Spanish Easter Traditions: Ideas & Resources for the Classroom

Spanish Easter Traditions: Ideas & Resources for the Classroom

Inside: A round-up of classroom iresources for Spanish Easter traditions.

 

La Pascua– Easter in Spanish– is a big deal across the Spanish-speaking world, whose history is closely connected to the Catholic church. The month of Lent culminates in Semana Santa, which commemorates the last week in the life of Jesus. In Spain and many Latin American countries, Easter is a bigger deal than Christmas, with deeply rooted traditions.

I’ve included a mix of religious and non-religious activities. In my opinion, it’s important to acknowledge the religious roots because they makes sense of many cultural traditions. I think you can do this without pushing religious beliefs, but I’ve tried to include non-religious options if you have to be careful to stay secular. 

Let’s not re-invent the wheel for ideas in the classroom! I’ve gathered some awesome resources, for all ages. 

 

Spanish Easter Traditions

 easter in Spanish class

Fun Ideas

 

Here’s an overview of ideas for teaching about or celebrating Easter traditions in Spanish. As you scroll down, you’ll see the videos, links, and expanded resources you might want to use. This is just the condensed version:

 

  • Learn about cascarones by making them, watching how-to videos, or seeing how they’re made and used throughout Latin America.
  • Re-use those plastic eggs for a variety of activities! Do scrambled sentences inside, use for maracas, or make a matching activity.
  • Read infographs and watch videos to learn about the cultural traditions surrounding Pascua. Compare/contrast traditions with those in the US. 
  • Tell or storyask a story based on Easter themes: cascarones gone wrong between friends, something Spring-based (mention that in South America seasons are reversed).

Printables

 

Printable vocabulary coloring sheet from Spanglish Baby:

Conejo Finger Puppets (scroll alllll the way down to the songs section to see the Conejito song!)

Conejo Finger Puppets Search from Spanish Playground

Conversation Questions from Spanish Playground

Semana Santa Coloring Pages (Religious)

#authres

 

There are lots of infographs you can use with Easter. These are fun to to prompt discussion and give the students a chance to see what they can understand from an authentic resource.

 

Credit: Twitter

 

 

This is only a portion of the original infograph. See the original here

 

Visit my Easter in Spanish board on Pinterest to find lots more realia!

Spanish Easter Traditions

 

The following videos are designed for Spanish learners who want to know more about traditions in Spain and Latin America.

 

Easter Holiday

Dreaming Spanish delivers interesting, novice-level language that’s perfect for beginners!

 

An Interactive Video on Semana Santa

This one is so cool! You’ll learn all about foods and celebrations all over the Spanish-speaking, and the students get to pick which ones to study first. 

 

 

Semana Santa, Spanish Easter

 

 

Procesiones y Semana Santa

 

 

Bilingual Intro to Holy Week

 

 

Activities with Eggs

 

Make cascarones! You can have your students paint them or color with markers, fill them with confetti, and maybe even take everyone outside to break them on each other.

Throw Away Your Textbook has some good tips for doing cascarones, as does Mundo de Pepita

Use plastic eggs to do this scrambled sentence activity from Señora Chase. The nice thing about this one is that you can tie the sentences into whatever theme/story/song you are working on, but it feels Easter-y/Spring-ish because of the eggs.

Use another version of scrambled sentences Totally Comprehensible Latin, with whole sentence strips inside the eggs. This is a dictation & listening activity that can be done in pairs. It takes a little work upfront, but then you only have to supervise once it get going!

5 Ways to Use Leftover Plastic Eggs from Secondary Spanish Space: lots of fun ideas here!

Make maracas from plastic eggs with this SUPER-EASY craft. 

 

 

Videos on Cascarones

 

See how cascarones de huevos are prepared in a Mexican market. 

