Spanish Immersion at Veracruz's Spanish Language Immersion Schools

The Language Immersion School,    Veracruz's Spanish Immersion



 
American owned and operated. Lodging, meals, and materials are included. Come to Veracruz by plane (we'll meet you at the airport), bus, or car. Non-traditional Spanish immersion optimizes your learning in this especially safe, very friendly city.   (About Us--click here)

Spanish Immersion works best when you're doing dazzling things (and talking about them)

Mexico, Veracruz, and Spanish Study
Weekend Trips, Intown Places, and A Virtual Trip Back in Time

Spanish study is even all the more fun when you're living what you learn.

Every day you'll enjoy an Out-and-About Lab. Once a week you'll go on an out-of-town Fieldtrip. All of this is included in our basic price (please see our pricing page--we have no hidden costs, and no surprise costs). Always, of course, you'll be out and about with a charlante. With them and with the warm and friendly people of Veracruz you can practice and practice and practice while you're having lots of fun and plenty of adventure.

On the weekends, in safe and helpful Veracruz, even though you're "on your own," you can travel the state. We're happy to help with arrangements. Our list of trips and places begins with five super weekends. Then it talks about places to see in town or on fieldtrip day.

Trips to Take and Places to See

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El Tajin

Three hours north of the City of Veracruz is the major and dazzling anthropological site of El Tajin. It is home to the Voladores de Papantla (The fliers of Papantla), the brave men would fly in graceful circles from the top of tall poles. Large but not huge, the pyramids of El Tajin are of a more human scale than Teotihuacan and Chichen Itzá. The result verges on mystical. The close-by city of Papantla with it Totonac flavor, and the ocean side city of Teocelo add even more dimensions to this incredible weekend trip.

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Xalapa (Jalapa)

The capital of the State of Veracruz, Xalapa is is the fine arts center of Veracruz. Home to the University of Veracruz (main campus), The magnificent Xalapa Museum of Anthropology, the Symphonic Orchestra of Xalapa (a world class symphony orchestra), and art and music everywhere, Xalapa is highly cosmpolitan. It's also true to its folk traditions and the interaction of fine and folk art makes this interesting city even more fun.

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Orizaba

High enough to be cool in the hot months, Orizaba is colonial (but modern). The city itself is a joy to visit. It sits at the base of Orizaba Peak, North America's third highest mountain peak. Close by are Fortin de las Flores and Cordoba. It's surrounded by deep narrow valleys and at the edge of town is a beautiful waterfall. Up the mountain side you can visit small villages with lots of indigenous culture. Yet farther up you'll come to the small City of Coscomatapec.

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Las Tuxtlas

Three hours south of Veracruz is one of the State's most scenic regions. Here the mountains come very close to the Gulf. Mexico's second largest lake, Lago Catamaco, and its witches and shamans are popular. Santiago Tuxtla is a delightful small city and the base many choose. At San Andres Tuxtla is a cigar factory--maybe a once in a lifetime stop.

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Jalcomulco

On the Rio Antigua, a little more than halfway to Xalapa, there's super-fun whitewater rafting (and zipline and rappel for those who want a fuller day). The river has no rapids greater than 2.5, but it has lots of rapids. It's constant fun for three hours. You can make it a day or overnight trip, or you can combine Jalcomulco and Xalapa for a weekend of adventure, ecology, art and music.

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Zocalo--the Main City Plaza, the City Square

The zocalo is where it’s at. It’s the heart and soul, the center of fun and happiness and culture in Veracruz. It's where the music doesn't stop until four in the morning. Along one side of the zocalo is a block-long run of open-air restaurants. On another is the municipal palace (city hall), and on the third side is the Cathedral. The fourth side abuts Independence Avenue and opens the zocalo to El Centro, the downtown.

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Anthropology Museum of Xalapa

Xalapa, also spelled Jalapa, is talked about above. It's home to Mexico’s second greatest museum of anthropology, El Museo de Anthropología de Jalapa. The museum just by itself makes a great trip and so it's listed separately. From huge stone heads to tiny clay sculptures, the ancient history of Eastern Mexico is told.

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Malecon

The sidewalk running along the water edge, a sidewalk sometimes 150 feet wide, is called the Malecon. Here it's about 10 miles long. It's a family place for exercise, skating, playing tag, and for everyone, it's where you get to sit and look at the beauty of the ocean and watch the ships.

