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Old 18 Dec 2007
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Should I study Spanish in Merida, Brazil or Cuenca, Equador?

Hey guys, I am just about to head off to one of these places and was wondering which one would be better. Both cities have very good nationally recognized language schools. I think Venezuela would be cheaper, but also a lot more dangerous. They are both beatiful places.
http://www.journeyrider.net Latin America blog (07-8)
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Old 19 Dec 2007
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I'd go with ecuador. Probably cheaper and, well, it is a Spanish speaking country.
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Old 19 Dec 2007
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Fuel is free in Chavezville. Polar is about $.25 per bottle from mercados.

A no-brainer to me....
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Old 19 Dec 2007
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I would recomend Medellin myself. Ahh, the Paisas...their language is like music! Cuenca is a really beautiful colonial city, probably the nicest in Ecuador. Brazil speaks Portugese, better start with Espanol first
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Old 20 Dec 2007
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For me, merida was the nicest , and friendliest town in venezuela ( not a hard task i have to say) lots of students around so lots of bars and people that want to talk to you . Practise makes perfect. There are plenty of tourists , for venezuela anyway. and if you take a pocket full to dollars to use on the blackmarket it is cheap. you will cry if you try to live off travellers checks or cash machines. black market rate can be over 50% higher.
Venezuelans speak funny too ;o)
but the girls look good.

I am working in ecuador now. travelled here before. i think ( and i think the general concencus) is that the spanish in Ecuador is nice and clear and well paced, and teh folks are used to tourists trying their spanish in a heinz variety of accents. helps with confidence and getting understood. i have a slight northern english accent and can´t say RR for example. but it is tolerated here.
I didn´t quite get in to the swing of things in Cuenca. lovely looking place, with bike shops. but i felt it was a bit quiet,or you just had to know the right people.

All depends what you are looking for.

Colombia is definately some where you should dismiss either. i vote with Mr Ron.
But bear in mind if you start your trip there, you may ruin your plans and run out of time for the other places on the way ;o)

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Old 30 Dec 2007
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Merida is Awesome!!! and if you have time you can climb Pico Bolivar... Great relatively easy climb. There is a climbers hostel in town that will supply you with everything you'll need.
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Old 31 Dec 2007
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Cost an issue?

Merida is a nice but is the most expensive for language lessons, it has some great touring riding around it but no "astounding" trail stuff. It is very touristy and I got bored with Merida in a week.

Cuenca has some cheap language places but has one particular school that is a bit more expensive runs 1,2 or 4 week courses that include activities that you do every day as part of the course. It includes heaps of great things that the class do as a group such as history, sight seeing etc... that you ahve to do in Spanish.

It is a bit more expensive but is well worth the cost. Cuenca has less "touring" rides around it but some great enduro riding in the hills, and a great bike friendly hostel (see lonely planet or hostel world) This would be the best language course going around because you get heaps of history and sightseeing as part of the course.

Quito has some very cheap language training but is a dangerous shithole. Between Quito and Cuenca (The Long Way Round...lol) There is a town called Tena. The entry ride is magnificent and you can stop halfway there at some natural hot springs.

Tena has magnificent riding (touring and trail) and attracts hepas of white wataer rafters and kayakers to its myriad of rivers (next to no tourists just the mad kayakers and a beautiful place). It is an astoundingly beautiful area.

I suggest: Do your basic stuff in Cuenca 2-3 weeks, back trcak to Tena for conversational training and enjoy the landscape/rivers/other travellers. In my opinion it is the highlight of Ecuador (It is also teh jump off point for the "heart of darkness" canoe trips into the jungle townships that have no raods to them.

Just to confuse things... if it were me I'd be doing it in Colombia (cheapest schools and best riding and best scenery)

Good luck, enjoy.
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Old 9 Jan 2008
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I did a ton of research on language schools a while back and decided on Instituto Cultural in Oaxaca, Mexico and it was great. Since that time I referred the school to several friends and they all thought it was exceptional. It is also very reasonably priced.

INSTITUTO CULTURAL OAXACA | Spanish Language School in Oaxaca Mexico | study and learn spanish | spanish courses oaxaca mexico

The instructors and programs are great.
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