 

How-to in Spanish:

 

How-to, as explained by a kid:

 

 

 

Videos On Alfombras

 

Las Alfombras en Honduras (introduced in English):

 

 

Detailed video of the Alfombras de Aserrín process:

 

Alfombras from Guatemala:

 

 

Semana Santa Resources

 

Make alfombras with DIY Sand Alfombras 

Browse these photos of real-life Guateman alfombras

Semana Santa vocab at a glance. (Visiting this site downloads an audio file– you can choose to block it.)

Semana Santa Webquest in English

La semana santa en Guatemala from Estudia Feliz. This story includes preterite and imperfect as a teacher recounts her experience while traveling there, and she has more printable resources on her site. 

 

 

Authentic Videos on Semana Santa

 

Here are authentic videos that introduce Semana Santa celebrations in different parts of the Spanish-speaking world. 

 

Semana Santa in Peru

 

 

Semana Santa in Spain

Be aware that the outfits worn on these processions look like the KKK. The capes are meant to symbolize rising to heaven. You will definitely want to preview, and discuss with your classes before using them. (Good opportunity to discuss how culture shapes our reaction to images and symbols.) 

 

 

 

Semana Santa in Guatemala

 

 

 

 

 

 

Songs

 

 

 

 

De Colores –  A famous & traditional song that works well with spring vocabulary. 

 

El Conejito Blanco: So cute, and non-religious for those who need that!

 

 

MovieTalks

 

 

 

I would love to hear about your favorite resources too! Let me know in the comments what else you would add to the list.

 

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Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

Spanish Valentine’s Day Songs: A Cheesy, Catchy, and Clean List

Spanish Valentine’s Day Songs: A Cheesy, Catchy, and Clean List

InsideA list of Spanish Valentine’s Day songs to use in the Spanish classroom. 

 

When it comes to Latin love songs, the possibilities are basically endless. And I mean that quite literally. So Spanish songs are an obvious choice when creating Valentine’s Day plans!

However, when it comes to working with teenagers in the Spanish classroom, it can’t just be any song. We want clean songs, with catchy music and comprehensible lyrics.

Another catch is that Valentine’s Day can be tricky in the classroom. We don’t want to send the message that life is all about being in a couple, or that romantic love is everything. I’ve tried to gather a balanced list here so you can get awesome ideas for whatever angle you choose to use.

If you are looking to use classics, you might want to see my love songs in Spanish list— the all-time greats, or check out my page of songs in Spanish. I’ve also got a sad songs in Spanish list and a huge post on general Valentine’s activities for Spanish class

Not sure what to do with a song? Read how to teach Spanish with authentic songs, or save yourself some serious planning time and grab my growing activity sheets bundle.

 

Spanish Valentine’s Day Playlist

Whether you’re looking for catchy, cheesy, or friendship-based songs, there’s something for everyone here. Let’s get started!

 

Catchy and Current Romantic Songs

 

Here’s the music that tends to appeal to all ages and groups. Some of these songs have really nice videos as well, perfect for a MovieTalk or class story. You could also story-tell, before watching anything, as a way to set up the song. Then, show the video clip and let them see the story “come alive”!

 

1. Chocolate – Jesse and Joy

 

Chocolate + amor = perfect Valetine’s Day vocabulary. Yes please!

 

 

2. Robarte un beso

 

Good video, good music, and fairly comprehensible lyrics. You could spend a whole class period telling the story of the people in the video. I love that it captures love in all walks of life, not just the typical hot guy + hot girl you find in so many songs. I’ve got a great lesson for this song with reading and letter-writing if you love it as much as I do!

 

3. Cuando te veo (ChocQuibTown)

 

The lyrics here are so, so good– super romantic and sentimental, but clean. And the video is beautiful and totally appropriate.

 

4. Eres – Café Tacuba

 

A teensy bit old compared to the other songs, but so perfect for Valentine’s Day-themed lyrics (and features a high school-level relationship). You could follow up with “Lo que más quiero en este mundo…” activities or brainstorming. The video would be perfect for storytelling too.

 

5. Querido Tommy – Tommy Torres

 

The song tells the story of a fan who writes the singer (Tommy Torres) asking for help to write a song to the girl he loves. There’s good comprehensible language even for lower-level classes, and the phrases are perfect for Valentine’s Day.

