Tanya - 2014 - NEW
I returned from Copan a few weeks ago and wanted to give you a reportof my experience at Guacamaya Spanish School since a few of you asked, and just an overview of the trip.
Firstof all, I had an absolute wonderful time and awesome experience!
I arrived in Guatemalacity at 9 pm on Halloween night and stayed at Patricias Bed and Breakfast, itis only a few miles from the airport and they offer airport pick upand drop off. It is basic and clean, I felt safe and at home there. They took me to the Hedman Alas bus terminal the next morning at 4am also which was really nice and convenient. After sleeping most of the bus ride I arrived in Copan around 10am that morning and was met atthe bus station by Enrique Carrillo the director of Guacamaya School.
He drove me around town to so I could get an idea of where things are,showed me where the school is and then took me to my homestay family. I couldn't have asked for a better family, they were very warm and welcoming and didn't speak of word of English which is what I wanted.
I started class the next day, they gave me a test to gauge where my spanish was and then we began my lessons from there. I was given aworkbook and we did exercises from there, played games, and had somegood conversation about everything; life, culture differences,politics, etc. I was really pleased with my instructor, she was verythorough, patient, natured and funny. I studied on Saturday as well to get in a little extra time since I was only in Copan for about 11/2 weeks. And again, no english spoken so I had a lot of good practice!
Therewas a street fair during the week I was there, and all kinds ofpeople came from different parts of CentralAmerica ontheir Harley's so it was interesting and a lot of fun. The schoolprovides one activity per week, so we went horseback riding up pastHacienda San Lucas into the mountains to where the Mayan women's co-pis. One of the women started talking to me and invited me into herhome to show me how they dye the corn husks that they make the dollsand flowers from. It was a little sad, but I was grateful to haveseen it. Me and two other girls that were also studying at the schoolwent to the ruins together, they were absolutely beautiful, I didn'tgo the museum there so next time I will. I also went to MacawMountain Bird Park, that was incredible too, I wish I had brought mynotebook with me because that would have been a perfect place tostudy after the tour was complete.
Ididn't eat out at restaurants while I was there since my home motherfeed me 'till I almost exploded every meal. But I had some goodempanadas and baleadas. I studied after class at Cafe Villa Mil, ithas a really beautiful roof top terrace with a gorgeous view of themountains. I went to Twisted Tanya's for Happy Hour a few times, theyhave 2for1 cocktails and it's a nice place to see the sunset. I alsowent to Cita wine bar a few times just to get out of the house in theevenings. They are soo nice and friendly there.
Myhost family was great, I went on a few outings with the mother, wewent to the market early Sunday morning and shopped, went to hersister’s house that afternoon and then I was invited to join her togo to a birthday party at her friend’s house. It was a lot of funand some good memories and photo's too!
Ihad such a wonderful time, the town is so lovely and charming, peopleare friendly and I felt comfortable being there by myself. It was sonice to unwind from the daily hustle here. The weather was a littleon the chilly side, but that beats being hot and humid. I'm alreadyplanning my return trip there next year, I would like to explore moreof the region and check out the Lenca area.
Iflew out of Guatemala city and took the Hedman bus back and had totake a cab to Patricias Bed and Breakfast because they weren't ableto pick me up. I don't know if I was being super vigilant or superparanoid. I had read so many warnings about cab robberies inGuatemala city, plus a lady on my flight told me her daughter wasrobbed in a cab there so I was trying to be really careful. So, atthe bus station a man asked if I needed a cab, I said yes and toldhim where I was going and asked how much, we agreed on a price and hesent me over to the cab driver. The driver put my luggage in thetrunk and reconfirmed where I was going, then he said to wait a fewminutes because he was waiting for other people(which had never beenmentioned before). My gut instinct felt like something wasn't right,so I got out of the cab and typed his license plate number into mynotepad on my phone and then pretended to be on the phone. Then thecab driver asked if I had a reservation at Patricia's and I said yes,that I had reconfirmed it and they were expecting me...all of thesudden he then says "ok, we can go now" without these otherpeople that he was waiting for. Who knows if something was going tohappen, but I didn't want to find out :).
Thankyou to everyone who provided such good advice and tips, this reallyreally helped me in planning my trip. I can't wait to go again!! P.s.Has anyone traveled the Lenca areas of Honduras ?
Thanksa bunch! Tanya
Bonjour à tous,
Je m'appelle Jean-Pierre Bolduc , J'ai 58 ans et je viens du Canada.Je vis à St-Hubert une ville voisine de Montréal dans la Province de Québec.
J'ai étudié l'español pendant 2 mois à l'école Guacamaya de la ville de Copàn Ruinas au Honduras. C'est une école que je recommande à tous ceux et celles qui veulent apprendre à bien parler l'Español.
