5 min read

75 Basic Spanish Phrases for Your Next Trip to Panama 🌴☀️

Learn 75 essential Spanish phrases for your Panama trip! Perfect for travelers eager to connect with locals & explore Panama City to Bocas del Toro.

Tobi Miles
March 30, 2024
75 Basic Spanish Phrases for Your Next Trip to Panama 🌴☀️

¡Hola amigos! 👋 Are you ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure to the stunning country of Panama? 🇵🇦 Before you pack your bags and jet off to this tropical paradise, it's crucial to arm yourself with some essential Spanish phrases that will make your trip a breeze. 😎

While Spanish is spoken throughout Latin America, the Panamanian dialect has its own unique flavor and quirks that set it apart. 🗣️ From the lively streets of Panama City to the serene beaches of Bocas del Toro, mastering these 75 phrases will not only help you navigate your way around the country but also connect with the warm and friendly locals. 🤝

So, let's dive in and get you prepared for an incredible Panamanian getaway! 🌊

Greetings and Basic Phrases (1-10)

  1. Hola - Hello (OH-lah)
  2. Buenos días - Good morning (BWEH-nohs DEE-ahs)
  3. Buenas tardes - Good afternoon (BWEH-nahs TAHR-dehs)
  4. Buenas noches - Good evening/night (BWEH-nahs NOH-chehs)
  5. ¿Cómo está usted? - How are you? (formal) (KOH-moh ehs-TAH oos-TEHD)
  6. ¿Cómo estás? - How are you? (informal) (KOH-moh ehs-TAHS)
  7. Mucho gusto - Nice to meet you (MOO-choh GOOS-toh)
  8. Me llamo... - My name is... (meh YAH-moh...)
  9. ¿Cómo te llamas? - What's your name? (informal) (KOH-moh teh YAH-mahs)
  10. ¿De dónde eres? - Where are you from? (informal) (deh DOHN-deh EH-rehs)

Getting Around (11-20)

Before you start exploring the vibrant cities and lush landscapes of Panama, it's essential to know how to get around. 🚍 These phrases will help you navigate public transportation, ask for directions, and even hail a taxi like a pro. 🚕

  1. ¿Dónde está...? - Where is...? (DOHN-deh ehs-TAH...)
  2. ¿Cómo llego a...? - How do I get to...? (KOH-moh YEH-goh ah...)
  3. ¿Dónde puedo tomar un taxi? - Where can I take a taxi? (DOHN-deh PWEH-doh toh-MAHR oon TAHK-see)
  4. ¿Cuánto cuesta el pasaje? - How much is the fare? (KWAHN-toh KWEHS-tah ehl pah-SAH-heh)
  5. Necesito ir a... - I need to go to... (neh-seh-SEE-toh eer ah...)
  6. ¿A qué hora sale el autobús? - What time does the bus leave? (ah KEH OH-rah SAH-leh ehl ow-toh-BOOS)
  7. ¿Dónde está la parada de autobús? - Where is the bus stop? (DOHN-deh ehs-TAH lah pah-RAH-dah deh ow-toh-BOOS)
  8. ¿Dónde está la estación de tren? - Where is the train station? (DOHN-deh ehs-TAH lah ehs-tah-SYOHN deh trehn)
  9. Gire a la izquierda/derecha - Turn left/right (HEE-reh ah lah ees-KYEHR-dah/deh-REH-chah)
  10. Siga recto - Go straight (SEE-gah REHK-toh)

At the Restaurant (21-35)

One of the best parts of traveling is indulging in the local cuisine. 🍽️ Panama offers a delightful array of dishes that will tantalize your taste buds. From the famous sancocho (a hearty chicken soup) to the refreshing ceviche, you'll want to savor every bite. 😋 These phrases will help you order like a local and navigate the dining scene with ease.