 

Platonic Songs or Friendship Songs

 

Sometimes you want something outside the usual romantic-love box, especially when working with middle or high school. These songs are either platonic or can be applied to a variety of situations.

 

1. Yo Contigo, Tú Conmigo

 

Totally upbeat (and featuring minions), this song could applicable to almost any relationship– friends, family, even pets!

 

2. Aprender a quererte – Morat

 

The music and video are amazing, with vivid scenes of everyday life in parts of Latin America. The lyrics sound like a love song, but the video expresses friendship and compassion, and people coming together from all walks of life. (It was created to fight against child labor.)

 

 

3. Recuérdame – Coco (Carlos Rivera)

 

Hop the Coco-craze train and listen to this song in class. It’s an amazing mix of current culture + classic Latin/Mexican style. In the context of the movie, it was directed to the love within family.

 

4. Nuqui (Te Quiero Para Mi) – ChocQuib Town

 

If you want to go in a totally different direction (love for a place), use this one. It has all the vocab to talk about love, but in the sense of loving one’s home. It’s so beautiful, understandable, and vivid I had to include it.

 

5. Un Año – Sebastian Yatra & Reik

 

This 2019 hit is a wonderful mix of all kinds of love– both romantic and platonic. It names the months of the year, along with Feburary.

 

Totally Cheesy Songs

 

And sometimes the best way to deal with love-obsessed culture, raging hormones, and mixed feelings about dating/ relationships is just to cheese it up. High schoolers are old to enough to enjoy the irony of over-the-top lyrics.

 

1. El amor – Tito “El Bambino”

 

This is the essence of cheesy Latin music, and let’s be honest: I love it. The video is actually quite sweet too.

 

2. Mi princesa – Victor Muñoz

 

Sentimental lyrics + fairy tale references + vintage movie clips + amor eterno = cheesy love song, check!

 

3. Cuando me enamoro – Enrique Iglesias & Juan Luis Guerra

 

Did someone say romantic lyrics? Enrique Iglesias and Juan Luis Guerra in the house, obviously. Features school-age romances in the video, but in a sweet and appropriate way.

 

4. Limón y sal – Julieta Venegas

 

It’s harder to find songs with female leads, but this is cheesy + comprehensible. The video is confusing to me, hah, but maybe you can make more sense of it! I love her music and voice

 

 

5. El poeta – Chino & Nacho

 

Review the video, but this is a lively and sentiment-packed song about love.

 

6. Amor con hielo – Morat

 

If you’re looking to go a completely different route, this is your anti-love song.

 

 

What other songs to you love for Valentine’s Day in Spanish? Let me know in the comments below!

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spanish valentine's day playlist

Welcome

Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

The Best Spanish Love Songs of All Time

The Best Spanish Love Songs of All Time

Inside: The best Spanish love songs: A Latin Playlist.

 

It’s no secret that Spanish is a romantic language– and no, I don’t mean that it’s one of the Romance Languages! Rocket Languages says: 

As one of the world’s most widely spoken languages, Spanish tops off our list as one of the world’s most romantic languages because of its passionate, sensual sound.

Hah! I think this is probably true. No wonder Latin music and poetry are famous. And of course, music in Spanish can make your perfect background for Valentine’s Day, or whatever love-is-in-the-air sort of time it may be.

You’ll notice this list is more classic– I’m working on the following lists to add to my Songs in Spanish collection:

Let’s take a tour of our top picks!

 

Spanish Love Songs

 

1. Bésame Mucho

 

Can it get any more classic than Bésame mucho? This is an iconic Spanish love song that belongs on every romantic Latin list.

 

2. No Te Apartes de Mí – Vicentico 

 

I love this duet: “Todo amor que yo espere de la vida , Lo he encontrado solo en ti..”

 

 

3. La Cosa Más Bella – Eros Ramazzotti 

 

Eros Ramazzotti’s voice is unmistakeable, as are the lyrics in this classic.

