Our international trips are on hold until we can safely travel without the risk of Covid-19.
Contact us if you want to be the first to know. Enrollment is limited.
Learn Spanish in Cuenca, Ecuador!
February 2nd-11th, 2019
If you have a group of 4+ people and would like your own customized trip, please contact us.
I fell in love with Cuenca on my first visit last year, and I am excited to be offering this experience again in 2019. What did I love so much? First: The people! I found it was so easy to connect and make friends when I was there. I arrived a week before the students and met so many incredible people who became part of our experience the following week. What else? The colors, the fruit (mangos everyday! And many fruits I had never heard of before!), the markets, the flowers, the mountains, the rivers flowing through town, the national park only 20 minutes away, the free Zumba classes in the park at night, the relaxed pace of life, the fresh juices, the bakeries, the street art, the hot springs, the weather (like springtime in Vermont), the dramatic sky, the smell of palo santo wafting through the streets…. I could go on and on! There is something enchanting about Cuenca and I can’t wait to go back.
Want to join me?
Traveling with Express Fluency allows you to get an inside glimpse into life in Cuenca. Language classes in the mornings enrich the experience by giving you the tools to communicate. This is not your typical ”tour.” While you will see plenty of jaw-dropping sites, the focus of the experience is immersion in the culture and life of Cuenca. We strive to connect with local people and share in a meaningful way– rather than simply “seeing the sites”, taking a picture, and moving on to the next stop.
When you register you will either choose to live with a host family in a homestay or to stay in a hotel while in Cuenca. If you prefer a combination of the two, please email us.
A homestay provides an amazing opportunity to get to know a local family, and to hear a ton of Spanish. We highly recommend this option for getting the most Spanish and culture exchange out of the experience. It is also possible to stay in a homestay with another member of the group.
February 2-11. 2019 Guayaquil/Cuenca
Our journey begins in Guayaquil. You can arrive on February 2nd or, if you prefer, first thing in the morning on February 3rd.(You find and purchase your own flight- but we can help you). Those arriving on the 2nd will eat dinner together and visit the Malecón 2000 waterfront area. A van will drive the group to Cuenca leaving the morning of the 3rd. This 3.5 hour trip is spectacular– truly breathtaking. It begins at sea level and reaches 13,000ft before descending again to Cuenca (9,000 ft). The group stops for lunch on the way at a restaurant with phenomenal views (weather permitting) and then stops again for photos and a short visit in Cajas National Park. The next several days and nights are spent in Cuenca. Language classes are supplemented by activities in the community. Activities last year included: a visit to an English class where we shared a language exchange with Ecuadorian students learning English, a walking tour of Pumapungo Archealogical Park, a tour of one of the largest markets to buy food for a cooking class, a screening of the film “Vengo Volviendo” and conversations with some of the actors afterward, a visit to a 4-generation family-owned guitar making workshop, cuy lunch with a multi-generation local family, a trip to hot springs, a day hike in Cajas National Park (amongst llamas and alpacas!), a trip to the countryside for lunch with a local family and visits to neighboring small towns. While we provide options for afternoon and evening activities you are always welcome to explore on your own. On Sunday, February 10th the group returns to Guayaquil to be ready for early flights the following day.
(We are also considering adding an optional extra couple of days for a trip to Quito and Otavalo.)
Our classes are taught using Comprehensible-Input based methods including TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling). Here is a link to a video about this way of teaching.
Our classes take place in a “classroom” as well as in the community, interacting in real-life situations. They are geared to helping you interact with locals, shop, dine, and navigate your way through the city. The “level” of classes offered will depend on the needs of the students who enroll. We have rented a beautiful house in Cuenca to serve as our home-base. There is a yard full of flowers and hummingbirds where classes will often take place.
The students who opted for homestays last year reported the greatest improvement in their Spanish speaking throughout the trip.
Are you a teacher? You can get graduate-level university credits through the University of the Pacific when you take our classes! More info here.
Cajas National Park
Early discount (deposit received by November 1st):
Double Occupancy hotel or homestay: $2100. (before November 1st) $2200 (after November 1st)
Single Occupancy hotel: $2350. (before November 1st) $2450 (after November 1st)
A $500 non-refundable deposit is required to reserve your spot. The balance is due by January 15th. Flexible payment options available for the balance. Contact us.
9 nights lodging
Group travel in Ecuador
Breakfasts (homestay option also includes dinner)
Several group meals
Walking tour of Cuenca, tour of archeological ruins, several other afternoon activities
Transportation to, and guided hike in, Cajas National Park
15+ hours of Spanish class (including snacks!)
Many hours of informal time with instructors using Spanish in real-life situations
Use of kitchen and laundry facilities
Price DOES NOT include:
Several meals (estimate $5-$15/day)
Personal expenses such as laundry expenses, shopping, etc..
Additional (optional) classes and experiences such as thermal pools, cooking class, etc.
Additional transportation needs
Travel insurance (highly recommended!)
*Please do not book your flight before checking to make sure that there are at least 5 students enrolled in the group.
Watch a 3-minute video from last year’s trip: