The official language in Perú is Spanish, though there are five major dialects also spoken in Perú. Spanish has Latin roots and an alphabet very similar to English. One difference between Spanish and English is that the five vowels make only one sound in Spanish, making it easy to pronounce Spanish words.

You will be able to speak Spanish anywhere you travel in Perú, although in more rural places where the Quechua, indigenous Perúvians, live you will encounter their language, aptly named Quechua. Roughly 9 or 10 million Perúvians speak Quechua.

Perúvian Spanish is considered to be some of the most well-spoken Spanish, because all of the letters are pronounced, which makes it easier for non-native speakers to understand. For example, in the Caribbean and Central America, many speakers swallow the “s” sound.

Common Phrases

Como has amanecido – How did you sleep? Literally, it means how did you dawn?

Que me cuentas?—What’s up? This phrase is more commonly used in the younger generation.

Buenos dias, buenas tardes, buenas noches—Good morning, good afternoon, good evening.

These greetings are an important part of everyday living in Perú. When men and women greet each other, as well as when women greet other women, they touch cheek-to-cheek and kiss the air. Men, however, do not greet each other in this fashion. Instead they settle for a handshake, which is also an important part of greeting one another.