Category Archives for Spanish Travel

5 Fun Facts on Peruvian Culture

1. Things don't always run on time in Peru, and that's nothing out of the ordinary. Peruvians value time spent with their family and relationships more than being punctual.

2. There are three official languages in Peru- Spanish, Quechua, and Aymara. You can get by with Spanish, especially in major cities like Cusco and Lima, as many people speak Spanish and one native language.

3. There is a big difference between the rural and urban areas. In rural areas, farming and herding and the seasons dictate the main way of life.

4. The main religion in Peru is Catholicism. Indigenous Peruvians often practice a mix of Christianity and native religions. 

5. When meeting for the first time, Peruvians will often shake hands. According to Rischmoller, "When you get to know each other better, men will often pat each other on the back and women will kiss each other on one cheek. If you are a man meeting a woman for the first time, let the woman initiate the first greeting: She may offer her hand or approach for a cheek kiss.  If you do not know someone really well or are first meeting them, you should address them by SeñorSeñora or Señorita and their last name. Only close friends and family use first names, unless they ask you to call them by their first name. Professionals are addressed by their titles and last names."

What did I miss? Let me know in the comments!

Want to experience Peru for yourself? And learn more Spanish? I've got a one of a kind opportunity for you! Check it out here- but don't wait as enrollment closes 12/31/17!

Surprising Travel Essential + How to Say it in Spanish

Spanish travel tip! Don't forget your papel higiénico! It's good for more than just under supplied bathrooms!

What's your favorite non-bathroom related use for TP?

Got the travel bug? Join me and a small group of Spanish learners in Cusco, Peru in October 2018! Learn more!

Dominican Republic Adventure Immersion Trip November 2017

November 2017

The first ever adventure immersion trip with Speak Better Spanish. After almost a year planning this trip, my dream became reality! When I started this business in 2015, I dreamed of growing it to the point where trips like this one would be a possibility, and it is such an amazing feeling to finally experience such a trip with my students!

Three of my adult Spanish students from all over the US joined me for a week in the Dominican Republic to practice speaking Spanish, learn about Dominican culture, enjoy Dominican food and beaches, and have fun!

We spent three nights in a hostel in Santo Domingo, where we went out to eat for typical Dominican food, enjoyed drinks in hammocks and at the hostel pool, visited Tres Ojos National Park for some hiking, walked around the historic Zona Colonial, visited Roman ruins, and took a day trip to Isla Saona via catamaran and speed boat.

Then we took a bus to Las Galeras in Samaná where we explored the town on foot, rode on motorcycles under the stars, ate dinner on the water,  and spent time at the beach. The highlight of the trip was going on an all day horseback riding excursion to a lookout point in Cabo Samaná, with a traditional lunch on a farm, hiking to a deserted beach where we had fresh coconuts and went swimming, hiked up to an overlook over the beach, and explored a cave. We also watched the stars from the roof of an abandoned house and played Jenga over drinks at our hostel.



Check out the full photo album here.

Sad you missed out? Don't be! Join me in Cusco, Peru in October 2018 for another week of Spanish and adventure! If you have been looking to get out of your comfort zone, here's your chance! Payment plans available, but don't delay as registration closes 12/31/17.

Dominican Republic Group Adventure Video

Music credit: Brandon Thompson. You can listen to this track and more by clicking here: https://soundcloud.com/humansimulator

Want in on the next adventure immersion trip?​

My first ever compilation video, featuring a small group of my Spanish students from all over the US. Scenes from:

-Tres Ojos National Park, Santo Domingo, DR
-Speedboat back from Isla Saona, DR
-Horseback riding to Punto, Finca de Cachorro, and Playa Madama in Las Galeras, Samaná, DR
-View from Punto in Cabo Samaná
-Our guide Bernabé cutting open a coconut with his machete on Playa Madama for us to eat the coconut fruit inside
-Deserted Playa Madama beach, Samaná, DR
-Overlook over Playa Madama
-Kite Beach, Cabarete, DR

Looking for more adventure in your life? Join in on the next trip to Peru in October 2018! Payment plans available and almost everything (except the flight there) is included! Join me- but don't wait! Registration closes 12/31/17.

Spanish Travel Vocabulary: Locals vs Tourists

Get some quick Spanish vocabulary for locals and tourists, and learn which group I prefer to hang out with when traveling!

Want to put this tip into practice? Join me in Cusco, Peru with a small group of Spanish learning adventurers in October 2018. Learn more.

Where to Stash Emergency Travel Cash

Check out this short one minute video for several ideas on sneaky places to hide emergency cash for international travel!

Plus, learn how to say cash in Spanish!

Where's your favorite emergency cash hiding spot? Let me know in the comments!

Put your Spanish knowledge and this tip to good use in Machu Picchu in October 2018! 

My Top 3 Dominican Repubic Posts

In 2015, I decided to go to the Dominican Repubic on a whim because tickets were on sale from JetBlue. Sometimes you just have to say, "Why not?" I convinced my friend Noel, who lived in a different state, to meet me in the DR for a week. I stayed a few days beyond my time with Noel and booked a bed at a hostel out in the countryside, purely because the owner rescues horses and dogs and cats and the hostel was calling to me. I had one of the best trips of my life and I documented it in the following blog posts. To be fair, these are my top 3 DR posts, but they are also my only 3 DR posts to date. However, I'm taking a small group of Spanish learners to the DR in November 2017 and there's just one spot left- registration closes end of day Saturday 9/30/17. Learn more here


1. Santo Domingo

Highlights include a favor from the stranger on the airplane next to me (all in Spanish), a water taxi, new hostel friends from all over, dancing on a catamaran, and having a policeman stop traffic for us on a major highway so we could cross to check out a giant statue.

