Learning by doing at latin american hotels

Posted December 13, 2017 12:35 a.m. EST

Throughout Latin America, hotels are drawing on the rich cultures of their host countries to design lessons that connect guests with local food, culture and natural beauty.

At the JW Marriott Hotel Rio de Janeiro, dance lovers and those with two left feet can learn to samba from masters of the Brazilian dance. Teachers from a local samba school lead classes on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, with a professional samba show afterward. Through Dec. 28, a four-night package for the cost of three nights is available using promo code S29 (rates start at $268 per night).

More of a food lover? Hacienda San Jose, a Luxury Collection Hotel, in Tixkokob, Mexico, is inviting guests into its kitchen for a hands-on lesson on how to make cochinita pibil, a Yucatán staple of slow-roasted pork marinated in citrus. The class, which culminates in a three-course meal, also includes tips on making handmade tortillas and lime chicken soup ($65 per person). Through Dec. 17, the hotel is also offering a Celebrate Yucatán package, which includes daily breakfast for two, the cochinita pibil cooking class for two and a 25 percent discount on spa services (from $420 per night; to book email

Travelers to Mexico who are interested in learning to scuba dive for a reasonable price should consider the Westin Cozumel, where a three-night dive package ($795 for three nights, compared to the regular rate of $314 per night; to book email includes a King Sea View Room plus one dive lesson per person and one scuba-diving excursion with two tanks per person. Diving demonstrations are offered daily in the hotel pool and guests can earn their first class diving certification.

In Cusco, Peru, stalls at the Mercado San Pedro are full of colorful local produce. The JW Marriott El Convento Cusco, formerly a 16th-century convent, offers a cooking lesson that begins with a market tour, during which the chef Heivel Bedoya buys fruit, vegetables and local cheeses. A stroll through the market includes samples from vendors before heading back to the kitchen for a five-course cooking lesson and eat-as-you-go feast. With promo code 93B, guests can book the Get More for Your Getaway package, which includes a $50 nightly hotel credit (rates for a Luxury Suite start at $239 per night, compared to the regular rate of $424 per night).