We all have different reasons for learning a foreign language. Some people want a better job, some want to meet new friends, and many want to travel to interesting places and experience the local cultures beyond the typical tourist experience. Continue reading “5 Things to do in Playa del Carmen Mexico (and Simple Phrases in Spanish for Beginners)”
There are many good reasons to learn a new language, and traveling, is certainly one of the best motivations to do it. Today, we are going to look at a place so beautiful, that practicing Spanish there seems like a privilege only the “chosen ones” should enjoy.
Traveling to foreign countries is one of the best reasons to learn a new language. In this short post we will take a look at a great place to visit for beginners learning Spanish. We are talking about the colorful city of Guanajuato, Mexico.
Guanjuato is a pintoresque place full of history. During the Spanish occupation in Mexico, the city was an important hub for the mining of gold and silver, and during the nineteenth century it was often the epicenter of battles during the war for independence from Spain. Now, let’s look at 3 interesting places to visit in this beautiful town.
1- Universidad de Guanajuato
This is one of the most important universities in the country; it´s history goes back to the eighteenth century. The main building of the university is a beautiful place definitely worth a visit.
Let’s review a few phrases in Spanish that may be useful…
Excuse me, which way is the University of Guanajuato?
Disculpe, ¿Para dónde está la Universidad de Guanajuato?
Where can I get water?
¿Dónde puedo comprar agua?
Where can I get a taxi?
¿Dónde puedo tomar un taxi?
Where can I find a phone?
¿Dónde puedo encontrar un teléfono?
How much is this?
¿Cuánto cuesta esto?
Learn more useful phrases here: Click for more
This is what walking up to the main building looks like…
This is what the University of Guanajuato looks like from the street (click and drag to look around)…
2- Museo de las Momias (Mummy Museum).
This is a museum where visitors can see real life mummies, most of which died during an outbreak of cholera in 1833. Here is a quick view at the “Museo de las Momias” in Guanajuato, Mexico.
…and this is what the museum looks like from the street…
3- Monumento al Pipila (Pipila Monument)…
This is a monument to remember “El Pípila”, a hero of the war for the Independence of Mexico back in the 1800´s. The monument is located at the top of a hill that offers a beautiful panoramic view of Guanajuato.
This is what the view looks like from the top of the hill…
…and this is what using the Aerial tramway to get to the Pipila monument looks like…
In case you are a movie fan, here are a few scenes from the movie “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” with Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Johny Depp and Enrique Iglesias. The movie was shot in Guanajuato!
Have you visited Guanajuato in the past? Do you have any tips you would like to share or any questions related to Spanish? Please share them with us in the comments section available at the end of this post.
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There are many different reasons to learn a new language. Some people want a better job, some people want to find love, and some people, just love to travel and experience foreign countries at another level.
Today we will take a quick look at a few interesting things to do in Mazatlan Mexico, a great place where beginners learning Spanish can practice and have fun at the same time.
Mazatlán means “place of deer” and it is the second largest city in the state of Sinaloa with a population of nearly 440,000 as of the 2010 census. It is an important hub for tourism, agriculture, manufacturing and fishing.
This is what the city looks like when you arrive by airplane…
Now, let’s take a look at 3 interesting things to do in Mazatlán:
#1 – See the “Malecón” (Seafront walkway)
Mazatlan has one of the longest seafront walkways in the world (13 miles long) and it is something you have to see for yourself. You can do it using one of these alternatives:
This is what the Malecón looks like…
The best way to experience the Malecón is by walking it. This is what it looks like:
You can also find many great restaurants by the ocean and enjoy a “Campechana” (a stew of several types of seafood) like this one:
or simlpy enjoy the view…
Riding a bus…
From the Golden zone, you can take the “Sabalo Centro” route that will take you to downtown´s market after seeing a large portion of El Malecón. These are comfortable air conditioned units.
This is what a bus ride around downtown looks like (skip to second 21)…
Pulmonias (Doorless taxis)…
These doorless taxis are a good option for sunny days. If you are at the Golden Zone, just ask a driver to take you downtown. Ask at your hotel´s front desk about what a reasonable price for a Pulmonia ride from your hotel to downtown´s market is (they don’t have meters), make sure to ask the driver before you begin the trip in order to make sure the price is appropriate according to your front desk´s information and to avoid unnecessary arguments.
