If I had a peso for every time someone mentioned that I have 2 months off in the summer…
It doesn’t make me mad, though. It makes me realize how much smarter I am, that I chose a job with epic vacation time. Poor suckers.
It’s super important to me to make the most of those two short months that we do have, by getting done all of the things that I can’t during the year, starting and actually finishing projects, and at some point, traveling. So, while you are making your plans, here are some great places to consider that are also great language and culture opportunities!
Uruguay - Known for being like Argentina’s little brother, I could seriously not get enough of Uruguay. The people were incredibly welcoming, the language was beautiful (think that porteño accent, but a little less sing-songy), the food was out of this world and the sights were amazing. A must visit location is Bodega Garzón for a wine tour and lunch in the near-to-the-ocean town of Garzón. Don’t fool yourself and only spend one day in the area. While nearby Punta del Este booms in South American summer, it’s still really cool. If you are looking to escape your sweltering heat, this is a great choice!
Panamá - Clearly a US tourist destination, travel in Panamá is easy: fast pass entry with a US passport, the national currency is the US dollar, and there is a wonderful mix of old and new in the capital city. However, Panamá is also extremely diverse in it’s landscape. We highly recommend organizing some time with Cubitá in Chitré for an excellent, authentic experience, where you will definitely get in touch with the culture. Not to be missed is a visit to the indigenous village of the Emberá.
Cuba - Period. Doesn’t need any more explanation. But I’ll give you a little, just in case: In no place in the world have I ever felt more welcomed, nor seen evidence of solidarity in a community like I did in Cuba. This is not a lay-on-the-beach sort of trip. Get out there and talk to people, because they are among the most amazing in the world. *EDIT* (cue the tears) This is currently not an option for most US travelers. It is still possible to travel for educational purposes, but it could be extremely problematic. Cruise ships have been rerouting, and you don't want your precious summer travel to be ruined. Maybe save this one for next year...hopefully!
Puerto Rico - Also so easy to travel to, plus you’ll get to contribute to the rebuilding of some of the most beautiful cities en el Caribe. Beautiful beaches and amazing food abound, so you will definitely find something for everyone.
Perú - Such an amazing destination. Specifically, if you’re looking for a language based trip, check out Wiracocha Spanish School in Cusco for personalized classes and an awesome location. A weekend trip to Machu Picchu will have you telling all kinds of stories for years.
Costa Rica - We love this one so much that we are already in the planning stages for a MesaMima workshop FOR YOU for next summer! Like Puerto Rico, there is definitely something for everyone here, from beautiful beaches in Guanacaste, to raging surf on the Caribbean side (yes, really) in Brava, traversing volcanos, playing with monkeys, Costa Rica has it all. Though there are great Spanish schools in San Jose, Santa Teresa has a school with great options for families!
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