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Spanishmania invites
you to experience

Día de Los
Muertos


San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Oct. 26, 2018 - Nov. 3, 2018


Join us for this unique celebration!

Come with us to Mexico to experience
Día de los Muertos
(Day of the Dead)


WHAT: Immerse yourself in the Mexican culture, the language, and enjoy this unique celebration!
WHEN:  October 26th to November 3rd, 2018
WHERE: San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, México
WHO: Learners of Spanish, Family & Friends
Non-learners of Spanish will thoroughly enjoy the experience too!
There's limited spaces so Sign Up Now!

October 26th - November 3rd, 2018

  • 9 days of immersion in the Mexican culture
  • Learning about the style of life, food, art and this extraordinary celebration
  • Enjoying spectacular views, unique scenes and unforgettable moments
  • Living in a house with people who want to take-in the same experience
  • Have a memorable time watching and learning from a skilled Mexican cook who will prepare some typical meals "at home" for us
  • And the best part: Speaking Spanish all day long (or as much as you want!) with the expert guidance of your favorite Spanish teachers!
These are only some of the activities that we will be enjoying
  • Cruise the city and discover its architectural colonial gems including ornate churches and historical buildings
  • Visit the great “Mercado de Artesanías” and some of the authentic handcraft “factories” to enjoy the incredible skills of local artisans
  • Admire the local artists and artisans in action
  • Walk to strategic points for the best views of town
  • Taste the most delicious local food, tequilas and mezcales
  • Observe the preparations for the main events of the festival and visit the cemetery for a unique and unforgettable experience!
  • Enjoy the “Desfile de las Catrinas” (parade). And YES, you can dress up, have your face painted, and be part of it, too!

We will have a list of optional activities for your free time.



There are so many different flavors to try and so many great restaurants that we thought we would give you some freedom! However, all breakfasts and a total of 6 meals are included. Some meals, will be prepared by a local cook right in front of us so we cannot only taste typical dishes but also learn how to prepare them!
You will be staying in a gorgeous, spacious, bright and colorful house artfully decorated in Mexican style with the most stunning sunsets in a "die-for" location, a short walk from "el centro".
  • Rooms are for two with individual beds that can be set up separate if you are sharing a room or made up as a king size bed for couples
  • Each room has an en suite bathroom, a fireplace and beautiful views across town to the mountains
  • Rooms have access to a terrace or walk out to the garden
  • You will enjoy spacious and tasteful common areas
  • Lovely garden and terraces
  • Swimming pool
  • Maid service for your room is included

October 26th - November 3rd, 2018

Cost of this amazing trip is CAN $2,350.00 per person based on double occupancy (does not include GST).

If you would like to participate in this trip, please Contact Us and we will send you an email with all the information and forms to finalize your registration.

WHAT IS INCLUDED

  • Accommodation as a group in a typical Mexican home with WIFI
  • All breakfasts, and 6 meals
  • Coffee, tea, drinking water, juice, fruits, some snacks at the house
  • Bedding, towels, and essentials
  • Get your face painted by a local artist for the "Desfile de las Catrinas" (parade)
  • City tour by tourist trolley
  • 24/7 expert guidance of your favorite Spanish teachers!

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED

  • Flights to and from Mexico
  • Transfers to and from the airport to the house
  • Meals other than the ones listed above
  • Alcohol
  • Optional activities and trips
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Insurance
  • Personal expenses and any other incidentals not listed under "What is Included"

October 26th - November 3th, 2018

What is "Día de los muertos"?

Día de los Muertos originated centuries ago in Mexico. The holiday is a blend of pre-Hispanic indigenous beliefs and Spanish Catholic beliefs. It is a festive, joyous time of celebration for remembering and honoring those who have passed. Day of the Dead is one of Mexico's most important holidays, which means that they invest a lot of time and money into celebrating Día de los Muertos, more so than any other holiday.

The Day of the Dead is on November 1st and 2nd of each year, coinciding with the Catholic holidays All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. Traditionally, November 1st is the day for honoring dead children and infants, and November 2nd is the day for honoring deceased adults. Although November 2nd is the official date for Day of the Dead, it is celebrated between October 31st and November 2nd. Usually the preparations (and some festivities) start even earlier. So really, the "Day" of the Dead can also be called the "Days" of the Dead.