This is what a Pulmonia looks like…
This is what a Pulmonia ride looks like…
If you choose to walk around downtown you will find beautiful buildings like this one:
A few phrases in Spanish that may be useful are:
How much to go from here to downtown´s market passing by the malecon?
¿Cuánto por ir de aquí al Mercado del centro pasando por el malecón?
How much is that?
¿Cuánto cuesta eso?
That is too expensive, I want a discount.
¡Está muy caro! Quiero un descuento.
Which way is the malecón?
¿Para adónde está el malecón?
Learn more here: More Spanish phrases
#2 – Climb “El Faro” (The Lighthouse)
The history of Mazatlán´s lighthouse, generally known simply as “El Faro”, dates back to 1879 when a lamp handrafted in Paris was used to guide ships to shore. Climbing the hill where the lighthouse is located is not only an excellent workout, but leads to one of the best views of the city. Make sure you bring comfortable shoes and a water bottle; it is a good walk uphill.
This is what the view at the top looks like…
This is what “El Faro” looks like from a plane…
#3 – Visit the “Isla de Venados” (Deer Island)
This is also known as “Isla del Medio” (Island in the Middle) because it occupies the center in the group of 3 islands located in front of Mazatlan. It has a nice beach that is generally calm and it is a nice place to visit.
There are many options to get there, but one of the fastest and cheapest is using the Amphibious boat known as “Super Pato”, which is a tire powered boat that will take you to the island and back for a low price (if you only want the ride, and nothing else, the price drops considerably). A good place to go is called Aqua Sports Center and it is located near Hotel CID El Moro.
You can see the Amphibious boat at 0:20 in this video…
This video will give you an idea of what a trip to the island looks like…
If you dare to climb the Deer Island, this is how it looks from the top (it’s an amazing view!):
Do you have any questions about Spanish or do you know of other interesting activities or places in Mazatlan? Please share your thoughts in the comments section located at the end of this page.
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Traveling is one of the best reasons to learn a new language. Not only will you enjoy and learn from the local culture at another level, but you will actually get to have more fun and discover more. In this short post we will take a look at a 7 interesting things to do in Cancun Mexico (some of them near Cancun) and a few useful phrases for beginners learning Spanish.
1- Go to a Beautiful and Safe Beach…
Although most beaches in Cancun are beautiful, probably one of the prettiest and safest places to visit is the Beach around the area of the “Presidente Intercontinental” Hotel.
A few useful phrases to find this place may be:
Excuse me, which way is the “Presidente Intercontinental” Hotel beach?
Disculpe, ¿dónde está la playa del Hotel Presidente Intercontinental?
How far is the beach of the “Presidente Intercontinental” Hotel from here?
¿Qué tan lejos está la playa del Hotel Presidente Intercontinental de aquí?
Excuse me, which bus can I take to go to the “Presidente Intercontinental” Hotel?
Disculpe, ¿qué autobús puedo tomar para ir a la playa del Hotel Presidente Intercontinental?
This is what the beach looks like (Isn´t it pretty?)…
2- Cheap Food with and an amazing beach view
If you are near the area where the nightclub known as “Coco Bongo” is located (which is close to the “Presidente Intercontinental” Hotel mentioned before) and you want to eat something fast and inexpensive, visit the 3rd floor of Plaza Forum to grab a quick bite.
Take the escalator on the right hand side of Hard Rock Café and you will find a small food court with Chinese food, pizza and other reasonably priced alternatives. After grabbing a bite, step out to the terrace to enjoy the view and take a photo of yourself with the spectacular Caribbean ocean in the background.
On the third floor, you can also find free bathrooms and a Mexican Souvenirs Outlet with reasonable prices. This is one of those hidden secrets that most tourists never hear about.