  1. ¿Puedo ver el menú, por favor? - Can I see the menu, please? (PWEH-doh vehr ehl meh-NOO, pohr fah-VOHR)
  2. Quiero ordenar... - I want to order... (KYEH-roh ohr-deh-NAHR...)
  3. ¿Qué me recomienda? - What do you recommend? (KEH meh reh-koh-MYEHN-dah)
  4. Quisiera... - I would like... (kee-SYEH-rah...)
  5. ¿Cuál es la especialidad de la casa? - What is the house specialty? (kwahl ehs lah ehs-peh-syah-lee-DAHD deh lah KAH-sah)
  6. Soy vegetariano/vegano - I am vegetarian/vegan (soy veh-heh-tah-RYAH-noh/veh-GAH-noh)
  7. No como... - I don't eat... (noh KOH-moh...)
  8. ¿Me puede traer...? - Can you bring me...? (meh PWEH-deh trah-EHR...)
  9. Un vaso de agua, por favor - A glass of water, please (oon VAH-soh deh AH-gwah, pohr fah-VOHR)
  10. La cuenta, por favor - The check, please (lah KWEHN-tah, pohr fah-VOHR)
  11. ¿Aceptan tarjetas de crédito? - Do you accept credit cards? (ah-SEHP-tahn tahr-HEH-tahs deh KREH-dee-toh)
  12. ¿Cuánto es la propina? - How much is the tip? (KWAHN-toh ehs lah proh-PEE-nah)
  13. Estaba delicioso - It was delicious (ehs-TAH-bah deh-lee-SYOH-soh)
  14. ¡Salud! - Cheers! (sah-LOOD)
  15. ¡Buen provecho! - Enjoy your meal! (bwehn proh-VEH-choh)

Now, let's talk about some must-try dishes in Panama:

  • Sancocho: A comforting chicken soup with yuca, corn, and culantro. It's often considered a national dish and is perfect for a rainy day. 🍲
  • Ceviche: Fresh seafood marinated in lime juice and mixed with onions, peppers, and cilantro. It's a refreshing and zesty appetizer that's perfect for the tropical climate. 🐟
  • Ropa Vieja: Literally meaning "old clothes," this dish features shredded beef in a flavorful tomato sauce. It's often served with rice and beans. 🥩
  • Patacones: Fried plantain slices that are smashed and fried again until crispy. They're a popular side dish or snack. 🍌
  • Arroz con Pollo: A classic Latin American dish of rice cooked with chicken, vegetables, and spices. It's a hearty and satisfying meal. 🍚🐔

Shopping and Bargaining (36-45)

Panama is known for its vibrant markets and unique handicrafts. 🛍️ From the colorful molas (handwoven textiles) to the intricately woven Panama hats, you'll find plenty of souvenirs to bring back home. 🧢 These phrases will help you navigate the shopping scene and even score some great deals.

  1. ¿Cuánto cuesta esto? - How much does this cost? (KWAHN-toh KWEHS-tah EHS-toh)
  2. ¿Tiene algo más barato? - Do you have anything cheaper? (TYEH-neh AHL-goh mahs bah-RAH-toh)
  3. ¿Puedes hacerme un descuento? - Can you give me a discount? (PWEH-dehs ah-SEHR-meh oon dehs-KWEHN-toh)
  4. ¿Cuál es su mejor precio? - What's your best price? (kwahl ehs soo meh-HOHR PREH-syoh)
  5. Me lo llevo - I'll take it (meh loh YEH-voh)
  6. ¿Aceptas dólares? - Do you accept dollars? (ah-SEHP-tahs DOH-lah-rehs)
  7. ¿Dónde puedo cambiar dinero? - Where can I exchange money? (DOHN-deh PWEH-doh kahm-BYAHR dee-NEH-roh)
  8. ¿Qué me recomiendas comprar? - What do you recommend buying? (keh meh reh-koh-MYEHN-dahs kohm-PRAHR)
  9. Quisiera algo típico de Panamá - I would like something typical from Panama (kee-SYEH-rah AHL-goh TEE-pee-koh deh pah-nah-MAH)
  10. ¿Cuál es la artesanía más popular? - What is the most popular handicraft? (kwahl ehs lah ahr-teh-sah-NEE-ah mahs poh-poo-LAHR)

