Hands-on Spanish Travel

Programming is on hold until Summer of 2023, due to the Corona virus. However, feel free to contact Programs for secondary and post-secondary institutions.

Cultural-linguistic, service learning and educational travel adventures throughout Latin America, Spain and Portugal. Study abroad and dual enrollment program development available: https://www.hands-onspanish.com

Operating as usual


So many wonderful memories these past 17 years. Thank you to everyone who has joined the HOST family along the way: our lead educators, students, host families, directors, operators and guides—you are amazing and we love you. All our adventures remain in our hearts as we move on to other projects beyond . Thank you for an amazing journey!

Wishing all the best to Cultural Banana Tours as they hit the ground running with Pura Vida BioCAPs. We could not be happier knowing you are taking the reigns.


Summer programming exit questionnaires have been sent out via email and WhatsApp. Students, please take a moment to respond before the weekend. :)

Photos from Hands-on Spanish Travel's post 07/02/2023

Take a look at the outstanding research produced on our Pura Vida BioCAPs program with the Sarapiqui Conservation Learning Center at the Selva Verde Lodge! Thank you to all who supported our students on this adventure.

Photos from Hands-on Spanish Travel's post 07/01/2023

Learning how to make organic compost ready for use in two months, germinating seeds of the almendro and other native tree species and, finally, planting the saplings in an area wiped out by flooding years ago. Making a difference !


Join us tomorrow at 4pm at the Selva Verde Lodge’s conference room in collaboration with the Sarapiqui Conservation Learning Center for our research presentations. Topics: Zingiber spectabile and its pollinators, Lobster claw heliconia and its pollinators and the effectiveness of leaf cutter ants.

These students have done an outstanding job! Come and see for yourself!

Come one, come all! Join us at Selva Verde for our poster symposium.

Photos from Hands-on Spanish Travel's post 06/28/2023

Today was outstanding. This tour of Caño Negro was the best we have ever been on. We actually saw three “lifers”, birds that many professional birders search for their entire lives and maybe only see once, if at all. So. Much. Luck:
1) Garza Agami
2) Patitos Cantiles
3) Yellowtail Oriole

We found bats inside a Ceiba tree—a majestic tree full of life!

We saw juvenile jaguar tracks off a lagoon of the río frío.

We saw soooo many other birds and learned fascinating information about all of them. Basilisks, iguanas, howlers and spider monkeys were all over, too.

After the hike into the forest, our boat was invaded by army ants! Insects weren’t all bad, though. Students learned they can survive by eating termites. And yes, we always aim to please the palette, so several kids braved the live, tasty treat!

This evening we briefed students on their research. Dr. Silva, director of Loyola University Chicago’s data science graduate program, will give a lesson tomorrow on academic poster and research design. Students will then tour the grounds, and select their research topic/track. Teams will be established before lunch and our first core research block starts after lunch!

The kids are pumped and so are we!

Enjoy some pics…


Come one, come all! Join us at Selva Verde for our poster symposium.

Photos from Hands-on Spanish Travel's post 06/22/2023

Today we head out for Costa Rica! A fun fact about student participation on this program:
We work with local, socially-embedded and environmentally conscious tour operators in Costa Rica. Take a look at our local operator’s new business: Jungle Foods! This is sustainable tourism at its best. Thank you for choosing HOST! In doing so you are supporting the livelihood of communities and small businesses in CR!

Take a look at some of their products!


Pura Vida BioCAPs starts tomorrow! Looking forward to seeing our travelers!

The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth 06/17/2023

Wishing all a happy Juneteenth weekend! Let Freedom ring!

The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth Juneteenth is an often overlooked event in our nation’s history. On June 19, 1865, Union troops freed enslaved African Americans in Galveston Bay and across Texas some two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

Agent Portal for Travel Insurance | GGA-CSA 06/08/2023

Traveling abroad this Summer? We are agents for CSA/Generali international travel insurance. Please consider using us!

Agent Portal for Travel Insurance | GGA-CSA A place for travel agents and their customers to purchase Generali Global Assistance-CSA Travel Protection plans.


We still have a ways to go in the Americas (and elsewhere) but progress is progress.


We remember and honor.


Our pre-travel guide for Summer programming was released this week! Be sure to check your email!


Happy teacher appreciation week to all educators in the home stretch! ¡Sí se puede!


¿Sabías que en existen más de 50 tipos de maíz? 🇵🇪🌽 Este grandioso superalimento fue utilizado durante ceremonias en el antiguo Perú para agradecerle a la Pachamama, y también por su increíble valor nutricional. Hoy es el Día Nacional del Maíz Morado, Maíz Choclo y maíces para cancha, y aquí te dejamos unas exquisitas recetas para celebrar con todo el sabor peruano: https://bit.ly/3VE6Ht5

📸: vargasulffe (Instagram)




Happy Friday to all! Summer flight itineraries have been released…please check your email.


The Moors Ruled Spain and Portugal 754 Years Before The Collapse of The Mali Empire
Here are some facts about the Moors in Europe:

1. The Moors Introduced Numerous New Fruits and Vegetables to Europe
The Moors introduced a variety of fruits and vegetables that were previously unknown in both Spain and Europe, and thus deemed exotic novelties. These items included peaches, lemons, oranges, saffron, cotton, rice, silk, sugar cane, apricots, figs, dates, pomegranates and many others. Although commonplace today, during the Middle Ages these items were almost alien to the Spanish. Today, centuries later, they have become staples of Spanish production and diet.

