Spanish-speaking travel destinations vary from the extreme to the exquisite, the famous to the infamous. Perhaps you want to scale a mountain or maybe you desire the star treatment at a luxury resort. Maybe you want to spot celebrities on the Riviera, or perhaps you just want some time away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Think about what you love in your vacations and then check out these 9 top Spanish-speaking destinations suited to match your travel personality.
Check out the spot for your travel personality:
- The Archaeologist
- The Fine Arts Lover
- The Cosmopolitan
- The Celebrity Gawker
- The Recluse
- The Outdoorsman
- The Rum Connoisseur
- The Deep Sea Adventurer
- The Party Animal
The Archaeologist: Chichen Itza, Mexico
You were the kid that anxiously awaited the ancient civilization section in social studies class. You still love to find “treasures” in nature even if it means finding some ear phones on the grass at your local park. You can pretend all you want but wouldn’t it be far more scientific if you were to actually discover something at the ruins of an ancient civilization? You can! In Chichen Itza, Mexico, you can explore Mayan civilization grounds like the Cenote Sagrado, a large sink hold that measures 198 feet in diameter. “Archaeologists” just like you have found jade, gold rings, necklaces and (gasp) even ancient human bones-the remains of young girls sacrificed to the Mayan rain god Chaac! If you can, you should schedule your trip during the next Spring Equinox. At the Pyramid of Kukulcan, or El Castillo, a natural phenomenon occurs where the sunlight creates a shadow image of a serpent descending down the pyramid’s stairs! Ooo..how eerie!
The Fine Arts Lover: Madrid, Spain
Pouring over your college art history books and hanging reprints of Diego Velaquez may pacify your desire to see the original but sometimes, you just have to go see it for yourself. Just a hop, skip and an airplane-fueled-jump away is Madrid, Spain in all its fine-arts glory. The Golden Triangle of Art refers to the three great art museums of this city: Museo del Prado, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, and the Museo Reina Sofia. Walk the sprawling space of the grand Museo del Prado and see Diego Velaquez’s Las Meninas and Francisoco de Goya’s La Maja Vestida. Then over at Museo Thyssen Bornemisza, walk through eight centuries of European paintings, including Renaissance and Baroque paintings by Titian, Sebastiano del Piombo, Caravaggio, Rubens, Van Dyck, Murillo, Rembrandt, and Frans Hals. Finally at the Museo Reina Sofia, one can discover art exclusively by Spanish artists including two of 20th century’s greatest artists: Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso. Good thing these museos all have stores! Buy all the reprints you can carry on the airplane!
The Cosmopolitan: Buenos Aires, Argentina
You are the child of the World and you like to soak in every aspect of a culture. Welcome to Buenos Aires, Argentina–a city so unique, you’ll want to move here. Buenos Aires is known for steak, the tango, and the shopping so go ahead, dive right in! The steaks are grilled in the traditional Argentinian manner that propelled it to world-wide popularity. The steak is grilled on a parilla, an Argentinian traditional barbecue and coal grill. As famous as the steaks, but perhaps a bit more lean, is the tango. Tourists and locals alike congregate in tango clubs to dance the night away. Every hotel offer tango lessons and have a tango ballroom so do not fret about not finding a venue – not that you would. The shopping in Buenos Aires is among the best in the best in world. Buenos Aires boasts very fashionable streets paved in cobblestone that is a great departure from indoor malls associated with shopping in the US. Also, the great exchange rate does not hurt either!
The Celebrity Gawker: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
You check Perez and The Superficial compulsively. You have no clue what is happening in the world right now but you do know where Angelina and her brood are right this moment. Your TiVO is filled with E! celeb-reality shows and you can’t wait until you can binge on them the moment you leave work. If these statements apply to you, you are destined for Cabo San Lucas where celebrities vacation (its proximity to L.A. is unheard of!) and where you can gawk at them IN PERSON! The beaches are exclusive, pristine and so sunny that you will need to bring those Nicole Richie sunglasses that block out half your face (plus, sun and flashbulbs will destroy your retina and you need your retinas to see Jake and Reese on their vacay!). Other than gawking at the genetically gifted celebrities, you can book yourself in world class spas, swim laps in an infinity pool, and dine at five star restaurants. Book that hotel or private villa in advanced, pack your bags and remember some binoculars…you are going to CABO!