2. Las Galeras

HIghlights include stargazing from the roof of an abandoned house, a horseback ride to the beach, crawling under a barbed wire fence to get to a restaurant with a pet hair sheep/goat, motorcycle taxi rides under the stars with 3 people to a motorcycle, and friendship bracelets.

Highlights include coco locos, fresh caught fish and lobster, tostones, mofongo, and lots of fresh tropical fruits, juices, and smoothies!


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Registration for the November 2017 DR Trip closes 9/30/17 at 11:59pm Central!


How to say “I Miss You” in Spanish

Have a loved one that you miss? Want to express that in Spanish? Check out this video and blog post to find out howto say I miss you in Spanish!

How to Say I Miss You in Spanish:

Te extraño. = I miss you. (Latin America).
Te echo de menos. = I miss you. (Spain)

You will notice that the way to say I miss you varies from Spain to Latin America, but in both cases, the phrases are reflexive (use te to mean to you). These examples utilize the informal you (tú), rather than the formal you (usted), assuming that if you miss someone you are likely very close and familiar with them.

Te extraño comes from extrañarse, which means to miss someone (Latin America). Te echo de menos comes from echarse de menos, which means to miss someone (Spain). 

Echo is pronounced a-cho, which is not how it might appear to be pronounced based on a similar English word. The video above will help with what it should sound like!

Examples of I Miss You in Spanish:

Mi amor, te extraño tanto. = My love, I miss you so much.
Mi cielo, te echo de menos. = My love, I miss you.
No me gusta estar tan lejos de ti. Te extraño. = I don't like to be so far from you. I miss you.
Papá, te echo de menos. Espero que estés bien. = Dad, I miss you. I hope you are well.

In each of the above examples, be sure to match te echo de menos or te extraño with the appropriate region of Spain or Latin America. You can use te echo de menos or te extraño with anyone you are close to- friends, family, or a romantic partner.

Other Relevant Spanish Resources:

Recently I found out about the Slow News in Spanish Podcast, which looks like an excellent resource for Spanish learners. Listening can be a difficult exercise, so this is a great way to practice if you love podcasts!

Additionally, if you have been wanting to learn Spanish but haven't made the progress you wanted on your own, and you are craving an adventure in a Spanish speaking country, check out the just released Peru adventure immersion trip in 2018! It's a unique package including up to a year and 5 months of weekly Spanish lessons over video chat, monthly video chat calls to get to know other participants, plus a week long trip with your new friends to Cusco! Sometimes having a deadline and something to work for, plus the accountability of regular online lessons is enough motivation to help you achieve new levels of Spanish success! Check it out here!

Regional Spanish Slang- Coger un bus

Regional Spanish Slang

Hola, friends! It’s been a while since I have written. I’ve recently gone from working part time to full time employment! Between this business and my virtual assistant business with my business partner Jessie, I’m working completely online. I plan to get back to blogging more regularly, so here we go, back on track with regional Spanish slang today!

I often get asked about regional Spanish slang and dialects. Every country has their own slang and dialect(s), just like different regions of the USA and other English speaking countries  have their own slang and dialects. For example, in the US we say fries where in the UK they say chips. We have the word chips in the US, but it is a different type of potato product. Similarly, it would be very difficult to learn all of the slang and dialects for all of the Spanish speaking countries. I wouldn’t worry too much about it in general. If you have a specific country you plan to visit, focus on that country’s regional slang. A general English knowledge will get you by just about anywhere in an English speaking country. Similarly, a general Spanish knowledge will get you by just about anywhere.

An Example of Spanish Regional Slang:

An interesting example of this is different meanings for the same word in different Spanish speaking countries. In some places such as Spain, coger un autobus means to catch a bus. In other places like Mexico and Argentina, coger means “to fuck” and is used to swear. So you can probably guess what Mexicans and Argentinians would interpret “coger un autobus” as. Not the same way that Spaniards would!

So if you are planning to travel to a specific country, look into local dialect and slang. Avoid making the mistake of saying coger a bus in a country where coger doesn’t mean to catch!



What’s the deal with vosotros?

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I was feeling really cooped up in the city of Seattle last week, so I took a much needed mental health break sitting under this tree in a nearby park. Great view, huh? Then I climbed the tree, because, why not?! I love that my job allows me to travel and have experiences like this!

Have you ever heard the word vosotros? Not nosotros, which means we, but vosotros. Last week, we learned the difference between tú and usted, and we learned that tú is the informal way of saying you and usted is the formal way of saying you. Vosotros is the informal way of saying you all, in reference to a group, but it is only used in Spain. In all other Spanish speaking countries, when referring to a group as you all, whether informally or formally, we used ustedes, which is the plural of usted.

So tú is to vosotros what usted is to ustedes, the singular version of you. However, vosotros is only used in Spain. Normally, when you are learning verb conjugations, the verb is conjugated first in the yo form (I), then in the tú form (you, informal), then in the el/ella/usted form (he/she/you-formal), then in the nosotros (we), vosotros (you all), and ellos/ellas/ustedes (they- all male, they- mixed group, you all). However, more and more vosotros is simply not taught, as it is very uncommon!

When I was in Dominican Republic, my friends and I went to a restaurant on the water called El Cabito to have drinks and enjoy the sunset. We sat down next to a couple and they said to us “Como estáis?” I immediately asked them if they were from Spain, as it had been so long since I heard vosotros used! They were, and they were the owners of the restaurant!

Here are some examples of the use of vosotros:

Vosotros queréis algo más? (Do you all want anything else?)

Cómo estáis? (How are you all?)

De donde sois? (Where are you all from?)



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