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7 things to do in Vallarta when it rains
Did you know that a very very long time ago, the Aztecs used to make human sacrifices, hoping that in return their gods would make the rain fall, thus ensuring an abundant corn harvest? As in our countries, we are usually lucky enough to not be depending on the divine liquid for our survival, we tend to forget how precious it is and to underestimate its value it when it falls. But let’s be honest: who cares about watering the plants when being onholidays at the beach, right?
 
Rainy Season vs. Dry Season
 puerto-vallarta-storm.jpgPuerto Vallarta is famous for its breathtaking nature providing hundreds of thousands of visitors every year with countless beach ocean activities, outdoors adventures, romantics walks on the “malecón” (boardwalk) and hundreds of events that all require you to be outside. And with coordinates of 20.6667° N, 105.2667° W, virtually the same as the Hawaiian Islands, Puerto Vallarta enjoys a tropical climate. This means that the seasons are mostly divided in two: the dry season, between November and May, and the rainy season between June and October. With this in mind, it is quite reasonable to assume that you will stay dry in the winter down here.
Well amigo, Mother Nature works in mysterious ways, and is possible that you might be introduced to the wonders of tropical rainy days while down here.
 
So how do you prevent a couple of drizzly days from ruin your experience in paradise?
 
First of all, try to find comfort in the idea that it might get wet and windy here, but one thing that you can be sure of is that you will never get cold (really cold, I mean). It’s still the tropics! In the contrary, you might find it refreshing, and you will soon find out that it draws people together and make the global atmosphere very joyful.
 
Then, try to stay positive and find a blessing in this situation: it will give you a chance to discover a different side of Vallarta you wouldn’t have thought about in the first place. There’s more to the bay than beaches and margaritas! Here is a selection of ideas to help you get through this rainy day:
 
1.     Museums and galleries: “el Centro” and “la Zona Romántica” (downtown) are filled with countless art galleries. Take this opportunity to discover local artists, painters, sculptors, and native Mexican traditional “huichol” handicraft. Discover Museo Cuale, an archeology museum that will make you travel back in time, or the Naval Museum on the malecón. TripAdvisor has a great selection of reviews to help you make up your mind: http://bit.ly/1APj9npBeautiful-and-Intricate-Huichol-Indian-Art.jpeg
2.     Biblioteca los Mangos: located only a couple of minutes away from downtown by car, Los Mangos library offers a great selection of workshops, exhibitions, classes and events. http://bibliotecalosmangos.com/
3.    A relaxing afternoon at a café: you will find so many options to just relax with a good book and sip on delicious traditional coffee! My all times favorite and coffee-shop crush goes to “Una Página en el Sol” in the romantic zone, where the walls are covered in books: http://es.apageinthesun.com/
4.     Time for a good old movie: there are four movie theatres in Puerto Vallarta only, playing movies at all times of the day. Cinemark in Plaza Caracol: http://bit.ly/1HW01K7, Cinemex Plaza Galerías: http://bit.ly/1Dtzsgw, Cinemex MacroPlaza: http://bit.ly/1BNvsoU, Cinepolis Francisco Villa: http://bit.ly/1HW08oMfish-pedicure-1.jpg5.  
5.  Pamper yourself! There are numerous options for massages, manicures, pedicures, facials and whatnot: from fish therapy to facial bars, enjoy a cloudy day and look fabulous. My favorite choice of hand care is http://www.unasnorma.com.mx/
6.     Work those abs: you can’t go to the beach, you got no excuse today. It’s time to hit the gym and look fabulous when the sun comes back! Try http://www.thefitclub.mx
7.     And last but not least…study Spanish: take advantage of all this free time you have on your hands, and practice your Spanish! Do your homework, revise what has been seen in class, think of a couple of questions to ask your teacher... your Spanish will improve faster, and you will be freeing time for a couple of well-deserved afternoons at the beach when the rain stops! 
Posted: 3/16/2015 10:17:55 PM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments


Our "noches de Guateque": 

What does Guateque (pronounce: wa-te-ke) mean, anyway?

I’m sure you’ve heard of our weekly events « Noche de Guateque » or seen them on your news feeds, and must have gone all confused. 

What in the world do we do in a what...eeeh...what??? 

Originally the word is from Spanish Cuba, where it was used in the 19th Century to define an animated party and/or a joyful dance. 

In Ecuador, it was used to name parties only for black people. 

It then went back to Spain in Andalusia, meaning a huge feast, and was mostly used in the sixties to design a casual celebration at a house. 

De-donde-proviene-el-termino-‘guateque’-utilizado-en-los-anos-60-para-referirse-a-una-fiesta.jpg

We believe that it is crucial for our students to be able and practice Spanish outside of the classroom, this is why every week we organize a social event which we have named « noche de Guateque », and we go out with our students for good food, good drinks, good company and a lot of fun (in Spanish, amigo!). 

How about next time you get down here and join the fun?

PS: Guateque is also a town and municipality in the Colombian Department of Boyacá, Thanks Wikipedia!

