Bilingual is Better

My Recommendations for Immersion Travel in Peru - SpanglishBaby.com

The past couple of summers, my family and I have taken vacations that have enabled us to be immersed in Spanish. Our goals have always been to improve our language skills, to learn about and visit the historical sites throughout the country, and to experience the culture.

My previous SpanglishBaby posts about our travel experiences always included information about our activities, our Spanish classes, and the home-stays. In the comments section, there were often requests for further information and more specific recommendations.  Our trip this summer was truly amazing, and I hope to provide details for other families who would like to take a similar trip.

We chose to visit Peru again this summer since there were so many places we still wanted to see. Peru is an excellent country to visit with children. It has so much to offer from ancient sacred cities to an incomparable cuisine and rich cultural traditions and festivities. We chose to stay in Cusco, the former capital of the Incan empire, since it provided an excellent base for visiting the Incan ruins around the city and throughout the beautiful Sacred Valley.

During our time in Peru, the boys gained a deeper understanding of the history of Peru and were fascinated by the Incan ruins. We spent hours exploring and hiking ancient sites. While we all loved Sacsayhuamán, Piscac and Ollantaytambo, the highlight of our trip was visiting Machu Picchu! Having a Spanish-speaking guide helped the children learn about the history and culture of the Incan civilization while they explored the ancient ruins.

I had planned for our visit to coincide with the Inti Raymi festival. In Cusco, this ancient Incan festival of the sun is reenacted with hundreds of actors in colorful costumes. In the days leading up to the festival there were parades and traditional dances in the plaza. Our family really enjoyed being a part of the festivities and the chance to learn more about the culture of Peru and its history.

As in other years, my boys, my husband and I all took Spanish classes. I specifically searched for a school that gave back to the local community. We ended up attending Amigos Spanish School. We had a wonderful experience at the school and learned a lot! Unlike other schools, the aim of Amigos is to teach Spanish while also providing a future for disadvantaged children and young people in Cusco.

The proceeds from the school run a program that provides invaluable language skills, care and academic support to some of Cusco’s most disadvantaged students.

We all loved our teachers and our classes. Luke and Patrick’s teacher, Ms. Vanessa, did an excellent job! She would have the boys singing songs, telling stories, and playing games in Spanish. She was a creative and energetic teacher who did an amazing job furthering the linguistic abilities of the boys. Since the program for the Peruvian children was at the same school, my sons also had the opportunity to play with and become friends with the local children. We had brought bilingual books to donate to the school, and the kids really bonded over reading together.

Recommendations for Immersion Travel in Peru

My amazing teacher Jesús Napancca is the founder and director of the Amigos Spanish School! He was so helpful and dedicated to helping my family have a good experience while in Peru. I highly recommend this school. The classes are excellent, the program is well run, and the teachers are innovative and creative. Most importantly Jesús is always there to provide advice and help your family.

Immersion travel is a great way to further your kids’ language while also traveling and experiencing the culture of the country you are visiting. As a family, you can learn and have fun all in Spanish, and Peru has adventures for everyone!

Recommendations:

–We booked our trip to Machu Picchu with United Mice. It is important to make reservations in advance since the number of daily visitors to Machu Picchu is limited.

–We visited the other Incan ruins (Sacsayhuamán, Piscac, Ollantaytambo, etc.) by hiring a private taxi. The director of Amigos Spanish school Jesús Napancca helped us make these arrangements.

–We were placed in a homestay by Amigos Spanish School. They made all of the arrangements for us. Our homestay family picked us up at the airport in Cusco.

–We studied at Amigos Spanish School. The director is Jesús Napancca.

–I used the Lonely Planet Peru guidebook for booking our hotels, learning about the ancient sites, and deciding what points of interests and museums to visit.

–I used IB Tours for booking our flights from Lima to Cusco. Ask for Gisela!

{Images courtesy of Susan Stephan}

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