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Basic Spanish Words & Travel Phrases

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espanolfrontDuring our own trips to Mexico I’ve compiled a list of basic Spanish words and travel phrases that I’ve personally found to be the most helpful in a variety of situations.

With just a little time and effort these basic Spanish words can be memorized quickly and easily. And if you feel more comfortable having a cheat sheet with you on your trip, just print out the chart below and take it with you to Puerto Vallarta. You’ll find that using some basic Spanish words will greatly enhance your interaction with locals in town, employees at your hotel, and with tour providers. Although Puerto Vallarta is a tourist town where visitors can get by with only English, knowing some basic Spanish travel phrases will be quite helpful when dining at restaurants and when communicating with taxi drivers and bus drivers. These basic Spanish words will also come in very handy when shopping, bargaining with beach vendors, and when you’re out and about walking the safe and beautiful streets of Puerto Vallarta.

Another great language tool for your upcoming trip is a downloadable Spanish translation app (Google Translate) for your cell phone. You can translate using speech, camera (e.g., taking a photo of a menu in Spanish and the words are translated into English), handwriting and while off-line. At various times when my Spanish-speaking husband is not with me and I’ve been in a pinch, I’m happy to report that I’ve used this app with much success!

Most travelers quickly find that mastering and using just a few basic Spanish words and travel phrases on their vacations in Spanish-speaking countries really adds warmth and zest to their cultural experiences. When traveling internationally, bridging the language gap is rewarding, enjoyable and fun. And it’s a great way to make new friends!


Hello Hola Hello, my name is_________ Hola, me llamo___________
Good afternoon Buenas tardes It’s nice to meet you Mucho gusto de conocerlo
Good evening Buenas noches What’s your name?  ¿Cómo te llamas?
Goodbye Adiós I’m from Canada Soy de Canadá
Welcome Bienvenido I’m from the United States Soy Americano
Welcome to Puerto Vallarta! Bienvenidos a Puerto Vallarta! I don’t speak Spanish No hablo Español
BASIC VOCABULARY FOR DINING I only speak a little Spanish Hablo poquito (or: Solo hablo poquito Español)
Water Agua I don’t understand No entiendo
Sparkling (carbonated) water Agua con gas Let’s go Vámonos
Water without carbonation Agua sin gas OUT AND ABOUT
Bottled water Una botella de agua Shopping Ir de compras
Breakfast Desayuno Market Mercado
Lunch Almuerzo Jewelry Joyería
Dinner Cena Silver jewelry Joyería de plata
Appetizer Aperitivo Is it real ¿Es real?
Salad Ensalada Is it genuine 925 sterling silver?  ¿Es plata genuina de 925?
Soup Sopa How much? ¿Cuánto cuesta?
Dessert Postre What’s the price?  ¿Cuál es el precio?
I’m hungry Tengo hambre That’s expensive Eso es caro
I want to eat Quiero comer That costs way too much Eso cuesta demasiado
Meal Comida That’s cheap Eso es barato
The menu El menú Do you have it in another color?  ¿Lo tienes en otro color?
I’m thirsty Tengo sed I love it!  ¡Me encanta!
I want to drink Quiero beber It’s perfect!  ¡Es perfecto!
Drink (beverage) La bebida Do you take credit cards?  ¿Aceptas tarjetas de crédito?
Cool drink Refresco Where’s the restroom? ¿Dónde está el baño?
Cool or cold Frio Taxi Taxi
Ice Hielo Bus Autobús
Hot (temperature) Caliente Car Coche
Coffee Café Where’s the bus stop? ¿Dónde para el autobús?
Tea Te Parking Estacionamiento
Milk Leche What time is it?  ¿Qué hora es?
Juice Jugo One minute, please Un momento, por favor
Fruit Fruta Where is _____________?  ¿Dónde está ____________?
Meat Carne Is that near here?  Esta cerca de aquí
Chicken Pollo Is it far?  ¿Está lejos?
Fish Pescado Left Izquierda
Seafood Mariscos Turn left Vira a la izquierda
Shrimp Camarón Right Derecho
Lobster Langosta Turn right Vira a la derecha
Fried Frito Straight Derecho
Grilled A la parrilla Continue straight Sigue derecho
Spicy hot Picante Continue forward Sigue adelante
Bread Pan Turn around Date vuelta
Butter Mantequilla Look over there Mira allá
Potato Papa There it is Allá esta
Rice Arroz Here Aquí
Beans Frijoles North Norte
Cheese Queso South Sur
Eggs Huevos East Este
Vegetarian Vegetariano Yes
Waiter Camarero Yes, thank you Sí, gracias
Fork Tenedor No No
Knife Cuchillo No, thank you No, gracias
Spoon Cuchara Please Por favor
Napkin Servilleta Thank you Gracias
Salt Sal Thank you very much Muchas Gracias
Pepper Pimienta Excuse me Disculpa
Sugar Azúcar Pardon me Perdón
The bill, please La cuenta, por favor What’s happening ¿Qué pasa?
Tip Propina How beautiful Qué  linda

 Source: Visit Vallarta