Puerto Vallarta is nice. It really is. From the gorgeous cobblestone streets that wind through the old town to the upbeat party scene that rocks the Malecón, there’s a little something for everybody in Vallarta.
But face it, you’re not going to get many opportunities to practice the old español sitting next to a guitar at the Hard Rock Café.
And that’s the real beauty of getting the rock out of town and heading north to the Mexican Riviera Nayarit. In Nayarit you’ll find all the same great stuff but without the hordes of camera-toting tourists interrupting your vacation with their selfies! Riviera Nayarit: More friendly locals, less knock-off sunglasses
If you’ve got your basic spanish travel words down and are looking for a few authentic phrases to grab some smiles from the locals on the beach, these ones are for you:
1) Que le vaya bien
There’s one impression that nearly every visitor to Mexico takes home with them by the end of their vacation: “Wow, these people sure are friendly!”
And it’s totally true. You’d be friendly, too, if you lived in paradise.
To ensure that you’re friendly right back, this Mexican phrase is a must to have in your arsenal
Que le vaya bien literally translates to, “I hope that things go well for you” but in essence it simply replaces good-bye when you leave a shop or restaurant.
So the next time you’re tempted to bust out your adios, trade it in for “que le vaya bien”.
And just in case they beat you to the punch, the proper response to “que le vaya bien” is to fire back with “igualmente”, or you too!
2) ¿Qué onda, güey?
Now, this Spanish phrase has no real purpose whatsoever, other than evoking some of the biggest smiles you’ve ever seen.
Want to know the equivalent of “What’s up, dude?” in Mexican Spanish? This is it.
In this case güey is pronounced <way>, and seriously start off your conversations with this phrase and you’ll start piling up local friends in no time.
Tip: In general ¿Qué onda, güey? is primarily directed at males. The abuelita that runs the corner store won’t take kindly to being called “dude”.
3) ¿Qué vale?
Why doesn’t anything have a price tag?
Coming from the US or Canada it’s sure to drive you nuts that almost nothing down here has got a price tag. You’re going to want to know how to ask how much something costs.
You probably remember ¿Cuánto cuesta? from your 8th grade Spanish class and this is a perfectly good option, but a more common way to ask is:
¿Qué vale? How much is this worth?
Remember that with any product that is remotely related to tourism this price is negotiable and feel free to barter away, but don’t embarrass yourself by trying to barter with the cashier at OXXO (the Mexican version of 7-11).
4) Que Rico!
If you want to give your nod of approval while sitting with your feet in the sand at one of the Riviera’s beachfront restaurants, this is the phrase for you. Whether you’re enjoying Sarandeado fish tacos, giant San Blas Shrimp or simply the lunchtime standards of guacamole, fresh tortilla chips and a fresh margaritta.
“Que Rico” or “It’s very tasty” is a friendly way to convey your satisfaction.
Respond with it when asked if you like the food, or simply just smile and pass it along the next time you see the waitress.
5) ¿Me trae la cuenta por favor?
What’s up with this waitress? We need to get going!
Restaurants in Mexico won’t bring you the bill until you ask for it. They might swing by and politely ask if you need anything else, ¿Algo más?, as a subtle hint, but you’ll be sitting at the table until the cows come home unless you explicitly request the check.
“¿Me trae la cuenta por favor?” is what they’re looking for. If it’s too much of a mouthful, “La cuenta” and a smile will usually suffice.
Greet, eat and be merry with these 5 phrases…What else could you possibly need from your relaxing off-the-beaten path beach vacation?