1. Hablas español?
While you don’t need to be a fluent Spanish speaker it is a good idea to pick up some key phrases and make an effort to speak the language.
A few phrases we recommend learning are:
- “hola” (hello),
- “por favor”(please)
- “buenos dias” (good morning),
- “buenas tardes” (good afternoon) and
- “adios” (good-bye) or
- “hasta luego” (see you later)
- “habla despacio” (speak lowly) or
- “otra vez por favor” (once again please}
2. Be Polite
Mexicans are some of the politest and friendliest people you will ever meet and you should match that by using niceties, so at the risk of sounding like your Mother remember to mind your Ps and Qs.
Always greet people when you enter and use “Desculpe” (excuse me) before asking a question of or directions. It also pays to ask if they speak English before assuming they do and launching into a request.
Mexican communication is more subtle than a lot of tourists are used to and being too direct can come across rude or even aggressive. This is especially true of American communication and Kiwi’s probably lay somewhere in the middle with our direct-ness.
A good example of this is if a street vendor approaches you or offers you something, you should say “Buena Suerte” (good luck) or “Muchos Gracias Ahorito No” (thanks very much. not now) not ‘no gracias’ (No thank you). It is kind of like the Kiwi ‘yeah, nah’, let them down gently.
3. Take it easy
In Mexico everything moves at a slower pace so you’re better off relaxing and accepting that before you arrive than getting your knickers in a twist. Getting frustrated is only going to get you labelled as rude and then you’ll never get anything done.