Frequently Asked Questions
- About Adiós Travel
- How we operate
- Spanish schools and classes
- Host families
- Travelling in Latin America
- Voluntary work
Adiós Travel comes forth out of a long existing Dutch tour operator formerly run and owned by two Dutch women of 35 and 45 years of age with a lot of travel experience in Latin America. One of us has more than 10 years of experience as a tour operator offering Spanish classes in Latin America, six months experience as a tour guide and two and a half years of travel experience in Latin America. The other has a Spanish diploma from the University of Mexico City. She has five years of experience as a tour operator offering Spanish classes in Latin America, has lived, studying and worked in Mexico for two years and has work for quite some time as tour guide in Mexico and Guatemala and spent a long time in Costa Rica and Honduras. Whilst travelling we have personally visited all the schools we work with. So you can be sure that we can personally inform you about Spanish Classes in Latin America.
Why do you only work through the internet and E-mail?
Today’s clients book their travels and holidays on the internet. You can find a lot of information, even about the schools, on the internet and an actual office for the tour operator or travel agency is no longer required. We understand this very well. But we also understand that you still want to have security that you pick the right school and host family from all the possibilities you find on the net. This is where we can offer our expertise. By working via the internet we keep our costs down and are able to offer the Spanish Classes at a very low price.
What is the advantage of booking through you?
You can take advantage of our experience and knowledge with schools in Latin America and we can help you, objectively, to make a choice that will assure of the best possible time in Latin America. When you tell us how you would like to spend your learning holiday we can recommend the right place for you. All this for a low price! Because we, as agents, have worked with these schools for many years we always get the best teachers and the best host families for our students.
How can I book my Spanish course and accommodation with you?
When you have made your choice about the country and city where you want to learn Spanish, you will first have to book a flight. We need the arrival details before we can make the reservation with the schools. If you are travelling and will arrive over land, just fill in the booking form that you do not need a transfer and that you will arrive to the school by your own means.
Fill in the booking form for the school and e-mail it to us. Within two working day, we will send you an e-mail with a price quotation.
PLEASE NOTE: when sending us an e-mail or the quotation/booking form, please add our
e-mail address in your address book. Otherwise there is the possibility that our response ends up in your spam folder (especially when using hotmail/yahoo/gmail etc.)
When you are happy with the package offered you mail us the price quotation back with your confirmation.
We will then reserve the Spanish classes, accommodation and often also the airport transfer with the Spanish Language School. After the school has confirmed your Spanish language package to us, we will send you the invoice by mail. We request payment to be made within two weeks. If you book through us longer than 8 weeks in advance we need to receive the money at least 6 weeks before your departure date. All bank details will be on the invoice.
After we have received your payment we will send you the receipt that you have paid (voucher), the Internet address and information about the school and when possible the accommodation. You also receive a document with extensive and very useful travel information and tips by e-mail.
What if I want to book for classes more than six months in advance?
This is possible, when you already have a flight booked. Early booking has the advantage that you can be sure to get the best teacher and the nicest host family. Your payment has to be in our account at least six weeks before you leave.
What happens if I don't make the payment in time?
We will send you a reminder when you do not pay in time. If you don’t immediately pay it after the reminder it will be a problem because if we do not receive your payment in time we need to cancel your reservation at the school to prevent us from having to pay cancellation fees. You can always ask your bank office to make a payment by telephone, the money will be in our account the same day and it is relatively cheap.
How long does it take for the money to get to your bank account?
We have a Dutch bank account and an Australian bank account. It usually takes between 1 up to 10 days from an international bank account to send the money to our account, via the internet it will be faster.
Can I ask you for information?
Yes of course, by e-mail. You can make things easier for us if you number all the questions, we will then send you the reply, behind every question.
Does the teacher also speak English?
Sometimes they do but often they don’t. It is better this way because the fastest way to learn a language is in accordance with the total immersion program. You start hearing only Spanish so you do not need to keep translating it to English and even worse, then to yet another language. This can be very confusing. The schools and teachers are experts in teaching Foreigners Spanish and even as an absolute beginner you can learn it very quickly this way.
Of course there are always people at school that do speak English, usually the administrator, coordinator, owners etcetera so you can always ask them everything in English.
Why are group classes not possible at every Spanish school?