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Veracruz Coral Reef System

Just offshore lies the Veracruz Coral Reef System, Sistema Arrecifal de Veracruz. It has 15 major structures and is a spectacular place to scuba or snorkel.

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Fort San Juan de Ulua

Sitting across the harbor the old fort is built of coral cut from the reef upon which it sits. Cannon balls flew from San Juan de Ulua to the Baluarte de Santiago (the in-town fort) and cannon balls flew back. Gold and Silver bound for Spain was stored in the fort waiting for the heavily armed transport ships that would carry it across the ocean. Pirate ships waited just offshore ready to attack the transports. Pirates at times sneaked into the harbor and twice rampaged through the city. Today the fort is breached Tuesday through Sunday by tourists. The city provides you a ride across the harbor.

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Zempoala Archaeological Site

About an hour up the coastal highway from Veracruz is the beautiful mid-sized ruins of Zempoala (sometimes spelled Cempoala). First settled around 1200 AD, it became the capital of the Totonac Empire. This group was the first to join with Cortez and his Conquistadors against the Aztec Empire.

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Gran Café de la Parroquia

Don’t go home without going to the Gran Café de la Parroquia first. No one will believe you were here if you haven’t seen the sensational presentation of coffee and enjoyed their blend’s great taste.

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Bed and Breakfast in Veracruz

We’ve looked and looked and just can’t find a Bed and Breakfast. There are a few around the state. Our favorite is outside Orizaba with Frank and Ania Shattuck (frankania@yahoo.com). Maybe, here in Veracruz, Bed and Breakfast spots come and go, but we haven’t seen them.

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Hotel Mocambo

Gorgeous, historical, architectural excellence, Veracruz’s grand old resort still today remains the city’s most beautiful example of colonial hotel design. Once south of town, it now lies within suburban Veracruz-Boca del Rio. A visit to the hotel is a gift to one’s eyes. Staying in the hotel is a treasured memory.

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Around Town

Up higher in this list we've talked about a few of the spots to visit around town. There are over thirty more spots of interest. On your out-and-abouts, along with a charlante, you'll go to many of them.

A Virtual Trip Back in Time!
Pictures and Photos from Veracruz of Long Ago

This gallery will grow as we find more and more old photos around town, photos that will show you how Veracruz looked many years back in time. (back)

This view of Calle Principal shows Veracruz's downtown from long ago.  Now called Calle Independencia, this is a main commercial street in El Centro.
Here's a view of Veracruz back in 1615. Veracruz was referred to as the "Ciudad de Tabla," the city of boards because the structures were built of wood. You'll notice a rather genteel horseback rider sitting on the ridge above the city. The ridge doesn't exist and never did. The land runs flat inland quite a ways. I guess it's the artists convention that gives justification to his view or is used to set up a sense of perspective. (Back in those days there might have been no genteel horseback riders either.) Just across the harbor you see the old, large fort San Juan de Ulúa.


Downtown Veracruz a century ago
Here's a more recent view of downtown, of El Centro, than we've had in prior photos. Trolleys and horse drawn carts were still the rule, but cars and trucks had found their place.


At the beach in Veracruz, Mexico many years ago.

Bathers are enjoying the ocean's warm waters. This photo was probably taken at North Beach or possibly at the beaches that are a twenty minute walk from the school southward along the malecon.



Downtown Veracruz a century ago

Looking down the street toward the church tower, one sees "movie-set" old Mexico. The street is still here. A few of the old structures are still standing.



Veracruz used to have its own cigar factory.
Looking down the street we see the Cathedral's tower. I have to go look for this spot. I think we're looking down Manuel Gutierrez. I'll check it out.


Veracruz's mail boulevard along the malecon and the ocean's edge
Veracruz's main boulevard runs right along the ocean's edge. Today the boulevard is busier and paved with concrete, but the location is just the same. The sidewalk is the malecon. In total it is about six miles long. It's where many of our Spanish immersion students talk their daily exercise walk.


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Veracruz's mail boulevard along the malecon and the ocean's edge
The docks at Veracruz always have been very busy. Here's a great shot of loading and unloading cargo. A it was back them, today the docks are visible from the malecon in el Centro. Students studying Spanish at The Language Immersion School enjoy watching the shipping.