 

 

4. Rayando El Sol – Maná

 

I love Maná, so this romantic song is one of my personal favorites. Anytime you hear this one, people start singing along too. 

 

 

5. Te Amo

 

Of course, Franco de Vita and a song that croons Te amo over and over belong on the top love songs list. 

 

 

6. Es Por Ti – Juanes 

 

Juanes is another iconic Latin singer and Es por ti is one of his best love songs. I love this live version. 

 

 

7. Si Tú No Estás Aquí

 

This is the essence of Latin music: guitar, lilting voice, and sentiment. Beautiful. Some songs capture the giddiness of new love; this one holds the depth of that couple who’s been through think and thin.

 

8. Sin Miedo a Nada – Alex Ubago 

 

 

 

 

9. La Canción Más Bonita del Mundo – La Oreja de Van Gogh

 

This was one of the first songs I learned as a young Spanish speaker. Still love it!

 

 

10. Te Regalo una Rosa – Juan Luis Guerra

 

Here’s some Spanish love bachata-style (and incidentally, what we danced to at our wedding!). 

 

 

11. Luz de Día – Enanitos Verdes

 

 

 

12.Yo No Sé Mañana – Luis Enrique

 

More lighthearted than most on this list, Yo no sé mañana speaks to the uncertainty of new love with an upbeat salsa tone.

 

 

13. Todo Cambió – Camila

 

 

 

 

What Spanish love songs did I miss? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

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Spanish love songs

Welcome

Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

Spanish New Year’s Activities: A Collection for the Classroom

Spanish New Year’s Activities: A Collection for the Classroom

Inside: Spanish New Year’s activities, and links. 

 
Coming back to school after the winter break can be rough. Create a lesson or two around New Year’s traditions, and you can kick off the new semester with fun activities centered on Latino culture. 
 
As explored in my New Year’s in Spanish post, there are a ton of good-luck rituals in the Hispanic world. From wearing the right underwear to stuffing down 12 grapes a midnight, there’s a little bit of everything! And there’s plenty of interesting traditions to capture your students’ attention. 
 
Or consider a real-world task like making resolutions and/or wishes. There are plenty of #authres to make these sorts of activities even more meaningful. 
 
Below, I’ve gathered all kinds of resources, so there should be something for everyone. Enjoy!

Spanish New Year’s Activities

Lesson Ideas

 

  • Prepare a list of famous characters/people/celebrities. Then, write up one or more resolutions for each person. Show the list of people to the class, and read the resolutions out loud, while the students try to guess whose it is.

 

 

  • Use this AMAZING resource from Maris Hawkins to read “horoscopes” or predictions about the new year, according to birthdays. 

     

  • Make New Year’s resolutions! Perhaps begin with a funny story about someone who has high hopes for the new year and sets intense goals, and then what actually happens Jan 1. OR go the inspirational route about someone who truly does turn over a new leaf (the Grinch, maybe). Then at the end of the story, students come up with their own resolutions. 
  • Make 12 wishes for the New Year, and write each one in a grape. (Following the tradition of eating 12 grapes at midnight, and making a wish for each one eaten.) This is an output-heavy activity, so it might be best to brainstorm and give options for the students to choose from, or use for a more advanced class and then discuss.

 

  • For younger students, prepare “grapes” with a wish for the New Year written down. After talking about each wish, have the students pick just one wish for the next year. Then vote for favorites and do a graph to see what the most popular wish is!

 

  • Research superstitions to bring good luck on New Year’s, and compare them between countries/cultures.

 

  • Have students choose one word for the New Year, as explained here.

 

Carta a Los Reyes Magos

 

Free TpT Resources

 

 

  • Metas para el año nuevo from La Clase de Señora Dufault. Use this cute download if you are doing resolutions with younger students. 

 

  • Teach the song Vivir mi vida to prep for writing resolutions (lots of voy a… reps), with this free activity sheet. 