When shopping in Panama, keep an eye out for these popular items:

  • Molas: Colorful, handwoven textiles made by the indigenous Kuna people. They often feature intricate geometric designs or nature-inspired patterns. 🎨
  • Panama Hats: Despite their name, these hats actually originated in Ecuador. They're hand-woven from the leaves of the toquilla palm and are known for their lightweight, breathable design. 🎩
  • Huacas: Ancient gold figurines and jewelry made by pre-Columbian cultures. You can find replicas in many souvenir shops. 🏺
  • Coffee: Panama is known for producing high-quality coffee, particularly from the Boquete region. Pick up a bag of locally grown beans to bring a taste of Panama back home. ☕

Emergencies and Health (46-55)

While we hope your trip to Panama is smooth sailing, it's always good to be prepared for any emergencies or health issues that may arise. 🏥 These phrases will help you communicate with medical professionals and get the assistance you need.

  1. Necesito un médico - I need a doctor (neh-seh-SEE-toh oon MEH-dee-koh)
  2. Me duele... - My ... hurts (meh DWEH-leh...)
  3. Tengo dolor de cabeza - I have a headache (TEHN-goh doh-LOHR deh kah-BEH-sah)
  4. Tengo fiebre - I have a fever (TEHN-goh FYEH-breh)
  5. Tengo náuseas - I feel nauseous (TEHN-goh NOW-seh-ahs)
  6. Tengo una alergia a... - I am allergic to... (TEHN-goh OO-nah ah-LEHR-hyah ah...)
  7. ¿Dónde está la farmacia más cercana? - Where is the nearest pharmacy? (DOHN-deh ehs-TAH lah fahr-MAH-syah mahs sehr-KAH-nah)
  8. Necesito una ambulancia - I need an ambulance (neh-seh-SEE-toh OO-nah ahm-boo-LAHN-syah)
  9. Llame a la policía - Call the police (YAH-meh ah lah poh-lee-SEE-ah)
  10. Es una emergencia - It's an emergency (ehs OO-nah eh-mehr-HEHN-syah)

It's always a good idea to travel with a basic first-aid kit and any necessary medications. 💊 Additionally, make sure to purchase travel insurance before your trip to cover any unexpected medical expenses. 📋

Making Friends and Flirting (56-65)

Panamanians are known for their warm hospitality and friendly nature. 🤗 Don't be surprised if you find yourself making new friends or even catching the eye of a potential love interest. 😍 These phrases will help you break the ice and maybe even spark a holiday romance.

  1. ¿De dónde eres? - Where are you from? (deh DOHN-deh EH-rehs)
  2. ¿A qué te dedicas? - What do you do for a living? (ah KEH teh deh-DEE-kahs)
  3. ¿Quieres bailar conmigo? - Do you want to dance with me? (KYEH-rehs bigh-LAHR kohn-MEE-goh)
  4. ¿Puedo invitarte un trago? - Can I buy you a drink? (PWEH-doh een-vee-TAHR-teh oon TRAH-goh)
  5. Eres muy guapo/guapa - You're very handsome/beautiful (EH-rehs mwee GWAH-poh/GWAH-pah)
  6. Me gustas mucho - I like you a lot (meh GOOS-tahs MOO-choh)
  7. ¿Quieres salir conmigo? - Do you want to go out with me? (KYEH-rehs sah-LEER kohn-MEE-goh)
  8. ¿Tienes planes para mañana? - Do you have plans for tomorrow? (TYEH-nehs PLAH-nehs PAH-rah mah-NYAH-nah)
  9. ¿Me das tu número? - Can you give me your number? (meh dahs too NOO-meh-roh)
  10. Fue un placer conocerte - It was a pleasure to meet you (fweh oon plah-SEHR koh-noh-SEHR-teh)

While flirting can be fun, it's important to be respectful and mindful of cultural differences. 🙏 Panamanians value family, so it's not uncommon for them to introduce you to their loved ones early on. 👪 Also, public displays of affection are generally more subdued compared to some other Latin American countries. 💏

Navigating Cultural Differences and Faux Pas (66-75)

Panama is a diverse country with a rich history and cultural heritage. 🌈 To fully immerse yourself in the local culture and avoid any unintentional faux pas, keep these phrases and tips in mind.

