“Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.
Rita Mae Brown

Want to Know Enough Spanish to Travel In Latin America or Spain?

Take Fifty Plus Nomad’s Survival Spanish for Long Term Travel Workshop

People over 50 learning Spanish often have different needs than younger people. We are often frustrated in classes where everything is in Spanish or classes emphasizing too much grammar.

Perhaps more than anything else, many younger teachers don’t understand that it has been years since we were in school. Many of us carry emotional scars from previous fruitless efforts to learn Spanish.

The Survival Spanish for Long Term Travel workshop offers students with little or no Spanish language background the opportunity to learn sufficient Spanish to function in some simple situations you’ll encounter traveling in Spanish-speaking countries. If you want to know enough to act conversationally, I’d encourage you to take my Intensive Spanish classes. You may also want to take this workshop and then take Intensive Spanish courses afterward.

The Survival Spanish for Long Term Travel Workshop is available at my house: Casa Los Dos Gallos in Merida, Mexico, or online.

The Workshop is the same price for one to three students. (Maximum size: 3).

Ideally, you should take the Survival Spanish for Long Term Travel workshop for two weeks for three hours every weekday at my home in Merida, Mexico. However, the workshop is also available online. The class schedule can also be modified to fit your needs.

If you study online and/or less frequently, you may find that you either:

  • Need more time to complete the material.
  • Get frustrated because you do not see progress quickly

In addition, the best way to learn is to concentrate on just Spanish without the distractions of everyday life.

At the end of the Survival Spanish for Long Term Travel Workshop, travelers should be able to:

  • Form basic sentences (without much grammar)  
  • Learn between 200-400 words and expressions, depending on the participants’ needs and wants,  related to subjects like:
    • Ordering food in a restaurant
    • Numbers, colors, and time
    • Greetings
    • Checking in at a hotel, plane, or bus counter
    • Meeting new people
    • Shopping and chores
  • Know false and real cognates. (Words that are almost the same in different languages. For example, every word that ends with ¨-tion¨ in English ends with ¨-cion ¨in Spanish (pronunciation (English)= pronunciacíon (in Spanish). 
  • Learn useful adjectives for describing things, people, and emotions encountered in expat daily life.
  • Know more about Latin American, Mexican, and Yucatecan culture (depending on the group’s needs),

Most of the workshop is in English. The course includes a free city tour and cooking class if taken in Merida at my home.

At the end of the Survival Spanish for Long Term Travel Workshop, you will receive a brief individualized plan for continued Spanish studies that you can use at home or during your travels (including suggestions for conversation practice with locals). You will also be able to call me (or your teacher) once every month to check on your progress and receive further recommendations (optional)  

Why Do I Offer the Survival Spanish Workshop for Travelers or Expats?

I generally do not believe there is much value in taking classes in Spanish for less than 100 hours. However, I know many people do not want or have 100 + hours available to study Spanish. I also know that many beginning students get frustrated if they do not feel they are making progress in class. They need to feel that they are successful to continue to devote the time necessary to really begin to see progress (usually between 100-200 hours).

Taking less than 100 hours of Spanish is often a waste of your time and money unless you have a specific goal for learning Spanish; without a goal, if you don’t want to put in 100+ hours, you may be better off taking Fifty Plus Nomad’s Living and Traveling in Mexico Workshop.

In the Living and Traveling in Mexico Workshop, I will teach you how to speak English more effectively to Spanish speakers (avoid idioms, use words with Latin roots, speak slower, etc.) and how to express your ideas in ways that are culturally appropriate for Spanish speakers in English. (US and Canadians often come off as brusque, demanding, and cold to Spanish speakers even when they are polite and appropriate in the US and Canada).

Shorter language workshops, like Fifty Plus Nomad’s Survival Spanish Workshops for Travelers and Expats, are the only way to get much value out of less than 100 hours of Spanish classes. Since these classes have a specific goal in mind, you can concentrate on learning just a few helpful survival skills for expats or travelers. In addition, the Survival Spanish for Expats and Travelers Workshops will help beginning students gain enough confidence in their progress to feel ready to continue their Spanish studies.