 

Infographs

 

costumbres latinas del año nuevo

 

Credit: Cinismoilustrado

 

Credit: TICs y formación

Credit: Hábitos

 

 

 


Credit: Cinismo Ilustrado

 

Credit: El Blog de Sarai Llamas

Songs

 

 

Videos

 

Costumbres para el año nuevo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Los reyes magos

 

 

 

Welcome

Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

New Year’s in Spanish: Latino Traditions for Good Luck

New Year’s in Spanish: Latino Traditions for Good Luck

Inside: A round-up of traditions for New Year’s in Spanish.

 

When it comes to Hispanic New Year’s traditions, it’s all about bringing on the good luck. In most places, the partying begins on New Year’s Eve among family or friends, and most of the rituals take place at or around midnight. Then, the fiesta continues into the wee hours of the morning (along with plenty of fireworks to ring in the new year).

 

año nuevo

New Year’s in Spanish: 10 Good-Luck Traditions

 

As you’ll see, most of these traditions have to do with ways to make wishes for the year to come. Some of them are for the day of New Year’s Eve, and some must occur right at midnight. Read on to learn about these fascinating rituals across the Spanish-speaking world!

 

1.  Eating 12 Grapes at Midnight

 

año nuevo uvas

Many people eat 12 grapes as the clock strikes midnight, making a wish for each grape eaten. They must be eaten quickly (as the bell tolls, or in the first minutes of the new year), which is quite the task as Spanish grapes have large seeds. This tradition originated in Spain, though Mexico and other Latin American countries do this one as well. Read more about origins of the lucky green grapes of Spain here.

 

2. Wearing Yellow Underwear

 

yellow underwear new year's eve

 

Believe it or not, this is a very strong superstition! The color yellow represents good luck in many Hispanic countries, so many people sport yellow underwear as the new year rings in. In many countries, yellow or white is the color of choice for clothing on New Year’s; while red underwear means romance awaits.

 

3. Walking Around the Block with Suitcases

 

 

For this one, people walk around the block or the house with a suitcase for traveling opportunities in the New Year. Perhaps after stuffing down grapes, lentils, and champagne, you grab the piece of luggage right after midnight and get moving.

 

4. Burning Muñecos

 

new year's in ecuador

 

In Ecuador and other places, people set up effigies (muñecos) after Christmas, and burn them for año nuevo. In some places, the doll is a generic form meant to represent the old year and burned as a way to say good-bye to the past. In other places, the effigies represent unpopular political figures, celebrities, or leaders.

 

5. Eating Lentils

 

 

At least in Chile, some people eat lentils right as the new year comes in, to usher in prosperity. Others eat it as a midday meal, saying that the round lentils resemble coins.

 

6. Holding Money at Midnight

 

 

Some people want to have money or coins (some insist on silver) in hand, as midnight strikes. This is also supposed to be good luck for a prosperous new year.

 

7. Drinking Champagne

 

 

As in many places, champagne is the drink of choice when welcoming the new year. The Latino twist is to drop a gold ring into your champagne glass, to bring in money. Fruit like strawberries or cherries is said to bring new love, or fidelity by a gold ring. Some say you must drink the entire glass and pull the object out, or it won’t work.

 

8. Cleaning the House

 

 

Cleaning the house thoroughly is an expression of “out with the old, in with the new.” Similar to burning muñecos, it symbolizes getting rid of the old year’s energies and welcoming in the next one, hopefully with good energy. Some people even put on only new clothes, to avoid bringing the past into the next year.

 

9. Throwing Water Out the Window

 

 

This is another ritual of throwing out the bad things from the past year, and starting the new year fresh. Some say that if the water falls on someone you don’t care for, bad luck will fall on them.

 

10. Standing on One Foot

 

latino new year traditions

 

Literally, this is a way to start the year “on the right foot.” As the clock strikes midnight– perhaps while stuffing down grapes– stand on your right foot!

Image credits:
Shutterstock / Sergarck
Shutterstock / Fotos593

What New Year’s in Spanish traditions did I miss? Let me know in the comments below.