Posted: 1/7/2015 11:45:53 PM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments


You thought that with January coming, you would be able to finally rest. You thought you could get back in shape and start working on that New Year’s resolution of exercising more and watch those carbs. You thought that all that craziness from the holidays was over and that it was time to put some order back in your life. 

Oh my friend, you could not have been more wrong!

In Mexico, the celebration doesn’t end on January 1st. There is more partying to come, and more eating delicious holiday food. 

Today January 6th is known as « Día de Reyes ». 

Before you get all excited about eating and partying again, here is a little history: the tradition tells us that, guided by a bright star, three kings riding a horse, an elephant and a camel, started their journey to visit baby Jesus to adore him. The three Kings came from different parts of the world: Melchior was king of Persia, Balthasar king of the Arabs, and Gaspar was a king in India. It is assumed that they were three, as according to the most popular tradition, three gifts were found. However, in other versions it is mentioned they might as well have been four, six and even up to twelve!

The gifts were gold, to honor Jesus the king, myrrh for Jesus the man, and frankincense for Jesus the god. 

The Kings symbolize the first gentiles who converted to Christianism.
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So how does this work in Mexico? According to custom, children would not write a letter to Santa in December, but would write their wishes to Melchior, Gaspar and Balthasar, not without mentioning how good they had behaved the previous year. They would place the letter, together with some snacks for the Kings and their animals, on the windowsill on the evening of January 5th, and wake up to a morning full of presents on January 6th.

Now here’s what you’re probably more interested in hearing. Nowadays, as with every custom, people tend to stray more and more from the exact tradition. Adults want their share too, and more and more children receive their presents via Santa and his elves on Christmas day. However, the « día de Reyes » is very much alive, and is a very popular tradition in Mexico. 

What you would do nowadays is invite a group of friends over for a nice little get together, and share what is called « Rosca de Reyes » (see picture).
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Each and everyone will grab a knife and cuts a piece of Rosca. 

A little plastic baby Jesus figurine is hidden in the Rosca (sometimes there are up to 6 or 7 plastic Jesuses!). The person who gets one is bound to organize a party or give tamales or atole on February 2nd, day of « La Candelaria » (more to come on this celebration). 

The party never ends, bienvenidos a México! 

 

 

Posted: 1/6/2015 5:06:09 PM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments


Reason Nr. 3 to visit Vallarta in the winter. 

One of the most magical gifts nature gives us around the bay is that every year between early December and March, is the possibility to sea whales, during their reproductive period.

These amazing creatures visit the bay every winter, as they find here the perfect conditions for reproduction. 

The humpback whale male literally serenades the female, producing one of the most beautiful and powerful sound an animal can make. Once the female approaches the male, he starts to « show off », in order to make sure that she notices that he is the one for her. By doing so, he sometimes will jump so high his whole body will come out of the water. 

As their gestation lasts 11 months, it happens that some females arrive at the bay while being still pregnant from the past season, and therefore give birth in our beautiful waters too. 

Hence, the chances of seeing whales jumping out of the water and seeing their calves is particularly high. 

At Spanish Experience Center we are very conscious of the environment and only work with tour providers where the animal comes first: in order to ensure that the whales feel safe in the bay and make sure they come back year after year, it is crucial to follow some rules. The most important being: do not approach the whale closer than 30m (about 32 yards), do not stay more than 30 minutes with the same animals, especially if there are other boats nearby, if there are more than 2 other boats look for another group of whales, make sure you take your tour with a certified company, etc. 

So why not combine your experience of learning Spanish with one of the most magical shows nature has to offer?
Whales.jpg

Posted: 12/17/2014 5:43:43 PM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments


After a fascinating beginning of the month and amazing celebrations of « Las Peregrinaciones » (Check our post about these pilgrimages: http://bit.ly/16pF1yg ), time has come for the famous Posadas!

la_pinata_by_diego_rivera_lcr.jpgThe Posadas take place during nine days, from Dec.16th until the 24th; the number nine represents the nine months of pregnancy, specifically Mary’s pregnancy with Jesus.

The roots of the Posadas go way back: although their origins are in Spain, they have been celebrated throughout Mexico for over 400 years. 

Nowadays they take place every year, mostly in Mexico, Guatemala and some parts of the United States. 

This joyful tradition commemorates the pregnancy of Mary and when Mary and Joseph, at the end of their journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, had to ask for lodging and were denied access to most houses they approached. 

Here is how it works: every night, one house from the neighborhood will host the posada. Friends and family will gather, and the group will divide in two groups. The first one will stand outside of the house, chanting and asking for « posada » (which literally means lodging or accommodation), while the second group, from inside the house, will chant their answers, starting with a blunt « no, you are not welcome », and finally let them in, when they realize that the beggars actually are Mary and Joseph. 

After everybody is welcome inside, the traditional piñata will be teared down and usually tamales and atole will be served.

Here to give you a taste of the real thing the lyrics to the song: http://bit.ly/1qX5rAj (in Spanish) so you can practice at home !

Posted: 12/16/2014 7:01:32 PM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments


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