South American Itineraries

Travel & Learn Spanish in South America

To blaze a trail through South America the following 1, 3 and 6 month itineraries are the perfect options to get started.

  • 1 Month - Colombia & Ecuador
  • 3 Months - Colombia, Ecuador, Peru & Bolivia
  • 6 months - Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina & Uruguay

Note: Immersive travel experiences are achieved through getting to know the places you visit, the culture and the language. It's not about jumping on a bus and visiting a new city every day. As such our recommended itineraries allow a certain amount of "slow travel" designed to faciliate taking Spanish classes along the way. With Spanish under your belt you'll be inspired and empowered to travel further.

Why Start Your Travels in Colombia?

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NOTE: All of our itineraries start in Colombia for the following reasons:

1) It's logical to start at the top - Colombia is the easiest accessible country from United States and Europe. With flight times from 90 minutes (eg. Miami to Cartagena) this short distance makes Colombia the perfect starting point to kick off your travels. The other obvious country to begin any trip would be Argentina and work your way up the continent. 

2) It is widely recognized by academics that Colombia has the best Spanish in the world, in terms of purity and accent. Colombians speak Spanish relatively slowly with a neutral accent, unlike countries such as Argentina and Chile. When you learn Spanish in Colombia you'll find it considerably easier, expecially if you're a beginner. 

3) Colombia is still a relatively undiscovered tourist destination. Countries like Argentina and Peru have mass market tourism perfected. However these days more and more travelers are looking for more authentic & rewarding experiences, well off the tourist trail. With the peace accord in place the majority of Colombia's cities are perfectly safe to travel and the doors are wide open to tourism. Now is the perfect opportunity to get in before the whole world discovers this unknown gem. 

4) Colombians are renown for being some of the friendliest people in the world. You'll receive a warm welcome wherever you go and easily make friends who won't mind you practicing Spanish with them. It's this friendliness that makes Colombia the perfect destination to start to your travel experiences.

1 Month Itinerary

Colombia & Ecuador

If you only have one month then the ideal combination for an authentic South American experience is Colombia & Ecuador. This route combines the modern city of Medellin with the historic port town of Cartagena and quaint cobblestone Quito.

Week 1 & 2

Medellín, Colombia

Spend your first two weeks taking intensive group classes (4 hours daily) at Toucan Spanish School in Medellin.  They're a professional school and the largest Spanish school in South America, so you know you're in good hands. With plenty of free activities everyday, including language exchanges 3 nights a week, free salsa classes and tropical fruit tastings, you'll be kept busy.

At the Toucan Cafe, alongside the school, you can also book your weekend daytrips to either the colorful town of Guatapé and or visit an authentic coffee farm, a "must do" if you're visiting Colombia for the first time.

Check out our complete guide to travel and learn Spanish in Colombia.

Week 3

Cartagena, Colombia

This colonial town on Colombia’s northern Caribbean coast is a must see. You can either fly (1 hour) or take a bus (10 hours). Continue your studies with Toucan Spanish who have a school located inside the historic walled city. Their curriculum is designed to allow you to switch locations without a problem. In Cartagena they also have free daily activities so that you can explore the city and it's museums and meet great people along the way.

During your spare time you can explore Cartagena’s beaches or hop on a bus and explore the neighboring towns. At the weekend head to Santa Marta and / or Parque Tayrona.

Check out our complete guide to travel and learn Spanish in Colombia.

Week 4

Quito, Ecuador

Hop on a plane for a short flight to Ecuador.  Spend your final week in Quito taking 1 week of internsive Spanish lessons at Academia Latino Americana de Español. In the afternoons explore Ecuadors cobbled streets and numerous musuems.

On your weekend take a bus to check out the markets at Otavalo. Using your improved Spanish speaking practice negotiating prices on some local handicrafts.  Of course you'll want to visit the the interactive museum at ‘La Mitad del Mundo’ placing both feet on each side of the ecuator.