How Much Does Survival Spanish for Long-Term Travel Workshop Cost?

The Survival Spanish for Long-Term Travel Workshop is $US 20 per hour and is designed to be 30 hours long. It is available online and in-person at my home, Casa Los Dos Gallos in Merida, Mexico. The workshop is the same cost for up to three students.

If you take the workshop in person, I will include free visits around Merida to 19th-century henequin haciendas, cenotes (underground pools), beaches, nature reserves, restaurants, markets, museums, and cultural venues.

You can also spend the week at the Casita Lobita, which is at the back of my house, for $100 a week, 33% less than offered on Airbnb.

In-person classes include a free Rustic Home-Cooked Yucatecan Meal.

In addition, anyone who takes this class either online or in Merida can take my “Travel Long-Term Round-the World workshop and the Understanding Yucatecan Society Workshop” for FREE:

Want to Know More About Your Teacher? 

Above is a photo of me in the garden of my house, Casa Los Dos Gallos, in Merida, Mexico. I can help you learn Spanish over 50 in Personalized 1-on-1 Classes, discover all my secrets for successfully living and traveling in Mexico and the Yucatan, and show you how to make your dream of extended, round-the-world travel come true. Classes are available at the beautiful Casa Los Dos Gallos in Merida or online.

Paul Heller 

I have the following experience studying and teaching Spanish:  

  • Taking over 500 hours of Spanish classes using various techniques at schools in Mexico, Spain, Peru, Nicaragua, and Argentina. See my post: Pros and Cons of the Top 10 Ways to Study a Foreign Language (From 40 Years of Personal Experience), for a synopsis of how I learned Spanish and why the eclectic method, which is the base of my exclusive polyglot teaching method, works best for me.  
  • Three years of experience teaching classes and tutoring in English and Spanish to a wide range of students from diverse age groups, nationalities, and financial backgrounds. 
  • Completing twenty language teacher preparation classes through the University of California at Riverside and various online programs. 
  • Receiving a minor in Spanish from Macalester College. 
  • Spending nearly six years living and traveling in Spanish-speaking countries. 
Let’s explore together some of the best things you can do while exploring the world during the Travel Long-Term Round the World On Any Budget workshop. Taking coffee and chocolate tours was one of my favorite things in Latin America while I traveled around the world between 2011 and 2020. (The photo shows my friend Claudette on the Finca Dos Jefes coffee tour in Boquete, Panama).

Take the “Survival Spanish for Long Term Travel” Workshop and Get the “Travel Long Term Round the World On Any Budget” Workshop for FREE

. Participants in the Survival Spanish for Long Term Travel Workshop can take my Travel Long Term Round the World On Any Budget workshop online or at the beautiful Casa Los Dos Gallos in Merida, Mexico, for FREE; let me help you plan your dream travel adventures, show you how you can make travel an integral part of the next chapter of your life, and teach you how to travel on any budget based on my eight years of experience traveling around the world, visiting 85 countries as a volunteer, cruiser, student, and tourist.

Stay at Our Onsite Casita Lobita at a Discounted Rate During Your Survival Spanish for Long Term Travel Workshop

You can also spend the week at the Casita Lobita, which is at the back of my house, for 33% less than Airbnb prices. The cost of staying with a host family and casita is the same: $100 per week for four weeks and $80 per week for each additional week.

A ten-minute walk from the City’s historic Plaza Principal (Main Plaza), Casita Lobita is equipped with everything you could need for a comfortable stay, including:

  • A kitchenette with a coffee maker, plates, utensils, cups, and glasses
  • A new air conditioning and fans
  • High-speed internet access, a new TV (with Netflix), and a telephone
  • A private bathroom (with a shower).

Though guests have to enter through the main house to get to the Casita, guests also have easy access to a large, fully equipped kitchen, an enclosed patio, a terrace, a laundry area, and a garden. In addition, the areas of the house that get the most traffic are separate from the areas guests need to pass through to get to the Casita.

Paul Heller and his Yucatecan friend and house manager, Juan Carlos Cab, enjoy getting to know their guests (if desired) and helping them get the most out of their stay in Merida. Breakfasts are also available upon request.