Tous les professeurs ( res ) de cette école enseignent d'une manière très professionnel et leurs façons de faire sont très appropriées et ajustées pour tous les âges et pour tous les niveaux d'apprentissages.
Toutes les classes sont situées à l'extérieur du bâtiment dans une jolie cour remplie de plantes et de fleurs et chaque classe est isolée et protégée du bruit , du soleil et de la pluie. Chaque étudiant (te ) possède son propre professeur (re ), son bureau et son coin bien à lui pour un maximum d'intimité.
À l'intérieur du bâtiment, il y a une bibliothèque, une salle de séjour, une salle de travail, des ordinateurs, internet, des toilettes et une cuisinette. L'école est ouverte tous les jours de 7h30 a.m à 5h30p.m sauf le dimanche.
Tout en apprenant, je me suis amusé et régalé. Ce fut une expérience de vie unique et bien spéciale.
Je recommande fortement cette école à tous.
The purpose of our trip to Copan is mainly to brush up on our Spanish. It’s easy to think you can speak Spanish when you’re a tourist and the conversations you’re having are all very brief and in the present tense. We quickly realized when we got here that while we can understand about 80% of what people are saying, speaking is another matter. It’s HARD. At the Escuela Guacamaya we have been receiving one on one instruction every day for four hours, plus homework each night. Our teachers (who speak no English) have been fantastic. Allan’s teacher is named Dunia, a gentle and kind 38 year old mother of three. Julianne’s teacher is named Karla, a lively, beautiful and fun 26 year old who loves to gossip! We came to think of them as friends. Classes consist of a combination of new vocabulary, verb conjugation and conversation. We also enjoyed playing Spanish versions of the Wiebe and Davis classics – Scattegories and Boggle! We are learning a lot, slowly but surely.
As a treat to finish our 2 weeks of language school, our teachers, Dunia and Karla, taught us how to make empanadas. Empanadas, or pupusas, are a traditional dish of Honduras. They are made of corn flour and water mixture, and can have any number of fillings. Every time Allan made one they said it looked pregnant. We made two types, refried beans and squash & cheese. Delish! We’re hoping to make these a staple of our meal plan in Roatán.
Dear Enrique and the Guacamaya staff,
I wanted to thank you for the wonderful month that each of you helped me to have at Guacamaya. The quality of the Spanish instruction was first rate. My ability to improve in speaking, reading and writing in Spanish was maximized by the individual instruction that I received from my black-belt instructor, Julia!
The homestay experience further enhanced my ability to assimilate the Honduran culture into my experience. Through this aspect of the program, I was able to exponentially expand my circle of new friends and adventures throughout the month.
Enrique went above and beyond in being accommodating to all of my needs. The excursions that he provided included a trip to the hot springs, the bird park and a horseback riding excursion up to visit LasPinturas. Todos fueron muy bueno!!!
I look forward to taking the additional hours of lessons on Skype.In this manner I hope to continue to improve….Moreover, I must tell you that my friends back at the Embassy have been impressed by my progress. Without question, I will recommend to those who are interested in improving their Spanish.
With much appreciation,
My experience at la escuela Guacamaya, September, 2010
I have just returned from one of the most awesome experiences of my life—3 weeks in Copán Ruinas, Honduras, studying Spanish at la escuela Guacamaya. My primary reason for studying Spanish is that I am Santa Claus in the north Georgia mountains, working primarily in Head Start and preK classes in Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee. There are many immigrants here, primarily from Mexico and Guatemala, and I had encountered a number of children who could neither speak nor understandEnglish, so I resolved to learn enough at least enough Spanish to communicate with these children. I had begun using a computer program on my own for a few months before deciding to do an immersion program. I researched a number of schools in Central America, and am very glad I chose Guacamaya. The program is just one student per teacher, which I think is far superior to bigger classes. The teacher gave me an assessment exam on the first day to know where to start, butshe was able to move me along at whatever pace was appropriate for me as we progressed in our classes. The basic program is 4 hours of class per day, but I did an additional hour each day. She was a remarkable teacher, very experienced and very attuned to my individual needs. Because of my particular interest, she often brought children's books for me to read and then explain to her, as a wonderful teaching tool for me. She and I shared many common interests and had lively conversations about politics, current events, and the cultural differences between the US and Honduras. The classes were wonderful, and she used creative activities as well, such as playing Spanish scrabble and other word games with another teacher and her student. The setting is unbelievably gorgeous, with individual open air classrooms surrounding a beautiful little garden with lots of tropical plants. The school is only a couple of blocks from the city center, and many afternoons after class I would walk to the central park or a cafe, to people watch and do my homework; many afternoons I would meet little children and chat with them or play together. The family I stayed with were so friendly and helpful, and I've made friends for life. Copán is a beautiful little town, with many interesting things to do in the area, particularly visiting the Mayan ruins. All the townspeople were very friendly and accommodating—every day as I walked to school, people would call out to me, Hola Santa Clos, HO HO HO, and then break into peals of laughter. I walked everywhere, but there area hundred mototaxis in town if you need a ride for very little cash.
