Study Spanish in Colombia
Tuesday January 21, 2020 - Posted by SSLA Team
Colombia is a marvelous choice for travel and a great destination for a Spanish Immersion program abroad! So why not study Spanish in Colombia?
Don’t just take our word for it: in 2016, Lonely Planet listed Colombia as one of the top ten places to travel. Tourism increased (perhaps because of Lonely Planet’s award) from half a million in 2003 to 1.3 million in 2007. Later, in 2013, 3,747,945 tourists made their way to see the amazing sites of Colombia. Reasons to travel to Colombia lie in its dynamic culture and vivid nature. Colombia’s diversity of fauna and biodiversity are unique, breathtaking, and stunning.
Colombia is located in the northwestern corner of South America. It is the only country in South America that has access to both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.
Colombia has had some tragic moments throughout history. A violent, complicated past that includes the FARC guerillas and the constant battles between conservatives and liberals, has made Colombia in a constant fight for peace up until the early 2000s. Recently, from the years 2012 to 2016, former president Juan Manuel Santos has challenged this violent system with a peace process in order to grow a more stable, secure society.
What to do in Colombia?
Hiking in Colombia: Lost City Trek
For the adventurous spirit, there is a 4 to 5 day hike to the Lost City. In the Sierra Mountains, this trek includes exploring ruins from 850 A.D. Backpackers hike about 14 km (45,931 feet) per day, sleep in basic conditions in the jungle, and ascend and descend steep inclines. Hikers can walk at their own pace, however, to enjoy this trek, it is suggested that you have a decent level of fitness.
Although the trek is open year round, a good time to go is during the dry season, which is from December to March. With less rain, the Buritaca River will be easier to cross. Remember during this time is also high season: it will be a more popular time for tourists.
Tours depart every day from Santa Marta. You will have to book a tour, the Lost City trek is not a trek persons can do independently.
Island Trips in Colombia
Going on an island trip is an excellent choice when you are in Colombia. There are several options to choose from: Playa Blanca, Rosario Archipelago, San Bernardo Archipelago, Isla Grande, Isla Múcura, and Isla Tintipan.
Salsa Dancing in Colombia
Dancing—did you know? In Colombia, the city Cali is the salsa capital of the world! There are many dance clubs across Colombia to visit. You’ll hear a mix of afro-Caribbean rhythms, salsa, and cumbia. Clubs also play American pop and rock. The flavor of music will depend on which region of Colombia you choose. If you study Spanish in Colombia, no doubt you will learn how to dance salsa too!
Colombian Wax Palm
Valle de Cocoro is another hot spot not to miss when in Colombia. Located in Salento, this trek is full of the national Colombian tree, the Wax Palm. These Palms are over 60m tall and ooze wax that are used to make candles.
Where to Study Spanish in Colombia
Study Spanish Bogota
Bogotá is diverse and multicultural, you will love it. The Colombian capital is located in the highlands and hosts over 50 museums Visit the Gold Museum and the location of the mysterious El Dorado..
Spanish in Cartagena
If you love the Caribbean atmosphere of norther Colombia, this school is for you! Extra- curricular activities include visiting the amazing beaches, diving and more! You can find this school in the trending neighborhood of Getsemaní.
Spanish in Medellin
The school in Medellin emphasizes learning outside of the classroom. Their founders had ample experience in international learning. Specifically, Spanish literature, ecommerce, and university administration are all focuses at this school. Activities include visits to museums, concerts, beaches, national parks, sightseeing tours, restaurants, and sporting events.
Are you looking to apply what you’ve learned in the classroom to real-world conversation? In Bogota, every Tuesday at La Villa nightclub is “Gringo Tuesday Conversation Club”. There from 5 to 9pm those learning Spanish are invited to come and practice. All levels are welcome.
What to Pack for Colombia
Weather in Colombia depends on the city you choose to travel. Bogota, for example, may require a jacket and hat while Cartagena is mostly hot and humid and proper rain gear will be appropriate.
If you plan to partake in the hikes it is wise to bring hiking pants, a daypack, trekking poles, head lamp, garbage bag, and swimsuit.
Flip flops are a good item to pack if you plan to hit the coast. They also are convenient when taking showers. Airy blouses, t shirts, and shorts are all appropriate for the coast as well.
Hats, sunscreen, and sunglasses are also important—the sun is strong and Colombia is close to the equator.
There are also several documents you should take for traveling to Colombia. Of course, your passport, but also a copy of your passport. Another important document you will need is proof of the yellow fever vaccination. You will need to get this ten days before your trip to Colombia.
How to be safe in Colombia
As noted above, Colombia has had history with violence. Guerilla groups have haunted the country for over 52 years. Although there is a peace agreement between the FARC guerilla groups and the government, there are some minor groups that still refuse to demobilize. The travel United States travel state government advises to practice increased caution when traveling to Colombia and to avoid these areas: Arauca, Cauca (except Popayan), Chocó (except Nuquí), Nariño, and Norte de Santander (except Cucuta).
In Colombia, be aware of your surroundings. Keep yourself informed of current events going on in the country, and adjust your plans accordingly. Do not flash your fancy technology for everyone to see. Keep your valuables hidden. Do not take out money from the ATM on deserted streets or at night. Drug tourism is common, so avoid all drugs to avoid trouble with police or set-ups.
Despite this violent history, Colombia is on the rise and beginning a new era. Crime is at a record low, the economy is flourishing and stable politics are auspicious. Be extra cautious, trust your instincts, stay in groups and you will have a successful time.
Study Spanish in Colombia
Colombia is a fascinating place due to its complex history, natural beauty, and vibrant culture. Therefore, it’s a great destination for learning Spanish in Colombia. Colombia’s diverse geography ranges from mountains to beautiful beaches to jungle. This allows to offer something for all types of travelers.
The Colombian culture truly comes alive with the sound of music, as salsa and Caribbean drum beats fill to the very corners of the country. But there is more! For Lonely Planet writer Kevin Raub, the main reason to visit Colombia “begins and ends with the [Colombian] people, who ensure you leave with a different impression than the one you landed with.”
Questions about planning your Spanish studies abroad?
Please feel free to contact one of our course counselors!