Face it, you just don’t meet many locals at the Señor Frog’s bar!
Here are six Spanish phrases you ought to get under your belt before you hop on the plane and mosey on down for some fun in the sun.
Get by with a little help from your friends.
And it’s entirely true. You’d be friendly if you got to spend all your days in paradise, too.
Here’s a common phrase you can use to guarantee that you’re friendly right back:
Que le vaya bien. [kay lay buy uh bee en]
Literally it translates as “I hope that things go well for you”, but in practicality it’s a more formal alternative for goodbye.
So when you’ve finished devouring your plate of tacos dorados and are ready to head back to the beach, trade that adios in for “que le vaya bien”.
And just so you know, the correct response to “que le vaya bien” is “igualmente” or you too!
A little slang goes a long way.
If you’d like to provoke some of the widest grins you’ve ever seen in your life, learn how to say “What’s up, dude?” in Mexican Spanish before you get here:
¿Qué onda, güey? [kay ohn duh way]
In this case you pronounce güey like ‘weigh’.
But hey, normally ¿Qué onda, güey? is only used between men. The Señora that owns the tlayuda stand won’t take kindly to being called “dude”.
While being friendly is certainly important, let’s cover a phrase that always comes in handy when visiting a new city.
Where is the bathroom?
¿Dónde está el sanitario? [don day es tah el san ee tar ee oh]
Baño is fine, too, but sanitario is a better word for talking about a public restroom.
When you visit a sanitario público be prepared to fork over a little change. Depending on where you’re at, a visit to the toilet generally runs 3 to 5 pesos, often with a small surcharge for toilet paper.
If you do need toilet paper, here’s how you ask for it:
¿Hay papel higiénico? [eye pa pel ee hee en ee koh]
Don’t worry about trying to pronounce higiénico. ¿Hay papel? will get your point across.
Woops, I’m running low on pesos.
When you need one, here’s how you ask:
¿Dónde se ubica un cajero automático? [don day say oo bee kuh oon kah hair oh automat ee koh]
Where can I find an ATM?
¿Hay un banco cercano? [eye oon bahn koh say r kah noh]
Is there a bank nearby?
Where are all the bloody price tags?
Foreigners traveling to Mexico are often quickly frustrated by the lack of price tags at most family run shops. It seems crazy to not price your goods, but that’s just how they roll. No worries, we’ll teach you how to ask how much something costs.
Remember ¿Cuánto cuesta? from your middle school Español class? You can use this phrase and get by just fine, but another useful option is:
¿Qué vale? [kay ball eh]
How much is this worth?
For souvenirs and other tourism related goods and services (activities and sometimes even hotel rooms) you can generally try to barter, but bear in mind that in Puerto Escondido the prices are already more reasonable than what you find in Puerto Vallarta or Acapulco, so don’t expect massive discounts.
Umm…excuse me…check please?
No matter how long you sit around twiddling your thumbs, in Mexico your waiter will never bring you the check until you ask for it. In fact, the biggest cue you’ll get that they’ve noticed you’re done with your meal is to drop by and politely ask if you need anything else:¿Algo más?
Here’s how you ask for the bill:
¿Me trae la cuenta por favor? [may try eh la quen tuh pour fa bore]
OK, perhaps this little phrase guide won’t have you wowing the locals with your linguistic mastery, but you’ll be able to eat, get money, find a restroom and win over new friends. Isn’t that what you’re meant to do on a relaxing off-the-beaten path Puerto Escondido vacation?
And don’t worry, if there any special phrases that you’d like to load into your arsenal, when you’re staying with us at Gecko Rock we’ll be glad to give you a mini Spanish lesson by the pool. You bring your thinking cap and we’ll provide the cervezas!