Long ago on the main corner of the malecon was a kiosk with a lookout deck.
We're stumped by this photo. We've been asking around, but we're unable to find out exactly where this old swimming and boating dock was located. We're guessing it was near the current Yacht Club location. We'll keep asking.


Long ago on the main corner of the malecon was a kiosk with a lookout deck.
We're reminded just how relative our judgments are. Today to have to saddle up a burro or hook up a team to a cart would be overly difficult. But back in time in Veracruz, this was the good life.


Downtown Veracruz a century ago
A couple dressed in their Sunday best is out for a stroll along the malecon. Back in time the malecon was Veracruz's boardwalk. Today most of the beaches are in town, and the malecon is bustling with tourists, vendors, and locals.


A large-wheeled mule cart is somewhere downtown and is surrounded by turkeys.  But your imagination could turn them into turkey buzzards, and then no telling what might be being hauled in the cart.
This mule cart with very large wheels must be designed for carrying heavy loads. Why it is surrounded by turkeys makes no sense to us.


Long ago on the main corner of the malecon was a kiosk with a lookout deck.
Veracruz, long ago, was a walled city. The wall was built to keep the pirates out. At several spots small forts, "baluartes," were built and loaded with cannons. Based on the appearance and orientation, we think this is the Baluarte Santiago. Our spanish immersion students often visit it.


This view of Calle Principal shows Veracruz's downtown from long ago.  Now called Calle Independencia, this is a main commercial street in El Centro.
Two things strike us about this shot of the old Calle Principal (today Calle Independencia). The first is how the awnings open out over the road itself. Today there are no awnings this wide. The second is the cobblestone surface. What a rough ride it must have been.


Veracruz, in days gone was home to superior rail service.  Here's a picture of the old and majestic train station.
You'll find the old trolley tracks here and there around town. Just like the horseback rider down the road beyond the trolley, the old forms of transportation are gone. Every now and then we hear conservation about bringing back a few trolley runs--for tourists. Trolleys are wonderful; it would be great to have them back in Veracruz.


Long ago on the main corner of the malecon was a kiosk with a lookout deck.
What could be more welcoming than this gate to the old city of veracruz. The city was walled in response to pirate attacks. When the wall was abandoned, the stone and coral building block were used in lots of buildings in "el Centro," Veracruz's old and still vibrant downtown. Everywhere you go in el Centro you can spot them.


Veracruz's zocalo, the central plaza, is shown in a night photo.
Veracruz's zocalo of today is changed from years ago. The roads around the plaza are now pedestrian walkways (with outdoor restaurants, street vendors, and love music everywhere). Hidden below the trees in this night shot is a large stage for outdoor performances.


Long ago on the main corner of the malecon was a kiosk with a lookout deck.
From the mid 1940's, here's a rooftop view looking from inland toward the harbor. Easy to spot are the cathedral and the old Juarez lighthouse. Cranes lining the various docks are in the distance. Out of sight across the water is the large fort, San Juan de Ulua.


This view of Calle Principal shows Veracruz's downtown from long ago.  Now called Calle Independencia, this is a main commercial street in El Centro.
The beach is still here and is only a few blocks from school. Just out of the picture to the right is the surf, and up on the left, just beyond the white fence is the malecon. As best we can tell this is the exact spot where today city leagues play baseball. A foul to deep right requires quick attention not from a groundskeeper but instead from a Veracruz special, an "oceankeeper."


Veracruz used to have its own cigar factory.
This portion of the malecon is where today you'll find the Macroplaza--the site of many outdoor concerts and events. Back in the old days, pedestrians had it better than cars.


The building carrying the Venustiano Carranza lighthouse (the faro Venustiano Carranza) is under construction.  It still stands today and is a landmark in the port of Veracruz.
Under construction is the building now housing the Naval Headquarters in Veracruz. Not yet in place when the picture was taken is the light that sits still today atop the tower. It's called the The "Faro Venustiano Carranza."

The lighthouse is no longer in service. It has been replaced by the lighthouse (the "faro") on Sacrifice Island.

Where the small boats are in the picture, today cargo ships dock.

Venustiano Carranza was a leader in the Mexican Revolution and later a President of Mexico.


