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Destinos: An Introduction to Spanish

This video instructional series for high school classrooms and adult learners teaches Spanish speaking and listening skills.

A video instructional series in Spanish for college and high school classrooms and adult learners; 52 half-hour video programs divided into two parts (Part I programs 1-26, Part II programs 27-52). Please note: Annenberg Learner no longer sells coordinated materials, such as audiocassettes, music CDs, video and audio scripts, and coordinated books, for this series.

Destinos teaches speaking, listening, and comprehension skills in Spanish. This telenovela, or Spanish soap opera, immerses students in everyday situations with native speakers and introduces the cultures, accents, and dialects of Mexico, Spain, Argentina, and Puerto Rico. Understanding of Spanish and appreciation of many Hispanic cultures increase as students become absorbed in the mysterious and entertaining story. Closed captioning in Spanish can be used as a teaching and literacy resource.

What Is Destinos?

Destinos teaches speaking, listening, and comprehension skills in Spanish. This telenovela, or Spanish soap opera, immerses students in a mysterious and entertaining story while viewing everyday situations with native speakers. It also introduces the cultures, accents, and dialects of Mexico, Spain, Argentina, and Puerto Rico, helping students understand a range of Spanish and appreciate many Hispanic cultures. The programs are closed captioned in Spanish and can be used as a teaching and literacy resource. The series is also appropriate for teacher professional development.

Series Components

In the Watch section of the Destinos website, you can view the entire 52-episode Destinos series. With each 30-minute episode, you are drawn deeper into the mystery of Don Fernando’s past, while hearing and learning new and increasingly challenging vocabulary and grammar. You can further practice your Spanish with supplementary activities in the Practice section. At the end of each Practice activity, un paso más suggestions will allow you to take your learning further. Tips for Teachers and web resources provide additional support and encourage further learning

Every episode of Destinos covers new grammatical concepts, vocabulary, and cultural practices. The 52 episodes are divided into five destinations: La Gavia, España, Argentina, Puerto Rico, and México. As a learner moves from episode to episode and destination to destination, the content grows more challenging.

The Practice section of Destinos parallels the Watch section, in that the Practice activities are organized by destination. Each activity relates to one or several episodes, and provides opportunities to review the grammar, vocabulary, or cultural practices. In Practice, as in Watch, as you move from destination to destination, the content becomes more rigorous.

Resources for Teachers

Best Practices

High school, college, and continuing education instructors offered their tips on teaching with Destinos.

Watching a video is active teaching — you’ll want to pause and discuss plot developments, important expressions, cultural elements. It is essential to replay and discuss.

For beginner-level classes, certain scenes should be re-watched, to be sure students understand what’s going on.

As all episodes are available online, so episodes can be assigned as homework or for review.

Teenage students might giggle at the outfits and the hairstyles. Allow them to talk about this aspect of the series at the start as a means of diffusing their silliness.

Showing captions (which are in Spanish) changes Destinos from a watching and listening activity to a reading activity. Try leaving captions off, to challenge students.

Destinos allows you to introduce realia to students without having to bring physical materials into a classroom — this is especially valuable for distance-based learning.

Teaching Foreign Languages K-12 Workshop is a free course that examines research topics from the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages National Standards as it applies across languages and skill levels.

Activity Suggestions

Have students prepare skits where they reenact scenes from various episodes. Depending on skill level, the instructor can give students the script or have students listen and write down the dialogue. For schools with the time and technical facilities, students can film these scenes for classroom screening. Examples of student reenactments can be found on YouTube.

What happens next? Have students describe what happens to major and minor characters they met in Destinos.

What happened before? Have students write background biographies for characters, using information in the show, plus their imaginations.

Beginning students, who might not be comfortable writing full paragraphs, can write Facebook status updates for various characters.

More advanced students can write entries for Raquel’s blog

Students can write and/or record a commentary about an episode, or a talk show where a character comes and “tells all” about an event or another character.

