Guatemala is a country rich in cultural diversity and possesses just as much diversity in its landscape. There are over 23 languages spoken by its indigenous people in addition to its Spanish speakers. There is no lack of people and places to experience in Guatemala and up until recently the country had been virtually undiscovered by North American and European tourists because of its prolonged civil war and general instability.
The Guatemala of today has gone to great lengths to become more tourist-friendly including hiring and training tourist police and increasing security at historical sites. Many of the restored traditional buildings have been taken over to create a Spanish school
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. This work has paid off as a long-standing US issued travel advisory was recently lifted.
All of these factors make Guatemala a great location to visit and experience learning the language
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about a unique culture, a Spanish school in Guatemala is the place to go. Whether you go to Antigua, Guatemala City, Quetzaltenango or any other town, Guatemala has a lot to offer.
The following is a list of popular Guatemalan destinations students may visit while attending a Spanish school and their respective highlights:
Tikal: One of the largest cultural and population centers of the Mayan civilization Tikal, at its peak is said to have had a population between 100,000 – 200,000. Large scale construction dates back to as early as the 4th Century BC. The bulk of its structures and monumental temples were built during the height of the Mayan Classic Period, approximately from 200 AD to 850 AD.
Today you can visit this abandoned city and walk where ancient people worked, lived, played, worshiped and sacrificed. It is fantastic to take time during the weekend and after the language course at the Spanish school go to Tikal and explore this very live area. It’s very easy to imagine the civilization and society that called Tikal their home. Students who are at the Spanish school now call this the land of wonders.
Lake Atitlan: From prehistory to contemporary Mayan culture, visiting the villages surrounding Lake Atitlan is a chance to see and engage in present day Mayan culture. A lot about the history people learn during classes at a Spanish school, but to actually experience it is not an every day thing. Many trips are organized from a Spanish school to Lake Atitlan to be able to complete the cultural immersion experience.
Antigua: Guatemala’s first official capital city, Antigua is both a lively and contemporary city as well as a portal to the past. A historical city, much of Antigua has remained untouched and unchanged and remains a truly colonial city. Antigua is so beautiful and welcoming, it has become one of Latin America’s most popular cities for language making it an ideal environment for a Spanish school.
Though Antigua is firmly rooted in its past, today it's still very present with numerous Salsa clubs, a movie theater and both up-scale hotels and restaurants. Antigua has become very popular to attend classes at a Spanish school due to its charm, its beauty and it low cost of living.
Rio Dulce, Livingston: Livingston is a village on the Caribbean coast of Guatemala, home to the Garifuna, a mix of Amer-Indian and African descendents. Music is a large part of the Livingston experience and sometimes part of the language learning at the Spanish school.
The area is tropical, hilly and very different than other popular destinations in Guatemala. The biggest industry in Livingston is fishing and most boats are shrimp boats. It would not be surprising to find a Spanish school that takes their class on these boats for a unique experience.
Chichicastenango: Chichicastenango is home to what is said to be the most colorful native market in North and Central America, perhaps in all America, which takes place twice a week. It gets tricky to get there since students attend the Spanish school during the week. Definitely consider a visit during a week off.
A huge draw for Guatemalan, tourists and students from a Spanish school alike, Chichicastenango offers an experience as well as the opportunity to purchase quality handmade goods for a fraction of what they might normally cost. With all the colors, smells and sounds of different languages happening simultaneously, it’s sometimes not immediately apparent but the market and its vendors are very well organized. RESOURCE BOX: Enjoy a free Spanish Phrase ebook: http://www.amerispan.com/spdownload
- This 30-pager is great if you quickly want to learn Spanish phrases for travel or life in general. Also pronunciation and basic grammar. John Slocum is the president of AmeriSpan, a leader in immersion language programs and study abroad since 1993. 85 cities, 35 countries. 25,000 past participants. To learn more about a Cultural Immersion Experience visit http://www.amerispan.com