Typical symbols and ornaments that you will see everywhere during the celebrations include: skulls (even sugar skulls!), skeletons, marigolds, papel picado, and pan de muerto (sweet roll)

SKULLS: The prominence of skulls as a Day of the Dead icon harkens back to the days of the Aztecs. Back then, skulls were important icons that illustrated their belief in the existence of an active afterlife. In the Mexican culture, skulls continue to symbolize death and rebirth. The Day of the Dead skulls take on many appearances in modern celebrations.

SKELETONS: called "calacas" in Spanish in Mexico, are another prominent Day of the Dead icon. Day of the Dead skeletons can take many forms, but all of them are whimsical and joyful — never scary or sad. They are typically long, skinny and well-dressed, like the famous skeletons drawn by Mexican artist Jose Guadalupe Posada. Posada's skeletons are amongst the most famous Day of the Dead icons because they poke sarcastic fun at how death is the great equalizer — even the rich can't escape from death!

Who is the Catrina?

Mexican artist Jose Guadalupe Posada's skeletons are amongst the most famous Day of the Dead icons because they poke sarcastic fun at how death is the great equalizer — even the rich can't escape from death! His "Catrina" (http://culturacolectiva.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/lacatrina.jpeg) is perhaps his most well-known Day of the Dead skeleton. She is a richly-dressed woman dressed in fancy clothes, appearing to enjoy the good life — except she is a skeleton, having succumbed to the hand of fate long ago. Even so, she continues to enjoy herself long after she has died. (https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Catrina#/media/File:The_Kid_-_Diego_Rivera.jpg)

Where is San Miguel de Allende?

San Miguel de Allende is a charming Spanish colonial city designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. Check out this short UNESCO video http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1274/video

The city is located in the geographical centre of Mexico, on the high plains known as the Bajio region, between the two large mountain ranges of central Mexico, 274 kilometers northwest of Mexico City, at an altitude of just over 6,000 feet (almost 2000 feet higher than Banff!). Because of the light and changing colors of the foothills of the Sierra Madre Oriental, sunrises and sunsets in San Miguel de Allende can be quite dramatic.

Do I need to book my own travel?

Yes, you do! Your experience with Spanishmania starts and ends in San Miguel de Allende. You need to plan to arrive anytime AFTER 12:00 AT NOON ON Friday, October 26th, 2018. Our last group activity will be on Thursday evening, so you will be free to return home or continue your travel on your own on Saturday, November 3rd, 2018.

How can I get there?

If you are coming by air you can fly to:


  1. (BJX) Del Bajio Airport, in Leon, Guanajuato state. This airport is about one hour and fifteen minutes from San Miguel de Allende. It is the most used for people traveling to San Miguel.

    Group Shuttles from this airport to San Miguel de Allende cost around $25 USD per person.

  2. (MEX) Benito Juarez International Airport, in Mexico City, in Mexico state. This airport is about three and a half hours from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

    Group Shuttles from this airport to San Miguel de Allende cost around $59 USD per person

  3. (QRO) Queretaro Airport, in Santiago de Queretaro, in Queretaro state. This airport is about an hour away from San Miguel de Allende.

    Group Shuttles from this airport to San Miguel de Allende cost around $39 USD per person


Shuttle services and private drivers should be booked in advance. We can help you with that if you need assistance but you will pay the company directly.

Is there transportation to the house?

If you are flying, you can take a shuttle from the airport. You will have to arrange your own ride but we can assist you if you need help. See the question Do I need to book my own shuttle?

Do I need to book my own shuttle?

Yes, but we can help you make the arrangements in advance. You will pay the shuttle company directly. We can provide you with the names of the shuttle companies that operate this transfer.

Is it safe to travel to Mexico? And to San Miguel de Allende?

Crime in major tourist cities and destinations isn't as high as in other areas of Mexico. More than 1.9 million Canadians travel to Mexico each year, the vast majority of them without incident. San Miguel is considered one of the safest cities in Mexico, with lower incidents of violence than other areas of Mexico. But that doesn't mean you should let your guard down completely. Always keep your belongings close and stay alert when walking through the city, especially -but not only- at night. Use common sense, don't leave valuables out in plain sight.

For more details at visit the website of the Government of Canada website:

https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/mexico

Are there medical services available?