Have students use graphic organizers to help them gather and understand information about the episodes.

History of Destinos

Funded by Annenberg Media and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and produced by WGBH Boston, Destinos premiered in 1992, and soon became the most popular Spanish learning series ever. Described as an “elaborately produced and suspenseful soap opera” by Variety (August 24, 1992), Destinos continues to be widely used today, both by classroom students and independent learners who can watch the series on Since the episodes began streaming on, Destinos has become the most watched video series on the site. Destinos, both on VHS cassette and DVD, has sold more than any other Annenberg Media learning series or course.

Where Are They Now? Destinos Cast & Crew

Raquel Rodriguez: Liliana Abud
Mexican actress Liliana Abud continues to act in television and film and is also a screenwriter. She reappeared in Nuevos Destinos in 1998. She told Alianza News that she chose to star in Destinos “because it was an opportunity to teach my language to the Anglo-Saxon culture[.]”


Arturo Iglesias: Arturo Puig
Actor Arturo Puig has appeared in theater, film, and television, including the popular 1990s Argentine sitcom Grande Pá!


Angela Castillo Soto: Yazmin Pereira
Yazmin Pereira only acted in a few Puerto Rican films and television series after Destinos.



Don Fernando Castillo Saavedra: Augusto Benedico
Born in Spain, Augusto Benedico emigrated to Mexico after the Spanish Civil War. In Mexico he had a long career in film and television. He passed away in January 1992, at the age of 82.


Bill Van Patten
Designer of the Destinos telecourse, Bill Van Patten is a Professor in Second Language Acquisition at Texas Tech University.


Fred Barzyk
For his work in broadcast television, Destinos Executive Producer Fred Barzyk has received three Emmys, the Venice Film Award, and a Peabody Award.

Additional Resources

The following sites can assist with Spanish teaching and learning. In addition, the websites featured after each practice activity in Un paso más offer theme-specific learning opportunities.

General Sites for Learning Spanish


BBC Two Learning Zone

Open Culture has a list of free podcasts for learning Spanish.

MisCositas is a site created by a Spanish teacher with activities, realia, stories, and links to other Spanish resources.

Audria has free Spanish podcasts that cover a range of topics. has a mix of free and for-fee tools

Hello-Hello offers free Spanish lessons, plus opportunities to chat with learners and native speakers

Destinos on the Web


Destinos on Wikipedia

Destinos on IMDB

Search for Destinos+Parody on Youtube and find student reenactments of scenes

News Sites in Spanish



El País




La Nacíon

Mexico City

El Universal

La Jornada


Puerto Rico

El Nuevo Día

El Vocero

Awards and Reviews


Association for Educational Communications and Technology Division of Instructional Development
1993 Outstanding Practice Award

Columbus International Film and Video Festival
1993 Honorable Mention Award for “Un Viaje a Sevilla, España”

Council on International Nontheatrical Events “Cine”
1992 Golden Eagle Award for “Un Viaje a Sevilla, España”

International Association of Audio Visual Communicators
1994 Special Achievement “Cindy” in Writing for “Un Viaje a Puerto Rico”

National Education Film and Video Festival
1993 Silver Apple Award for “Un Viaje a Puerto Rico”


Video Rating Guide for Libraries

Spring 1992Destinos is an excellent introduction to the Spanish language.”

“This is a great way to learn a language.”

“It would be an invaluable resource in high school, college and large public library collections.”

August 1992

“Viewers actually can learn Spanish while following the “Dallas”-like exploits of a Mexican industrialist and his family.” “The action and context of the story will enable them to follow along until the learning process kicks in.”

Los Angeles Times
August 1993

Destinos provides viewers with intensive and enjoyable learning tools for…languages frequently used by travelers.”

“Viewers learn Spanish by listening to the conversations and associating the dialogue with the locale, action, facial expressions, and body language.”

