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How important is speaking Spanish?

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean How important is speaking Spanish?

1. Posted by Oscarr (Budding Member 9 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Hi, I'm 19 and travelling for the first time with a friend in April, we start in Buenos Aires and hope to go through Chile, Peru Bolivia and Brazil before flying back from Rio 4 months later. I have A-level Spanish (or pre-uni spanish if you like) but was wondering how important it is, as my friend doesn't speak a word!?

We've booked the Inca Trail, and plan on improvising a lot while we're there.

so any suggestions or recomendations as to what to do and see,and how to do and see it would be much apprieciated. Thanks x

2. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5642 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Well, as you are travelling together it is not really necessary for him to speak Spanish.
But I guess it would be nice both for you and for him that he starts to learn some basic Spanish at least.
Some people speak English in those countries, but most of them certainly do not.

3. Posted by Roebucksy (Budding Member 6 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Just wanna make you're aware that Portuguese is spoken in Brazil, not Spanish.

4. Posted by Piecar (Travel Guru 980 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

You can survive without any kind of Spanish...But you lose a whole layer of interaction. That said, younger folks in most of the countries down there have at least some English. Some of them are getting through osmosis as American tv and advertisement and music pervade their thinking. I think you'll be okay. After all, you can't learn the language of EVERY place you go. Sooner or later you have to be completely blank if you keep travelling. Then you get to develop the fine art of mime.


5. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Agree with Piecar: not indispensable, but very convenient and making contact with locals is very difficult without it.

6. Posted by Oscarr (Budding Member 9 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Cheers guys, I'm going to try and speak as much spanish as I can, which is why I chose South America,. Iwas just a little worried that if I go wrong then our trip would be in trouble, but feel better for your input. Thanks again x

7. Posted by i c e (Full Member 326 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

You should defintatley learn Spanish. No Question!! You only 19, you learn it now, you will have it for the rest of your life! It is very, very simple and easy to learn. I am 20 and speak it like a native, in fact i would rather speak in spanish than english. It is a beautiful language.
Learning spanish will increase you interactions with the people and your overall experience 10x. So both of you should do as much as you can to become fluent in spanish before you go. The people there greatly appreciate it when a foriegner makes the effort to learn thier language.

have fun,