We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Key phrases to learn?

Minneapolis...
Level Contributor
330 posts
109 reviews
Save Topic
Key phrases to learn?

Hopefully this isn't a dumb question, but here goes.

I'm staying at BBGE in early April and I've heard most of the staff speak English but I'd also like to brush up on my Spanish in case it helps. It's been years since I've spoken it for any reason so there are only a few phrases I can remember - mostly the obvious. Hola, gracias, buenos dias / noches, por favor, donde esta..., agua, toalla (towel), etc.

Are there any other phrases I should learn that could come in handy? Do they say 'bano' or 'servicio' for restroom?

St Paul, MN
Destination Expert
for Playa del Carmen
Level Contributor
12,805 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Key phrases to learn?

Banos por favor is definitely at the top of the list. Keep in mind, especially in town, many will have to interpret your English to Spanish and then respond in English. A lot of things get lost in the exchange, kinda of fun to see what you actually get sometimes.

As chef Pablo told me recently, most of the Mexicans come from small towns and are taught to be very friendly. Americans can seem rude because we can be shy. The French have the same problems with Americans. It's important in their country to say hello and good bye, to acknowledge their presence. When you acknowledge the French you bow your head down. When you acknowledge a Mexican tilt your head back.

De nada should become a habit.

Kelowna, Canada
Destination Expert
for Riviera Maya
Level Contributor
811 posts
20 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Key phrases to learn?

Dos Cervaisa por favor!! Definitly a must :) I was also wanting to know how to say "this gift is for you ,Thank You" I used to have it written down so I could leave it with my gift and tip for the maid but have lost it! Anyone? Thanks in advance.

Michelle

Minneapolis...
Level Contributor
330 posts
109 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Key phrases to learn?

Oh yeah! I forgot about de nada. Roughly translated as "you're welcome", correct? Or am I getting it confused?

Good tips on the greetings, too. I'm typically friendly with service staff at hotels, restaurants, etc. but that's here in the states and I might have otherwise been more shy or too nervous about saying the wrong thing in Mexico if I didn't know the customs.

Minneapolis...
Level Contributor
330 posts
109 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Key phrases to learn?

Michelle - Great question about the tips. I was kind of assuming we'd leave tips for the mini bar stocker in the refrigerator so they would know it was for them, along with a brief note, but not sure if that's the best way to go about it. I probably would have just written "Gracias!" or something to confirm it was a tip but knowing the actual terminology is also good.

No cervezas for me but I'm sure my sig. other will be using that one quite a bit. :)

kansas city...
Level Contributor
524 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Key phrases to learn?

For those renting a car.......

Te seguieramos a la comiseria. - we will follow you to the police station

Kelowna, Canada
Destination Expert
for Riviera Maya
Level Contributor
811 posts
20 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Key phrases to learn?

Okay can someone tell me if I am close!

"Este don es para ustedes gracias por su servicio"

Does that mean "This gift is for you thank you for your service"

Michelle

Kelowna, Canada
Destination Expert
for Riviera Maya
Level Contributor
811 posts
20 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Key phrases to learn?

Wifisker

I know at some resorts they are not allowed to take anything unless they have a note. I had a nice necklace that I had brought for the maid and she had to track me down so I could say that it was for her so yes a little note saying it is for the maid or the mini bar stocker is a good idea.

Michelle

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Isla Mujeres
Level Contributor
10,407 posts
162 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Key phrases to learn?

Even if you are not fluent in Spanish you'll find a simple Hola or Buenos Dias/Tardes/Noches, or Por Favor and Gracias goes a long way and always elicits a smile. It's appreciated that you made the effort to at least acknowledge that you're in their country and they are your hosts. You'll find that many, if not most of the people you come in contact with speak English but still will give you credit for trying. It's especially important on your first contact--for instance, as you enter a store, greet the owner or store clerk in Spanish. That's usually all it takes to open doors.

One more phrase: in Mexico it is considered rude for a waiter to present a bill without being asked, as if to get rid of you. When you're ready for the check, say "La cuenta, por favor." From across the room, you can give the "signing a check' gesture, but NEVER beckon with a single finger (you know, the "come here" gesture). That's considered demeaning, something you would do to a child or servant.

Minneapolis...
Level Contributor
330 posts
109 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Key phrases to learn?

Great advice. Thank you!

It did make me think of another question. Since we're staying at an AI, if we dine at one of the a la cartes on property do we just get up and leave whenever we're done or do we need to indicate to the server that we're ready to go?

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Isla Mujeres
Level Contributor
10,407 posts
162 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Key phrases to learn?

That depends on the property. For instance, at some AIs you still have to sign a check. This is especially true at hotels that have multiple meal plans (i.e., some AI, some breakfast only, etc.)