How much Spanish should one know in order to communicate easily with Peruvians? It is a question that most tourists who intend well often ponder. The answer is, even basic Spanish can help you strike conversations with strangers and build a rapport.
Peru is a multi-lingual country whose main indigenous language is Quechua. Yet, due to the workings of colonization, Spanish is commonly spoken and understood by people even in remote places. To do the right thing, you should not only pick up a Spanish phrasebook, but also a Quechua phrasebook. However, if you are not able to do that and can’t speak multiple languages in a short span of time, learning a few words in Spanish will go a long way.
Peruvians aren’t as fanatical about languages as other nationalities might be, and are generally welcoming to people even if they speak only English. As Peru is a tourist destination, most people in towns like Lima, Machu Picchu and Cusco speak some amount of English. For instance, if you walk into a bar and order a drink in English, you can rest assured that you will be served politely.
However, if you truly want to build a connection with people and wish to understand them better, knowledge of Spanish and Quechua are essential. Quechua will help you to strike a cord with remote communities that live in the Andes while Spanish will help you get by in larger towns and cities. After all, traveling isn’t just about visiting a new place. It’s also about building deep connections and friendships which is only possible when you speak the local’s tongue.
A good way to experience Peru is to seek Spanish and Quechua lessons as part of your Visit Peru program. Speak to us today in order to learn how you can pick up Spanish or Quechua while you’re in Lima. If we can’t provide classes ourselves as part of a volunteering or internship program, we can help you find an external class that’s suitable for your needs.