Check out our complete guide to travel and learn Spanish in Ecuador.

3 Month Itinerary

Colombia, Ecuador, Peru & Bolivia

3 months is a good amount of time to be able to get your Spanish up to a decent level whilst seeing a few countries. We recommend spending 4 weeks studying in one place at the start of your trip. This is a good amount of time to build a solid foundation that will help you on your travels. After this, you might like to take a few weeks off returning to classes after you have had some time to process everything you have learned as well as putting everything you have learned in to practice!

Weeks 1 - 5

Colombia

5 weeks in Colombia isn't a long time, especially if your main objective is to study Spanish. We recommend spending 2 weeks in Medellín at Toucan Spanish School. You can then take the bus or fly to Cartagena and continue studying for another week at Toucan's school in Cartagena.

From here spend a week exploring the Caribbean coast, some of our favorite places are Playa Blanca, Santa Marta & Parque Tayrona. In your final week make your way to the coffee region for a few days then you can either travel to Bogota and fly to Ecuador or take the bus to Cali for a few days before taking another bus across the border.

Check out our complete guide to travel and learn Spanish in Colombia.

Weeks 6 - 7

Ecuador

After your two weeks off exploring Colombia and practicing using your new Spanish Skills, it is time to go back to school! The two places we recommend in Ecuador are either the capital Quito exploring it's cobbled streets while studying Spanish at Academia Latinoamericana de Español. Of if you prefer to team your Spanish classes up with some surf lessons then Montañita is the place for you Montañita Spanish School combines Surfing, yoga, kitesurfing and Scuba Diving with your daily Spanish classes. You could either do a week at each place, or you may prefer to study for the first week and spend the second week traveling.

Check out our complete guide to travel and learn Spanish in Ecuador.

Weeks 8 - 10

Peru

Peru has a lot to offer travelers so you are going to need 4 weeks here! Highlights include:

  • The Inca Trail and Machu Picchu
  • The White City of Arequipa
  • The Nazca Lines
  • Kiteboarding in Paracas

The two main places to learn Spanish are Lima and Cusco. If you are planning on doing the Inca trail we recommend spending a week at school in Cusco before as this will give you time to acclimatize making the most of your time. We recommend taking classes with Fairservice Cusco who offer a mix of classroom learning as well as practical lessons outside in the city. Our recommended route through Peru is:

Lima - Arequipa - Colca Canyon - Puno (trips to Uros islands and Lake Titicaca) - Cusco (to acclimatize while taking a week or two of Spanish Classes) - Machu Picchu

Check out our complete guide to travel and learn Spanish in Peru.

Weeks 11 - 12

Bolivia

Take a speedy trip through Bolivia practicing your Spanish along the way. Our recommended route is:

La Paz - Salt Flats (trip to train cemetery) - Potosí - Sucre - Lake Titicaca (trip to Isla del Sol) - return to La Paz (side trip to Death Road for the brave!)

Check out our complete guide to travel and learn Spanish in Bolivia.

6 Month Itinerary

Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay
If you have 6 months in South America this really is the perfect amount of time to travel the length of the continent whilst getting your conversational Spanish up to a good standard. We recommend spending 4 weeks studying in one place at the start of your trip, it's a good amount of time to build a solid foundation that will help you on your travels. After this, you might like to take time out in between Spanish classes to travel and put into practice everything you have learned. We also recommend starting in Colombia. Colombia is widely recognized as the best place in South America to learn Spanish due to the Colombian people speaking with a more neutral dialect.
Week 1 - 6

Colombia

6 weeks is the minimum amount of time we recommend spending in Colombia. You are sure to fall in love with this vibrant country. Most people fly into Bogotá, so conceder spending 2 days exploring the city, its museums and its nighlife before starting 3 weeks learning Spanish at Toucan Spanish School in Medellin. After 3 weeks of intensive group Spanish classes head to Cartagena where you can continue your studies for an extra week also with Toucan Spanish. After 4 weeks of classes, you will feel prepared to start putting everything you have been learning into practice.