This is what Plaza Forum looks like (the escalator to the third floor can be seen on second 29, and you can see the view at 1:01 )…
If you want to sit down, just buy 1 beer and enjoy the view (1 beer at that place is about 5 dollars, not the cheapest, but the view is worth it). This is what the view looks like from a table…
This is what Plaza Forum looks like from outside (if you see a big red guitar, you are there) Click and drag the image to look around:
3- Walk around the Municipal Hall
Cancun is known worldwide for its beautiful beaches and nightlife, but it also has a “local community” feel that most tourists overlook. If you want to get a feel of the town, walk around Cancun’s City Hall (Palacio Municipal) during the day.
You will not see many tourists there, but it is an interesting place worth visiting. Just walk around, buy a few snacks or some ice cream and discover the area. You will also find great local food at bargain prices at family owned restaurants. Don’t be afraid to practice your Spanish, local people are very nice.
In December, they often have an ice skating ring for local kids as seen here…
This is what City Hall looks like from the street (not spectacular, but certainly a nice place to walk around and be surprised by the kindness of local people) Click on the image and drag around to have a look at the city:
4- Ride a bus and explore Cancun…
This is a safe city, and walking around is a great way to discover it. If you feel like getting out of your Hotel, take the R-2 bus and stop where you see something interesting. It is a great way to discover new and interesting things and finding your own path.
Here is what a bus ride looks like…
A few useful phrases for a bus ride may be…
Excuse me, do you reach the Radisson Hotel?
Disculpe, ¿pasa por el Hotel Radisson?
How much is one ticket?
¿Cuánto cuesta un boleto?
How much is it for all of us?
¿Cuánto es por todos nosotros?
…and if you’re lucky, you may even get live music during your bus ride (tipping the artists is optional, but certainly appreciated), check it out…
5- Plaza Las Américas
If you feel like visiting a pleasant shopping mall with several economical food options (that also include international standards like McDonald’s, Subway and Starbucks), visit “Plaza Malecón Américas”. They have a nice food court where you can choose your favorite type of meal.
If you want something inexpensive, authentic and DELICIOUS; then you should try “Las Quekas”. Highly recommended! Just order 1 chicken quesadilla (una quesadilla de pollo) and 1 mushroom quesadilla (quesadilla de champiñones) and “una agua de jamaica” (Hibiscus sweet tea. A red drink that is very refreshing). They are big, make sure you are hungry.
They also have a nice movie theater you can check out if you feel like taking a break for a few hours in an air-conditioned environment.
This is what the shopping mall “Plaza Las Américas” looks like (check out the huge fan on top)…
A few useful phrases may be…
Excuse me, where is the food court?
Disculpe, ¿dónde está la zona de comidas?
Excuse me, where are the bathrooms?
Disculpe, ¿dónde están los baños?
Excuse me, where’s the exit?
Disculpe, ¿dónde está la salida?
Excuse me, where can I get a taxi?
Disculpe, ¿dónde puedo tomar un taxi?
This is what the food court looks like…
This is what the menu from “Las Quekas” looks like…
and this is what the operation looks like…
6- Visit Xcaret Park
If you want a full-day adventure, you should consider visiting Xcaret. It is a privately owned Eco-archeological theme park located 47 miles (75 kilometers) south of Cancun. It is not cheap, but it’s worth the price.
Here is a quick overview of the park…
If you have time, stay for the cultural music night show (lots of music, lots of dancing and lots of costumes) It´s not a short one, but it certainly is spectacular.
Take a look at this video of the show (pay attention to the huge green “Penacho” (headdress) on the guy´s head at 2:42) …
The show also has a section showcasing a live Mayan ball game known as Pok ta Pok where players hit a solid rubber ball using their hips. It is very interesting and something you rarely get to see. Take a look…
And they also have the “fire version”, take a look (pretty intense, huh?)…
7- Visit Tulum…
This pre-Columbian Mayan walled city was one of the last cities inhabited and built by the Mayas. It is located 80 miles (128 kilometers) south of Cancun and it has one of the most fascinating beaches you’ll ever find (bring your bathing suit). Preferably, get there early. Take a look at this short video by the amazing Sonia Gil (I think she is SUPER cool) to see why…
Do you know of any other cool things to do in Cancun? Please share them in the comments section available at the end of this page.
