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International world: Places of interest


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One thing that you must be able to do in order to get higher grades in your Spanish writing exam is to start sentences and link short sentences in a variety of ways. This exercise suggests some different ways of doing this, pointing out what you should include if you were answering a typical exam question about places of interest.

Sample question

You are asked to write an article about a visit to Puerto de la Cruz in the Canary Islands. You are given some notes and a map to help you. To get really good marks, you need to be able to write longer sentences with varied constructions. See the answers for good examples of this.


Pasaste las vacaciones en Puerto de la Cruz, en las islas Canarias (donde se habla español). Ahora tu profesor de español quiere que escribas un artículo describiendo tus experiencias. Puedes mencionar:

image: Puerto de la Cruz

  1. con quién fuiste
  2. dónde te quedaste
  3. tus impresiones de la ciudad
  4. lo que visitaste
  5. lo que hiciste
  6. la vida nocturna
  7. un incidente o accidente que te pasó
  8. y otros detalles y descripciones

Puedes utilizar el mapa turístico de ayuda.

Debes escribir 150 palabras.

The notes contain eight different points. Aim to write about 15-20 words for each.

Remember, you don't need to refer to everything you see on the map.

You may want to read the examiner's advice before revealing the answer and comparing it to that of your own.

toggle answer


The numbers for the questions and answers correspond.

  1. El año pasado pasé las vacaciones de Pascua con mis padres y mi hermana en Puerto de la Cruz en las Islas Canarias.
  2. Nos quedamos en un camping donde había muchos turistas españoles y extranjeros. Alquilamos una caravana que era muy confortable.
  3. Puerto de la Cruz es un pueblo pequeño precioso con un casco antiguo donde hay muchos edificios interesantes.
  4. Un día visité el castillo que está situado enfrente del puerto y también fui al museo en donde hay muchos objetos muy interesantes.
  5. Como hacía un tiempo estupendo, mi hermana y yo pasabamos mucho tiempo en la playa bañándonos y tomando el sol.
  6. Por la noche las discotecas se quedaban abiertas hasta las cuatro de la mañana, aunque desafortunadamente mis padres no nos permitieron visitarlas.
  7. Un día como había llovido me caí en la calle y se me torció el tobillo, de manera que mis padres tuvieron que llevarme al hospital.
  8. No solamente me divertí mucho sino que tengo muchas ganas de. Tengo muchas ganas de volver a Puerto de la Cruz que es un pueblo agradabilísimo.

Examiner's advice

Think about what you might write in your first sentence.

Question 1

Useful language:

  • pasaste las vacaciones en Puerto de la Cruz en las Islas Canarias
  • con quién fuiste

Points to help you:

  1. Adapt the question for your introduction.
  2. Why not add which holidays?
  3. Say when you went.
  4. Include this information in your introduction.
  5. You are given a useful link word, con, in the notes.

Question 2

Useful language:

  • dónde te quedaste

Points to help you:

  1. Look on the map to find somewhere you might have stayed.
  2. Don't forget to adapt the verb correctly. Who are you referring to?
  3. Give your opinion or say something else about the place you stayed (imagine what it might have been like).
  4. Think about using donde and que to link your sentences here.
  5. You are given a useful link word, con, in the notes.

Question 3

Useful language:

  • tus impresiones del pueblo

Points to help you:

  1. Use the map to give you an idea of how big the town is and what sort of buildings and amenities there are.
  2. Remember you are being asked for your own opinion.
  3. Con might be a useful link word.

Question 4

Useful language:

  • lo que visitaste

Points to help you:

  1. Use the map to help you here.
  2. Change the verb form.
  3. Use preterite tense for what you did and present for things that are still there.
  4. You won't get top marks for repeating the same verb or just putting a list of buildings.
  5. Try to include other verbs in your list.
  6. This time you could use y también.

Question 5

Useful language:

  • lo que hiciste

Points to help you:

  1. You are now being asked what you did, not where you went.
  2. Think about varying the verb person.
  3. Can you use some pronouns here?
  4. Think about starting this bit with como

Question 6

Useful language:

  • la vida nocturna

Points to help you:

  1. If you don't know what it was like, guess.
  2. A good opportunity to use some expressions of time.
  3. Aunque or pero might be useful link words here.

Question 7

Useful language:

  • un incidente o accidente que te pasó

Points to help you:

  1. Decide whether it was an incident or an accident.
  2. Think of something you know how to say.
  3. Which tenses? Pluperfect to set the scene. Imperfect for what was going on. Preterite for what happened.
  4. Preterites of reflexive verbs caerse, torcerse - remember pronoun position (se) me... + verb.
  5. What about using así que or de manera que to introduce the consequence?

Question 8

Useful language:

  • y otros detalles y descripciones

Points to help you:

  1. Why not use the last section to sum up and give your opinion?
  2. An impressive way to finish would be to use no solamente... sino que in your conclusion!


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