Spend your next 2 weeks exploring Colombia. Don't forget to go over all of your notes and spend at least an hour a day actively reviewing everything you have learned.

Our recommended route for two weeks:

Week 1 travel along the Caribbean coast from Cartagena to Punta Gallinas.

Week 2 fly to Cali and spend a week dancing the night away in the famous salsa clubs and practicing your conversation with locals. From Cali you can take the bus across the border to Ecuador

Check out our complete guide to travel and learn Spanish in Colombia.

Weeks 7 - 8

Ecuador

It's time to go back to school! The two places we recommend in Ecuador are either the capital Quito exploring it's cobbled streets while studying Spanish at Academia Latino Americana de Español. Of if you prefer to team your Spanish classes up with some surf lessons then Montañita is the place for you Montañita Spanish School combines Surfing, yoga, kitesurfing and Scuba Diving with your daily Spanish classes. You could either do a week at each place, or you may prefer to study for the first week and spend the second week traveling.

Hop on a bus across the border to Peru or if you have the budget fly direct to Lima from Quito. Northern Peru doesn't have as much to offer as the south so you won't miss much by flying.

Check out our complete guide to travel and learn Spanish in Ecuador.

Weeks 9 - 12

Peru

Peru has a lot to offer travelers so you are going to need 4 weeks here!

Highlights include:

  • The Inca Trail and Machu Picchu
  • The White City of Arequipa
  • The Nazca Lines
  • Kiteboarding in Paracas

The two main places to learn Spanish are Lima and Cusco. If you are planning on doing the Inca trail we recommend spending a week at school in Cusco before, as this will give you time to acclimatize before your hike. We recommend taking classes with Fairservice Cusco who offer a mix of classroom learning as well as practical lessons outside in the city.

Our recommend route through Peru:

Lima - Arequipa - Colca Canyon - Puno (trips to Uros islands and Lake Titicaca) - Cusco (to acclimatize while taking a week or two of Spanish Classes) - Machu Picchu

From Peru take the bus across the border to neighboring Bolivia.

Check out our complete guide to travel and learn Spanish in Peru.

Week 13

Bolivia

Take a speedy trip through Bolivia practicing your Spanish along the way.

Our recommended route is:
La Paz - Salt Flats (trip to train cemetery) - Potosí - Sucre - Lake Titicaca (trip to Isla del Sol) - return to La Paz (side trip to Death Road for the brave!)

Check out our complete guide to travel and learn Spanish in Bolivia.

Weeks 14 - 15

Chile

As Lonely planet's number 1 place to visit in 2018, you may want to spend more than 2 weeks here. However, Chileans have a very different way of speaking compared to some of the other South American countries. So be prepared!

You may want to take a week of classes here to expand your vocabulary or spend your two weeks practicing your Spanish while exploring this incredible country.

Our recommended route is:
San Pedro de Atacama - Santiago - Torres del Paine - Santiago

Take the bus across the border to Argentina.

Check out our complete guide to travel and learn Spanish in Chile.

Weeks 16 - 20

Argentina & Uruguay

Study Spanish in Buenos Aires, or if the capital city is too big for you, then Cordoba is a good option. By this point in your trip, you should be at a good level of Spanish so taking a week to go back to class in Argentina is a good idea. It will also help you to learn some of the language differences which will help you during your time exploring this vast country. If you prefer you could skip Spanish class in Argentina and cross over the border to Uruguay, you can take Spanish classes in Montevideo.

Our recommended route through Argentina and Uruguay from Chile is:

Mendoza – Cordoba - Buenos Aires – (cross the border to Uruguay) Montevideo – Colonia de Sacramento – Cufré – José Ignacio – Punta del Este – (return to Argentina) - Salta - Iguazù 

Check out our complete guide to travel and learn Spanish in Argentina.

Check out our complete guide to travel and learn Spanish in Uruguay.