While both Spanish and English are the official languages of Puerto Rico – English is commonly spoken at hotels and in other tourist areas – Spanish is still predominant, especially in rural areas. Most road signs are in Spanish and distance markers are measured using the metric system.
That’s why it’s a great idea to brush up on your Spanish before your next trip. To help you get started, we’ve outlined a few helpful words and phrases to learn before you arrive.
It’s no surprise, Hola means hello!
¿Cómo estás? means how are you? You’ll most likely use this – or hear this – asked as part of a greeting, usually after hola or buenos días.
Buenos días means good morning and is commonly used as a greeting in the morning hours before noon. Often, you can use buenos, as a shortened, more colloquial form of this phrase.
Buenas tardes can mean either good afternoon or good evening, depending on when you use it. As with buenos días, this greeting is often heard informally as buenas.
Buenas noches means goodnight and is used primarily as a farewell rather than a greeting. This phrase can be used in the evening as a polite way to wish someone goodbye.
Another way to say goodbye, hasta pronto means see you soon and is reserved for casual settings.
Hasta luego a common way to say see you later. It’s typically used when it’s uncertain when you’ll see one another next.
Use the phrase me llamo to introduce yourself. Me llamo literally means I call myself, but in English, the more natural translation is my name is. For example, Hola, Me llamo Jose.
Gracias simply means thank you or thanks. It’s used in every Spanish-speaking country in different formal contexts.
De nada literally means of nothing, but translates to you’re welcome in English. Another variation of you’re welcome is no hay de qué, which most closely translates to don’t mention it.
You guessed it – perdón is a polite way to say excuse me or pardon. You can use this just as you would excuse me in English. For example, if you don’t hear someone or you need to politely get someone’s attention.
¿Cuánto cuesta? means how much does this cost? and can be used in any store or marketplace. Additionally, you can ask ¿Cuánto ale? or ¿Cuánto es? as variations of ¿Cuánto cuesta?.
No sé simply means I don’t know.
I love you in English, te quiero is used to show affection for a parent, friend, or significant other. Te amo also means I love you, however, this phrase typically carries a more romantic connotation.
Buena suerte means good luck. Use it just as you would in English.
Buen trabajo means good work. You can use this phrase to congratulate someone on a job well done.
Now that you know a little Spanish – one of the official languages of Puerto Rico – you’re ready to get out there and explore. Visit us at the Fajardo Inn. We’ll make sure your trip to Puerto Rican is fun-filled and unforgettable.