 

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costumbres latinas del año nuevo

new year traditions in spanish speaking countries

 

Welcome

Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

2019 Ultimate Guide to the Best Spanish Shows on Netflix

2019 Ultimate Guide to the Best Spanish Shows on Netflix

Inside: A guide to top series and recommendations for Spanish shows on Netflix. 

 

As Netflix’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years, they’ve been busy expanding their selection of Spanish-language shows. 

And these aren’t limited to your grandma’s soapy telenovelas, either: today, Netflix has something riveting in Spanish for everyone. With shows set in Spain and across Latin America, you can find everything from BBC-type dramas to reality TV.

I’m a Spanish-speaking mom and teacher, but not a native speaker. I still need lots of Spanish input. And lucky for me, improving my language skills can be as easy as setting the audio and subtitles to Spanish, and getting into a good Spanish series. 

Remember that Netflix regularly adds and pulls shows– just let me know if you catch something I should update. I also have a whole page dedicated to lists of movies in Spanish for your Friday nights, in case you need more ideas! Below, I’ve included trailers so you can take a peek at each one, and fill up your Netflix queues with binge-worthy series. 

 

Spanish Shows on Netflix: What to Watch

 

 

Ready? Let’s get started.

 

1. La Casa de Papel

 

The massively popular show Money Heist, as it’s known in English, is now the #1 Original Foreign Show on Netflix. A group of burglars joins together to pull off the most daring robbery in the history of Spain. The original plan was to pull of the perfect crime: an infiltration of the Royal Mint of Spain, that would leave them rich and leave no victims. As plans go awry, relationships and loyalty are tested in this psychological thriller. 

Set in Spain, Watch if you liked Breaking Bad, The Italian Job, or Inception.

 

 

2. Velvet

 

This is a gorgeous series if you like period pieces and don’t mind a little soapy drama. The main two character weren’t actually my favorites: what makes the show are the supporting characters. I love the aesthetics, clever dialogue, and lively personalities. (Velvet Colección, a spin-off series, is now available as well!)

Set in Spain. Watch if you liked Mad Men and Downton Abbey. 

 

 

3. El Tiempo Entre Costuras

 

Set during the Spanish Civil War, El tiempo entre costuras follows a seamstress whose life is turned upside down after being conned by a lover and left in Morocco. As she makes a new life, she is caught up between spies in Franco’s Spain. This is one of my very favorites, and I’ve used it in class along with a study of the Spanish Civil War. Set in Spain and Morocco.

Set in Morocco and Spain. Watch if you like BBC WWII dramas, or Downton Abbey.

 

 

4. Club de Cuervos

 

A dysfunctional brother-sister combo are left in charge of a football team in this dramady. Club de Cuervos is one of the few Spanish-language TV shows I’ve found that taps into more ironic and dry modern humor. Irreverent, but also complex, funny, and memorable. (This was one of those shows I initially wrote off, then totally got into. The first episode is fairly explicit but gets a tamer as the series goes on.) 

Set in Mexico. Watch if you’d like a combo of Orange is the New Black, Parks and Rec, and a touch of House of Cards.

 

 

5. Siempre Bruja

 

Starring an Afro-Colombian time-traveling witch, Siempre Bruja mixes the feel of a historical telenovela with modern supernatural twists. Carmen, a slave living in the 17th century, is condemned to be burned at the stake after her owners discover she and their son are in love. Carmen makes a deal to with a wizard and finds herself in modern-day Cartagena, where she must navigate her new surroundings on the condition that she not use her powers. Pros: the series features a black women as the lead, with a strong cast and gorgeous scenery. It’s much cleaner than most shows and could work to show in high school classes. Cons: there is so much potential with the story, but the show delivers a shallow treatment of serious themes, depending on more than one racial cliché along the way.

Set in Colombia. Watch if you liked Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Arrow, or Alias Grace.

 

 

6. Luis Miguel

 

A dramatized telling of Luis Miguel’s life and rise to fame as the Sol de México. The story moves between his early years of stardom and childhood, exploring the disappearance of his mother and tortured relationship with his father. Not an easy watch in terms of the family dynamics, but Luis Miguel just might be a breath of fresh air for viewers looking for a violence-free Latin American show.

