So, you’re speaking good Spanish and you want to see a list of Spanish-speaking countries that you can visit? Lucky for you, there are many countries with Spanish as an official language. In fact, there are Spanish-speaking countries in three continents! You’ve worked hard and used different ways to learn Spanish. You deserve some adventure. Check out our list of Spanish-speaking countries below to get an idea of where and how you can use your new language skill!
List of Spanish-speaking Countries
Spain is first on our list of Spanish-speaking countries. Basque, Galician, Catalan and Valencian are also official languages. Castilian Spanish is less formal than the Spanish of other countries. For example, the word usted is used much less in Spain. That means there is one less conjugation to worry about when experiencing Spain!
Mexico has the largest Spanish-speaking population in the world. They also have over 60 indigenous languages. In fact, Mexican Spanish contains many words from the Nahuatl language which aren’t in use outside of Mexico. American English words have also crept into Mexican Spanish, like the word “hot dog.” Watch some Youtube videos or other resources about Mexican Spanish before you visit!
Argentina, Uruguay, Eastern Bolivia and Paraguay
The South American peoples of Argentina, Uruguay and Eastern Bolivia speak the same dialect of Spanish. It is called River Plate Spanish. Paraguayan Spanish shares many characteristics with this dialect, too. This accent may be hard to understand because it has an Italian intonation. Italian immigrants had a great influence on the language of the area. They even use some Italian words in this dialect of Spanish. This Spanish-speaking region uses the pronoun vos instead of tú. Make sure to practice your conjugations before taking off!
Chilean Spanish is very similar to Argentine Spanish. They also use vos here instead of tú for conversations in close relationships. However, foreigners are warned not to use this pronoun in Spanish in Chile until they’re familiar with it. It is easy to cause offense and insult by misusing pronouns here.
Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Western Bolivia and Andean Venezuela
If you keep your vacation in the coastal zone of these countries, you’ll be able to practice your Spanish easily. Lima was the capital of the Spanish Empire for 200 years, so Peruvian Spanish is considered very “pure.” Where Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela and Columbia touch the Andes mountains, indigenous languages such as Quechua influence the Spanish dialect. Here, people are friendly and exchange Spanish greetings with strangers.
Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua
These Central American Spanish-speaking countries have different cultures, but the Spanish of Central America is more or less the same. These countries use some local vocabulary which differs slightly. All of Central America uses the word plata to mean “money.” People in these countries use usted to speak with strangers. Pay close attention to your pronouns when meeting new people.
Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Northern Venezuela and Panama
The dialect from the Caribbean Spanish countries on our list of Spanish-speaking countries is called Caribbean Spanish. It is similar to the Spanish of the Canary Islands. This dialect uses pronouns in a different way. Spanish speakers in Spain usually don’t use pronouns in their sentences. In Caribbean Spanish, they keep the pronouns in the sentence. For example, “Estás leyendo” becomes “Tú estás leyendo.” Don’t forget to add in those pronouns!
So far, this list of Spanish-speaking countries only includes countries in the Western Hemisphere. However, Equatorial Guinea also speaks Spanish as their official language. The Spanish spoken here is the closest to Castilian Spanish. If you studied at a language school in Spain, you should have no problem. Keep your eye open for small differences, like the use of ustedes. They also skip using the articles here!