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There are several good reasons to learn a new language, but having the possibility to experience a foreign country´s culture using the native language of the area has got to be on the top of the list of thousands of people with adventurous spirits.
Today we will take a look at a great place where beginners who are learning Spanish can practice. We are talking about the city of Monterrey, Mexico.
Monterrey is the capital of Nuevo Leon, an important state in the north of Mexico. The city is part of the third-largest metropolitan area in the country and it is an important educational, industrial and commercial center.
Monterrey has the highest per capita income in the country and it is often regarded as the most “Americanized” city in Mexico.
Although it is generally seen as a business place, it is also a city with beautiful places worth visiting. Let’s take a look at a few of them:
First – Parque Fundidora:
This is a public park located in the land that used to be part of the Monterrey Steel Foundry Company several years ago, and it is currently considered an important archaeological industrial site in the country.
It is a place where local families gather to exercise and play together during weekends. A popular activity among local families is renting bicycles to ride around a 3.4 km track (about 2.1 miles) that is often used for 5 and 10 K runs. It is a nice place to visit, just make sure you bring comfortable shoes and a hat in case it is a very sunny day.
If you want to rent a bicycle, all you need is an ID and a few pesos (it costs around 20 pesos for 1 hour), it is a great way to go around the park while exercising a little. As long as you don’t get out of the park, you will not have a problem. You are not allowed to take the bicycles out of the park, and you shouldn’t; riding a bike on the streets is not a good idea (not very safe, lots of traffic).
You can see several sections of the park in this short video:
A few simple phrases that may be useful are:
Excuse me, where can I find a bathroom?
Disculpe, ¿Dónde puedo encontrar un baño?
Hi, I need a little help. Do you have a minute?
Hola, necesito un poco de ayuda. ¿Tiene un minuto?
Hi, do you know where can I buy water?
Hola, ¿sabe dónde puedo comprar agua?
Hi, do you know where can I buy food?
Hola, ¿sabe dónde puedo comprar comida?
Hi, where can I get a taxi?
Hola, ¿dónde puedo tomar un taxi?
Hi, which way is the subway?
Hola, ¿Para dónde está el metro?
Thanks for your help.
Gracias por su ayuda.
…and this is how riding around in a rented bicycle looks like (it’s fun, you have got to try it!):
… this is what a full lap looks like (minus the music, unless you have your MP3 player with you)…
This is what the park looks like from a satellite (click and drag!):
Well done! Are you tired already? It’s time to move on for the next cool place to visit…
Second – Macroplaza y Paseo Santa Lucía:
The “Macroplaza” is a town square built in the early 80s and it is currently considered the fourth largest plaza in the world. It is a nice place to walk around (bring comfortable shoes, it is a big place!).
At one end, you can find the “Explanada de los Héroes” with the “Palacio de Gobierno”, a neoclassical construction where the office of the State’s Governor is officially located, and at the other end you can find the City Hall and an excellent art museum right next to it known as “Marco” (which stands for Museo de ARte COntemporaneo).
Near the city hall, there is a pedestrian street known simply as “Morelos” where you will find several stores and restaurants to freshen up and do some shopping (and lots of people!, its fun).
This is what the Macroplaza looks like from a plane:
This is what the “Explanada de los Héroes” looks like:
This is what the modern City Hall looks like on Sundays sometimes (great day to visit):
This is what the Marco art museum looks like from the inside (the building is a work of art worth visiting):
…and this is how both look from the street. Art Museum on the left, City Hall on the right (click and drag, play with it, walk around!):
This is what walking around Morelos looks like (make sure to visit “Interplaza Shoptown”, its and interesting place with a HUGE food court and many restaurants to choose from) there is even a movie theater where people love to talk during the movie, something you have got to experience!…
and for advanced Spanish Speakers, if you see clowns on the street, definitely stop by (the city loves clowns, have a few coins ready in your pocket and don’t be afraid to interact). They are hilarious!