2. The Moors Were Several Steps Ahead of Medieval Europe
At the time of their conquest of the Iberian Peninsula , the advanced civilization of the Arabs was renowned for its architecture, science, mathematics and exploration. Upon their arrival in Spain, the Moors introduced architectural techniques that amazed European stonemasons. One of the most impressive examples of Moorish architecture is the Alhambra, a palace complex and fortress located in Granada, Spain. Construction began in 1238, and it surpassed any similar palace in grandeur and beauty. Today, it remains one of the best-preserved palaces of the Islamic world.

3. Chess Spread Throughout Europe Thanks to the Moors
Even though chess is over 1,500 years old, it was first introduced to Europe in its current form by the Moors. Chess spread from India to the Arabic world and was introduced to Spain by the Moors. It quickly became popular and swept across Europe's courts and society. In medieval Spain, chess was a popular game of strategy and patience. The first written mention of chess in Spain dates back to 1010 AD, in the Catalonian Testament.

4. The Moors Were Very Strict About Their Hygiene
The Moors were known for their love of cleanliness, with a popular saying claiming that a Moor "would rather go without bread than without soap.” Due to their traditions and the rigors of their religion, the Moors were fond of looking s**c and span, and encouraged frequent bathing; In the Moorish town of Cordoba, there were around 900 public baths . This allowed for proper hygiene during a time when plumbing and running water were not yet widely available. Some sources also claim that the Moors brought some form of soap to Europe, introducing a new era of cleanliness.

5. Education Was Very Important to the Moors
Education was of utmost importance to the Moors, who ensured that it was universally available to all within their realm. This stood in stark contrast to medieval Europe, where 90% of the population remained illiterate, and education was reserved for only the wealthiest nobles and clergy. In fact, there were even some European Kings who could not read or write. The Moors established 17 great universities in Spain, located in cities such as Cordoba, Malaga, Granada, Seville, Toledo and Almeria, among others.

6. Numerous Moorish Words Found Their Way into Modern Spanish and English
After their arrival in Europe, the Moors brought with them new concepts and words that quickly became a standard part of everyday language. Spanish has up to 4,000 words of Arabic origin, including algebra, checkmate, and influenza. Other examples are cipher, alcohol, chemistry, typhoon, orange, alkaline, cable and nadir.

7. The Moors Were Very Industrious
Upon their arrival in Iberia, the Moors saw the potential in the old Roman irrigation systems they found and quickly adopted, enhanced and revived them. This led to a surge in agricultural productivity and a boost in the economy. They were also able to cultivate new crops they brought with them such as lemons, oranges, figs, dates, and apricots. Soon, Spain became one of the largest producers of crops in Europe, all thanks to the Moors' innovative irrigation techniques.

8. The Moors Greatly Transformed Spanish Cuisine
Spices were a rare commodity for Europeans, and their food was often considered bland. The Moors changed that by bringing over hundreds of unique s**ces, new recipes and innovative methods of preparing food. This culinary revolution gave rise to many wondrous dishes that we still enjoy today. The Moorish s**ce markets were famous for their variety, offering choice for cooks of all styles. The colors and smells of these medieval markets must have been truly incredible.

Easter Carpets in Antigua, Guatemala 04/07/2023

Otra maravilla—las alfombras y procesiones de Antigua, Guatemala.

Easter Carpets in Antigua, Guatemala During Lent and Holy Week, Guatemalans and tourists come to Antigua to see the religious processions and beautiful temporary carpets that are created in the ...


Wishing all who celebrate a beautiful Passover!

Ramadan Information Sheet - Islamic Networks Group (ING) 03/22/2023

Wishing all who celebrate Ramadan weeks of meaningful rejuvenation and spiritual growth!

Ramadan Information Sheet - Islamic Networks Group (ING) To learn more, check out our free public presentations on Ramadan and Muslim Americans and Their Faith. To view other important dates for Muslims, visit our Calendar of Important Islamic Dates Introduction Ramadan is considered one of the holiest months of the year for Muslims. In Ramadan, Muslim...

Timeline photos 03/18/2023

ACTFL supports the Pay Teachers Act which will help address the major teacher pay crisis in America. To learn more about the act visit: https://bit.ly/3JHynJi

Photos from Hands-on Spanish Travel's post 03/03/2023

Good morning and happy FriYAY to all!
Two quick reminders for Costa Rica travelers:
1) PuraVida BioCAP final installments were due on the 28th of February. We still have some outstanding payments. Late fees will kick in tonight at 11:59pm.
2) We will run our group communication’s test via WhatsApp next week. Please visit your email for actionable steps so you are prepared for that communication!

Wishing all a lovely weekend!




We are on our way to Costa Rica! The last installment for the PuraVida BioCAPs program is Feb 28th. Check your email for further instructions.






El quechua es un idioma muy dulce, porque todas las despedidas en quechua siempre implican un "volverse a encontrar".

Tupananchiskama: Hasta volvernos a "encontrar" (físicamente).
Tinkunakama: Hasta volvernos a encontrar.
Huk punchaw rikurisun: Nos vemos otro día.
Huk punchaw tuparisun: Nos encontramos otro día.
Rikunakusun: Nos volveremos a ver.
Kutin tuparisun: Nuevamente nos encontraremos.

Pero la frase más profunda de todas es "Kawsayta hamuy rikurisun": Nos vemos en la próxima vida.

Imagen: Niños andinos en las calles de Ollantaytambo considerada la "cuidad Inca viviente".

Sígueme en Instagram:

Ayúdame a seguir creando contendio de calidad:

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