Brush Up on Spanish Speaking Skills: Cultural and Immersion Tour of Puerto Rico

For many students studying Spanish, the ultimate way to test their speaking skills is to become immersed in a culture where it is the primary language. These days, student travel groups may be less inclined to visit Mexico, due to news of attacks on American citizens traveling there. Europe may be overpriced for smaller school trip budgets. Puerto Rico is a great alternative to other destinations. Best of all – no passport is needed, since it is a U.S. Territory.

If the school group leader requests it – this tour is done completely in Spanish. Students are challenged to speak Spanish while they travel. Student travelers will eat locally made Puerto Rican food, learn Salsa dancing from locals, play dominoes and briscas, dine and converse with local guides and residents and swim and lodge where locals enjoy the beach. Student travel groups will tour San Juan and Ponce, two of the largest cities in Puerto Rico, and also have the opportunity to explore rural areas, like the pristine beaches of Boquerón and Luquillo, the fishing village La Parguera, and El Yunque, the only tropical rainforest in the United States.

Read on to find out how this tour is structured to teach the Spanish student through an immersion in Puerto Rican culture.

Dining Out in Puerto Rico
Student travelers will have authentic culinary experiences while touring. Eating locally prepared dishes is one way to learn more about everyday life in Puerto Rico. In San Juan, students will try authentic Afro-Caribbean dishes at Piñones restaurant. While visiting the small fishing village of La Parquera in western Puerto Rico, students will be treated to a homemade dinner and snacks prepared by locals. In Ponce, the group will eat an elegant Puerto Rican dinner at San Juan’s top salsa spot and may sample some churros – a fried pastry that is sometimes dipped in chocolate. While visiting El Yunque rainforest on the Northeast coast of Puerto Rico, students will sample Pinchos, a traditional Spanish snack eaten with toothpicks or skewers.

Experiencing Puerto Rican Culture
Salsa dancing is more popular than ever in Spanish speaking countries. Meanwhile a wave of enthusiasm for learning Salsa is sweeping the United States and other countries. On the first evening of the tour, students will take professionally taught Salsa lessons and participate in a workshop at one of Puerto Rico’s most prestigious dance schools. A few days later the group will dine in a top salsa restaurant in San Juan where they will listen to live Salsa music – where they may choose to practice some of the dance moves they learned.

On day two of the tour, students will see a Puerto Rican dance performance and participate in a workshop where they will learn the history and the moves of dance from Bomba y Plena to the current Reggaetón.

Towards the end of the tour students will learn to play dominós and briscas, two favorite local games, while relaxing after supper.

Spanish Language Learning Exercises
Foreign language teachers will be interested in hearing their students speak Spanish on tour, so the local tour guide has developed some fun and ingenious ways of learning. On the first day of the tour he will teach the group how to sing Marc Anthony’s Preciosa, Puerto Rico’s unofficial anthem. By the final day of the tour the guide will ask students to sing Preciosa by heart.

Near La Parguera, students will have the opportunity to tour a public school and see how children in Puerto Rico learn. The Principal will guide them around the school. Students will have a chance to test their Spanish by posing questions they may have about education in Puerto Rico – and be answered in Spanish.

While touring Ponce’s old and new farmers markets, students will participate in a Scavenger Digital Hunt. They will learn the Spanish names for native fruits, vegetables and meat products. This is a fun, hands-on way to learn new Spanish words using technology and real time interactions with the people of Puerto Rico.

This tour includes visits to rural areas and cities. It can be adapted to any student travel group’s needs or preferences. Because a Puerto Rican tour guide created it, the sites selected offer an insightful local viewpoint on culture, language and food.

For more information on scheduling a Cultural and Immersion Tour of Puerto Rico, visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com or email [email protected] to request a quote.

Camping Hammocks – Hikers Love Them

Hikers appreciate camping hammocks. They provide a comfortable way to sleep outdoors and boast several other advantages as well.

