Top Five Destinations to Escape the Winter and Learn Spanish Abroad

Eager to learn Spanish and escape the winter? There are so many great study abroad destinations to pick from when it comes to learning Spanish. Whether you’re looking for a beachy getaway or an exciting city, there’s something out there for every budget and skill level.

Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, and learning it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. The official language of 20 countries around the world, and with its wide-reaching influence and history, Spanish is a great choice if you’re looking to explore new cultures while also learning a new language.

If you’re looking to escape winter and learn Spanish at the same time, there are many beautiful (and affordable) destinations you can choose from. From Spain to Mexico, Ecuador to Costa Rica, Argentina to Puerto Rico – each country offers unique experiences for those interested in studying Spanish abroad. Expose yourself to the variety of Spanish accents and learn Spanish around the world. 

Here are the top destinations to consider if you want to learn Spanish while enjoying warmer weather and amazing cultural experiences.

The 5 Best Places to Learn Spanish Abroad

#1 Malaga, Spain

Learn Spanish in Malaga, Spain

Winter Weather:

  • December: 63ºF High / 47ºF Low (17ºC / 9ºC)
  • January: 62ºF High / 46ºF Low (17ºC / 8ºC)
  • February: 64ºF / 47ºF (18ºC / 8ºC)

Spain, of course, is at the top of many Spanish student’s lists as it’s one of the best places to hone your fluency. From Barcelona, with its incredible art scene and delicious tapas bars, all the way down south to Andalusia and its Moorish influences and flamenco dances, Spain has something unique for every traveler looking to improve their language skills.

But to truly escape the winter blues, you’ve got to visit Malaga. There, you’ll enjoy the warmest winters compared to any other European city. With its sunny Mediterranean climate, deep roots in culture and history, and stunning architecture, it’s an ideal spot for anyone to pick up the language. 

Whether you want to hang out on the beach or visit a museum (check out Museo Picasso Málaga), you won’t run out of things to do during your visit.

Within the city itself there are many different schools that offer Spanish classes at all levels of proficiency, from intensive immersion courses to more relaxed classes tailored to your individual needs.

One great option is Instituto Picasso. This Spanish school has been teaching Spanish since 1982. Their classes are tailored to your level and offer programs that last from as little as one week all the way up to 24 weeks.

Here, you’ll get the opportunity to speak Spanish with locals by the beach in Pablo Picasso’s home town. Now that’s what I call a vacation!

#2. Oaxaca, Mexico

Learn Spanish in Oaxaca

Winter weather:

  • December: 81ºF High / 47ºF Low (27ºC / 8ºC)
  • January: 81ºF High / 47ºF Low (27ºC / 8ºC )
  • February: 84ºF High / 49ºF Low (29ºC / 10ºC)

Oaxaca is the perfect place to study if you’re coming from the U.S. or Canada. Located in the southern part of Mexico, Oaxaca City is known for its vibrant culture and fascinating history. As one of the most important cities in Mesoamerica, it offers a unique learning experience with opportunities that cannot be found anywhere else. If you want try traditional Oaxacan cuisine such as mole negro (a traditional Mexican sauce made with a complex blend of ingredients, including chili peppers, spices, and chocolate, typically served with chicken or pork.) or tamales oaxaqueños (a traditional Mexican dish from the state of Oaxaca, made of masa dough filled with ingredients like mole negro, chicken, pork or cheese and wrapped in banana leaves before being steamed), this is the place!

Home of Monte Albán (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), mezcal (a traditional agave spirit), and some of Mexico’s most delicious cuisine, learning Spanish is a lot more fun when the food and drinks are this good.

Oaxaca City also provides a variety of resources for Spanish learners. From immersive language courses to private tutoring sessions, students can tailor their education to meet their individual needs and goals. With expert guidance from native speakers and teachers, students can develop their skills in an engaging and exciting environment. Plus, students have access to cultural events and activities that offer authentic insight into Mexican life. 

For instance, they can participate in the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) celebrations, in which the city is decorated with colorful altars, and locals participate in traditional dances, play traditional music, and make specific tradional foods.

There’s also the Guelaguetza Festival, an annual celebration that takes place in late July, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the Zapotec and Mixtec people, with traditional music, dance, and costumes. Additionally, visiting the Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca, which houses a collection of pre-Columbian art and artifacts from the Zapotec and Mixtec cultures, is a great way to experience the local culture and history.

And if you’re looking for a fun and easy way to dive into the Spanish language, check out our Oaxaca Spanish Immersion Program. It’s the perfect opportunity for those who want an authentic cultural experience that integrates daily classes with cultural lessons and local activities. Learn more about our unique Spanish Immersion Program here.

You can also check out our list of the best places to learn Spanish in Oaxaca here.

#3. Cuenca, Ecuador

Winter weather:

  • December: 74ºF High / 52ºF Low (23ºC / 11ºC)
  • January: 73ºF High / 52ºF Low (23ºC / 11ºC )
  • February: 73ºF High / 52ºF Low (23ºC / 12ºC)

Ecuador is an ideal country for you to study Spanish abroad for a number of reasons.

First, it will force you to speak more Spanish in regular interactions as it has the least English speakers of any Spanish-speaking country. This means you’re more likely to have authentic conversations with Spanish speakers without the social pressure to speak English when compared to other countries.

Second, Ecuador is known for its stunning landscapes and nature reserves filled with incredible flora and fauna (including the majestic Andean Condor, the unique Galapagos penguin, and a wide range of orchids and tropical plants, such as the impressive giant water lily) – perfect for nature lovers!

And finally, it has some of the most affordable costs of living in Latin America which makes it easy to fit into any budget. For example, in Cuenca, a budget of $30-40 per day should cover accommodation in a budget hostel or a shared room in a local family’s home, meals at local restaurants, transportation, and some activities.