San Miguel has several hospitals, both public and private. On top of that, there are world-class hospitals with every specialty you can think of in the nearby cities of Queretaro and Leon.

Check the Health section on the government of Canada website at http://travel.gc.ca/destinations/mexico for ALL details on medical-related questions.

YOU MUST HAVE ADEQUATE TRAVEL HEALTH INSURANCE and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment and medical evacuation, if required. Contact your insurance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

If you take prescription medication, bring along an adequate supply and a copy of the prescription. Ensure that both the generic and trade names of the drug are stated.

Individuals with heart, lung or respiratory problems should consult their doctor before booking their trip.

Be sure that your vaccines are up-to-date.

What vaccines do I need?

For details on recommended vaccination for travel to Mexico, check the Health section on the government of Canada website at http://travel.gc.ca/destinations/mexico

What are the numbers for Emergencies?

We will provide each person with a list of Emergency numbers and will have it posted at the house as well.

How big will the group be?

The group will have a maximum of 10 people plus one representative from Spanishmania.

Do all the people in the group have the same level of knowledge of Spanish?

No, because knowing Spanish is not a requisite to partake in this trip.

What should I pack?

San Miguel de Allende is the city of the “eternal spring”. It is famous, among other things, for its lovely temperate weather of mostly clear and sunny days. Since it is dry (40 and 60% humidity), the heat is easily tolerated.

Bring comfortable, sturdy walking shoes with good ankle support or sandals with sturdy soles and ankle straps to easily navigate the inclines and descents. Slip-on canvas sneakers will work too.

Pack light and simple. Add a few pieces to layer on at night. In October/November the average daytime temperatures are around 25 Celsius and it usually drops to around 12 Celsius at night, so a fleece sweater/jacket is ideal for the evenings!

San Miguel de Allende has a relaxed atmosphere with an interesting mix of people: the city serves as a haven for retirees, a destination for budding artists, and it is still a Mexican city at its core.

We will spend much of the time outdoors so do not forget to bring a hat, sunscreen, and sun glasses.

Please note that this is not a beach town so you do not want to find yourself underdressed when visiting an art gallery or having a night out at a local restaurant.

Are there individual rooms?

No. All rooms have two individual beds that can be set up separate if you are sharing a room or made up as a king size bed for couples. If you would like to have a room all to yourself, please Contact Us.

Can I choose my room?

Yes, you can but note that rooms will be assigned on a first come first served basis. So register soon for your trip and you will have more choices. All rooms are beautiful and have striking views!

What restaurants will we eat at?

Discovering the real Mexican flavors and specialties will be part of the experience! As a group, we will enjoy a few meals together at some of San Miguel's best restaurants and bars. We will enjoy some incredible food creations, live music, always a nice atmosphere and beautiful city views from their roof-top terraces.

We will also have the opportunity to try some street food from carefully selected "off the beaten track" places lauded to have the tastiest food in the city.

Although Guanajuato state has a safe drinking water supply, it is easy to avoid any risk of stomach upset at restaurants or elsewhere by sticking to bottled water and beverages. At the house we will provide you with plenty of purified water (in big water bottles).

Will I have free time?

Yes, you will! And you will have lots of options from staying and relaxing at the house, or go out and explore what else there is to see, do and experience. We will have lists of suggested optional activities and places to visit.

How can I move around?

The historic center of San Miguel encompasses 24 blocks of narrow winding streets, alleys, and paths without any traffic lights. Most attractions are within walking distance. Just keep in mind that because San Miguel was built into the side of a mountain there are many inclines –some at 15 or 20 degrees. Furthermore, the streets are cobbled and narrow. Curbs are often uneven, narrow and/or a high step away from the road. For this reason, it is highly advisable to bring sturdy and comfortable shoes.

If you get tired, no problem! Everything is nearby and taxis are inexpensive and offer good service 24 hours a day.

By taxi

You can catch a taxi for a flat rate of only 30 pesos within "el Centro" (downtown), more outside of Centro or after dark. In-town taxis are abundant. There is an additional cost if you call a taxi to pick you up from a specific location. Rates can also be negotiated to destinations outside of town. It is always best to ask the taxi driver what the rate will be to your destination before you get into the taxi.

How far are the other main cities in the area?

San Miguel de Allende is 274 Km northwest of Mexico City, 69 Km northwest of Queretaro and 120 Km east of Leon.

