Lima, Peru: Some helpful words and phrases

Travel Tips, What's New — By Isabel Guerra on September 28, 2011 at 6:45 am

Street vendor. Lima, Peru (Photo: Isabel Guerra)

We assume you have learned at least some basic Spanish phrases before arriving in Lima. Anyway, some more help regarding this department is always welcome. Even if you walk by the streets with your pocket dictionary on hand, we will try to provide you with some additional useful phrases, to make your life a little easier while in Lima.

Anyway, many Spanish words will look familiar: like, for example, museo (museum), taxi, hotel, diferente (different), estudiar (to study), posible (possible), etc. Now let’s take a look at some words and phrases, in different contexts.

Some basic Spanish: Well, at least the most commonly usages for travelers!

No hablo Español/Inglés : I don’t speak English/Spanish
Hablo muy poco Español : I speak very little spanish
Yes/No : Sí/No
Pasajero/Viajero; Passenger/ Traveller
Mochilero: Backpacker
Paradero: Bus stop
Pasaporte: Passport
Cheque de viajero: Traveler check.
Cajero automático: ATM
Tienda: store, shop
Centro Comercial: shopping center (or shopping mall)
Baño: Toilet
Caja: Cashier’s desk

Some local expressions. Even if you have some ability in Spanish, you know that every country has its own local idioms, phrases and expressions that you should know.

Salud! : Cheers!! (as a toast).
Una china: fifty cents (of local currency)
Combi: local name for small transport vehicles, such as vans or coasters.
Chela: cold beer
Discoteca: Disco (a dance club)
Yapa: an additional small item or an extra you can get after bargaining (as a little gift from the endor). The phrase may be “¿No me das una yapa?” (“Won’t you give me a yapa?”
Cocos: dollars (“20 cocos” means “US $20”)
Perucho: Peruvian
Tono: Party
Ambulante: street vendor

There are also certain expressions commonly used when making a telephone call:

¿Aló? : Hello?
¿Podría comunicarme con …(name of the person) : Can I talk to…
De parte de (your name): It’s (your name) calling.

But Peruvians do not speak only Spanish. Knowing some Quechua words or short phrases may be useful too:

Imataq sutiyki?: What is your name? –
(your name)- ñuqap … sutiymi: My name is…
rikunakusun: Goodbye –
yes – arí
manan: no.
rimaykullayki, or napaykullayki: Hello
Ima hinalla?: How are you?
Allichu : please
añay : thank yuo
Maymantataq hamunki? : Where are you from? –
ni imamanta : You’re welcome.
ima chayri? : What is that?
¿Hayk’ataq chay? : How much is this?
Nuqa kastillanuta rimani : I speak Spanish
Nuqa inlista rimani : I speak English

We do hope this short list can be helpful, and will post more on this during the upcoming weeks.