How to Ask for Directions in Spanish

Quick Answer

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:

¿Me podría decir dónde está la plaza mayor?= Could you tell me where the main square 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.

Ask Away

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:

¿Me podría decir dónde está la estación de buses?
Could you tell me where the bus station is?
¿Cómo llego a la calle principal?
How do I get to the main road?
¿Nos podrías ayudar a ubicarnos en el mapa?
Could you help us locate where we are on the map?

Another way to say to ask for directions in Spanish is pedir direcciones. This is used interchangeably with pedir indicaciones.

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.

derecho, recto
straight ahead
girar, doblar
to turn
block (of a street)
calle secundaria
enfrente de
across from
al lado de
next to
detrás de

Let’s look at how this vocabulary can be used to form some directions.

Sigue recto tres cuadras y luego dobla a la derecha.
Continue straight for three blocks and then turn right.
Gira a la izquierda y camina por el callejón hasta que llegues a la Avenida de Las Américas
Turn left and walk through the alley until you come out at Avenue of the Americas.
El bar está en frente de la catedral, a sólo cinco cuadras de la plaza mayor.
The bar is across from the cathedral, just five blocks from the main square.

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.

SpanishSpanish AbbreviationsEnglishEnglish Abbreviation
callec., c/, cl.streetst.
avenidaav., avd., avda., (av.a)avenueave.
bulevarblvr., blv., bv.boulevardblvd.
carreteracarret., carr., ctra.highwayhwy.
barrioBo., B.ºneighborhoodnbhd., pza., pl., plza.squaresq.

¿Me llevas a la 6 de diciembre, por favor?

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:

Disculpe, señora. Estoy totalmente perdida. ¿Me podría ayudar a ubicarme en este mapa?
Excuse me, ma’am. I’m completely lost. Could you help me figure out where I am on this map?
Estamos aquí, cariño, Al lado del estadio de fútbol.
We are right here, dear. Next to the soccer stadium.
¡Ah, claro que sí! Necesito reunirme con mis amigos en una hora para cenar. ¿Usted conoce el restaurante Buena Vista en el centro histórico? ¿Cómo llego allí?
Ah, of course! I need to meet up with my friends for dinner in an hour. Do you know the Buena Vista restaurant in the historic city center? How do I get there?
Es muy fácil. Sigue esta calle cinco cuadras al sur hasta que llegues a la plaza mayor. De allí, gira a la derecha en la calle 10 de agosto y camina solo una cuadra. Allí lo verás enfrente de la estación de buses.
It’s very easy. Follow this street five blocks south until you reach the main square. Then turn right onto August 10th street and walk just one block. You will see it there in front of the bus station.
¡Muchísimas gracias, señora!
Thank you so much, ma’am!