Has your plane finally landed in Buenos Aires, and now you need to figure out how to get to the hotel?
Or perhaps you have a meeting scheduled at your Mexican supplier’s premises and need a ride?
Using public transportation in a foreign country can be tricky. When you are in Latin America, the challenge is even greater: not only the language is a struggle, the transportation system is a headache too.
Taking a taxi seems like a better idea. It’s faster, more direct, and quite affordable. Just make sure to ask about the fare before you hop in and hopefully check the estimated route beforehand. The more knowledgeable you seem about where you want to go, the lower the chances you’ll get scammed.
I strongly recommend you learn how to order a taxi in Spanish before you actually get to travel to one of the countries that speak this language.
How to Order a Taxi in Spanish – 10 Essential Phrases
- 🇪🇸 Quiero pedir un taxi, por favor – 🇬🇧 I want to order a taxi, please
- 🇪🇸 ¿Me puede llevar…? – 🇬🇧 Can you drive me to …?
- 🇪🇸 Necesito llegar a… – 🇬🇧 I need to get to…
- 🇪🇸 Al hotel Hyatt, por favor. – 🇬🇧 To the Hyatt hotel, please.
- 🇪🇸 ¿Cuánto me va a cobrar? – 🇬🇧 How much will you charge?
- 🇪🇸 ¿Acepta tarjetas? – 🇬🇧 Do you accept cards?
- 🇪🇸 ¿Me puede ayudar con la maleta? – 🇬🇧 Can you help me with my suitcase?
- 🇪🇸 Déjeme aquí – 🇬🇧 Drop me here.
- 🇪🇸 ¿Cuánto le debo? – 🇬🇧 How much do I owe you?
- 🇪🇸 Quedese con el vuelto. – 🇬🇧 Keep the change.
Taking a Taxi from the Airport
Imagine this: the person who was supposed to pick you up from the airport has never shown up. You don’t know the city, have no clue about public transportation—time to get a taxi.
A piece of advice: look for official, authorized taxi companies. Usually, you can find their counter inside the airport. It is much safer than picking a taxi straight from the street. Plus, they normally offer a flat rate, and they charge in advance. In this way, you will avoid having to use cash.
Talking with taxi drivers in Spanish is not the same as talking to your language teacher or listening to audio exercises while studying Spanish on your own. They will probably speak faster than you are used to, and their pronunciation will not be that clear.
If you have trouble understanding what they say, make sure to ask them to slow down or to repeat.
🇪🇸 Por favor hable más despacio.
🇬🇧 Please, speak slower.
🇪🇸 ¿Puede repetir, por favor?
🇬🇧 Can you repeat it, please?
These two little phrases go a long way. Never doubt to use them whenever you feel the need.
How to make yourself understood to a local taxi driver? Let’s have a look at the sample conversations below:
A: Hola, ¿me puede llevar a esta dirección, por favor?
B: Por supuesto, Cuba.
A: Can you take me to this address, please?
B: Of course, get in.
A: Voy al hotel Miraflores, en el centro de Santiago. ¿Cuánto me va a salir?
B: Serán 20 mil pesos, señor.
A: I’m going to the Miraflores hotel, Santiago downtown. How much is it going to be?
B: It will be twenty thousand pesos, sir.
A: ¿Puedo pagar en dólares / euros?
B: No señora, pero hay un cajero cerca de aquí.
A: Can I pay in dollars / euros?
B: No, madam, but there is an ATM nearby.
A: ¿Acepta tarjetas de crédito?
B: Solo si paga en el counter de la empresa.
A: Do you accept credit cards?
B: Only if you pay at the company counter.
A: ¿Tiene tarifa plana o usa taxímetro?
B: Depende adónde va. Para distancias más largas tenemos tarifa plana.
A: Do you have flat fare, or do you use a taximeter?
B: It depends on where you are going. For longer distance rides, we use flat fare.
A: ¿Cuánto equipaje tienen?
B: 3 maletas grandes.
A: No me caben 3 en el maletero. Necesitan pedir un vehículo más grande.
A: How much luggage do you have?
B: 3 large suitcases.
A: I can fit 3 in my trunk. You need to ask for a bigger vehicle.
A: ¿Cabemos todos en su auto / carro / coche?
B: ¿Cuántos son (ustedes)?
A: Somos 2 adultos y 2 niños.
B: Si, caben sin problema.
A: Can we all fit in your car?
B: How many are you?
A: We are two adults and two children
B: Yes, you fit without any problems.
Let’s have a closer look at the last dialogue. Do you know why there are three different Spanish options when it comes to the word “car”? It’s because various Spanish speaking countries use slightly different vocabulary, and the same things are often named differently depending on where you find yourself.
Pay attention to the use of the word USTEDES as the equivalent of the formal YOU. Formality levels and the related pronouns are among the most common problems native English speakers have when learning Spanish.
Ordering a Taxi to Pick You up from your Hotel
Need a taxi to take you to the airport? Better book it in advance!
Ordering a taxi through your hotel receptionist may be a little more expensive than hailing it on the street, but at least you can count on a more reliable and punctual service. Plus, you can have the taxi included in your total bill and not worry about withdrawing local currency.
A: Buenos días, quiero reservar un taxi al aeropuerto, por favor.
B: ¿Para cuándo?
A: Para mañana, a las 6AM.
B: Ningún problema, señor. Quedó reservado.
A: Good morning, I’d like to book a taxi to the airport, please.
B: When for?
A: For tomorrow, 6 AM.
B: No problem, sir. Your reservation is ready.
Riding a Taxi – How to Make Special Requests in Spanish
Are you in a lot of hurry? Or perhaps you’d like the driver to turn on the air-conditioning?
Let me show you to make special requests when riding a taxi in a Spanish speaking country:
🇪🇸 Estoy muy apurado. Por favor tome la ruta más corta.
🇬🇧 I am in a lot of hurry. Please take the shortest route.
🇪🇸Prefiero que no tome la autopista. Ha habido un accidente allí.
🇬🇧 I’d rather you didn’t take the highway. There has been an accident there.
🇪🇸 ¿Puede bajar un poco el volumen de la radio, por favor? Me duele mucho la cabeza.
🇬🇧 Can you turn the radio down a little, please? I have a terrible headache.
🇪🇸 Hace mucho frío aquí. Por favor prenda la calefacción.
🇬🇧 It’s very cold in here. Please turn on the heating.
🇪🇸 Tengo mucho calor. ¿Podría prender el aire o abrir la ventana?
🇬🇧 I’m very hot. Could you turn on the air-conditioning or open the window?
🇪🇸 ¿Puede ir un poco más lento? Me siento mareado.
🇬🇧 Can you go a little slower, please? I feel dizzy.
As you can see, it doesn’t take much to make yourself understood and have a comfortable ride.
I encourage you to take the opportunity and have a little chat with your driver. It is an excellent practice for your Spanish, and you can learn new things about the city!
In case you run out of ideas of what to talk about, you can always read one of my previous posts on good conversation starters in Spanish.
If your level of Spanish is still quite basic, try asking simple questions. In this way, you will know the context of the conversation, which in turn will help improve your understanding.