The “Paseo Santa Lucía” (Santa Lucía Riverwalk) is an artificial river that connects the Fundidora Park with the Macroplaza Square. It is more than 1 and a half miles long (2.5 kilometers), has a depth of 4 feet (1.2 meters) where swimming competitions are held at times, there are motorboats for those who prefer to avoid the walk and there is free wifi for everyone! Great place for a run or a nice walk, and you can even bring your skates if you want!
This is what the “Paseo Santa Lucía” looks like from the street (click and drag to look at both sides of the bridge!)
… and this is what it looks like for birds (Macroplaza on the bottom left corner, and Parque Fundidora on the right)…
This is a great overview of the Mazcroplaza, the Santa Lucía Riverwalk and the Fundidora Park by Chad from Forwardtravels.com, where he has some amazing videos definitely worth checking out! Visit him over here if you love traveling: Chad´s Forwardtravels.com
Third – El Mirador del Obispado (Bishopric Lookout):
Would you like to see the second largest Mexican flag in the country and a great view of Monterrey? Then you have to visit “El Mirador del Obispado” (Bishopric Lookout) before you leave the city.
This is what the city looks like from “El Mirador del Obispado” during the day (a place definitely worth visiting):
…and this is what the view looks like at night (in person, its impressing!):
…and this is how the flag looks from the parking lot (click and drag, it’s a great view!) you may also click on the top right corner of the map to switch to “full-screen” view:
We hope you like this article and that you use it as motivation to learn more about Mexican culture and to practice your Spanish frequently using interactive media available online.
If you found this article to be useful please share with your friends on Facebook and let them know about our site so we can help more people learn Spanish.
Do you have any questions about Spanish or feel like saying “hi”? Please share your thoughts in the comments section available at the end of this post. We would love to hear from you!
Traveling to Spanish speaking countries is one of the best ways to learn the language and it is also a great motivation for people with adventurous spirits. In this article we will take a look at a few interesting places in Mexico City and we will review a few basic phrases in Spanish that may be useful when visiting these beautiful places.
So, what’s the deal with Mexico City?
We’re talking about one of the biggest cities on the planet. Is the largest city in the country and its most important cultural, educational, financial and political center. It is located at an altitude of 2240 meters (that is about 7351 feet) in the area known as the Valley of Mexico.
Mexico City’s metropolitan area (which includes a few small cities that are all next to each other) is estimated to have more than 21.5 million people, which makes it the largest metropolitan area in the western hemisphere and the third largest in the world (also, it is the biggest Spanish-speaking city on the planet). Not a bad place to practice your Spanish basics, huh?
Now let’s take a look at a few interesting places to visit in Mexico City:
First – Centro Histórico (Historic Center):
The central zone of Mexico City known as Centro Histórico occupies 668 blocks and includes more than 9000 buildings. This area is where the Spaniards began to build Mexico City in the 16th century on the ruins of buildings that belonged to the Aztec empire and it is considered a World Heritage Site. Let’s review a few important places worth visiting around the historic center…
But first, here are a few phrases you may use during your visit to the Historic Center:
Hola, necesito un poco de ayuda. ¿Tiene un minuto?
Hi, I need a Little help. ¿Do you have a minute?
Disculpe, ¿dónde está el Zócalo?
Excuse me, where is the Zócalo?
¿Dónde puedo encontrar el Palacio de Bellas Artes?
Where can I find the Palace of Fine Arts?
Disculpe, ¿Dónde hay un baño público?
Excuse me, where is a public bathroom?
Disculpe, ¿dónde está un restaurante económico?
Excuse me, where is an inexpensive restaurant?
Learn more here: Common Phrases in Spanish
Time to learn about the area…
Plaza de la Constitución (Constitution Plaza):
This main plaza in the heart of the historic center of the city is also known as “El Zócalo”. It is the second-largest square in the world after the Red Square in Moscow and for centuries has been a gathering place for Mexicans; both for celebrations and protests (and a lot of huge concerts.
El Zócalo fits 100,000 people at the same time). If you want to get here using the “metro” (subway), take “Line 2” and stop at the station “Zócalo”.
