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For native English speakers, especially those from countries where English is the primary language, it can be difficult to wrap your head around learning another language since it is rare that you’ll be exposed to it enough to be able to learn it. For Europeans, such as Germans, the Dutch, and the French, people are lucky enough that learning another language from an early age is a normal part of life. For those in Australia, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and parts of the United States, these opportunities are rarer, so the idea of visiting a country where you don’t speak the language can be daunting!
But never fear—of all the languages in the world, for some reason Spanish seems a little easier to learn if English is your only language, since it uses much of the same alphabet as English, and the words are not difficult to pronounce (unlike, say, German or Hungarian, which can have multiple vowels that are pronounced differently according to the accent on the letter).
The following is a handy guide to Spanish for first-time visitors to Peru. Save this page and refer to it on your journey, and your life will be a little bit easier (and the trip will be a whole lot more fun the more you try to speak the language).
Survival Spanish to make your journey easier
Hello/Hi = Hola
Goodbye = Adiós
Thank you = Gracias
Good morning = Buenos días
Good afternoon = Buenas tardes
Good night = Buenas noches
One glass of red/white wine please = Una copa de vino tinto/blanco por favor
One bottle of red/white wine please = Una botello de tinto/blanco por favor
One beer please = Una cerveza por favor
Two beers please = Dos cerveza por favor
Fish = Pescado
Chicken = Pollo
Beef = Carne de vaca
The check, please = La cuenta por favor
Where is the bathroom = Dónde está el baño
I need help = Necesito ayuda
Can I order a taxi please = Puedo pedir un taxi por favor
And there you have it: your survival guide to conversational Spanish for beginners to use during your next trip to Peru! Of course, this isn’t a comprehensive list but it will let you navigate your way through Peru for the most basic of situations. We recommend expanding your learning with a Spanish phrase dictionary, or using an app such as Duo Lingo to help you prepare for your trip.
Even if you aren’t fluent, the satisfaction that comes from ordering a meal in Spanish, a couple of wines for you and a friend, or simply asking the way to the bathroom, can make you feel (almost) like a local—plus the Peruvians love and appreciate it when visitors try to speak to them in their language, even if you don’t pronounce everything perfectly (it’s the thought that counts)!