To be able to give good group classes the students need to be divided in about six different levels. If an average group has four people than the schools needs 24 students at any given time for group classes and often this is not the case, the schools are usually not that big.
How long do I have to take classes to speak Spanish reasonably well?
This depends of course mainly on your knowledge of the Spanish language before you begin the classes and on your ability to learn foreign languages and the amount of work you put into it. Normally somebody with little knowledge of Spanish in advance, but the ability to learn fast, will speak it reasonably after 6 weeks of classes. A basic knowledge of Spanish is a large advantage and we therefore advise people to study a Spanish textbook for a few weeks prior to taking the classes so you can already count, know the days of the week and the main verbs and nouns.
Do I get homework?
If you take private classes you can indicate how much homework you are willing to do, when taking group classes a small amount of homework will be given. The more you practice outside of school, the faster you will learn Spanish.
What is the average age at the schools?
Every school will have students between 18 and 75 years of age, the average age is usually between 25 and 35. Some schools are a bit younger then others. In general younger people travel more in Central America and more experienced travellers tend to go to South America, with Argentina as the exception.
What time are the classes usually given?
Usually between 8.00 or 9.00 am to 12.00 am or 1.00 pm.
How long is each class?
Most of the classes last 50 minutes per hour. Check the information per school. There you can find both the number of hours of classes and how long an hour of classes actually is. For instance in Bolivia you will get four hours of classes of 45 minutes each. so you will have three hours of actual classes. Usually there is a coffee break of ten minutes in each hour.
Are you really alone with private classes?
Yes; it will be just you and the teacher so you can not hide behind other students and are challenged to speak Spanish. With private classes you will quickly learn to speak Spanish.
What is the main aim of the classes? Speaking, reading or writing?
The main aim is on speaking, but with private classes you can make the choice yourself. If you are already at an advanced level you can, for instance, concentrate on correct spelling.
What is the main Nationality of the students?
Spanish students travel from all over the world to Latin America to learn Spanish. They come from Scandinavia, Switzerland, Germany, England, Holland, the US, Canada and Japan, mainly.
Do I also have classes in the weekend?
No, the classes are from Monday to Friday.
Do I need to take a dictionary or other materials?
Yes, a lot of schools do not have a dictionary and it is also a good idea to bring pen and paper (or better, buy it on arrival).
How do I communicate with my host family when I do not speak Spanish yet?
The host families are used to deal with students that do not speak Spanish yet and will either be able to communicate in very basic English or communicate with you by talking "with their hands and feet", but soon you will be able to have simple conversations.
Do I get private bathroom?
It depends, often you share the shower and toilet with one other student. At certain locations it is possible to get a more luxurious host family, at an extra charge, where you are ill have your own shower and toilet.
What kind of food do you usually get at a host family?
This depends on the country you go to and the person that cooks. Generally speaking the meals will be slightly westernised, meaning you will not get rice and beans every day. Lunch (La comida) is the most important meal in Latin America and is usually eaten around 2pm. Later in the evening people eat their “cena” which can be leftovers or just a sandwich.
What does my room look like?
Usually quite simple but always clean. If there is no desk or table to study there will be one somewhere else in the house. Most houses have a separate dining room that you can use, or you can take advantage of the weather and sit outside on the veranda.
If I travel alone do I need to pay extra for a single room?
No. Sometimes you will get a discount if you stay in a double room with somebody else, but this will be mentioned in the description of the school.
Can I end up in a real poor host family?
No, the host families are (mostly upper) middle class.
How many students stay at a host family?
This varies a lot. You can give us your preference whether to stay with a other students or not.
I am vegetarian, is this a problem?
No problem at all; when you tell us this when you book we will tell the host family.
How much freedom do I have with my host family?
You will get the key to the house and you are free to come and go as you please. There will be certain house rules when it comes to bringing friends over for example, keep in mind that most families will be quite catholic. There are certain hours for the meals. When you decide not to come home for the meals, please call so they will not wait for you or worry about your absence.
Is it normal for me to bring something for my teacher or host family?
At many places it is customary to bring some small present for the teacher and the host family. The general rule is the more practical the present the better. It is also a nice idea to bring some pictures or postcards from your hometown.
How do I arrange the transfer from to the airport on arrival?
