Educational Travel: Adventure Activities That Teach in Andalucía

Andalucía, Spain is an incredible melting pot of culture, cuisine, tradition, and rich history. For student and teacher travel to Andalucía, there is no better way to explore this fascinating land than through what we call “Eco-immersion”- a comprehensive, 360 degree approach that focuses on authentic connections with the fascinating people, places, history, and culture of this region. Chill Expeditions takes travelers through ancient routes, introducing them to compelling people who are proud to share their unique heritage. Thus, a story begins to unfold. You will see this amazing world, its history, its people and its beauty through a new lens and be able to relate it to your own life in a profoundly meaningful way.

The following are five incredible educational travel experiences that are highlights of Andalucía, “Eco-immersion” style:

Flamenco, Andalucia Spain

1. Fall in Love with Flamenco

Your introduction to flamenco starts with the incredible opportunity to meet one of the few true flamenco (and classical) guitar makers left on the planet, Steven Hill, and get a personal tour of his workshop. Learn all about the incredible art and skill that goes into this treasured aspect of Andalucían culture. In the evening, you have a chance to see the beautiful instruments you learned about in action at a flamenco show in a charming local venue.

2. Explore Granada & the Alhambra

Explore the lovely city of Granada and the fascinating convergence of different cultures here, particularly the strong Arab influence. Explore the central plaza, cafes, the Alcaicería (Moorish bazaar), and Arab teahouses. Take a walking tour of the magnificent Alhambra palace with a guide who will expertly point out which aspects of this overwhelming display to focus on. Take in the splendor of the architecture, artwork, and landscaping while putting it all into the context you have been learning more about every day. Enjoy a view of the palace lit up by night during dinner at a restaurant with a spectacular view.

3. Climb through History

Check out the stunning Nerja Caves, a series of huge caverns filled with massive dripping stalactites and stalagmites, which once served as home to Paleolithic people. Continue on in the footsteps of the past as you revisit a significant time in Andalucía’s history by hiking along the path of the Moorish invasion up to an ancient fortress. Learn about the tumultuous history of this region, the struggles for power among different cultures, and why Andalucía was so important as a seat of power.

White Villages, Andalucia

4. Discover Life in the White Villages of the Sierra Nevada

Gear up for picturesque Alpujarras to do some spectacular scenic hiking around the quiet white Moorish villages up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Explore the charming shops lining the cobblestone streets and experience the tranquil way of life that has been preserved up here for hundreds of years. Learn about the unique cultural aspects of the white villages and what sets them apart from the rest of Andalucía. Round out your experience with a home stay this evening, immersing yourself in the language and local culture.

5. Preserving Cultural Traditions

Today, have the chance to meet locals and learn about how they are working to preserve cultural traditions in the area. Tour a typical house, visit the ham and cheese shop (try the famous cured ham!), take a lesson on the loom at a local weaving shop, and try your hand at jam-making with restaurant owner/visionary Angelina Martin, whose family has worked hard to preserve their culinary culture through the knowledge passed down through generations. Learn about the science of making jam, and make your own to take home in your own personally designed jars. Finish the night with an incredible meal in Angelina’s restaurant, Ruta del Mulhacén, during which you will get to sample all kinds of authentic local dishes, while learning about the history and tradition behind them.

Andalucia, Spain

The possibilities are endless for incredible Eco-immersion experiences in Andalucía, from hiking in the Sierra Nevada, to canyoning in Rio Verde, to perfecting your Spanish or trying your hand at traditional artisanal crafts. Whether your interest is language immersion, culinary exploration, or engaging in the rich history of this region, Andalucía, Spain has something for everyone. Vamos!

Crawford Hill is the owner and director of Chill Expeditions, an educational travel company focused on cultural immersion. An expedition leader, former biology teacher, and educational innovator, Hill has been guiding students and adults on wilderness adventures since 1974. Over the years, Hill has led thousands of students and families on experiential learning trips to Costa Rica, Belize, the Galapagos Islands, Peru and Spain. Hill revels in the opportunity to be able to work with students and families across the country with the world as his classroom.

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