10 Spanish Phrases You Need to Know in Mexico
If you are going to a Spanish-speaking country, it helps to have a few phrases in your back pocket! I always felt that if I tried to speak Spanish, the person I was conversing with respected me a little more than the times I jumped straight to English.
Often times, people will be able to converse in English in most parts of Mexico, but it never hurts to have a few phrases memorized in case of an emergency.
With no further ado, these are the 10 Spanish phrases that you need to know in Mexico!
1. No hablo Español; ¿hablas Inglés?- I do not speak Spanish; do you speak English?
You will probably use this one the most! Even if you know a few Spanish phrases, sometimes it is just easier to ask if they know English instead of attempting to speak a language you don’t know well!
2. ¿Podemos hablar en Inglés? – Can we talk in English?
Similar to the first phrase, the ability to ask if you can converse in English could be a life saver!
3. No entiendo- I don’t understand.
Let’s face it-there are going to be a lot of interactions in which you are completely lost and it is okay to admit that! The locals can probably tell already anyways! Just throw out a simple “no entiendo” and they will either repeat themselves, think of a different way to say it, or possibly reply in English.
4. ¿Mande?- Can you repeat that again?
Mande was probably the word I used the most in Mexico! Even if I caught most of what the person was saying, it was a polite way for me to buy time in thinking of my response in Spanish! If you do not know much Spanish, or do not think you will be able to understand what the person just said, asking them if they can speak English (Hablas ingles?) may be more appropriate.
5. ¿Cuanto Cuesta? – How much?
This phrase comes in handy whenever you are bargaining for a souvenir, taking a taxi, or at a restaurant. Just be ready for a response in Spanish! Although the number system is fairly simple, it can be difficult to understand in the heat of an exchange.
6. ¿Donde esta la….?- Where is the….?
- Parada de autobus- bus stop
- Baño- bathroom
This one is pretty straight forward. If you are lost or looking for something, “Donde esta” will help you out tremendously!
7. Vaso de agua por favor- A glass a water, please.
Botella de agua por favor- A bottle of water, please.
Depending on what part of Mexico you are in, you may or may not be able to drink the local water. (I recommend doing some research beforehand!) Either way, knowing these phrases will ensure that you get what you want.
P.S. We never had any issues when ordering a glass of water instead of a bottle in Puerto Vallarta, BUT you will definitely be offered a bottle of water-after all, it raises that bill!
8. Quiero este – I want this. (pointing to item on menu)
If you can order food in Spanish, you will get by just fine as a tourist! One easy hack is to just say “Quiero…” and then point to the item on the menu or say the name of the dish.
9. ¿Algo mas? – Do you need anything else?
The only bad thing with trying to order in Spanish is that now the waiter may think you can understand more than you do! Often times, the waiter will say “algo mas”, asking if you would like anything else, or if there is anything more they can do for you. See below for your response.
10. No, todo bien!- No, everything is fine OR another way to say “I don’t need anything else” in response to “Algo mas”.
Assuming you do not need anything more, “todo bien” will do the trick. If you do need something else, go back to “quiero” and pointing to whatever you need.
11. Buenos dias/tardes- Good morning
Buenas Noches- Good evening
When we lived in Puerto Vallarta, we were struck by how friendly everyone was towards us! Part of that friendliness included a simple “good morning” when passing each other. When interacting with others, it is always polite to begin the conversation with good morning/afternoon/evening.
I even threw in a bonus one for you! Those 11 Spanish phrases will help you get by in Mexico, but if you want to thrive, I would check out a free language learning site called Duolingo. Otherwise, memorize these Spanish phrases before your upcoming trip to Mexico and you will keep yourself from getting in too much trouble!