You’ve just landed in South America for the first time. You’re thrilled to finally be able to cross Machu Picchu off your bucket list, saunter through the coffee fields of Colombia and visit the salt mines in Bolivia. And the best part of it all? You don’t need Google Translate to guide you from Point A to Point B. Now that you’ve wrapped up your intensive Spanish course with Ciao Languages, you’re now your own personal Google Translate.
In the past, you would’ve been flustered at the airport, on buses, in Ubers. We’ve all been in taxis in foreign countries where the only form of communication is a listed address in your smartphone. We’ve all shopped at stores and wished we knew how to ask for a different size, but were unable to do so. We’ve all found ourselves in bars where we’re reduced to pointing at a menu to request our drink of choice. But not anymore. Those days are long gone. Now you know exactly what to say when you’re riding on public transportation, shopping at a store, or out for the evening.
]First things first, though. You need to check into your hotel and settle in, and so you hail a taxi outside the airport.
Buenos días – Good morning
¿Cómo estás? – How are you?
Aquí está la dirección – Here’s the address
¿Cuánto cuesta? – How much is it?
¿Qué tan lejos? – How far is it?
The driver tells you it’s 20 minutes, so you use it as an opportunity to practice your conversational skills.
¿Cómo va tu día? – How’s your day going?
Bien, gracias, he replies. Y tu?
Todo bien. No me puedo quejar. You respond by telling him that everything is good and you can’t complain.
Que bien. Me alegro. He approves and is happy to hear that.
Before you know it, you’re pulling up in front of the hotel. You collect your equipaje (luggage) from the trunk and give the driver una propina (a tip).
Muchas gracias – Thank you very much
A ti – Thanks to you too
Cuidate – Take care
Hasta luego – See you later
You enter the lobby and approach the front desk. The receptionist greets you with a warm smile.
Bienvenido – Welcome
¿En qué te puedo ayudar? – How can I help you?
Now it’s your turn to show off your Spanish skills.
Tengo una reserva por cinco noches – I have a reservation for five nights
The receptionist finds you in the system and you’re good to go. She hands you the keys and gives you some basic instructions.
You just have a couple more questions before heading to your room?
¿Qué hora es el checkout? – What time is checkout?
¿Cuál es la clave para el wifi? – What’s the wifi password?
You thank the receptionist for her assistance and kindness. Muchas gracias. Muy amable.
Reining in your expenses
Now that you’ve nearly exceeded your daily budget on all the clothes you just purchased, you decide it’s time to save a few pesos and take the bus back to your hotel. Luckily, there’s a station right next door and so you head for the ticket window.
Buenas noches – Good evening
Un boleto, por favor – One ticket, please
Ida y vuelta o solo ida? The sales clerk wants to know whether you’d like a roundtrip ticket or just one way.
Solo ida. Gracias. ¿A qué horas sale el bus? You purchase a one way ticket but would also like to know what time the bus will be departing.
En cinco minutos.
Five minutes later, the bus arrives and shortly after, you’re back at the hotel washing up before la cena. Not only are you intrigued to try some new Latin American cuisine for dinner, but you’re also excited to keep practicing your Spanish. And now that you’ve enrolled in a Ciao Languages Spanish course and were motivated enough to read the “How Do You Order in Spanish?” blog on the company website, you know there are no more barriers standing in your way.
A productive first day in Latin America, indeed.
Already speak a bit of Spanish? Perhaps you’d like to try out our Spanish language level test. It’s just thirty questions, and you can opt out after every five questions. The results are immediate! Have fun!