A mid-range budget of $50-70 per day would allow for more comfortable accommodation options (such as a private room in a hostel or a budget hotel), meals at mid-range restaurants, and more activities and excursions. For luxury or high-end options, budget around $100-150 per day.

Moreover, you can enjoy a meal at a local restaurant for around $5-10, take a bus or taxi ride for around $1-2, and visit the historic district of Cuenca and its museums and cathedrals for around $2-5. Additionally, you can take a day trip to the nearby Cajas National Park for around $20-30, which includes transportation, guide, and entrance fee. You can also visit the artisan market at the Parque Calderon, which offers a variety of local crafts and souvenirs.

When you combine these factors with the high quality of life Cuenca offers, as well as the schools available to help you reach your Spanish goals, you’ve got a winning match. It’s also located in the Southern Hemisphere, so if you escape the winter to visit, you’ll find yourself in summer when you arrive.

If you’re looking for a school to focus your study efforts, look no further than Estudio Sampere. They have programs to help connect you with local families for accommodations, and a program that pushes your Spanish skills at the right pace.

#4 San Jose, Costa Rica

Winter weather:

  • December: 77ºF High / 66ºF Low (25ºC / 19ºC)
  • January: 77ºF High / 66ºF Low (25ºC / 19ºC)
  • February: 78ºF High / 66ºF Low (25ºC / 19ºC)

Costa Rica is known as being one of the most eco-friendly countries in the world, and the weather there is perfect for students looking to ditch their winter wonderlands in favor of the tropics. Learning Spanish in Costa Rica is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the language and culture of this beautiful Central American country.

Additionally, Costa Rica is considered one of the safest countries in Central America, making it an ideal destination for students who want to learn Spanish while also feeling secure and comfortable.

The country of pura vida (pure life) is a hotspot for international tourism, lending itself to being a great choice for beginner students. It should be fun to learn a language, so it helps to visit somewhere well-known for its plethora of adventure opportunities. Costa Rica is known for its diverse outdoor activities such as zip-lining, mountain hiking, white water rafting, kayaking, and more. Whether you’re an adrenaline seeker or just looking for a leisurely hike, Costa Rica has it all.

Additionally, Ticos, or people from Costa Rica, are notoriously friendly, and are happy to help you practice Spanish. 

San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica, is one of the best places to learn Spanish in the country. There, you get all of the advantages of a big city and easy access to the surrounding areas, where you’ll find more opportunities to explore the country’s natural beauty.

Check out Tico Lingo if you’re looking for a great school that caters to teenagers and adults alike for a highly rated linguistic and cultural immersion experience.

Learn more about life in Costa Rica by listening to our podcast episode with Carlota Morales.

#5. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Winter weather:

  • December: 82ºF High / 67ºF Low (28ºC / 19ºC)
  • January: 84ºF High / 69ºF Low (29ºC / 21ºC)
  • February: 82ºF High / 68ºF Low (28ºC / 20ºC)

If you’re looking for a culturally rich country with a heavy European influence, check out Argentina for your Spanish winter getaway. Argentina is the country of tango, mate (a traditional South American drink made from yerba mate leaves), and soccer.

It’s also a home to a variety of Spanish accents with an Italian twist, with over 30 million citizens claiming Italian ancestry. This cultural mix shows up in a number of ways, from the expressiveness of the locals to words and phrases that are unique to the region.

Buenos Aires is an amazing city with a lot to offer. From its vibrant culture and nightlife to its historical sites and stunning architecture, Buenos Aires is the perfect destination for anyone wanting to experience all Latin America has to offer. Examples include the Teatro Colon, one of the most important opera houses in South America, the Palermo’s parks with its beautiful rose gardens, the iconic Obelisk, the Government House, and the famous Recoleta Cemetery where you can find the tomb of Eva Peron (a political leader and actress in Argentina who was the wife of President Juan Domingo Peron and played a major role in his administration, particularly in championing women’s rights and welfare programs, and she is remembered as one of the most iconic figures in Argentine history).

And since the seasons are opposite of the northern hemisphere, you’ll enjoy warm weather while practicing your Spanish from December through February.

If you are seeking out a Spanish school in Buenos Aires with excellent reviews and an effective Spanish language course, check out Expanish. They’ll help set you up with a local family to accommodate you throughout your stay, or you can opt for a private apartment. You’ll be able to choose from group classes or one-on-one tutoring sessions tailored just for you.

Don’t Forget to Secure Your Trip!

But safety first: before you discover what places you should go to this winter, make sure you get travel and medical insurance. We recommend choosing SafetyWing to have your back, for a few reasons:

  • Affordability: It is one of the most affordable options available. SafetyWing provides comprehensive protection for travelers at a fraction of the cost of traditional travel insurance plans.
  • Subscription model: You don’t have to pay for a whole year upfront: you are charged automatically every four weeks. That’s super useful if you don’t know exactly how long you’ll be outside your home country
  • You can buy a plan while traveling: Most insurance companies require you to purchase your plan while in your home country. SafetyWing doesn’t. In addition, their coverage begins almost immediately, while it takes most of their competitors a few days to “activate” your insurance. This makes traveling less stressful, as you always have the flexibility to adapt your coverage wherever you are

Conclusion: Start Your Adventure!

Learning Spanish in a foreign country is an excellent way to beat the winter blues. Whether you want to explore the vibrant culture of Mexico, escape to the romantic streets of Spain, or find yourself surrounded by tropical nature in Costa Rica, there are so many exciting possibilities! No matter where you choose to go and what you decide to do, you’ll be sure to have a truly unique and unforgettable experience.

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