Are you studying Spanish? Would you like to combine an island vacation with the opportunity to put your language skills into practice?
The Spanish Empire left a lasting legacy around the world, in terms of the sheer number of countries where its conquering language is still spoken.
Some of those countries are island nations unto themselves, and all make for great vacation destinations.
There’s Cuba, of course, which is the largest Spanish speaking island in the world. It is attracting more and more tourists lately, even though travel there is still a bit difficult for most U.S. citizens. Keep it on your list, though, as the country could soon be opening up more to visitors from everywhere.
The Dominican Republic is the Spanish-speaking part of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola (Haiti being the creole French speaking part). It is becoming internationally famous for its trendy beach resorts.
Then there is Puerto Rico, another Caribbean island. It is not its own country but, rather, is a commonwealth territory of the United States. Still, it feels like a self-contained island nation, and Spanish is the official language (though you’ll also hear plenty of English).
Don’t forget the many Spanish-speaking islands that are actually a part of another, mainland country. For example, there’s the island of Cozumel, famous among SCUBA divers, off the Yucatan coast of Mexico. The Bay Islands of Honduras, surrounded by blue Caribbean waters, are attracting retirees from the U.S. and Europe. The Galapagos Islands, far out in the Pacific and made famous by Charles Darwin, are actually a possession of Ecuador.
No list of islands where Spanish is spoken would be complete without mentioning the Canary Islands, governed as an autonomous region of Spain. These are an archipelago off the northwestern coast of Africa; Tenerife is the most populous among them, followed by Gran Canaria.
Even nearer to Spain are the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. If that name doesn’t ring a bell, maybe you’ve heard of some of the more famous individual islands: Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera. These attract holiday makers and partyers from all over Europe. Interestingly, there are two co-official languages in these islands: Spanish and Catalan.
There are many smaller islands around the world where Spain’s linguistic heritage still thrives. These are just some of the more prominent ones. So you see, you have a wide choice of destinations if you yearn to vacation on islands where Spanish is spoken!