Guests will also be greeted by and get to know the world’s sweetest and most mellow dog, Lobita, which means little wolf in English. (The Casita is named Casita Lobita in her honor).

Note: Smoking is permitted on the patio.

Casita Lobita is Perfectly Located in the La Mejorada Neighborhood

In recent years, La Mejorada has come to life. New bars and restaurants, cultural centers, museums, public offices, music schools, and university campuses have converted La Mejorada into an upcoming cultural mecca with its personality and identity. Casa Los Dos Gallos is in the heart of the La Mejorada neighborhood. Casita Lobita is Perfectly Located in the La Mejorada Neighborhood.

Parque Mejorada, two blocks away from Casita Lobita, is home to a small, free popular art museum and the popular, well-known Los Almendros restaurant.
The former Merida train station, four blocks from Casita Lobita, is now home to the art school of UADY, the Yucatan State University.
Campeche is on the Western side of the Yucatecan peninsula. It is one of the few fortress cities left in North America. It is also known for its pirate history, excellent seafood, and beautiful colonial central city. (De Sangall90 – Trabajo propio, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikipedia)

Take Fifty Plus Nomad’s Survival Spanish for Long Term Travel Workshop and Enjoy Our Yucatecan Experiences Package for FREE

Spend a partial or full day learning about the Yucatan with Fifty Plus Nomad. Eat a Rustic Home-Cooked Yucatecan Meal prepared by Juan Carlos Cab, one of the region’s best home cooks, and learn about the Yucatan’s rich and unique mixture of Mayan, Mexican, Lebanese, and European flavors. Discover the Yucatan’s distinctive regional culture and how to understand and fit in comfortably with Yucatecan’s relaxed and hospitable lifestyle through our Yucatan Society and Culture Workshop.


Recently nominated as the 12th Best City for Travelers by Travel and Leisure Magazine, Mérida, a city of about a million people, is North America’s third-largest colonial city and a rapidly growing home for expats and wealthy Mexicans from throughout Mexico.

(By Arian Zwegers from Brussels, Belgium – Dzibilchaltun, Temple of the Seven Dolls, CC BY 2.0, Wikipedia.)


The Maya World

Merida is an excellent base to explore the Yucatan Peninsula’s ancient Mayan ruins. Experience the temples and pyramids, including Dzibilchaltun. Dzibilchaltun receives hundreds of visitors to see how the sunrise peeks through the temple door during the vernal equinox.

Merida's Cathedral was one of the first in the Americas. One of the many fabulous tourist sites in Merida that you should visit if you live in Merida. (Pxfuel)
Merida’s Cathedral, Second Oldest Church in North America (pxfuel)


300 years of history

Merida’s colonial architecture from the 16th to 19th centuries is still well preserved. The main avenue running through the City, Paseo de Montejo, is lined with colonial buildings. The Plaza Principal features the murals of the Governor’s Palace, the cathedral, and the Casa de Montejo, Merida’s 16th-century founder.

Museo Mundo Maya is a modern museum in the City’s rapidly developing North.
Photo by Jmagno1998 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, h Wikipedia)


American capital of culture

Merida arose from merging three significant cultures: Mayan, Spanish, and Lebanese, giving it a unique personality, architecture, cuisine, and people. Nouveau and Art Deco) buildings coexist in harmony.


With Mérida as your base, you can visit the peninsula’s world-class cathedrals and churches, Maya archaeological sites, museums, beaches, haciendas, and cenotes.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Celestun_Flamingo_2-1-edited.jpg
(De Elelicht – Trabajo propio,Wikipedia)


A coastal town in the Northeastern Yucatan peninsula retains its quiet fishing village atmosphere. Here you can take a boat to spot flamingos and enjoy a relaxing day at the beach.

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Izamal Convent and Town
(By Addicted04 – Own work using:File: Convento de Izamal, Wikipedia)


The Mexican government identifies several communities throughout Mexico as “pueblos magícos” or “magical villages.” Among them are Izamal and Valladolid, which feature the region’s rich Mayan heritage and the legacy of the former Spanish colonial period.