  1. Con permiso - Excuse me (kohn pehr-MEE-soh)
  2. Lo siento - I'm sorry (loh SYEHN-toh)
  3. No hablo mucho español - I don't speak much Spanish (noh AH-bloh MOO-choh ehs-pah-NYOHL)
  4. ¿Puedes hablar más despacio, por favor? - Can you speak more slowly, please? (PWEH-dehs ah-BLAHR mahs dehs-PAH-syoh, pohr fah-VOHR)
  5. No entiendo - I don't understand (noh ehn-TYEHN-doh)
  6. ¿Me puede explicar eso? - Can you explain that to me? (meh PWEH-deh ehs-plee-KAHR EH-soh)
  7. ¿Cuáles son las costumbres locales? - What are the local customs? (KWAH-lehs sohn lahs kohs-TOOM-brehs loh-KAH-lehs)
  8. ¿Hay algo que deba saber? - Is there anything I should know? (igh AHL-goh keh DEH-bah sah-BEHR)
  9. Quiero aprender más sobre la cultura panameña - I want to learn more about Panamanian culture (KYEH-roh ah-prehn-DEHR mahs SOH-breh lah kool-TOO-rah pah-nah-meh-NYAH)
  10. Gracias por compartir eso conmigo - Thank you for sharing that with me (GRAH-syahs pohr kohm-pahr-TEER EH-soh kohn-MEE-goh)

When navigating cultural differences in Panama, keep these tips in mind:

  • Dress modestly: Panamanians tend to dress more conservatively, especially when visiting churches or attending formal events. 👗
  • Be punctual: While "Panamanian time" may be a bit more relaxed than what you're used to, it's still polite to arrive on time for appointments or meetings. ⌚
  • Respect personal space: Panamanians value their personal space and may not appreciate overly familiar gestures like hugging or backslapping, especially when first meeting someone. 🤝
  • Use formal language: When in doubt, use the formal "usted" form of address instead of the informal "tú," especially when speaking with elders or authority figures. 🎩
  • Avoid sensitive topics: Politics, religion, and the Panama Canal are sensitive subjects that are best avoided unless you know the person well. 🤐

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it safe to travel to Panama? 🦺

  • Yes, Panama is generally a safe country for tourists. However, as with any travel destination, it's important to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings, especially in larger cities like Panama City.

2. Do I need a visa to visit Panama? 🛂

  • Most travelers from North America, Europe, and Australia do not need a visa for stays up to 180 days. However, it's always best to check with the Panamanian embassy or consulate in your country for the most up-to-date information.

3. What is the currency in Panama? 💵

  • The official currency in Panama is the Balboa (PAB), which is pegged to the US dollar at a 1:1 ratio. US dollars are widely accepted throughout the country.

4. What is the best time to visit Panama? ☀️

  • The best time to visit Panama depends on your preferences. The dry season (December to April) offers sunny skies and lower humidity, while the rainy season (May to November) sees fewer crowds and lower prices.

5. What should I pack for my trip to Panama? 🎒

  • Pack lightweight, breathable clothing suitable for tropical weather, along with a light rain jacket or umbrella. Don't forget to bring sunscreen, insect repellent, and comfortable walking shoes.

Now that you're armed with these essential Spanish phrases and cultural insights, you're ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure in Panama. 🌴 Remember to embrace the local culture, try new things, and most importantly, have fun! 🎉

¡Buen viaje! 🌈

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
March 30, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
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