Whether you’re an expat catching the local bus across town, a tourist traveling across the country on luxury bus or a back packer riding on one of the famous chicken buses, this collection of phrase for catching the bus in Spanish will make your journey much easier.
If you’d prefer to skip the fluff and just download the phrases, here’s the link:
For the rest of you, let’s get to it.
Traveling by bus is a very economic way to get around, but you’ll need a bit of Spanish to do so. This list of is composed of phrases that I actually use on my visits to Spanish speaking countries so I know they work and they’re not awkward translations from a translator or by some guy sitting at a desk writing the next edition of a phrasebook who’s never even taken a bus in a Spanish speaking country.
But before we jump into the list, here’s something you should know.
Your dictionary is probably going to tell you that the word in Spanish for bus is autobús. And it is. You can go anywhere in the Spanish speaking world and everyone will know what an autobús is. The problem is everyone isn’t always going to use it.
Many Spanish speaking countries have local words they use to refer to an autobús you probably have never heard of. The locals are so accustomed to these words they use them without even thinking about them, like the word guagua. And when that happens you’re going to be left standing there with that deer in headlights look.
Ok, time to take a look at some of these alternate words for autobús in Spanish. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but just a few of the more common terms you may hear.
In several parts of Mexico they say camión.
In the Caribbean (Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, etc.) they use the term guagua.
In some places like Argentina they use the word colectivo. You may hear this in Mexico as well.
There’s also buseta which is generally a smaller bus that can carry maybe 30 passengers. Think of it as bigger than a van but smaller than a city bus.
So far I’ve always heard the larger, Greyhound type buses referred to as an autobús, or simply bus. Remember to use your Spanish pronunciation though, because if you say bus with your American or British accent most Spanish speakers will end up giving you the deer in headlights look.
Alright, this is where the rubber meets the road. It’s time for me to deliver on that collection of Spanish travel phrases for catching for the bus.
You can also get this collection of phrases on your Android phone with the My Spanish Phrasebook app. Developed by me, it has 1600+ useful phrases for expats, travelers and Spanish learners. It can be hard to remember all that Spanish floating around in your head, so this is the perfect tool to help you remember those Spanish phrases when you need them the most.
And that’s it. I hope you all find this list useful. If there’s something I left off or if you have any additional suggestions please leave a comment below.
¡Hasta la próxima!