Languages of Bolivia
The official language of Bolivia is Spanish, although there are several other indigenous languages. The main indigenous languages you may hear while walking along the city streets are Quechua, Aymara, and Guaraní. Very little English is spoken outside of hotels and tourist destinations. Some businesspeople in commercial centers and a number of officials will be able to speak some English. All of our tour guides are English-speaking, and other languages are available upon request.
There’s no worse feeling than not being able to understand someone or communicate. Before leaving for a foreign country, we recommend learning a few basic phrases of the host country. When traveling to Bolivia, understanding a few basic Spanish phrases will make your trip much easier and enjoyable. Try learning some common phrases such as hello and goodbye, please and thank you, and questions such as travel directions. By the time you get to Bolivia, you might be able to impress some of the locals with your lingual skills!
For an interactive experience, we recommend that you take a “Spanish for Travelers” class at your local community center. For those of you that don’t have the time to sign up for a class, consider buying a software program such as Rosetta Stone. Or, download a language app, such as Duolingo, on your smartphone. That way you can practice Spanish at any time of the day!
Many travel guidebooks include brief language sections – study up before you go to familiarize yourself with basic Spanish.
Phrases to know:
- “Hola” = “Hello”
- “Adiós” = “Goodbye”
- “Por favor” = “Please”
- “Perdón” = “Excuse me”
- “Gracias” = “Thank you”
- “De nada” = “You’re welcome”