I loved my time in Copán and at Guacamaya. I learned a tremendous amount in 3 weeks, and am going to continue my classes with my teacher using Skype. I would highly recommend this program to anyone, and would also be happy to talk with anyone considering the school and answer any questions you may have, so feel free to contact me.
"I would highly recommend the Guacamaya Spanish School to anyone interested in learning some Spanish and having fun at the same time. Theschool combines one-on-one professional teaching with a casual and friendly atmosphere. Copan Ruinas and the surrounding countryside are beautiful areas to explore. It was an all-round wonderful experience."
- Alice Dixon, Brownsville, Maryland
"My experience in Copan is one that I will always remember. From Day One it was easy to see why so many people visit; the laid back attitude towards life and the friendly locals are two of many attractions.
For the duration of my trip Guacamaya Spanish School not only helped with Spanish lessons, but also organized trips, and took me to the school where I did my volunteer work. It was a great center of resources as the teachers were always willing to help and give advice. Enrique was always accommodating to everyone's needs and made me feel welcome. I had a super time - thanks to everyone at Guacamaya!
- Clare Williams
"You can´t help but feel a little nervous knowing you´ll be spending 6 weeks insmall town Honduras but from the moment I arrived, from the program directorKike´s welcoming smile to my host mother's warm embrace, I immediately felt athome.
People come here to learn Spanish but leave having experienced so much more.Not to belittle the educational aspect. The lessons are extremely organized,highly instructive and, most of all, fun ! Breaks spent eating tortillas andlearning with Spanish Scrabble and top notch individual attention, wereinstrumental in taking my Spanish to the next level, the conversational level.For me, however, whattruly ¨made¨the experience was the chance to live as aHonduran, a Copaneco. Living with Dona Reina was interesting, enlightening andalways entertaining. She typifies Guacamaya host families in that she's asexcited and happy to have you as you are to be there (and one hell of a cook!).I was also lucky enough to do some volunteer work with the local indigenouspeople which was as challenging as it was rewarding (and can easily bearranged).
I recommend Guacamaya without reservation and can pretty much guarantee you´llleave a changed person and all the better for it!"
Joanna Mantello ( [email protected] )
My Experience at Escuela Guacamaya-- July 2005
I recently returned after spending two weeks in Copan Ruinas, Honduras, studying Spanish at la Escuela Guacamaya. I thoroughly enjoyedmy experience and found it very worthwhile.
I am an ESL teacher in the Arlington, VA public schools. I have many students from Central and South America. Communicating with their parents is very important. I went to Honduras with a good basic knowledge of Spanish, but hoping to improve my listening comprehension and fluencyin speaking. I thought the school was excellent. Enrique Carrrillo, the director, runs a very efficient program, suited to the individual needs of students of all ages. He was very helpful in providing information before I decided to enroll and while I was there. He even saw to it that I had transportation to the bus station at 4:45 a.m. the day I left!
I felt an immediate connection with the instructor I was matched up with. Like me she was a public school teacher, wife, mother, and woman with a mind of her own. I worked with her for four hours each morning. She assessed my needs very accurately and the instruction was just what I needed: a bit of fine-tuning of grammar, but mostly conversation. We discussed articles in the daily newspaper, other reading that I did, and myriad topics of mutual interest. I learned a lot about Honduran life, culture and politics from our daily conversations. Afternoons, she welcomed me into her classroom—she taughtthe afternoon session at the local public elementary school—and I had afascinating look at education in Honduras and the joy of interacting with her third graders.
I lived with a local family, where I had comfortable accommodations and felt warmly welcomed. Meals were an additional opportunity for conversation and a window into family life in Honduras.
Copan Ruinas is a beautiful small town. In and around it I found many interesting sites, all accessible on foot, and not the least of which are the very spectacular Mayan ruins that the town in famous for. The school also organizes excursions. I enjoyed an overnight visit to Gracias Lempira, another mountain town. We witnessed its annual celebration in honor of a local hero and took a memorable hike on Monte Celaque, Honduras’s highest mountain.
I found inexpensive internet access at several locations in Copan, so that I was able to maintain daily contact with my husband and children in the U.S.
All in all, I had a very positive experience in Copan Ruinas and Iwouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Escuela Guacamaya to students of anyage who are interested in learning Spanish and getting a taste of life in Honduras. I would suggest good walking shoes for the steep, uneven pavement and a rain parka or umbrella for the frequent late afternoon orevening downpours (if you visit in July as I did), but those are a small price to pay for an otherwise outstanding experience.
If you’d like to contact me for further information concerning my experience, my e-mail address is [email protected] I’d be happy to answer any questions.