How to Ask for Directions in Spanish
If you’ve ever found yourself lost in a Spanish-speaking city and need to figure out how to get to your hostel, the restaurant you’re having dinner at, or even the city’s main square, you'll need to know how to pedir indicaciones, or ask for directions. For example, if you’re trying to figure out how to get to the plaza mayor, or the main square of the city that you are visiting, you can use the following phrase to ask where it is:
However, this is only one way to ask for directions. In this article, we’ll show you how to form your own way to ask the question as well as provide some handy vocabulary lists so you can understand the response.
In Spanish, there’s no one right way to ask for directions. When forming your question, you should keep in mind some key verbs that refer to direction or place. For example, to ask where something is, you would want to use the verb estar. If you would like to ask how to get someplace, consider using the verb llegar. Finally, if you have no idea where you are and just want to locate yourself on a map, use ubicarse.
Here are some examples of how you can use these key verbs to form your questions:
Knowing Your Directions
Now that you know how to ask for directions, you need to be able to understand those directions so you can follow them to your destination! Below, we’ve put together a list with all of the keywords you should have memorized to be able to follow someone’s directions.
|block (of a street)|
Let’s look at how this vocabulary can be used to form some directions.
Looking for more translations of these words and others? Check out our comprehensive bilingual dictionary!
Even More Directions
Should you find yourself navigating through the streets of Cartagena, Quito, or San Juan, you might notice that the street signs will be found on the sides of buildings rather than sticking out of the ground around intersections. In addition, you might also discover that street signs will show the abbreviated forms of calle, bulevar, or carretera. To help you decipher these abbreviations, check out our list below that breaks it down for you.
|Spanish||Spanish Abbreviations||English||English Abbreviation|
|calle||c., c/, cl.||street||st.|
|avenida||av., avd., avda., (av.a)||avenue||ave.|
|bulevar||blvr., blv., bv.||boulevard||blvd.|
|carretera||carret., carr., ctra.||highway||hwy.|
|plaza||p.za, pza., pl., plza.||square||sq.|
Ever wonder why some street signs in Latin America have dates on them? That’s because many Latin American cities use important dates from their country’s history as the names of their prominent streets. So don’t be alarmed if someone giving you directions advises you to turn right on 9 de julio.
Now that you’re equipped with vocabulary to ask for and understand directions in Spanish, let’s look at a sample dialogue: