Latin America

Top eight destinations to visit to practice speaking Spanish

When it comes to travel around South America it’s fair to say I know what I’m talking about. I spent five years doing just that before settling in Argentina for 15 years. I’ve travelled the length and breadth (except Brazil as they speak Portuguese there) of this amazing continent. I’ve spent a lot of time travelling Spain also, most recently backpacking with my own children along the North East coast; La Costa Dorada!

Whether you’ve just started to learn to speak Spanish or have been speaking Spanish your whole life, traveling to a Spanish-speaking country is one of the greatest ways to practice your language skills.

Here are my top pics for Spanish-speaking destinations:

1. Machu Picchu

A visit to the lost Inca City is usually high on peoples bucket list of places to visit in South America. I visited in 2004. What an experience to visit this incredible place 2,430 meters above sea level. Aroubd 84% of the population in Peru speak Spanish (Quechua and Aymara are two of the most spoken indigenous Peruvian languages). Which equates to around 25 million Spanish speakers!

2. Salto Angel, Venezuela

Angel Falls is the world’s tallest uninterrupted waterfall, with a height of 979 meters and a plunge of 807 m. Nestled deep in the recesses of Canaima National Park in the Venezuelan state of Bolivar. I visited Salto Angel in 2003. We rented a plane to the village of Canaima from Puerto Ordaz then took a river trip to the Angel Falls trail. What an experience that was! There are 32 million Spanish-speakers in Venezuela to practice with.

3. San Augustin, Colombia

400 km southwest of Bogotá, sheltered in a valley by the Magdalena river, Park San Agustin is home to ancient tombs, burial sights and over 500 interesting and bizarre stone figures of varying size.  They depict people, animals and creatures important to the beliefs of this mysterious civilization.  The Park is the largest group of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures in South America (UNESCO), and Archaeologists estimate that the statues were created between 100 and 800 B.C.

By the time I arrived at San Agustin I had already been in Colombia for eight months.  I’d spent most of that time scuba diving on the Caribbean Coast just up from Cartagena – so was looking forward to some in-land adventure!

An incredible 99.5% of the Colombian population speak Spanish!

4. Cartagena, Colombia

A gorgeous fishing village on Colombia’s Caribbean coast 143 miles West of Taganga (where I spent eight months scuba diving). It has excellent beaches, a historic old town (that’s entirely walkable) and beautiful colonial architecture.

5. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Home of Tango, Maradona and Eva Peron This is such an incredible city to visit and a great places to practice your Spanish. Especially if you’re intrigued to hear the Buenos Aires accent the eyyyyeeee and hear “lunfardo” spoke first hand. 15 million people live in Urban Buenos Aires!

6. Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona has it all; beach, mountains and incredible city. Everybody speaks ‘Castellano’ Spanish in Barcelona however many people are bilingual and prefer to speak Catalan, the language of Catalonia, as their first language. Don’t worry, with a population of 1.602 million you’ll still get plenty opportunities to practise your Spanish!

I’ve visited Barcelona a few times. My most recent trip was back-packing with my kids from Barcelona South along the Costa Dorada.

7. Monteverde, Costa Rica

Situated in the center of Costa Rica, Monteverde is renowned for it’s waterfalls, rainforests and Tens of thousands of diverse insects, thousands of species of plants (420 are strictly orchids), hundreds of varieties of birds and over 100 types of mammals. There are lots of different ways to visit the cloud forests on Monteverde. A visit here is an incredible ecotourism experience and a great opportunity to practise your Spanish with a local guide.

Monteverde, Costa Rica

10. Patagonia, Argentina

I’ve written a lot lately about the Y Wladfa Welsh community in Patagonia but there is so much more to this incredible part of Argentina. The top attractions in Patagonia are Perito Morendo Glacier, Ushuaia & Tierra del Fuego, The Andean Lake District of Bariloche and Puerto Madryn. Argentines are a friendly bunch and you will usually see them drinking maté (a traditional Argentine tea drank through a straw from a wooden gourd) or enjoying an asado (Argentine BBQ). They are always welcoming to visitors and happy to chat and teach you their language – a great place to practise!

Perito Moreno Glacier

Have you visited any of these destinations? Which is your favorite? What would you add to the list?

If you’re new to learning Spanish or are in need of a refresher check out my Holiday Spanish Course. A course you can take on the go that contains 30 bite-size lessons packed with useful phrases and tips on how to travel with confidence and peace of mind. From tips that will help you develop your listening skills at the airport to booking a full-day excursion to a water park. PLUS a bonus lesson on what to do in an emergency. You’ll also receive a signed copy of my bilingual children’s book ¡Fernando Baila el Tango! and receive tutor support from me as you progress though the course. All for £99. Purchase today here:

HOLIDAY SPANISH COURSE

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