Veracruz used to have its own cigar factory.
The post office and the telegraph office shared this beautiful building It backs on the port's docks. At the end of the street is the railroad station. Passenger rail stopped twenty some years ago. They say the train ride from here to Mexico City was spectacular.


Ocean going steam ships are loading and unloading along Veracruz's old dock.
Steamships loading and unloading at the old dock.


A character dressed up like Charlie Chaplin walks through the crown at Playa Villa del Mar advertising laundry and dish soap.
A Charlie Chaplin lookalike hawks soap "for your clothes and dishes" as he meanders through the crowd along the ocean's edge at the Villa del Mar beach.


Veracruz's mail boulevard along the malecon and the ocean's edge
This beautiful view of old Veracruz's downtown was sent to us by a friend of the school. We're unable to place the building in the foreground. We'll have to go look for it with the help of immersion students on their out-and-abouts. In the background are some clues we'll try to use.


Veracruz used to have its own cigar factory.
Although out of favor today, a good cigar was an essential of life back in the olden days. This building housed Veracruz's cigar factory.


Long ago on the main corner of the malecon was a kiosk with a lookout deck.
This is the inland side of the zocalo. The view is looking northward along Calle Independencia. The wonderful old trollies are long gone. To get a sense of the date, look at the cars sitting below the awnings.


This view of Calle Principal shows Veracruz's downtown from long ago.  Now called Calle Independencia, this is a main commercial street in El Centro.
We're unable to tell if this is a parade (but it seems like it) or a wedding or what. But in the background we do see the New York Restaurant--American Short Order. It looks to us like it might be a tourist trap.


Long ago on the main corner of the malecon was a kiosk with a lookout deck.
This photo of the malecon shows the old kiosk with its lookout tower on top. It's long gone. It appears that the picture must have been taken from high on a mast of a ship. The long one-story to the left of the kiosk is where Pemex today has a high-rise office building. The cathedral is straight inland behind the kiosk, and off just a bit to the right in the distance you see the tower from the old Juarez lighthouse.


Sailing ships are at dock in Veracruz.  The view is of the harbor looking from the ramparts of San Juan de Ulua.
This view of old Veracruz is looking from the fort San Juan de Ulua. Sailing ships are at the docks loading and unloading cargo.


Old Veracruz was once surrounded by a wall.  The Baluarte de Santiago anchored its southeast corner.  We pass the Baluarte taking the bus to El Centro.
Pirates used to be a terrible threat to Veracruz. Finally the City surrounded itself with a fortified wall. The Baluarte de Santiago, the in-town fort, was the old walls southeastmost fortification. In a few places around town you can still find part of the wall. At the Naval Museum you can see part of the foundation.


Veracruz, in days gone was home to superior rail service.  Here's a picture of the old and majestic train station.
It makes you long for the good old days--Veracruz had a majestic train station and first rate passenger service. Today there is almost no passenger service left in Mexico. We are diminished by the loss.


This view of Calle Principal shows Veracruz's downtown from long ago.  Now called Calle Independencia, this is a main commercial street in El Centro.
Calle Principal is what they called it in the old days--Main Street. Today it is Calle Independencia, a busy and important street in the historic El Centro. There are no trolley tracks any more, but the street is still lined on both sides with bustling shops. Half a block on down the street is the Cathedral.


Veracruz, in days gone was home to superior rail service.  Here's a picture of the old and majestic train station.
Very often context is enough to figure out the meaning of a word. Above the police officer's head, above the word "Florsheim" is the world "calzado," and an easy quess gets us close to what it means--footwear (as in Florsheim Shoes). Mexico has long been into quality footwear.


Long ago on the main corner of the malecon was a kiosk with a lookout deck.
The US Navy's Tacoma is at anchor in the Port of Veracruz. She came to Veracruz several times. And it was here that her long career (she was commissioned in 1904) came to an end. Just off shore is Blanquilla reef, and upon this coral reef in a heavy storm in 1924, she ran aground. Crews were unable to refloat her. She was decommissioned and sold for salvage.


Veracruz used to have its own cigar factory.
Here's a photo looking through the arched walkway along the west face of the municipal palace and across the old (and long ago removed) street to the old city square and the Cathedral.




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Our U.S. number is  (415) 939-4388.  This is a San Francisco number that rings right through to us in Veracruz.








 






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Spanish Immersion, on the ocean in Veracruz, Mexico