One of the things that you may wonder about when planning a trip to Mexico City is the language. After all, it’s the capital city of Mexico, and it’s in a different country. But, of course, we know that the primary language spoken here is Spanish. As such, you may wonder if people speak English in Mexico City.
In general, only a few people speak English in Mexico City since most people speak Spanish. Therefore, you can get by as a tourist with little to no knowledge of Spanish. However, it’s best to learn the basics to enjoy most of your stay, especially if you plan a long-term stay in the city.
Language is one of the most critical aspects of communication, and it’s necessary whenever you’re traveling to new places. After all, speaking is how to communicate and interact with others, especially the locals. As such, you’ll have to know more about the Language in Mexico City if you plan on visiting.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about English in Mexico City. This way, you’ll know if you can get by the city knowing only English or need to understand some Basic Spanish terms and greetings.
Without further ado, let’s get into it!
Do People Speak English in Mexico City?
One of the most common mistakes of tourists visiting Mexico City is that they think everyone speaks English.
While it may be true in high-end hotels, fancy restaurants, and tourist spots, it doesn’t apply to other local areas like markets, parks, streets, and other residential areas.
As a thriving, culturally diverse metropolis, the city is, without a doubt, undoubtedly terrific. More than 21 million people call it home, making it one of the world’s most populated cities.
Mexico City’s size and diverse population make it unsurprising that several languages are spoken there. However, Spanish is by far the most widely spoken language.
While English is less prevalent than you might think in Mexico City, it is spoken there nonetheless. Most people in the city speak Spanish, but there are also some English speakers.
Nevertheless, Mexico City recognizes the value of English. On the contrary, English is viewed as an essential second language in many professional and academic settings.
With only a basic understanding of English, you could still survive in the city even if you don’t hear it much.
Typical Languages Used in Mexico City
Mexico’s official language is Spanish, spoken by 94% of the population. However, many people still speak the native languages of the Aztecs, Mayans, and other tribes.
Spanish, Nahuatl, and Yucatec Maya are the top three languages spoken in Mexico. However, Spanish is the preferred language because 94% of the population speaks it.
The percentage of people who speak English is just 12.9%. While most locals must speak English fluently, they can understand essential English words. Communicating is challenging, but you’ll get by for a few days in the city.
How Common Is English Spoken in Mexico?
Among non-native languages spoken in Mexico, English is the most common. The number of people who speak English as a second language ranges from 10% to 15%.
In northern regions, the percentage is higher due to their proximity to the United States. However, since Mexico City is far from the border, most locals and residents speak Spanish and only a little English.
In Mexico City, there are many Spanish speakers. However, most Mexicans who speak English are only around 12.9%.
While others do so exclusively, others do not. Mexicans speak Spanish as their primary language, though non-Spanish speakers are also welcome.
Can You Live in Mexico City Without Speaking Spanish?
You can visit Mexico City without speaking Spanish, and you’ll be alright and get by. However, if you’re staying long-term, it can be challenging without speaking even basic Spanish.
Short-term tourists will get by with bilingual tours and guides. Also, the popular spots are filled with English signs.
You can always go for food tours if you’re searching for guides. These tours will take you to the best food spots in the city, so you don’t have to search and find them on your own. If you want the best options, read our article about the best Food Tours in Mexico City.
However, when you live here, the common areas and even the residential ones are filled with Spanish-speaking locals.
As such, it would be best to understand some basic Spanish. This knowledge will also help you interact better and enjoy your stay by blending in for a bit.
Of course, English speakers can show you around and teach you what you need to know about living there.
Finding English-speaking staff in shops, cafes, and restaurants is even possible. However, I don’t call that exceptionally comfortable.
In general, you’ll encounter far more people who don’t speak Spanish than those who do. However, even if you’re fortunate and only encounter people fluent in English, signs, newspapers, radio stations, and other communication methods are almost always in Spanish.
Of course, you’ll surely get by while only speaking English. However, you’ll likely need to work on interaction and daily routines if you stay in your room or apartment most of the time.
How Much Spanish Do You Need to Know in Mexico City?
In Mexico City, advanced Spanish is optional. However, you may want to live, work, and move around in some areas where most people are foreigners or speak English well.
Visits to Mexico City require little or no knowledge of Spanish. However, unlike other areas near the US, this city houses more locals who need help understanding English.
Even though Mexican signage and symbols are in Spanish, you can tell what they mean by looking at them.
Speaking the local language in the city is always polite, but it is fine if you cannot do that. Even simple things like greeting someone and saying thanks can be learned, and it’s best to do so, especially if you’re staying for a while.
Areas in Mexico City Where Basic Spanish Will Help
While you can get by in some areas of Mexico City by speaking only in English, some areas can be challenging for those who need help understanding basic Spanish.
For instance, the local stores and markets usually have sellers or vendors who only understand basic English. If you want to bargain or negotiate for a lower price, you’ll need to understand at least Spanish terms for numbers.
If you’re curious to know more about transactions in the area, you may be wondering if you can use US dollars or if you need to exchange them for Mexican pesos. To know more, read: Mexico City – Cash (Pesos or USD) or Card?
If you can speak basic Spanish, you’ll understand more and have better and smoother transactions.
If you want to visit spots where people speak and understand English, you’ll want to go to the upper-class areas like the Condesa-Roma. Most locals speak and understand English here, and most foreigners stay there.
Meanwhile, the lower the educational level in the city’s eastern part, the harder it is to find English speakers.
In a nutshell, English speakers are rare in Mexico City, especially since it’s far from the US, and most people staying here are from Mexico. Nonetheless, you can get by in a few days if you stay within the common areas for tourists. However, if you plan to stay longer, knowledge of basic Spanish will help you enjoy your stay.
Another concern you might wonder about is the best time to visit the city. If so, read: Mexico City: When to Go for the Best Experience?