Living

When in Mexico, Speak Spanish

Whether you plan a short visit to Mexico or to stay for longer, being able to communicate in Spanish will make a material difference to your everyday activities and experiences

Colorful Mexican Street

If you have plans to live, work, or retire in Mexico, you’ll need to develop a working knowledge of the Spanish language to enjoy more meaningful interactions through your day-to-day activities.  Using Spanish gives you access to the country and its culture in ways that are impossible without speaking the local language.

While those who visit on vacation can enjoy Mexico without needing to speak any Spanish, when you’re living here and doing everyday tasks like shopping at the market, paying your bills, getting your car repaired, and arranging for a plumber to fix a leaking pipe, most conversations you encounter will need to be undertaken in Spanish.

Mexican Spanish is clear and easy to understand, and those with a basic grounding in the language —possibly from High School— tend to find that they can use their existing capabilities to engage in straightforward conversations. (Mexican Spanish is not spoken as fast as it is in some other Latin American countries.)

Spanish for visits: If you’re visiting Mexico for a well-earned vacation, or arriving for a short business trip, being able to speak some Spanish will give you deeper access to the local culture and with it, a richer and more vibrant travel experience.

Spanish for lifestyle: If you’re living in Mexico already, or planning to move here to live part-time or full-time (perhaps to retire), making an effort to learn Spanish to at least a level where you can get by for your day-to-day needs should form part of your planning if you’re not already conversant in the language.  While there are some foreign residents living here that don’t speak much —if any— Spanish, daily life without being able to converse locally  will be more challenging and it’s always more convenient to be able to negotiate your way around everyday situations without the help of an interpreter, or relying on others to speak in English to you.

Spanish for work and business: If you intend to work in Mexico —formally, or as a self-employed person— then you will need to have at least a basic grasp of the language, and ideally be able to speak Spanish at an intermediate or advanced level.  While many professionals in Mexico speak English well, your business networks and your career prospects will be in good part formed by your ability to build relationships and work while speaking, reading and writing in Spanish.

Whether you’re just beginning to learn Spanish or you’re already proficient, there are options for developing your skills: with online courses, and local language classes, workshops, and local language groups.  One of the best ways to improve your Spanish is to become immersed in the language, and thus moving to live in Mexico and being surrounded by the language everyday, will help anyone who is determined to improve or master use of the language.

Learning Spanish: Helpful Resources

An ideal resource for readers who want to gain practical insights into the language is PinPoint Spanish —an extensive series of articles that helps you to study Mexican Spanish language usage and which additionally provide context and nuance of the language as it’s contemporarily spoken and applied in everyday situations across Mexico.

You can find connections to language services on our Spanish Language Features page.

For additional resources about Spanish language and its usage, connect to the Learning Spanish section of Mexperience.

Mexico in your inbox

Our free newsletter about Mexico brings you a monthly round-up of recently published stories and opportunities, as well as gems from our archives.