The Recluse: Placencia, Belize
Although Belize is not technically a Spanish-speaking country, Spanish is a dominant language in Placencia, Belize. Placencia is a true tropical getaway destination. The sixteen miles of pristine beaches, the various areas to snorkel around the barrier reef and the relatively low tourist traffic makes one feel like they are alone on a beautiful island…with all modern amenities and great cuisine, of course! The coral reef that surrounds the island is a great place to snorkel, even if you have never been before. There are a slew of different snorkeling spots to fit any experience level. Fishing and sailing is another great aspect of Placencia. The calm, warm waters lend itself to some big fish and if you are lucky enough to catch one, a personal chef will cook your catch according to your instructions! The various keys around the island make the Placencia even more beautiful. Divers often dive off these keys into the marine abyss.
The Outdoorsman: Puebla, Mexico
If nature is your best friend, then Puebla will become your family. Indulge yourself by visiting the many national parks including the Izta-Popo National Park, La Malinche National Park, and the Valle de Tehuacan Biosphere Reserve (which is the largest reserve in the world). You can go hiking, biking, and see animals in their natural habitat! For those of you aspiring to be a outdoorsman, don’t worry: Guided tours are available too. Back in the town, you can roam around the market and find town artisans selling handmade crafts, Talavera pottery, el arbol de la vida (the tree of life) figurines, and one-of-a-kind onyx and marble sculptures.
The Rum Connoisseur: Ponce, Puerto Rico
If you are the type of person that can smell Rum when thinking about the Caribbeans while sitting at your desk at work in December, then you must travel to Ponce, Puerto Rico. Wait, you haven’t heard of it? Ponce is less touristy than San Juan but if you think this city is inferior in quality, then you thought wrong. This is the home of the Serralles family and their historic distillery which produces Don Q authentic Puerto Rican Rum (Bacardi and Captain Morgans are not distilled in Puerto Rico). You can take a tour of their former mansion, soak in the Serralles family story, and drink Don Q all around the city (evidently, this is the only Rum Ponce carries). Remember, when you’re lounging on the beach sipping on some Don Q, do not put it down. The many different types of exotic birds that fly around the pristine beaches are known to snatch things from patrons!
The Deep Sea Adventurer: Isla del Cano, Costa Rica
For those who like diving, beware…you may never want to leave Isla del Cano! Isla del Cano (Cano Island) is rated as one of the best diving locations in the world by Skin Diver magazine. Are you a diver-wannabe? It’s okay because Isla del Cano has dives to fit any skill level. Located off the southwest coast of Costa Rica, Isla del Cano’s coral formation ranges from 15 feet all the way to 80 feet “walls.” Marine animals that are prevalent in this area are sharks (ranging in size from six to ten feet), sea turtles, dolphins, stingrays, morays, and huge snapper and grouper fish! This life aquatic is untouched due to its status as a Biological Reserve so all dives are regulated (only five dive locations are open to the public at a time under federal regulations!). You will probably want to pick up a commemorative shell while you are near the ocean floor but sadly, it is against the Costa Rican law to remove any marine object from the ocean, dead or alive, so remember that before you get caught for being a shell smuggler!
The Party Animal: Barcelona, Spain
After a day of strolling around historic Barcelona, looking at Gaudi architecture and feigning happiness in touristy pictures, all you want to do is go out. You’re in luck because Barcelona is one of the greatest nightlife cities in all of Europe. The nightlife doesn’t start until after 12AM so make sure to start your night at the myriad of bars and cafes before hitting the clubs. Keep away from the touristy Barri Gòtic & Las Ramblas and head over to The Village People or Barrio Alto neighborhood. If you partied too hard the other night and just want to listen to music and lounge, there are so many places for you to go! The music club scene is eclectic in this city, offering daily shows in all music styles including jazz, blues, classical and, of course, flamenco.