Here is a beautiful panoramic view of “El Zócalo”:
…and this i show the “Zócalo” looks when you are walking by (feel free to click and drag to visit it virtually, thank you Google Maps!)…
La Catedral Metropolitana ( Metropolitan Cathedral):
This is considered to be the oldest Roman Catholic Cathedral in the Americas and it was built on top of a former Aztec sacred temple. The Cathedral was built in sections from 1573 to 1813 and it was inspired by Gothic cathedrals in Spain.
This is what the Cathedral looks like:
In this short video you can learn more about the history of this important building (and practice your Spanish at the same time) while taking a look inside of the temple.
In this short clip you can hear one of the cathedral´s beautiful 18th century organs in action:
This is how it looks from the outside when you are walking by (click and drag to look around!):
Palacio Nacional (National Palace):
This is the seat where the Federal Executive resides (in other words, it is where the President´s office is located), right next to “El Zócalo” and it is home to some of the offices of the Federal Treasury and the National Archives.
But that all sounds boring, why is the “Palacio Nacional” worth a visit? Simple, the building is beautiful, very important in the history of Mexico, and it has lots of amazing murals painted by Diego Rivera himself, and yes; you can go inside to see them.
This is what the front of the Palacio Nacional looks like from the street…
This is how they look from inside (This short video explains a little about the mural. You can use it to practice your Spanish, learn about art, and discover some important events in the history of Mexico at the same time!):
This is how the “Palacio Nacional” looks from outside (click and drag, walk around, it’s fun!)
Second – Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts)
After looking around “El Zócalo” for a few hours, you can walk a few blocks to visit the beautiful Palacio de Bellas Artes (about 7 blocks west, that is, left from El Zócalo if you are facing the Cathedral). This beautiful architectural jewel (that includes Neoclassical, Art Noveau and Art Deco design elements) was completed in 1934 and it is considered the most important cultural center in Mexico.
This is what the Palacio de Bellas Artes looks like from the street…
Get an idea of what standing in front of the “Palacio de Bellas Artes” feels like with this short and authentic video:
This is what it looks like from the street (click and drag, look around!)
Third – Ciudad Universitaria (University City):
This is one of those interesting places that is often ignored by tourists. But it is a great adventure for those who enjoy walking around. If you want to get here using the “metro” (the subway), you can use “Line 3 (Green)” and stop at “Copilco” Station. Bring comfortable shoes, this campus is HUGE (seriously!).
The campus was completed in 1954 and to this day, it is the largest university in Latin America. The building of the “Biblioteca Central” is particularly interesting and it is worth contemplating. It is surrounded by a magnificent mural made using thousands of colored tiles that were brought from many different parts of the country because of the large amount and variety of colors required.
The north wall of the library represents the pre-Hispanic past of Mexican culture and contains a representation of what Mexico City originally looked like. The south wall represents the colonial past. The East wall deals with the contemporary world (as it was in the 1950s) and the west wall focuses on the University and modern-day Mexico. It certainly is a unique work of art that challenges the visitor´s mind with an elegant contrast between modern architecture and ancient art techniques.
This is one of the central library looks like (remember, it is not painted. It is made of thousands of individual tiles):
This is what the tiles looks like from a short distance…
This is what the library looks from inside…
This campus is an important place in Mexico’s modern history, many thought leaders went to school here and it has been the center of important scientific discoveries and protests (for example, the Inauguration ceremony of the Olympics back in 1968 happened here). It is a place definitely worth a visit.
Here are a few photos from around the Campus…
A few phrases you may use during your visit are:
Disculpe, ¿dónde está la Biblioteca Central?
Excuse me, where is the Central Library?
Hola, ¿Dónde está la estación del metro más cercana?
Hi, where is the nearest metro station?
Disculpe, ¿dónde está la salida?
Excuse me, where is the exit?
Learn more here: Common Phrases in Spanish
This video gives us a short tour through “Ciudad Universitaria”:
This short musical video showcases a few of the Works of art inside the premises (some are architectural jewels):
Do you have any questions about Spanish or any comments about Mexico City? Please share your thoughts in the comments section available at the end of this post.
If you liked this article please share it with your friends on Facebook and let them know a bit about this wonderful city. Who knows, you could all visit it together after learning some Spanish!