Learn How to Ask for Travel Directions in Spanish

Get to where you’re going using your Spanish

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There are few things more frustrating while traveling than getting lost in a foreign place. Fortunately, if you are traveling in an area where Spanish is one of the languages spoken, this list of phrases and words below can help you quickly get to where you are going.

Keep This Vocabulary List on Hand

Combine the vocabulary listed below with basic grammar and you will be well on your way to getting the help you need. Even if you are not proficient in Spanish, in most places you travel you will find that people will appreciate your desire to use their language. Print out or write down the phrases below so you can communicate with the people around you during your travels. ¡Buen viaje! (Have a great trip!)

Basic Spanish Travel Phrases

  • Where is...? Where are...?¿Dónde está...? ¿Dónde están...?
  • How do you go to...?¿Por dónde se va a...? Or, ¿Cómo puedo llegar a...?
  • Where are we on the map? ¿Dónde estamos aquí en el mapa?
  • Is it far away? Is it near here?¿Está lejos? ¿Está por aquí?
  • I'm looking for...Busco...
  • I'm lost.Estoy perdido (perdida if you are female).

Where can I catch a taxi (a bus)? — Latin America: ¿Dónde puedo tomar un taxi (un autobús)? Spain: ¿Dónde puedo coger un taxi (un autobús)?

  • Note that other terms used regionally for "bus" include bus, colectivo, camión, camioneta, góndola, guagua, micro, microbús, and pullman. Be careful with the usage of the verb coger in parts of Latin America, because it can have an obscene meaning.
  • Additional ways of travel could be on foot (a pie), by car (en coche), on a motorbike (la moto), by boat (el barco), and by plane (el avión).

More Spanish Speaking Terms When Traveling

  • Write it down, please.Escríbalo, por favor.
  • Speak more slowly, please.Hágame el favor de hablar más despacio.
  • I don't understand Spanish well.No entiendo bien el español.
  • Is there anyone who speaks English?¿Hay alguien que hable inglés?
  • North, east, west, southNorte, este or oriente, oeste or occidente, sur
  • Kilometer, mile, meterKilómetro, milla, metro
  • Street, avenue, highwayCalle, avenida, camino, carrera, or carretera
  • City blockCuadra (Latin America) or manzana (Spain)
  • Street cornerEsquina
  • AddressDirección

Two Tips for Conversation While Abroad

  • Get specific. Use key terms for places you are going to in your conversations with others. You may want directions to a shopping mall (el centro comercial), general shops (las tiendas) or the grocery market (el mercado). All three can be summed up as shops, but they vary in the type of shop. If you want to explore tourist attractions, detail if you would like to see an art gallery (la galería de arte), a park (el parque), or a historic center (el casco antiguo).
  • Be friendly. There is nothing that delights locals more than when tourists are courteous and ask for help with a smile. Include basic greetings along with your phrases such as hello (hola or buenas), how are you doing? (¿qué tal?) and good day (good morning is ​buenos días, good afternoon is buenas tardes, and good evening is buenas noches). You'll score extra points if you adopt to local variations, such as buen día used in some countries rather than the more common buenos días.

Using Addresses

You should be aware the structure of street addresses can vary widely from country to country. Consult a thorough tourist guide before you travel to become familiar with local practices.

In many cases, understanding addresses will be easier than it might seem at first. For example, one of the most popular museums in Bogotá, Colombia, is el Museo del Oro (Gold Museum) at Cra. 6 #15-88, which initially might seem like a jumble of characters. But Cra. 6 indicates that is on Carerra 6, which we might call 6th Avenue in English. The 15 is the street name (Calle 15), and the 88 indicates the distance from the intersection of that avenue and street.

Unfortunately for the traveler, easy-to-understand addressing conventions aren't used everywhere, and not all streets are named. In Costa Rica, for example, you may run across addresses such as "200 metros al oeste de la escuela Fernández," indicating a location 200 meters west of the Fernandez school.

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Your Citation
Erichsen, Gerald. "Learn How to Ask for Travel Directions in Spanish." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, thoughtco.com/asking-for-directions-spanish-3079497. Erichsen, Gerald. (2023, April 5). Learn How to Ask for Travel Directions in Spanish. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/asking-for-directions-spanish-3079497 Erichsen, Gerald. "Learn How to Ask for Travel Directions in Spanish." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/asking-for-directions-spanish-3079497 (accessed June 10, 2023).