sailboat on british virgin islands

Hit the high seas in the British Virgin Islands. (Photo: Getty Images)

Tips + Trends

Where to Learn Mezcal Tasting, Sailing and More in the Caribbean and Latin America

When traveling, lessons naturally emerge at every corner, twist and turn of the journey — from revelations of a culture’s nuances to discovering a new hobby or learning something new about yourself.

Still, some trips are planned to explicitly learn a new skill. The following list of classes throughout the Caribbean and Latin America embrace their locale, teaching travelers everything from sailing in the British Virgin Islands to the specifics and significance of different potatoes in the heart of the Andes Mountains.

As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.

Go Offshore Sailing in the British Virgin Islands

If you’ve always wanted to sail, or are looking to steer a bigger vessel, Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina, Autograph Collection is renowned for its flagship program: Fast Track to Cruising. This multiday program allows guests to get fully certified in cruising a catamaran, manning a yacht or simply mastering the basics.

Guided Artisanal Mezcal Tasting in Cancun, Mexico

shot glasses of mezcal with limes
Savor the taste of mezcal. (Photo: Getty Images)

Mezcal has long been overshadowed by its fellow agave spirit, tequila; however, at the Marriott Cancun Resort, mezcal steals the show. The property wanted to showcase the unique flavors that mezcal — sweepingly described as smoky — can showcase as a result of its terroir, or where it’s grown.

Pull up a bar swing at the Sacbé Beach Shack and prepare to learn all about this distilled agave spirit that’s native to Mexico. The best part? This isn’t a stuffy tasting; it’s an engaging, immersive mezcal program centered on artisan-focused mezcal, complete with a blind tasting menu to test what you learn.

Potato Tasting in the Sacred Valley of the Incas

potatoes
So many potatoes, so little time. (Photo: Getty Images)

In Peru — particularly the Sacred Valley region of the Andes — potatoes are venerated. Thousands of years ago, mountain communities buried potatoes to withstand drops in temperature and to preserve them throughout the year. To this day, these methods are still practiced to ensure proper storage and nutrition.

Tambo del Inka, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Valle Sagrado brings in a local farmer to teach guests about different varieties of potatoes (there are more than 4,000 in Peru!), including a detailed tasting, which allows guests to experience the unique flavors of each potato side by side.

Create Art with a Local in Costa Rica

The art museum is an ever-evolving sustainability project at Punta Islita, Autograph Collection. As a part of the Authentic Costa Rica Program, guests can sign up to be paired with a local artist or craftsperson to create their own murals, embroidery, sculpture, mobiles or jewelry.

While you can take the practicality of the experience and skills of your inner artist home with you, you are encouraged to leave the physical memento behind where it will be added to the town of Islita’s local museum.

Get PADI Scuba Certified in Riviera Maya

Too often, resorts offer scuba diving for experienced or certified divers only. In Playa del Carmen, Mexico, beginners fear not: Travelers can sign up for a PADI Open Water Diver course.

The multiday program is rigorous, so it may not suit some travelers’ vacation mindset; however, the beauty of the underwater world, from the region’s famed cenotes to its reefs, is worth the five self-study sessions, five pool sessions and four open-water boat dives that are included in the program.

Feel the Beat in Colombia

Music plays a powerful role in Colombia, particularly on the Caribbean coast of Cartagena where the champeta music genre was established in the early 1980s. Succumb to the rhythm and feel the beat as locals guide you through a Drumming and Dancing class for beginners in La Boquilla. You’ll work with the drums first and then move on to dance moves as you put your two new skills to the test.