You’ve booked your flights. You’ve packed your bags. You’ve locked in the perfect suite at the all-inclusive Barceló Bávaro Grand Resort for a relaxing and enriching getaway. Suddenly, you remember one tiny detail: you don’t speak Spanish.
If you’ve ever travelled abroad only to find that almost everyone spoke English, you may wonder how necessary it is to brush up on your Spanish before heading to the Dominican Republic. While many tour guides, waiters, and hotel or museum staff members will be able to communicate in English, the Dominican Republic’s English-speaking population is typically smaller than in popular European destinations. Making the effort to learn a little bit of Spanish can unlock more experiences and transform your getaway.
You don’t need to become fluent to make learning the local language worth it. Learning even a few key phrases can make getting around easier, help you find unexpected opportunities, make a few new friends, or just order what you’d like to eat more confidently.
Whether your grade school Spanish is rustier than you remember, or whether you’re still working on counting to ten, here are a few phrases to know before your stay at Barceló Bávaro Grand Resort.
What To Say When You Don’t Know What To Say
When you aren’t fluent, having a few phrases to let the person you’re speaking to know will help to garner goodwill and find a common ground to communicate:
No hablo Español; ¿hablas Inglés? ( Noh AH-blo ess-pan-YOLE; AH-blas een-GLAYS?) – I do not speak Spanish; do you speak English?
¿Podemos hablar en Inglés? (po-de-mos ha-blar en een-GLAYS?) – Can we talk in English?
¿Mande? (man-de) – Can you repeat that again?
No entiendo (Noh ayn-TEEAYN-doh) – I don’t understand.
Mind Your Ps and Qs
Good manners will open doors no matter the language, so it’s always a good idea to have a few of these in your back pocket:
Por favor (pohr fah-VOHR) – Please
Gracias (GRAH-see-ahs) – Thank you
No gracias (noh GRAH-see-ahs) – No thank you
De nada (de-NAH-thah) – You’re welcome
Discúlpeme (dees-COOL-pa-meh) – Excuse me / pardon me
Exploring a new place can be intimidating — here are a few ways to get where you need to go:
¿Donde está…? (DOHN-de es-TAH) – Where is…?
Aeropuerto (ae-ro-puer-to) – Airport
Parada de autobus (pa-ra-da deh au-to-bús) – bus stop
el Baño (ayl BAHN-yoh) – the bathroom
¿A qué distancia? (ah kay dees-TAHN-seeah) – How far?
¿Puede ayudarme? (PWAY-deh ah-yoo-DAHR-meh) – Can you help me?
Getting Something To Eat
One of the best ways to get a taste of a culture when traveling is through food. While you’ll likely get by with pointing to a menu, here are a few ways to order food while in Mexico:
Quiero / quisiera (KEY-YEH-roH / key-SEE-YEH-rah) – I want / I’d like
(No) me gusta ((Noh) meh GOOS-tah) – I (don’t) like
La cuenta, por favor (lah KWAYN-tah, pohr fah-VOHR) – The bill, please
Last but not least, our getaway necessities:
La alberca (Lah ahl-BAYR-kah) – The pool
La playa (Lah pla-ya) – The beach
Café con leche (kah-FEH kohn LEH-cheh) – Coffee with milk
Vino (VEE-noh) – Wine
Postre (POHS-treh) – Dessert