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Can't speak Spanish

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Can't speak Spanish

1. Posted by jshark (First Time Poster 1 posts) 12y

jshark has indicated that this thread is about Peru

I'm going to Peru for a couple months this winter(North winter). Unfortunatly I can't speak any Spanish, I'm trying to learn some basics but I won't get much further than that by the time I go. Will it be a problem for me to travel Peru speaking english? Any comments would be appretiated.

2. Posted by SamSalmon (Respected Member 626 posts) 12y

With your lackadaisical attitude expect a very difficult time indeed-except for the most touristy parts of the country.
Also expect to be charged a premium for everything.

3. Posted by beppe (Full Member 144 posts) 12y

It's up to you!

You know there are a lot of people that just travelling and speaking in one month learn more other people need to study before.

Anyway i think in peru you can have problems if you go outside of tourist area.

4. Posted by georged1 (Budding Member 11 posts) 12y

It is not a problem for many travelers as there are many english speaking persons in Peru (Specially if they work in tourism) but for some inexperienced travelers it will defenetly be a problem.

I recommend to plan your trip very well or take a group tour.

Check my web site for more infor:

Feel free to make the questions you need during your tour planning, even if you decide not to travel with my company.

Hope these helps.

Have a great day.


[ Edit: sorry, three links per post is pushing it! ]

5. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 12y

The important thing is not to be completely fluent in spanish, but to be able to have key conversations. I travelled Chile, Argentina and Bolivia with a basic knowledge of a couple of things, and was fine.

Learn how to carry on a short conversation - say hello, ask someone's name, ask where they are from and be able to answer these questions. Be able to tell them where you are going. This way you can talk to someone for at least a few sentences before launching into the "do you speak English?" question.

Learn the numbers. You can get by in almost any store by pointing and asking "how much?" As long as you can understand the answer.

Learn how to ask if a place has rooms available. Learn to ask about the room - Is there hot water? Does the room have a private bath? Learn how to tell them you want to stay for X nights.

Learn the names of common food and drink items. This will make ordering in restaurants easy.

I found things fine with these key things. You'll also be surprised how quickly you can pick up other vocabulary in Spanish. I never caught on to the grammar all that well, but it is amazing what you can do with nouns and pointing.


6. Posted by Peter (Admin 5791 posts) 12y

Yeah, totally agree. Those are the exact basics I have tried to learn most places I go and usually it is enough. Things like "two coffees, please?","how much?","the bill, please" or "where is xx" make an absolute world of difference. Deciphering the answers isn't always easy, but usually if your language skills are flaky, people tend to answer with short and easy phrases. Definitely knowing the numbers is a big help. I also read a lot of billboards and signs and try to decipher what they say - a lot of them use very common phrases and it is an interesting past-time as well. They are to me kind of like the picture books with words are to little kids :)

And whatever you do, don't be afraid to make a total fool of yourself - it's the only way to learn a language!!

Cheers, Peter

7. Posted by thowra (Full Member 74 posts) 12y

Hi, my experience has always been that the better you speak the more you can do and the more you will get out of your trip. Not speaking Spanish in countries like Peru doen't mean you can't have a fantastic time there, but it dows mean, I think, that you will be more restricted in what you can do. I would stick to more touristy areas and not venture off the beaten track on your own since out of the touristy areas ther will probably not be many people that speak English. One very good thing to do is to find a couple of other people travelling that want to do the same thing as you and that can speak some better Spanish. This makes travelling off the beaten tracks a lot more manageable. When you are travelling you will often find that you meet people and maybe travel with them for a few days before going a diffrent way. This is one of the fun aspects of travelling. The longer you are there, and the more effort you make to speak and understand, the quicker you will learn the language! Have fun!