Fact: if you don’t speak Spanish at all, you’ll be missing out on a lot in the Sacred Valley. But don’t worry – it’s a pretty easily language to learn, and even having a few basic phrases will make life so much easier!

There are plenty of online courses, like this one or this one, but you can also help yourself learn the language by doing at least one of these:

  • Spend a few hours in a language exchange with someone in the Valley. This would involve you, as an English speaker, meeting up with a native Spanish speaker. You’d slowly discuss something basic in English, like which foods you like, and the Spanish speaker would do the same for you. This works well for all levels – even advanced speakers can gain more vocabulary by doing this
  • Buy some yellow Post It notes and write down key phrases and words you really need to learn. Leave those notes on the fridge, your bathroom mirror, front door….places you will see them every day, to remind yourself of those words or phrases every day
  • If you have a Netflix subscription, turn on the subtitles in Spanish so you can read the Spanish phrases matching the language you already know
  • Conversely, put on the Spanish audio on Netflix with English subtitles to grow an ‘ear’ for how Spanish sounds
  • DO NOT be afraid of sounding ‘stupid’. Of course you won’t be as fluent a speaker as you are in your native language, but put your pride aside – this is about making basic communications with people, not coming off as the second coming of Shakespeare!
  • Pay attention to signs. When you walk or drive by something that you see regularly, such as Frenos Reparados Aqui, check your dictionary to see what it means (brakes fixed here, if you’re wondering). Seeing such phrases regularly in your routine will cement them in your mind, and even if you don’t have a car, you just learned what ‘repaired’ and ‘here’ mean!
  • Make sure you have a great Spanish-English dictionary, or a translation app like this one on your phone
  • Speaking of phones, there are lots of language learning podcasts you can download, like these
  • Try to notice patterns. For example, in Spanish, the suffix -idad usually corresponds to the English -ity. Or -mente corresponds to -ly. That makes it way easier to guess words, right?
  • Above, all, don’t worry, and have fun! For example, check out how Nas Daily learned Peruvian slang, below!

 

Tambo del Caminante

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