Other cities, from the airport in Leon: Cancun is a 3-hour flight away, Puerto Vallarta is a 1-hour flight, and Guadalajara is a 3-hour flight via Mexico City.

Will we have Spanish class?

No. We will not have Spanish class. We will have some time every day after breakfast to prepare for the activities planned for the day, and review/learn specific vocabulary. We will have some other time later in the day or in the evening which we will use to "debrief" your day's experience! You are encouraged to keep a "diario" with, at least, the highlights of your day. We will help you with guidance to keep a more thorough one, though!

Do people need to have taken classes with Spanishmania to participate on this trip?

No, because knowing Spanish is not a requisite to partake in this trip.

Do people need to know Spanish to participate in this trip?

No. Knowing Spanish is not a requisite to partake in this trip.

Do I need a visa to go to Mexico?

Canadian citizens must present a valid passport in order to enter and exit Mexico. The passport must be valid until the date of expected departure from Mexico. Before you leave, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.

Permanent residents and landed immigrants of Canada should check for specific entry requirements with Mexico's immigration agency, the Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM) (in Spanish).

Is there a welcome reception?

No, because participants will be arriving from different places at different times so there will not be an organized event. However, we will be gathering at the house to welcome those arriving later!

How much should I tip?

It is customary to tip servers 10 to 15 percent of your total bill. Don't forget to tip your shuttle driver, cab driver and maids as well.

What are the store hours? Do they close for "la hora de la siesta"?

Artists work in studios throughout the city, and crafts, jewelry and other folk art is sold along winding cobblestone streets. If you are looking to shop for creative wares, keep in mind that some stores close from 2 to 5 p.m. daily (except on Sundays when many stores are closed all day), but many stay open till 8 or 9 at night.

Can I cook my own meals? Can I do my own grocery shopping? Is the food included?

We will have some meals out together as a group. A total of 6 meals are included, some of which will be prepared by a local cook at the house so that we can learn how to prepare them! Breakfasts are also included at the house. We will go to the market to do some groceries shopping for our breakfasts so you will be able to buy extra groceries if you so wish. We will use our kitchen as a community kitchen so yes, you can cook your own meals at the house if you do not want to eat out.

Is dinner included the night of arrival?

No. Since everyone will be arriving on their own, from different places, and at different times we will not organize a dinner.

What is the best currency to use in Mexico?

You will get the best deals if you pay in Mexican Pesos. It is a good idea to bring some Mexican Pesos from Canada, and you can always exchange more while in Mexico through the ATM machines. It is highly recommended to use the bank ATMs which are actually attached to or inside bank buildings.

Can I stay longer after the trip?

Of course you can! Our trip starts on October 26th, 2018 in San Miguel and ends on November 3rd, 2018 in San Miguel. Before and after those dates, you can make your own plans!

Reviews

The trip was fantastic! If you can go you must go

  • The house was very beautiful and the views were wonderful! I enjoyed the walks, literally up and down the streets.
  • All the food was really good.
  • I enjoyed all the activities I attended.
  • I loved San Miguel de Allende. It is a very beautiful and safe city.
  • I loved the make-up, the dressing up and the parade. This was my favorite part!
  • I tried to speak in Spanish as much as I could. I now miss not speaking Spanish daily. I liked the challenge.
  • The trip was fantastic! If you can go you must go and try to speak Spanish as much as you can because time goes by really fast.
  • Thank you for this opportunity! I would love to go with you on a similar trip.

Shannon

Exceptional opportunity

  • The house had a GREAT view. It was spacious. Accommodates 12 very well. Nicely located with walking distance to el centro.
  • Great meals. Lots of variety. Some meals were exceptional!
  • The visit to Guanajuato was very scenic. I liked the visit to the nature sanctuary.
  • The city of San Miguel de Allende was scenic, authentic. Not too touristy. People were friendly. I felt safe.
  • The make-up for the parade was expertly done. The parade itself was lots of fun.
  • There were lots of opportunities to use and practice our Spanish. It was hard to keep it up all day. It was one of the highlights of the trip.
  • This trip was an exceptional opportunity to enjoy culture, food, improve your Spanish and travel with like-minded compañeros.

Cecil

The trip is worth. The house was unbelievable! Gorgeous!