We ca do this for you. Make sure you fill this out on the booking form and give us your arrival (flight) details. Most schools have a driver that picks you up at the airport, sometimes it is somebody from the host family. This person will wait for you, usually just outside the arrival gate, at the airport holding a sign with the name of the school and/or your name on it. He or she will take you to your host family or hotel.
How do I arrange the transfer back to the airport?
Instead of the language school, local tour operators take care off the transfer to the airport. You can find these in the town from which you leave. You can buy your ticket there and agree upon a time you wish to be picked up. Remember to be at the airport 3 hours before leaving.
Do I need to get cancellation insurance?
It is not mandatory but we strongly advise it. Check with your insurance company for the exact costs.
Do I need to get travel insurance?
It is not mandatory but we strongly advise it. Check with your insurance company for the exact costs.
Is it safe to travel Latin America on your own?
Yes, as long as you use common sense. Always look after yourself and take extra care in the big cities. Hitch hiking is not a good idea and it is better not to travel at night by bus. The biggest problem is pickpockets or thieves in public transport.
As far as we know none of customers have had serious problems the last 10 years.
How long can I stay on a tourist visa in a country?
When you enter a country you will receive a tourist visa for 30, 60 or 90 days, depending on the country and the custom official. For Cuba you will need a visa which costs approx. $ 30 for 30 days. If you stay longer you can get an extension for another 30 days for ± $ 15. You can do this in both Havana and Santiago de Cuba.
How can I extend my visa?
By far the easiest way is to leave the country and get another visa when you enter again, you can do this the same day. You can also go to the immigration office, in most countries this will be in the capital city.
What is the best way to communication with home?
By e-mail! Cheap and almost everywhere available (except in the jungle of Ecuador or up in the mountains of Guatemala). Of course you can also make a phone call but that will be much more expensive.
What vaccinations do I need?
Ask your local health service because this is different per country and is due to changes. It is best to go there at least 6 weeks before you leave.
Can I drink the tap water?
No, it is better not to drink the tap water in any Latin country. You can buy bottled water in most supermarkets and little shops.
Can I make a combination of Central and South America?
Yes, but you can not travel from Panama to Colombia over land, there is barely a road at the Darian Gap and it is a dangerous smuggle route and therefore very unsafe. You will need to fly from Panama or Costa Rica to a South American country. Often the cheapest way is to fly to the San Andres islands (Colombian islands off the coast of Nicaragua) and fly on to a South American country. It is quite a nice place and you could stay there for a few days, when you do be sure to visit the idyllic island of Providencia which is a boat ride away from San Andres. The water of San Andres is said to have 7 different colors, really true we found out!
Do I bring my money in Dollars, Euro's or Travellers Cheque's?
Be sure to bring some cash dollars, always check on arrival at the airport to see if there is a cash machine. The rate at the cash machines is usually better than those of Cash and TC's. Take some smaller Dollar notes but BE AWARE they will not accept dollar bills that are even slightly damaged. Nowadays you can get money from cash machines in every country. If you stay for a longer period also bring some Travellers Cheque's, these are insured against theft.
What credit card is best to use?
Visa card is the most accepted credit card in Latin America; you can also use this card to get a cash advance at the bigger banks in large cities. But the cost could be up to 10%! Because of this only use a credit card for emergencies. Only very expensive and exclusive shops accept credit cards. For Cuba a credit card is the only way to pin money.
How much money do I need to travel around 'low budget' after the classes?
A difficult question because it differs per country and travelling 'low budget' is different for each person. In general one can say that Central America is cheaper than South America with the exception of Costa Rica and Panama. In South America Bolivia is by far the cheapest country, Chilei and Argentina the most expensive. Peru is more expensive than Ecuador. When travelling in cheap countries such as Guatemala, Nicaragua and Bolivia, $ 30 per day should suffice, in the more expensive countries it will be about $ 50 per day. This is including basic accommodation, food and local busses.
Do I need to bring mosquito spray?
You can buy good mosquito spray in big cities and touristy places Latin America (like OFF!) but you can also bring it from home. Make sure it contains D.E.E.T.
Do I need to bring a mosquito net?
