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Spanish Phrases That Will Aid You When Traveling in Mexico, Spain, Central America, or South America

Since everyone appreciated the post on phrases you can use while traveling in S. Korea, I decided to also add a post for each of the languages I do similar to that one because people like to vacation, go site seeing, or go on business temporarily. This time, I thought I would do one with the Spanish language. I used to travel in Mexico quite a bit, and I was everyone’s translator. I was only in Spain as a little girl while my dad drove us through the country on our way to Morocco, so I never had to use any of this in Spain. Many Americans have had high school Spanish, but many of them that I have met forget it when they leave school and wish they hadn’t. That is one of the reasons I began putting Spanish posts here, to help the one who had Spanish in school but forgot. If you live in the south western part of the U. S., Spanish can come in quite handy at times.

I began with some really easy things. If you had high school Spanish, you probably remember the greetings. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Buenos Dias = Good Day, Hello

Buenos Tardes = Good Afternoon (late afternoon) or Good Evening

Buenos Noches = Good Night

Adios = Goodbye

Hasta la vista = see you later (technically: until I see you.)

¿Cómo esta’ usted? = How are you? (formal)

¿Cómo estas? = How are you? (informal)

Estoy bien, y tu? = I am fine, and you?

¿Que pasa? = How are you? (technically: What is happening?)

Nada = nothing

Asking where the bathroom is seems to be something extremely essential no matter where you go. Be ready because you may have to carry your own soap, towel, and toilet paper. The toilets may not have seats, and they may be very dirty, or they may be very clean. I have seen both in Mexico. Photo by CDC on Pexels.com

¿Donde esta’ el bano? = Where is the bathroom? (I can’t seem to get a mark over the “n” to make it into “enye.” This “bano” is pronounced “bahnyo.)

Esta’ aqui = It is here.

Esta’ alli = It is there.

a la izquierda = on the left

a la derecha = on the right

sigue recto = go straight

Mexico has some of the best food in the world, but don’t drink the water. Order a Coca Cola or something similar that is in a bottle. If you don’t, you will most certainly get what they call Montezuma’s revenge, stomach problems.
Photo by Chitokan on Pexels.com

Tengo hambre = I am hungry.

¿Tienes hambre? = Are you hungry?

Tengo sed. = I am thirsty.

¿Tienes sed? = Are you thirsty?

Never book a room in a Mexican hotel until you have seen the condition of the rooms. Go into the bathroom too. You will be happy you inspected it first. Photo by Leah Kelley on Pexels.com

¿Donde esta el hotel? = Where is the hotel?

¿Puedo ver la camara preimero? = Can I see the room first?

No lo quiero. – I don’t want it.

No lo se. = I don’t know.

In Mexico City, thee are beggars. If you give money to one, the rest of them will be down on you in a second get trying to get money from you. If you don’t have a lot of money you can give away, just say, “No tengo dinero,” and they will eventually get the message. Photo by Frederik Trovatten on Pexels.com

No tengo dinero. = I don’t have money.

No intiendo. = I don’t understand.

¿Intiendes? = Do you understand?

No puedo hablar espanol. = I can’t speak Spanish. (The “n” in “espanol” should be an “enye,” so it is pronounced “espanyol.”)

¿Puedes hablar ingles? = Can you speak English?

Ayuda me = Help me

¿Cuanto cuesta? = How much does it cost?

In the middle of every town and village in Mexico, there is a square, a plaza. It is like a park. It may have a playground. When evening comes, it will be full of people, especially young people. There will be mariachis strolling around playing their guitars and singing.
There will be people selling ice cream, etc. It is something you don’t want to miss if you go to Mexico. Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

¿Donde esta’ el centro? = Where is downtown?

¿Donde puedo comprar comida? = Where can I buy food?

¿Donde esta’ el parque? = Where is the park?

If you go to Mexico, you don’t want to miss their church buildings. It doesn’t matter if you go in a big city or a village. Their Catholic churches are really worth seeing. Photo by Huy Phan on Pexels.com

¿Donde esta’ la iglesia? = Where is the church?

¿Donde puedo comprar comida Mexicana traditionala? = Where can I buy traditional Mexican food?

There are lots of neat souvenir shops in Mexico along the border. Many people buy sombreros like these mariachis are wearing or even fancier. They well black velvet sombreros, gaucho hats, big crete paper flowers, onyx chess sets, etc. . Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

¿Donde puedo comprar el recuredo? = Where can I buy a souvenier?

¿Donde esta’ la casa de cambiar? = Where is the place to change money?

¿Donde puedo comprar un refresco? = Where can I buy a cold drink?

¿Donde puedo comprar helado? = Where can I buy ice?

We often traveled with an ice chest in our trunk full of cold drinks in Mexico, and when we needed ice, we could find it at gas stations. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Necesito helado. = I need ice.

Tengo que irme. = I have to go.

Vamanos = Let’s go.

Vaya con Dios. = Go with God. (a really nice way to say “goodbye.”)

¿Donde puedo comprar la gasoline? = Where can I buy gasoline?

No lo haces? = Don’t do that.

No necesita. = It is not necessary.

¿Donde puedo encontrar el desayuno? = Where can I find breakfast?

Dejame en paz. = Leave me alone.

¿Quieres ir conmigo? = Do you want to go with me?

If you go to Mexico, try the ice cream. It is not the same as what you are used to, but it is good. Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

¿Donde puedo comprar el helado? = Where can I buy ice cream?

Delicioso = It is delicious.

Muchas Gracias = Thank you

De nada = You are welcome. (Literally: for nothing)

Por favor = please

Lo quiero = I want it.

No lo quiero = I don’t want it.

Traveling in Mexico is quite different from traveling in other places. I suggest you take your car and don’t drive at night. The banditos (robbers) come out at night, but you are fine if you are inside of a hotel room. I have been to Mexico once on a train with a school group. It was a school trip, so I can’t really give you advice on how to organize that, but sleeper trains exist. There are also buses. They run all over Mexico, but I don’t suggest you take one of them either unless you want to be traveling with the chickens. You would have to be extremely adventurous and not care about your safety at all if you take a bus. Never leave your purse hanging on the back of a chair. If you do, it could be stolen.Mexico wasn’t that safe when I traveled there, and I haven’t been there for a while, mostly because of safety issues. My Mexican friends who have come to the States to live tell me they did it because of the violence in Mexico. If you go, be very careful. However, if you are adventurous, the pyramids, the fiestas, the squares, the beaches, etc. are all still worth seeing.


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