People in the Chapala area are accustomed to helping the English-speaking community function.  You will find many Mexicans who speak English.  However, you should try to speak Spanish, as a sign of respect and a gesture of gratitude for the hospitality of this country.  Usually, Mexican people will respond graciously to your attempts.

Words and phrases you need to use and recognize:
Please - Por favor
Thank You - Gracias
Hello - Hola
Goodbye - Adios
What is your name? - Como se llama?
How much does this cost? - Cuanto cuesta?
At your service - A sus ordenes (Store clerks say this to you.)
No Parking - No Estacionarse or No E 
God bless you - Dios le bendiga

If you need:

  • groceries, look for ABARROTE
  • hardware, look for FERRETERIA
  • tires, look for LLANTAS
  • a newspaper, look for DIARIAS
  • furniture, look for MUEBLES
  • a haircut, look for PELUQUERIA or ESTETICA
  • a pharmacy, look for FARMACIA

Some important things to remember:

  • Slow down.  Things happen at a different pace here.  You might as well enjoy it because you're not going to change it.
  • Mexican people are very polite, and they deserve the same from you.
  • "C" on the water faucet stands for "Caliente," which means HOT!
  • Speed limits are posted in Kilometers per Hour.
  • In most places, you must pull off the road to the RIGHT and wait for traffic to clear before you turn LEFT.
  • Your left turn signal can also mean "Pass Me" to the driver behind you, so be very careful.
  • Watch for TOPES, speed bumps that can be anything from a painted yellow line to a small mountain range across a street.
  • Smiles are bi-lingual.
  • God is still in charge, no matter where you are, and He still loves you very much.