September 1993

Destinos…transports viewers from the New World to the Old, while illustrating the many accents and nuances of Hispanic cultures. There are good opportunities to build vocabulary by listening to conversations.”

Chicago Tribune
August 1993

“The series used in schools and colleges around the country. Destinos utilizes entertaining storylines and stresses learning the languages as they are spoken in various locales.”

Video Librarian
May 1992

“Two-and-a-half Stars.” “…as a supplementary tool it would allow students to catch the rhythm of the language in actual usage, as well as introduce them to facets of the Spanish culture.”

“Recommended for high school and college libraries.”

The Wall Street Journal

January 1993

“…the language is basic enough to allow viewers who don’t speak Spanish to follow the plot without taking the course.”


Instructional Design

The following Instructional Design is excerpted from
the Destinos preview book, published by McGraw-Hill.

Unit 1
Lecciones 1-2

Vocabulario: cognates; family members
Gramática: ser; articles and gender; possession

Unit 2, Un viaje a Sevilla (España)
Lecciones 3-6

Vocabulario: numbers (0-21); academic subjects; animals; days of the week; telling time
Gramática: hay; estar; ir; present tense (regular verbs); subject pronouns; personal a; interrogatives; adjective agreement

Unit 3, Un viaje a Madrid (España)
Lecciones 7-11

Vocabulario: clothing; numbers (21-99); more interrogatives; months; seasons; colors; descriptive adjectives
Gramática: saber; conocer; present tense (irregular verbs, stem-changing verbs, reflexive pronouns); more on possession; demonstratives; more on using adjectives; ser and estar

Unit 4, Un viaje a la Argentina
Lecciones 12-18

Vocabulario: numbers (100-1000); food groups (meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, other foods); writing and written works
Gramática: preterite tense; direct and indirect object pronouns; prepositions; pronoun objects of prepositions; more on using adjectives; verbs used reflexively and nonreflexively; gustar and verbs like it; using two object pronouns together

Unit 5, Un viaje a Puerto Rico
Lecciones 19-26

Vocabulario: directions; more family members; weather; changes in states and conditions; parts of a house; domestic appliances; more descriptive adjectives
Gramática: present and past progressive; imperfect; using imperfect and preterite together; por and para; affirmative and negative words; idioms with tener; comparisons; estar and sentirse with adjectives; acabar de; hace, hace…que; al+infinitive

Unit 6, Un viaje a Mexico: El pueblo, la Capital
Lecciones 27-36

Vocabulario: parts of the body; medical situation; places in a city; stores; geographical features; professions; social life; giving advice
Gramática: future; superlatives; present subjunctive; use of the subjunctive in noun clauses; subjunctive with adverbial conjunctions of time and in adjective clauses; commands; present perfect (indicative and subjunctive); que and quien; past participle as adjective

Unit 7, Un viaje a Mexico: La Capital
Lecciones 37-52

Vocabulario: money, business; renting and buying; tourist needs; travel; restaurants; hotels; sports; relationships; pastimes
Gramática: forms and uses of the past subjunctive (simple and perfect); conditional; if clause sentences; past perfect indicative; adverb formation; exclamations; subjunctive with certain conjunctions


Series Directory

Destinos: An Introduction to Spanish


Produced by WGBH Boston. 1992.

Interested parties may exercise their rights of access, rectification, limitation of processing, deletion, portability and opposition to the processing, as well as the revocation of the consent given, and in any case, these rights may be exercised at the addresses stated in the heading of this contract by sending a copy of ID card, passport or any other document accrediting the legitimacy, as established in:
  • Closed Captioning
  • ISBN: 1-55946-527-1


Notice from Producer

Interested parties may exercise their rights of access, rectification, limitation of processing, deletion, portability and opposition to the processing, as well as the revocation of the consent given, and in any case, these rights may be exercised at the addresses stated in the heading of this contract by sending a copy of ID card, passport or any other document accrediting the legitimacy, as established in: