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Vacation classes let you pick up a new skill when you’re out of town

From straw art mosaic workshops to Canadian whisky tastings, get learning through your lodging.

A produce vendor opens a cherimoya, a tropical

A produce vendor opens a cherimoya, a tropical fruit, at the San Juan Market in Mexico City. Photo Credit: Gina Pace

At these hotels and resorts, class is in session.

Each gives guests a chance to learn a new skill or a bit about local culture that would be hard to find in New York City. Pack your bags and get to studying.

Pre-Hispanic straw art mosaic workshops

Through Velas Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

This all-inclusive resort on the Pacific coast of Mexico offers several classes, but one of the most unique is in arte en popotillo — intricate mosaics made out of straw, traditionally used to adorn temples and houses. Guests try their hand at a more modest artwork of a couple square inches. A thin layer of beeswax is applied to a piece of paper, and then dyed strands of wheat, barley and rye grass are laid into patterns. Anyone who relaxes with a methodical hobby, like knitting, will love it. The class is offered weekly and is included in the resort’s rates, which start at $180 (USD) per person per night (based on double occupancy). Info: velasvallarta.com

Canadian whisky class

Through Delta Hotels Toronto’s Char No. 5 in Toronto, Canada

This hotel bar specializes in cocktails with Canadian whisky. But if you want to learn more, head bartender Ray Daniel creates custom whisky tasting classes for groups of six or more. Daniel explains what sets Canadian rye whisky apart from its global counterparts, as you try brands like Lot No. 40 and Gooderham & Worts. Tastings start at $65 (CAD) per person and usually include four types of whisky, cheese and charcuterie, but can go up in price if you want to try more high-end hooch. Info: charfive.com

San Juan Market tour and cooking class

Through St. Regis Mexico City in Mexico City, Mexico

The culinary team from J&G Grill — one of the on-site restaurants at this chic hotel — leads a four-hour experience on Saturdays that starts with a tour of the San Juan Market, where guests learn about Mexican produce, fish, meat, cheese, coffee, spices and even edible insects, and try food along the way. Afterward, guests head back to the kitchen and cook lunch with one of the chefs. The tour and cooking class is $150 (USD) per person. Info: stregismexicocity.com

Surf lessons

Through the Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, California

While no beach in California is private, this secluded SoCal spot feels pretty close to it — which is good if you’re nervous about hanging 10 and don’t want an audience. Through the oceanfront resort in Orange County, you can schedule a private surf lesson in the Pacific Ocean for $150 an hour, which includes the use of a surfboard and wet suit. Or grab a friend or two for a lesson, with two people and up costing $125 per person. Info: monarchbeachresort.com

Falconry class

Through The Equinox, a Luxury Collection Golf Resort & Spa, in Manchester, Vermont

Trade in city pigeons for birds of prey at this resort, where you can take lessons on the ancient art of falconry. Get an introductory lesson, or brave guests can have master falconer Rob Waite take you on a “hawk walk,” where the hawk weaves from tree to tree until you signal it to land on your arm — which sounds only a little bit terrifying. Experiences start at $130. Info: equinoxresort.com

Study tips

If you want to include a learning experience on your next vacation:

  • Look into all-inclusives. In order to stand out from the competition, many offer complimentary classes included in the hotel rate. Narrow down to a couple resorts and call to see what currently is on the schedule.
  • Check in to resort credit. To drum up business during low season, many hotels offer packages or vouchers that can be used toward a class.
  • Curious to try a new gym or fitness class while traveling? A growing number of spots are partnering with local studios and fitness companies so guests can give it a try, like Peloton (pelotonguide.com/travel-guide), which can be found in hotels across the country.

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