Local Lingo: Spanish Tips For a Trip to Mexico

Try these out on your adventure south of the border.
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Embark on a guided walking tour of this pre-Columbian Maya civilization and explore its 1,000-year hallowed history.

Credit: Royal Caribbean

From Costa Maya to Cozumel, Mexico is brimming with culture, lush jungle landscapes, top-notch snorkeling and scuba diving, and ancient Maya ruins. Throw in beautiful beaches and incredible, traditional cuisine, and a cruise to Mexico and beyond is a great choice for any traveler with family, friends or on their own. Now, since the language you’ll hear most in Mexico is Spanish, some may ask if there are words and phrases to know for your visit.

Sure, you can get by using English in many of the country’s popular destinations, but it’s fun and useful to learn some of the local lingo—and may even be appreciated by the locals. Plus, if you’re one to venture off the beaten path, you’ll be happy to add on to the usual “Hola” and “Gracias.”

To help you prep for your cruise to Mexico, we’ve collected several useful Spanish tips. Ready to practice your español? Come on, vámonos!

Whether it’s guacamole, beer, salsa or tequila, these tips can be helpful when ordering food and drink.

Credit: Royal Caribbean


First and foremost, here are some tips for making the most of your authentic Mexican meals:

  • ¿Cuanto cuesta para dos / tres / cuatro / cinco? = How much for two / three / four / five?    Pro tip: You can use this phrase for any number, depending on the size of your group!
  • Voy a pedir una chela. = I’m going to order a beer.
  • ¿Aceptas tarjeta de credito? = Do you take credit cards?
  • Quiero una quesadilla de pollo para llevar, porfa. = I want a chicken quesadilla to go, please.    Pro tip: “Porfa” is short for “por favor,” which is please.
  • La cuenta, porfa = The check, please.


General Phrases

Beyond “Hola,” you may hear these typical sayings in Mexico:

  • Buenos días. = Good day.
  • ¿Qué onda? / ¿Qué pedo? = What’s up?
  • Mi nombre es ______ . = My name is ______ .
  • ¡Mucho gusto! = Nice to meet you!
  • Soy de los Estados Unidos. = I’m from the United States.
  • Tener dinero / feria = To have money / cash
  • Tengo dinero para salir esta noche. = I have money to go out tonight.



When you need to get around town, keep these in your back pocket:

  • ¿Puedo tomar un autobús / camión de pasajeros al aeropuerto? = Can I take a bus to the airport?
  • ¿Donde esta el mercado? = Where is the market?
  • ¿Me puedes llevar al puerto? = Can you take me to the cruise port?
  • ¿Puedes ir a la playa / calle principal / restaurante? = Can you go to the beach / main street / restaurant?



Last but not least, some things you may hear while you’re out and about:

  • Gúey / compa = Mate / pal / dude
  • ¡Que chido/a! = How cool!
  • ¡Que te vaya bien! = Have fun!
  • ¡A ver! = Let’s see / Okay!
  • ¡Salud! = Cheers!


Wherever you’re cruising in Mexico, these handy phrases should help you along the way. Check out all the ways Royal Caribbean can take you there here