In this article I will teach you all the chunks and phrases in Spanish you need when traveling by taxi so you get to your destination safely.
We’ll cover everything: finding a taxi, getting to a place, speaking to the driver (sólo si quieres / only if you want to), all the way to paying and getting off the taxi, so next time you are on a trip in a Spanish-speaking you don’t fall in the tourist trap and instead, you’re able to show off your Spanish skills using these chunks.
What are Chunks?
Wait! I said I’ll teach you Spanish chunks… but what is a chunk? I am Glad you asked!
Chunks are word combinations Spanish native speakers use all the time while talking to each other. They never change and you should just learn by heart as a whole, so they roll off your tongue while speaking Spanish (and you don’t have to think about grammar, which preposition to use, etc.).
The easiest way to discover such chunks is not by learning words and grammar, but by listening to Spanish native speakers actually speak Spanish!
Throughout this piece you’ll discover many chunks and sometimes, I’ll give you a “chunk alert” when there’s a truly important one. So, if you read “chunk alert”, pay extra attention!
#1 Buscando un taxi (Finding a taxi)
In Mexico, there are a couple of ways you can get a taxi:
- En una parada de taxis (At a taxi stop), which can be found on the street or maybe outside a hotel… or you may ask:
- ¿Dónde está la parada de taxis más cercana? (Where is the closest taxi stop?)
- Llamando por teléfono a la estación (Calling the taxi station)
In that case you can say:
- Hola, ¿me puede enviar un taxi a la dirección XXXX? (Hi, may I have a taxi sent to the address XXXXX?)
“A la dirección” (to the address) is a perfect example of a chunk that never changes and you should learn by heart. You shouldn’t be thinking about which preposition to use or which gender “dirección” is in Spanish. Bypass all that by memorizing it as a whole!
- O tal vez prefieras una app (or maybe you prefer to order through an app)
In Mexico City there are many options like Uber, Yaxi, Cabify; however, in small cities it might be less probable you find an app. In that case, I recommend you use any of the options above…
You may also hail a taxi by raising your hand, but it is always the safest option to call una compañía de taxis (a taxi company).
I suggest that, before getting to your destination, you do a bit of research about which apps or companies are the safest to use in your destination to avoid any non-desirable situation.
#2 Pedir que te lleven a tu destino (Asking to be taken to your destination)
Then, you find yourself inside the taxi and the first thing that el taxista (the taxi driver) will ask you is… Señor/Señorita, ¿dónde lo llevo? o ¿dónde quiere que lo lleve? (Sir, Miss, where shall I take you or where do you want me to take you?)
In that case you should answer:
- Hola, ¿podría llevarme al aeropuerto? (Hi, could you take me to the airport?)
What if you need to get there really fast? Then try saying this:
- Tengo un poco de prisa. ¿Podría tomar la ruta más rápida, por favor? (I am in a bit of a hurry. Could you take the fastest route please?)
Tengo un poco de prisa (I’m in a bit of a hurry) or simply tengo prisa (I’m in a hurry) is another good example of a chunk. Learn it by heart as a whole so it rolls off the tongue whenever you need to tell someone you’re busy!
By the way, if you’d like to discover the full 4-step method to learn to speak Spanish entirely through chunks, check out the free Spanish training we have on our website, where we explain how it works and give you a full demo!
What if the taxi driver is going too fast? Then, you might want to say:
- ¿Podría manejar más despacio, por favor? (Could you drive slower, please?)
And I advise you to ask the form of payments in advance, so there are no surprises.
- ¿Acepta pagos con tarjeta? (Do you take card payments?)
If the driver says, “No, sólo efectivo” (No, only cash), then try to ask them kindly, ¿Podría parar en un cajero automático, por favor? (Could you stop at an ATM, please?)
Also, there are some taxis in Mexico that do not use a taximeter. So, make sure to know the price in advance. That way, you will know precisely how much you are paying or if needed, you can negociar el precio (bargain the price).
For example, check out the following conversation:
Señor, ¿cuánto cuesta ir de aquí al centro?
(Sir, how much does it cost to go from here to the city center?)
Cuesta como $500 (quinientos) pesos
(It costs like $500 pesos).
Uff! No, eso está muy caro, ayer me cobraron $350 (trescientos cincuenta) pesos.
(Uff! No, that is too expensive, yesterday I was charged $350 pesos)
¡Lo siento! Lo más barato es $400 (cuatrocientos) pesos.
(I am sorry. The cheapest is $400 pesos.)
Ok, muchas gracias. Esperaré otro.
(Ok, thank you very much. I will wait for another cab.)
And if they do have a taximeter, please remind them to turn it on:
- ¿Podría encender el taxímetro, por favor? (Could you switch on the meter please?)
#3 Tener una conversación con el conductor (Having a conversation with the driver)
This is, of course, entirely optional. I personally like to ask the taxi driver for advice when I am a tourist, since taxi drivers always know the best and cheapest place to eat local food.
Therefore, if you want to ask that you might say:
- Disculpe, señor, ¿qué lugar recomienda para comer? Que tenga las 3 B’s (bueno, bonito y barato) (Excuse me, sir, what place do you recommend to eat? It needs to have the 3 B’s: good, nice and cheap?)
You could also ask questions like:
- ¿Qué lugares me recomienda visitar? (What places do you recommend to visit?)
- ¿A qué lugares van los locales normalmente? (Which places do locals usually go to?)
You might have a chatty driver: it is common that they speak to you (especially in Mexico), unless you decide not to or the driver está de mal humor (is in a bad mood).
#3 El pago y la llegada a tu destino (Paying and arriving to your destination)
Make sure that if you are paying with a card, you have asked this in advance!
For some reason, if you don’t have cash on you, local drivers tend to get upset and they do not have a card payment option. But if you have already discussed this, then expect the driver to say:
- Ya llegamos. Son $65 (sesenta y cinco) pesos. (We have arrived, it is $65 pesos)
Then, you could say something like:
- Aquí tiene. (There you have it)
- Muchas gracias, y que tenga un buen día (Thank you so much and have a nice day).
Don’t forget your luggage in the trunk! Just remind to tell the driver to open the trunk for you:
- ¿Podría abrir la cajuela para sacar mis maletas, por favor? (Could you open the trunk to take out my luggage, please?)
And please, if you negotiate a price and for some reason your taxi driver says you should pay more, you should say:
- Me dijo que costaría $100 pesos; entonces, eso voy a pagar. (You said it would cost me $100 pesos, so that is what I am going to pay!)
For that matter, if you are using local taxis, my advice is to always carry cash in small bills, to avoid drivers from tricking you.
So, in Mexico, taxi drivers might help you with your luggage, but tipping is optional. Si quieres darle propina a tu chofer (if you would like to tip your driver), you can give them 10% to 15%.
FREE Spanish Training
Mis amigos, I think after this lesson, you are ready to hop on a taxi and show off your Spanish skills! If you want more Spanish lessons with travel vocabulary, let me know by leaving a comment.
By the way, ¿qué país hispanohablante te gustaría visitar primero? (which Spanish-speaking country would you like to visit first?) Let me know in the comments below, so the other teachers and I can prepare more useful and cool lessons for you!
Also, if you enjoyed the chunk alerts and want to learn more about chunking, don’t forget to watch our free Spanish training to learn more about learning Spanish through observing native speakers and identifying chunks (and without having to cram word lists and grammar rules!). It’ll come in handy on your next trip to Mexico, Latin America, or España.