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Hacienda San Ildefonso Teya
(Photo by Francisco-619 – Own work, Public Domain,. Wikipedia)


Farther afield from Mérida, visit take two routes to discover the Yucatan’s historic haciendas. The haciendas grew a special species of agave (fourcroydes). The spines of these agave plants’ leaves produced henequen, the world’s strongest natural fiber. The fiber created ropes and cords used throughout the world in the 19th and early 20th centuries.


This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Dzibilchaltun_cenote-edited.jpg
(Photo by David R. Wohl. Wikipedia).


Known to the Mayas as “dzonot,” cenotes are natural caverns filled with fresh-water pools, where permeable limestone bedrock allows rainwater to filter slowly through the ground, creating underground rivers and pools. Experts estimate that more than 7,000 cenotes have formed under the Yucatan Peninsula; the Mayans considered them to be sacred since, in the past, they were the only source of freshwater.

Dzibilchaltun Cenote pictured here, is 20 miles North of Merida and is next to the Mayan ruins of the same name. People visit Dzibalchaltun from around the world to experience the Vernal Equinox in mid-March.

(Photo by Son of Groucho – https://www.flickr.com/photos/sonofgroucho/15238545692/, CC BY 2.0, Wikipedia)


While Dzilbalchaltun is an above-ground cenote, most of the cenotes in the Yucatan peninsula are located in caves and are usually at least one hour from Mérida. The Cenote Hubiku pictured here is one of the most popular cenotes in the Yucatan. Hubiku is located about one and a half hours from Merida and a half an hour from Valladolid.


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Temple of Kukulcan (El Castillo)
(Photo by Alex Azabache from Pexels)


Located in Yucatan, appointed by UNESCO as a World Heritage and considered one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World”. Chichen Itza covers an area of 6.5 square kilometers. The south part of Chichen Itza dates back to the VII century and shows the Maya Puuc construction style. The central area, built after the arrival of the Toltecs around the 10th century, is a fusion of the Puuc architectural styles and the Toltec culture from Mexico’s Central Highlands.

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Governor’s Palace rearview and details
(Photo by Mesoamerican – Own work, Wikipedia)


Uxmal, located 62 kilometers south of Mérida, is one of the most important Classical period Mayan archaeological sites. UNESCO named Uxmal a World-Heritage Site for its amazing Puuc-style ornamental friezes and enormous pyramids.

Fifty Plus Nomad offers personalized workshops and courses in Spanish, English, Living and Traveling in Mexico, and Long-Term Travel Book a Two-hour Free Sample Introductory Session

Want to Learn More Tips For Learning Basic Spanish?

Check out these websites: Steve Kaufman, Effortless Conversations,

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Paul Heller has been a lifelong avid traveler and language learner and teacher, Even as a child, he told Santa Claus that he wanted to visit all the children worldwide. At seven years old, Paul wanted to retire to Mexico. At eight, he memorized the name, capital, location, and some facts about every country worldwide. At twelve, he found a book "Lonely Planet: Southeast Asia on a Shoestring" and started developing his own itinerary for a future round-the-world trip. He remained obsessed with travel; after getting a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California and working as an administrator, He spent his vacations going to different countries around the globe studying language, touring, and volunteering. In 1994, he quit his job and lived in Russia as a volunteer English instructor. He discovered that he loved teaching languages. In 2004, he decided to make a living out of his travels and founded a community of people who love to travel just like him. He developed 5 three-hour classes about living and traveling long-term worldwide which he taught in over 50 adult education programs throughout the US. After his parents passed, he realized his dream of traveling around the world; cruising and touring some of the most remote places like the North Atlantic, Patagonia, and Oceania; and learning new languages (he knows Spanish, Italian, French, and Russian). Paul encourages everyone to learn foreign languages. He knows that it can be frustrating and slow but that anyone can learn a language if they put in the work and, most importantly, learning a language is well worth the time and effort because it opens up a whole new set of people, ideas, and cultures. He is currently spending the next chapter of his life in Mérida, México. He is excited about using this blog and his classes and workshops to inspire and equip fellow Fifty Plus Nomads with the language, cultural, and psychological skills necessary to be successful and happy long-term travelers and expats over 50.

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