Set mainly in Mexico. Watch if you liked Nashville or Empire.

 

 

7. Ingobernable

 

Starring the iconic Kate del Castillo as the first lady of Mexico, Ingobernable begins as her world is turned upside down and she finds herself running for her life. Accused of assassinating her husband, she must find her way outside her life of wealth and power, prove her innocence, and untangle the web of corruption gripping the Mexican presidency.

Set in Mexico. Watch if you liked House of Cards, The Good Wife, Narcos or Breaking Bad.

 

 

8. La Niña

 

Based on real-life events, La niña tells the incredible story of a girl forcibly recruited by the guerillas in Colombia, who then escapes and tries to reintegrate into society. Although she manages to reunite with her family and even gets into medical school, her past haunts her.  Unlike many of the other series in this list, it gives a in-depth look into everyday life for working-class families in Latin America.

Set in Colombia. Watch if you’d like Grey’s Anatomy, Jessica Jones, and a bit of telenovela drama mixed together. 

 

 

8. Gran Hotel

 

Here’s your really well-done telenovela that even my action-loving husband couldn’t stop watching. Full of intrigue and mystery, it’s got plenty of the novela qualities– but with a solid story and characters to back it up. Like Velvet, the supporting characters are the best part of the story.

Set in Spain. Watch if you liked Downton Abbey and Poldark.

 

 

9. El Ministerio del Tiempo

 

El Ministerio del Tiempo is a top-secret time-travel agency that functions loosely under the government of Spain. As the series opens, three new agents join forces to guard the doors of time: a 16th-century soldier, a 21st-century paramedic, and a 19th-century student. This one is packed with history and art as the trio defends time itself, preventing intruders from using time travel for their own gain.

Set in Spain, mostly. Watch if you liked Dr. Who, The Last Kingdom, or Orphan Black.

 

 

10. Las Chicas del Cable

 

From the creators of Gran Hotel and Velvet, this show is packed with favorite actors from both shows, as well as El Barco and El Internado. It follows 4 women who work for a cable company in the 20’s, a turbulent time of old traditions vs. progressivism. I have a love-hate relationship with this one, but check it out if you like gorgeous period dramas, with lots of drama.

Set in Spain. Watch if you liked Peaky Blinders, Mad Men, or Downton Abbey.

 

 

11. Morocco: Tiempos de Guerra

 

Set in the 1920’s, a group of wealthy nurses is sent to the Moroccan front during the Rif War and must adapt to the harsh conditions and reality of wartime. If you weren’t ready to let Gran Hotel go, Cristina is back as the star of this romantic drama. 

Set in Morocco and Spain. Watch if you liked Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey, or Land Girls.

 

 

12. Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

 

A look at the life of Juana Ines, an outspoken nun in the 17th century who was a self-taught scholar, philosopher, and poet. 

Set in Mexico. Watch if you liked The Crown and Alias Grace.

 

 

13. La Casa de Flores

 

La Casa de Flores is an interesting mix of traditional soap elements (a wealthy, socialite family plagued by past misdeeds and secrets) and modern comedy, and has quickly become one of the most-watched Spanish shows on Netflix. The series begins as the family is celebrating their renowned Flower Shop’s anniversary, when their father’s secret mistress ends her life, but leaves behind letters exposing his double life. 

Set in Mexico. Watch if you liked Transparent, Arrested Developmetn, and Modern Family. 

 

 

14. Merlí

 

An unorthodox philosophy teacher tries to open up the worlds of his students, a diverse group of teens that includes his own estranged son. Each show features a particular philosopher. 

Set in Spain. Watch if you liked Dead Poet’s Society.

 

 

15. El Chapo

 

It’s a reasonable criticism that too many shows/movies paint Latin America as full of drugs, violence, etc. And this show was hard to watch for the violence, same as Pablo Escobar. This one is well-done, in my opinion, and provides the history of El Chapo’s rise to power. (It’s interesting to watch alongside Kate del Castillo’s documentary “The Day I Met Chapo,” also available on Netflix).

