day at one of the island’s excellent vineyards (try and practice some Spanish here!). Of course, no trip to Tenerife is complete without a trip to Europe’s best waterpark (Siam Park) either. Wander the beautiful streets of San Cristóbal de La Laguna or chill out after class at Lago Martiánez outdoor swimming pool.
Puerto de la Cruz language school is in a prime location on near the black sandy beach of the former small fishing town. You can expect a laidback feel here but you’re within reach to explore the rest of the island. The school even offers combined language and diving courses!
Not to miss:
- Kayaking to see Los Gigantes
- San Cristóbal de La Laguna
- Reverón vineyard
- Cueva del Viento – explore underground lava tubes
- Whale watching (November-February)
- Explore Teide National Park – hiking, jeep safari, cable car
- Hike in Parque Rural de Anaga
- Playa de las Teresitas
- Cocktails at Roca Negra Sunset Club
- Rambla de Castro trail
- Garachico natural salt-water rock pools
- Surfing lessons
Take Your Learning to the Next Level with a Spanish Language Holiday
I hope you’ve found this mini-guide useful and I’ve inspired you to book a Spanish language holiday! Combining travel with language learning means you get to explore new places and meet new people whilst learning a valuable skill and making memories to last a lifetime – it really is rewarding! I have first-hand experience with many of these Spanish-speaking destinations and they’re up there with some of my favourite places in the world so you can be assured you’ll be in for a fantastic trip!
Over the coming months I’ll be heading off on my very own language holiday so keep your eyes peeled as I’ll be showing you everything I get up to along the way!
If travelling to a Spanish speaking country isn’t for you, don’t worry! Cactus offer Spanish language courses for all abilities online and in locations across the UK. Online Spanish courses start every month and you can book your course easily and quickly via the website. These courses are available for all levels, from beginner right the way through to advanced. So why not get a bit of preparation in before heading off on your next adventure!
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About the Author
Grace Grange is the owner of Grace Grange Travel. She specialises in bespoke travel and holiday planning for destinations across the world. As well as providing vacation planning services to clients worldwide, Grace is also currently studying Spanish. Cactus students can also claim discounts on a wide range of travel planning services from Grace Grange Travel.