  • The house was unbelievable! Gorgeous!
  • The meals were delicious and abundant.
  • There was a good variety of activities.
  • San Miguel de Allende is a lovely city.
  • The parade was interesting.
  • The trip is totally worth if you are interested in seeing and experiencing other cultures and foods.

Sue

I LOVED the trip

  • The house was lovely. The bedroom fireplace was definitely appreciated.
  • Great mix of included lunches and dinners and free time to explore/try our own restaurants.
  • San Miguel de Allende was lovely! The bells were AWESOME! A very different lifestyle than what is our norm.
  • Regarding the parade event, I THOROUGHLY loved the fact that they gave us bags filled with candies so that we could hand them out to the children along the parade route!!!
  • The opportunities to use and practice our Spanish were excellent! I know that I felt unsure and would always slip back to my English, but I'm glad that you pushed us (within our own comfort zone) to use Spanish as much as possible.

Shirley G.

Surprised myself at how much Spanish I did speak

  • The house was wonderful. I liked the location and the view. It was nice to have our own room as well as a kitchen for breakfast, etc.
  • The meals were great, both the ones that were prepared at the house and eating out. It was great experiencing so many nice restaurants. Thanks for all the planning you did on this.
  • I liked the optional activities, both because we experienced the Mexican culture and because it gave us an opportunity to speak in Spanish (something I was very afraid to do but surprised myself at how much I did speak after all.)
  • San Miguel de Allende, I loved this city and would like to return some day with my husband. What a great city.
  • The make-up and the parade were probably one of the highlights of my trip. I didn't know what to expect, and frankly if this had not been pre-arranged, I may not have participated. But it was fabulous. It was such a fun experience, what a great day it was!
  • I am still quite new at this language but I'm glad I was encouraged to speak. I do understand more than I thought I did. Of course, we had such great teachers too.
  • I would encourage anyone to go on a similar trip in future. It was a great cultural experience, and a good opportunity to be exposed to the Spanish language for anyone who wants to learn. It was a wonderful experience and I would do it again if the opportunity comes along. Thank you again for all of your efforts and for being such great teachers.

Laurie

The make-up & parade were the best... and a lot of fun

  • The house was perfect. It was very comfortable with many private bedrooms with bathrooms. The location was also perfect.
  • I liked very much both the meals we had cooked at the house and in restaurants.
  • The optional activities were a good opportunity to listen others speaking Spanish as well as to explore the city.
  • I liked the city of San Miguel de Allende. It was very clean and I felt very safe. People were very friendly and polite.
  • The make-up and the parade were the best part of the activities. Both were a lot of fun.
  • There were many opportunities to speak Spanish.
  • Martha and Gabriel are excellent Spanish teachers. The trip was well organized. It was very interesting to see a different part of Mexico that better represents how Mexicans live.

Barb

It was truly a trip I won’t forget

I had a wonderful time, it was truly a trip I won't forget.

Thank you again for the opportunity and a very memorable experience.

Susan

Cemetery tour unbelievable

I loved San Miguel and the whole trip. Thank you both for organizing this.

I loved the house. The meals prepared at the house were fantastic. Some of the best food on the trip.

I did speak a lot of Spanish in town. It was wonderful. I could be understood. I know I speak with gringo Mexican accent and for me that is okay. I have learned a lot in your classes and know I can learn more. I was able to have conversations with all sorts of people including beggars with a letter in English and I asked questions in Spanish. They were surprised.

The trip was amazing. I want to learn more of the language.

Loved the trip. I will go back. Cemetery tour unbelievable.

Thank you so much. Gabriel and Martha you worked so hard.

Shirley D.

Plenty of opportunity to use my Spanish

  • The house size, layout and location were perfect for our group.
  • I really enjoyed the in house meals.
  • There were a good variety of optional activities.
  • In San Miguel de Allende there was always something interesting to see every day. The many restaurants and shops had their own unique feel and interest that I enjoyed. The city felt safe even at night, with good inexpensive transportation.
  • I really enjoyed the parade.
  • Plenty of opportunity to use my Spanish, both in our house as well as out with our group and with the locals as well. I appreciated the encouragement from Martha and Gabriel. I found the morning instructions (in Spanish) to be helpful to get me started in Spanish for the day.
  • This trip was a great opportunity to learn and use the Spanish language in a safe and unique Mexican culture with people that shared our same interests.

John