Set in Mexico. Watch if you liked Narcos and Ozark. 

 

 

16. Celia

 

Learn the story behind the Queen of Salsa: how she began her career in the tumultuous years of Cuba in the 50’s, and eventually rose to be one of the top salsa performers of all time. Gorgeous filming and music in this series. 

Set mostly in Cuba. Watch if you liked Luis Miguel.

 

 

17. Élite

 

Three scholarship students begin their first year at an elite school in Spain, attended by students from  the wealthiest families in Spain. We quickly find out that one of the police are investigating a student murder, and each episode is presented as a flashback. (Although this series has so much potential as it explores race, class, and religion, I was a put off by the depiction of explicit situations these supposed teens are in. Definitely TV-MA.)

Set in Spain. Watch if you liked 13 Reasons Why, Orange is the New Black, or Dynasty. 

 

 

18. Mar de Plástico

 

A detective searches for answers after the murder of a girl in southern Spain. The region is called the “plastic sea,” from so many greenhouses in the area. The drama unfolds against the backdrop of interracial conflicts between the workers in the greenhouses. 

Set in Spain. 

 

19. El Internado

 

Set in a remote boarding school, both students and teachers become involved in uncovering dark secrets from the school’s past, as strange events begin to occur in this mystery-thriller.  

Set in Spain. 

 

20. Sobreviviendo a Escobar

 

If you haven’t gotten your fill of narco-theme shows, Sobreviviendo Pablo Escobar was a fascinating follow-up to Pablo Escobar (and Narcos). It details what happened the Escobar’s people and rival cartels after his death.

Set in Colombia. Watch if you like Narcos. 

 

 

21. El Barco

 

Another Spanish mystery, El barco follows a group of young people on a boat during a global cataclysm, who believe themselves to be the only people left on earth. We got really into this one initially, though my interest waned a bit with the extreme drama every episode, hah. If you liked El internado and Gran hotel, you’ll probably like this one! 

Set in Spain. Watch if you like Lost. 

 

 

22. Made in Mexico

 

Can’t get enough of reality TV in English? Made in Mexico follows 9 Mexican “socialites” whose lives connect in some way, and who move within the wealthy circles of Mexico City. The camera shifts between their public interactions (brunches, dates, chats in nightclubs, family get-togethers), the drama that ensues, and subsequent interviews off-stage. Made in Mexico represents an interesting expansion of Spanish shows on Netflix beyond dramas. 

Set in Mexico. Watch if you liked Real Housewives or following the Kardashians.

 

 

23. El Reemplazante

 

Just out of prison, a former executive becomes a math teacher on parole.

Set in Chile.

 

 

24. Bala Loca

 

In this political thriller, a group of journalists join together to fight corruption in post-Pinochet Chile, led by veteran journalist Mauro Murillo (who has suffered an accident and is now confined to a wheelchair). As they form their online newspaper, one journalist is murdered. Mauro’s investigation into her death reveals a dark web of corruption between government, businesses and people.

Set in Chile Watch if you liked The Blacklist, Homeland, or House of Cards.

 

25. Pablo Escobar: El Patrón del Mal

 

If you binged your way through Narcos, you really should give this one a watch. While Narcos narrates from a American perspective, Pablo Escobar is told directly from the Colombian and provides an extensive, gripping look into the life and legacy of Escobar. Though not a historical documentary, it is very well done and I highly recommend it. 

Set in Colombia. Watch if you liked Narcos, Breaking Bad, and shows from the History Channel. 

 

 

26. La Esclava Blanca

 

A white woman is rescued from death and raised by slaves in Colombia. She must impersonate a rich marchioness and marry a wealthy American in order to return one day and bring justice to those who saved her life. 

Set in Colombia and Spain.

 

Did I miss any of your favorite Spanish shows on Netflix? Leave your favorites in the comments!

 

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Spanish shows on Netflix

Welcome

Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

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