Peru is not an English speaking country, and most people in this country speak Spanish. However, large percentages of people speak Quechua, Aymara and other indigenous languages. As a tourist or a volunteer, the least you can do is to pick up some Spanish before you arrive. This will help you to build rapport with local people with whom you will interact or work with. You may get away with speaking only in English in Lima or Cusco but once you venture outside these large cities, you will definitely need to pickup some Spanish even to purchase necessities.
Where can you learn Spanish?
There are many mobile and web applications that help you to pick up basic Spanish phrases even before you arrive in Peru. While we do not recommend any particular application, it makes sense to try out a few before settling on one. If possible, pickup some words and phrases Quechua as well, as that will help you to build rapport with people in Peru. While going to the nearest Instituto Cervantes may not be practical for everyone, a mobile app that helps you pick up few phrases shouldn’t be difficult to find!
Here are some useful words that can help you greet people
Hello – Hola
How are you?- Como estas?
Thank you – Gracias
Good – Bien
Bad – Mal
Yes – Si
No – No
Please – Por Favor
For a complete list of phrases that you will need during your stay in Peru, download our brand new guide. Along with essential Spanish phrases, it also has many tips and tricks that will help you make your stay in Peru an enjoyable experience.
Why learn the local language anyway?
Language is an essential part of a given culture and can drive powerful emotions among people who speak it. When you learn the language of the land, you will be perceived as someone who respects people and different cultures. Peru is no exception and people will be pleased to learn that you have made attempts to pick up basic Spanish or Quechua.