Most of the time there will be mosquito nets when you really need them. When going to altitude of 1500 meter you will not need one anymore; it will be too cold for mosquito's. It is a good idea to bring some sport tape so you can repair holes in mosquito nets if you come across any. The tape is also useful for holes in your backpack, rain jacket etc.
What kind of clothing do I need to bring?
The temperature mainly depends on the altitude of where you are going. When above 1500 meters (Antigua, Quetzaltenango, Nuevo San José, Panajachel, Quito, Otavalo, Cusco, Sucre) then it will be quite cool at night and you will need jeans and a sweater or a fleece. During the day these towns have very nice weather, not too hot but remember that the sun is very bright when your at a high altitude. At lower altitudes it will also be warm during the night. In Santiago de Chile and Buenos Aires it is quite chilly during the day in the winter (our summer) and you will need jeans and sweaters during the day. Generally speaking Latino's are dressed more sporty and more conservatively than in Europe. It is better to bring an umbrella than a rain coat in warm climates because with high temperatures and rain a rain coat is usually too hot.
Is it a good idea to bring a double stitched sheet?
At the host families you linens will be changed at least once a week, sometimes more often. If you plan to go to low budget hotels it definitely a good idea.
What is the public transport like?
Usually quite good and very frequent but local busses will often be very full. For longer bus trips it is better to take a more expensive bus ticket for a 'Pullman' bus because these are much more comfortable, often with air-conditioning and TV.
Can I rent a car?
Yes, in most places where we work with language schools there are 'Avis-rent-a-car' offices. You will need a international Driver License and a credit card.
Does my mobile telephone work?
This depends on the country where you go to, what kind of phone you have and the provider back home. It's best to contact your local provider and ask them.
Is it smart to bring a sleeping bag or a tent?
The chance that you will use these will be very small and at places where one can camp, like the Inca trail to Machu Picchu), you can also rent them.
Can I get the addresses of the projects you have under the button 'Voluntary Work?
We do not have most addresses but all the information we have comes from our schools. During your Spanish classes they can inform you of all available projects and help you with the host family.
Will someone tell you what to do daily when you do Voluntary Work?
Usually not; when you first go they will tell you what the project aims to achieve and how you can possibly help them doing this. Once you have started you are expected to be creative and sometimes initiate your own work. So you need initiative and do some real work!
Do I have to pay to participate in voluntary work?
Normally all volunteer programs ask for a contributory payment. This payment in the case of children's organizations will help them to buy teaching or didactical material and in case of environmental organisations it will help them to cover the costs of their programs, from volunteer food and accommodation, to resources for development projects.
Some organizations ask for an application payment of around $ 35. Sometimes you pay this and an administration fee to the school. They spend a lot of effort making sure you go to a project you like. The school or project will always tell you before you begin what the exact costs and requirements are to participate. You can also ask us by mail.
What do I pay for accommodation during the voluntary work?
In Guatemala, Ecuador and Peru you pay between $ 55 and $ 70 per week including meals. If you share accommodation and cook together it will be less.
Why is the accommodation and food not free during the voluntary work?
The money that the organization would spend on your accommodation and meals amounts to the same as the wages for a local employee, which is obviously more important.
How long does voluntary work take?
This depends on the sort of work and your time. It can be as short as one week up to a year.
Where do I eat and sleep during the voluntary work?
Often at a host family where you will also get your meals. The schools can organise the host family during voluntary work. Sometimes a house is available where you will live together with other volunteers and where you will cook together.
What kind of voluntary work is there?
There are many, many project but the majority will be social projects. The most common work is in projects for street children, homeless people and the elderly, hospitals, orphanages, forestry (anti deforestation projects) and animal protection organizations.
How good does my Spanish need to be to participate in a project?
When working with people quite good; a month of private Spanish classes is a minimum. When working in, for instance forestry, it can be less.
How can I pick a suitable project before I go?
This is very difficult to do; pick a school where there is a voluntary work coordinator and look at all the options and then make a choice on the spot. The Spanish school will inform you on the possibilities and will take you to one or more projects so you can make sure it is a project that you support. When you organise this from back home, it often leads to disappointment.
Where can I do voluntary work in Latin America?
Everywhere, every country welcomes voluntary workers, even the richer countries such as Chilei, Costa Rica and Argentina.
Can I be sure that there will be voluntary work for me?
Yes, there are always projects where your help will be much appreciated.