Now is the time to escape those drab mornings and dark winter afternoons and get your fill of vitamin D and hot winter sun. Swap your beanie for a bikini. Exchange mulled wine for margaritas. Trade in your slippers for skinny-dipping. And why not make it a guilt-free, CV enhancing experience by combining a warm climate with improving your language skills? To check the best weather for the month you want to travel alongside the number of hours you are happy to fly use The Telegraph’s Heatseeker. Here are our top five locations for winter sun and language learning in 2017:
Winter Sun for Spanish
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is the piece of Central America that most resembles paradise – and it has some tough competition. Boasting warm weather, a chilled vibe and the advantage of the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea – which can both be seen from the top of the Irazú volcano – you will return from Costa Rica a new person. Or you may choose to not return at all.
Manuel Antonio is a 3 hour drive or 25 minute flight from Costa Rica’s capital San Jose. Part of a National Park, on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast, Manuel Antonio offers rugged rainforest, white-sand beaches and magical coral reefs. The vast diversity of tropical plants and wildlife it offers is one of its greatest draws and you are bound to come across the much photographed three-toed sloth, as well as monkeys and hundreds of bird species.
Cactus Language offers the unique experience of being able to study Spanish in a school that overlooks the pristine waters of Manuel Antonio, situated between the beach and the rainforest. With Spanish courses in Manuel Antonio from £310 per week for 20 hours and a wide range of accommodation options including homestay with local families, this is an opportunity not just for a piece of winter sun but to immerse yourself in a world a million miles away from what you will find outside your office window.
A small country sandwiched between Mexico, El Salvador, Belize and Honduras, Guatemala is not the most obvious choice for a winter get-away. But Guatemala, with its gorgeous beaches, Mayan ruins, fabulous food and super-friendly locals, it a rising star and offers everything you could want from a South American adventure, minus the hoards of backpackers. Better to get there before everyone else does.
On the list of must-see places in Guatemala, Antigua is a small city surrounded by volcanoes and full of Spanish colonial buildings. The town is extremely pretty and provides a perfect insight into local life. You cannot fail to feel welcomed by the locals, which is also doubles as a great opportunity to practise your Spanish!
With Spanish courses in Antigua Guatemala from just £87, yes £87 per week for 20 hours of language tuition, you can immerse yourself in the Spanish language whilst still leaving time to visit all the places you cannot afford to miss in this unique little country.
Cuba has long been a reliable option for a winter escape and allows visitors to combine a beach getaway with a cultural experience. Havana, full of romantic Hispanic architecture, 1950s classic cars, salsa music which pours out of every street corner and the best mojitos you will ever try – is only a couple of hours drive to the beautiful beaches of Varadero. Make sure you have time to do both.
With two-week language courses in Havana starting at only £355 for 20 hours per week of language tuition you can easily come back with not only a tan but a whole new vocabulary!
Winter Sun for French
Martinique, also known as the ‘island of flowers’ is more rugged and more real than some of its neighbours and Caribbean counterparts. Offering a blend of French and West Indian influences, a diversity of landscapes and atmospheres, its beaches will impress you and its diving is to die for.
French and diving courses are offered from our school in the main town of Fort de France. And with an average annual temperature of 26 degrees you can take advantage of everything there is to offer both on land, in the sea and in the classroom. French plus diving courses are just £385 per week.
Winter Sun for Portuguese
Olinda is one of the prettiest colonial towns in Brazil, just 6km north of Recife it is knows as an artists’ colony, full of galleries, workshops and museums. The town is full of colourful guest houses and excellent restaurants and bars, whilst retaining a quaint, laid-back charm that offers a tranquil escape from its bigger neighbour. The historic centre of Olinda was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1982.
With Brazilian Portuguese courses in Olinda from only £254 per week for 20 hours tuition and a wide range of accommodation options available, contact us for more information.
Cactus language offers the following types of language courses:
Evening language courses: 19 different languages in 10 UK locations
Language holidays: worldwide immersion courses in the country of the language
Private tuition: tailor-made and corporate language training solutions throughout the world
TEFL: teacher training courses for both English and other languages all over the world
Online courses: for teacher training, English and French