Mexico City is a difficult place to travel around if you don’t speak a word of Spanish. While locals are friendly, they talk quickly and have little patience for stammering tourists.

So if you’re thinking about visiting Mexico, or travelling about Central America, you might want to take a few Spanish lessons before you leave home. For now, check out the basics:

 

Mexico City palace - Mexico City - Fabulous Travel Guide

Mexico City palace – Mexico City – Fabulous Travel Guide

 

Hostels

Staff at hostels have limited English, if any, so always print off your confirmation email and any reference numers when you arrive.  Make sure you get a receipt to show you’ve paid. The following phrases also come in handy for these situations:

I have a reservation for two nights – Tengo una reservar para dos noches

How much is it per night? – Quanto cuesta por noche?

What time is checkout – A que hora hay que dejar libre la habitacion?

Can you call me a taxi – Me puede pedir un taxi

Food and restaurants

Ordering food at restaurants or on the street can be a nightmare if you don’t speak the language. There are no English menus (or pictures!), so make sure you learn the basics – especially if you’re vegetarian.

I would like – Quisiera

What would you reccomend – Que me recomienda?

I’m vegetarian – Estoy vegetariano

I’d like a table for two – Quisiera una mesa para dos

Chicken – pollo; Beef – carne de vaca; Bread – pan; Cheese – queso; Eggs – huevos; Baguette – bocadilla

Beer – cerveza; Wine – vino; Water – agua; Tea – te; Coffee – cafe

The Latin American Spanish phrasebook by Lonely Planet is brilliant for beginners and has loads of handy phrases. Try to get an idea of how words are pronounced by listening to Spanish audiobooks before you get out there. This will help you understand.

Looking for more advice about travelling in Mexico? Master the metro and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!