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40 Key Spanish Travel Words and Phrases for Holidaymakers

Speaking spanish abroad, holidaymakers in Costa Rica, Spain, Colombia, Mexico Puerto Rico, Peru min

While English is taught as a second language in schools and is spoken by some segments of the population, it is not as widely spoken or used for everyday communication as it is in some other European countries. The primary and official language of Spain is Spanish.

Like in Costa Rica, English proficiency varies. However,  it’s great for tourists to know that English is more common in tourist areas. Therefore, tourists should not be at a loss for words while visiting countries like Peru, Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba, Colombia, and Puerto Rico.

That said, if you want to impress the locals, try to say a few words in Spanish. They’ll love you for trying and you will be remembered for all the right reasons. It’s almost like creating that warm fuzzy emotion of love and appreciation when you utter a cheerful greeting or order something from the menu in Spanish.

I find that the basic words and phrases are sufficient to sail through my holiday. And on the odd occasion when I need a little bit more, I open my Google Translate application. The Google Translate application comes in handy when you find yourself shopping for groceries, like when you are on a self-catering holiday because you can scan the products’ labels for instant translation!

So with all that in mind, here are the basics that will get you through.  

English Spanish Pronunciation
Happy birthday!
¡Feliz cumpleaños!
feh-lees coom-pleh-ah-nyos
¡Muchas felicidades!
moo-chas feh-lee-see-da-dehs
Good luck!
¡Buena suerte!
bwe-na -sweɾ-te
Good night
Buenas noches
BWEH-nahs NOH-chehs
All the best!
¡Te deseo lo mejor!
teh deh-seh-oh lo meh-hore
I like / I don't like
Me gusta / No me gusta
meh goose-tah / no meh goose-tah
I want / I don’t want. (Casual form only used when ordering at restaurants.)
Yo quiero / Yo no quiero
yoh kee-eh-roh) / (yoh noh kee-eh-roh
wifi? / What is the password?
wifi? / ¿Cual es la contraseña?
vee-fee / kwal es la con-tra-sen-ya?
Help me, please.
Ayuda me, por favor.
ayu-dah, por faa-bor
I understand / I don’t understand
Yo entiendo / No entiendo
yoh ehn-tee-ehn-doh) / (yoh noh ehn-tee-ehn-doh
How much does it cost?
¿Cuánto cuesta?
kwahn-toh kwehs-tah?
I’m sorry, I don’t speak Spanish
Lo siento, no hablo español
lo syen-toh, no ah-bloh es-pah-nyol
I’m lost
Estoy perdido
ehs-TOY pehr-DEE-dah
Good, thanks
Muy bien, grasci
MOO-ee byehn, GRAH-syahs
Thank you
Yes / No
Sí / No
Today / Tomorrow
Hoy / Mañana
oy / ma-nyah-nah
I'm sorry
Lo siento
loh seehn-toh
Excuse me (begging pardon)
Do you speak English?
Habla ingles?
ah-bvlah een-glehs
I need a doctor
Necesito un medico
neh-seh-SEE-toh OON MEH-dee-coh
I don’t feel well
Me siento mal
meh SYEHN-toh mahl
Beer / Red, White wine / Water / Coffee
Cerveza / Vino tinto, blanco / Agua / Un café
sehr-VAY-sah / BEE-noh teen-toh, blahn-koh / AG-gwah / on kah-feh
The bill, please!
La cuenta, por favor
lah KWEHN-tah, pohr fah-BOHR
My name is ...
Mi nombre es
mi nom-bray es
Entrance / Exit
Entrad / Salida
en-trah-dah / sah-lee-dah
Where is the bathroom?
¿Dónde está el baño?
DOHN-deh ehss-TAH EHL BAH-nyoh

Travel Tip(s)

If you want to learn more Spanish, I recommend using Mondly as your tutorial. Mondly’s lessons are designed to simulate real-life situations, which is perfect for preparing for a holiday in a Spanish-speaking country. Mondly includes voice recognition technology that helps you improve your pronunciation. This is particularly useful for building confidence in speaking Spanish during your travels.

Explore more Spanish-speaking destinations