Camp in peace. Tents often limit you to the designated, cleared sites in camp grounds, where you are shoulder to shoulder with other campers. Camping hammocks permit you to sleep in the trees, away from the crowd.

Avoid unaccommodating ground. In order to sleep comfortably on the ground (in a sleeping bag only or on an inflatable mattress) one tries to find a site that is flat and dry. No such worries with a camping hammock. Also, although a site may have been cleared of all visible rocks, often there seems to be that uneven spot that renders a good night’s sleep impossible…

Do no environmental damage. With environmental awareness on the rise, people want to enjoy nature without causing harm. A camping hammock permits you to leave the ground undisturbed and when it is hung with ratchet straps, a hammock has no negative impact on trees. The straps suspend the bed by securely wrapping around the tree trunks – no screws needed.

Leave the creepy crawlers below. Being suspended above ground in a camping hammock substantially reduces the possibility that you will awake to find a snake or centipede in bed with you. A shock of that kind can ruin an otherwise wonderful trip!

Put your feet up. Elevating the feet is beneficial after a long day of hiking. Feet can be raised properly with ease in a hammock and by doing so, ankle swelling is reduced.

Enjoy bedding that is lightweight but strong. When hiking, you try to minimize the weight in your pack. A camping hammock weighs less than two pounds and can be folded into a small, manageable size for packing. This bedding is lighter and much less bulky to carry than a rolled sleeping bag or equivalent. The best of these hammocks are made from durable parachute nylon.

Once you have decided to suspend your bed from the trees, a few precautions will ensure that you hang your camping hammock successfully:

  • Inspect the condition of your hammock – the material, ropes and straps – before setting off on your trip.
  • Avoid tying it to dead trees or under dead limbs.
  • Set up the bed at waist height for safe entry and exit.

Fun and Adventurous Things to Do This Valentine’s Day!

The New Year was just a few weeks ago and this would signify for some a change in lifestyle or a change in the way they live their lives. Some want to improve their behavior while others want to be more active and daring. For couples, the same also applies. Relationships tend to become stagnant or even boring, the longer your relationship lasts. Sometimes, we all need something to revive a ho-hum relationship and bring back the exciting and fun times you once had. And now that Valentine’s Day is upon us, this is the perfect opportunity to introduce something new in your relationship. Here’s a few ideas that you can try to introduce some fun and new things in a couple’s life.

Extreme fun can always get the blood pumping. Try going on a couple’s sky diving or white water rafting activity. These thrilling and definitely uncommon types of valentine dates will inspire the couple to be more daring and may even open new possibilities of fun activities for you and your special someone. While this may seem to be too much for some couples, those who give it a try will find that it actually helps enhance their relationship because of the unique experience that they are sharing together.

A fun idea would be learning how to dance salsa. As many have said, salsa is the dance of passion, intimacy and love. Salsa is a type of dance for couples and requires that you dance very close with your partner. It’s also all about supporting your partner and creating a smooth rhythm between the two of you. Dancing is a good way to create a new spark with your loved one because you use your body movement to convey passion and interest. Moreover, women naturally love to dance, and when a man takes that extra effort to learn a complex dance style like salsa, it shows determination, guts, and commitment. These are two very attractive qualities to women.

If physical activities are not your thing, a unique idea that you and your partner can do this Valentine’s Day is getting couples tattoos! Most tattoo shops have many recommendations as to the different possibilities for tattoo. As a matter of fact, you don’t even have to be matching tattoos. The experience alone of getting tattoos together is a fun and completely exciting activity. If you’re uncomfortable with getting tattoos because of the pain, there are now numbing cream for tattoos that you can buy over the counter. You apply the numbing cream directly on the area of the skin where the tattoo will be placed and let it the cream take effect after several minutes. Pain will no longer be a problem and now you can get that couples tattoo you want!

There are many different activities you can do with your loved one on Valentine’s Day apart from the usual dinner and a movie set up. Be adventurous and try something new. This just might be the exact thing you need to take your relationship to the next level!