Antigua, Guatemala is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful travel destinations in the world, and no Guatemala holiday would be complete without a visit to this colonial city. Located in the highlands of the country, Antigua dates from the 1500s, and has managed to maintain much of its Baroque charm in the cobblestone streets, buildings, plazas, and fountains.
Prior to a large earthquake in the 1700s, Antigua was the capital city of Guatemala. After the capital was moved to Guatemala City, Antigua managed to rebuild and retain much of its former beauty. Built on a grid system, it’s a simple city to navigate using a map. The Parque Central and the Cathedral of San José are two of the most popular destinations for tourists and locals alike.
Antigua charms visitors with its colourful buildings and mix of Spanish and Mayan culture, and has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Surrounded by three volcanoes, Agua, Acatenango, and Fuego, the vistas from Antigua are world famous.
Today, Antigua is one of the most popular tourist destinations for travellers looking to learn Spanish in an immersion-type setting. The city is small enough to be easily traversed on foot, and the beauty and charm of the colonial buildings mixed with the stunning natural views and colourful Mayan culture make it a popular Guatemala travel destination.
As a result of the influx of tourists, Antigua contains an extraordinary number of Spanish language schools offering every type of language class imaginable. Traditional day schools with accommodations included in the price are popular, but there are more innovative options available for students looking for a more authentic language experience.
Immersion Spanish language schools with a volunteer program are becoming more and more popular with tourists. Programs run from short, one week programs to longer ones that can run to one month or longer. Volunteers often work in clinics, schools, helping with construction projects, and more. The benefits of combining language classes with volunteer work are many.
Volunteers often work with people who only speak Spanish, forcing students to use their newly acquired language skills. At the same time, volunteers are seeing a side of the country that a traditional Guatemala tour won’t show them. Finally, volunteers often perform important tasks that improve the lives of the residents they come in contact with.
There are many Guatemala tours that include Antigua as a featured destination, and many offer opportunities to enroll in Spanish courses at one of the many famous languages schools in the city. Whether you choose a traditional method school, one that donates a portion of tuition to charity, or a work-study option, there’s no more beautiful place in the world to learn Spanish and immerse yourself in such a rich cultural tradition.
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