Planning on hiking your way up Machu Picchu in the historical town of Cuzco, Peru? Or perhaps you’d rather experience a glorious rainbow over the Iguazú Falls in Argentina whilst feasting on a sizzling steak and “papas fritas” and savouring a delicious glass of local Malbec? Whatever your plans may be for your trip to Latin America, they will most definitely involve speaking the lingo and understanding the local culture. So, we’d like to give you a few good-to-know tips for travelling around Central and South America.
Whichever part of the world you may be in, if you don’t know the place well, it’s important to find out where the safe areas are – remember to be street smart. Always check for up-to-date info on the safety in the local area and be sure not to have valuables on display when you’re out and about. If you make an effort to speak the local language, you will notice that you are a lot more likely to be respected.
More often than not, coaches are the way to go – these can be called “flotas”, “buses”, “guaguas”, “colectivos” and “micros” along with many other variants depending on your whereabouts. Bear in mind that coach trips can be very long – anywhere from a couple of hours to 40-hour treks, involving overflowing bathrooms, either silent or deafeningly loud films, but nevertheless spectacular scenery which make the whole experience beyond worth it. Be sure to check out the coach routes and timetables at your local “terminal de bus” and always ask for “descuentos”!
Wouldn’t it be great if the Spanish language were the same everywhere you went? It certainly would make it easier to learn. Unsurprisingly, this isn’t the case. You might not know that “guagua” in Chile means “baby” where as the same word means “bus” in Cuba! Likewise, “pata” may refer to an animal’s leg but in Peru it means “friend”. Like all languages, Spanish is full of nuances so if you can get a heads up with your region-specific vocab and expressions you’ll be ahead of the game. You’ll avoid getting ripped off, you’ll feel more confident and safe in your surroundings, you’ll learn a lot about the history, culture and local way of life and hey, why not make some Spanish-speaking friends whilst you’re at it?
Needless to say, knowing some Spanish for your trip will be more than helpful. Here in Cardiff we have taught Spanish to dozens of students who go on to travel, work and live in Latin America. For example, Bethan is working as a doctor in Nicaragua and finished classes earlier this year, Louise and Dug are planning their trip to South America this year and Bethany, Teleri and Garbriella are going to Ecuador next year. At Cardiff Spanish Academy we offer private Spanish tuition that is tailored to your specific needs, whether it be for a trip to Latin America or for work, school exams or just general knowledge. Additionally, all of our tutors are experienced, approachable and dedicated to making the classes just right for you. So, why not take a free Spanish assessment lesson so we can get to know you and help you to make the most of your trip?