Spanish lessons

If you are going to Peru and wish you knew Spanish here are some ideas.

Spanish is one of several national languages in Peru. In most rural areas of Peru, Spanish is a second language.  A family in the Andes likely speaks Quechua.  In the jungle there are more than 300 languages. The good news for a traveler to rural areas of Peru is that the Spanish you will hear is simple and spoken slowly.

Of the many at-home Spanish courses you can enroll in, below I describe my favorites.  I've also listed the name of my favorite Spanish/English translation app that you can download to your smart phone or tablet.

What  programs for learning Spanish have I tried?

If you want to learn a bit of Spanish and also get help with pronunciation, here are some leads and links to free sample lessons.

Rosetta Stone
This software is very well known, and good.  I have it but it is not the first thing I recommend despite its good reputation.  Why?  You have to be sitting at your computer to use it. I don't always have extra free time to sit in front of a computer but I do have time that I can easily "double-duty" for learning Spanish in a way that takes up no more time than I have each day.

I prefer audio lessons
I realized that there are many activities already part of my week when I can listen to a Spanish lesson. Here are my favorites
  • exercise
  • food prep
  • light house work
  • driving in the car

Marcus Santamaria

Seven free audio lessons by with Marcus Santamaria and Elena Chagoya

to get you going.

"Shortcut to Spanish Audio Series" -

Lesson 1   Lesson 2  Lesson 3  Lesson 4


Part 1   Part 2  Part 3


Synergy Spanish

This webpage has 5 free audio lessons that are part of a course called “Synergy Spanish”

Or you can down load all 5 lessons mentioned  above via this link

Download Synergy Spanish CD 1 - Audio Lesson 101-302

If you like this method you can find more free lessons by Marcus Santamaria on YouTube.

Michel Thomas
- offers another popular method.
You can start by downloading a 20 minute sample lesson for free from, an Amazon company

I listened to several of Michel Thomas' lessons about 10 years ago.  They really got me going on the road to learning Spanish.  The person who suggested this route warned me that the style of teaching may seem a bit strange.  Why is that?  The method includes simple instruction and then a request that you try to say something in Spanish.  The recorded lessons are being taught to a couple of "newbies" so you hear them doing their best with pronunciation. They make common mistakes and then you hear the correction of this mistakes. The advantage is that your hear the corrections to common pronunciation mistake as you learn. Using untrained speakers seems unprofessional at first but after a time it normalizes your pronunciation struggles.

If after listening to the free sample, if you want to try another Michel Thomas lesson you can activate a free 30 day membership with Audible. With that trial membership you can download a full lesson at no additional cost.  If you don't want to keep your membership be sure to cancel before your trial ends and you will not be charged for your trial month. If you like you can pay to download more. One last thing: The first 20 minutes of lesson one is the same as the free sample.

Rocket Spanish
Rocket Spanish continues to be a favorite of mine. It teaches very basic Spanish  expressions especially ones you would  need as a tourist and the teaching format is very upbeat and friendly.
You can sign up for a free trial at:
I am currently reviewing the lessons in their free trial.  The first two lessons are all about how to introduce yourself in Spanish.  A fun thing to know how to do.

Pimsler offers another well known course for learning Spanish.  You can find a free lesson here
I have three of the Pimsler courses.  They're very good.  The teaching structure really drills words into your memory banks with a lot of repetition.  It includes a fair amount of times when you are asked to "try to say" something new based on words you already know.  That keeps your mind alert whereas the repetition might put you to sleep.  All in all it is effective even if not very upbeat or fun.

I have tried other Spanish lessons too but the ones listed above are the ones I come back to again and again.

Translation Apps

My favorite translation app is made by the folks at Jibbigo

Jibbigo is a voice translation app for your smart phone that you can use online or offline. Use it translate your speech or text into Spanish from your smart phone. 

two Jibbigo tips. 
  1. Be sure to download the version that is exclusively for Spanish.  There are versions for multiple languages but I found in the multiple-language version, each language is more limited.  Stick with the version that only offers one language and in this case Spanish.
  2. Get the paid version.  It costs about $5.  You can't use the free version unless you are on-line and you are not likely to be able to get on-line from your smart phone while you are in Peru unless you have a Peruvian SIMM card in it. To be sure of being able to use the app, get the paid version

You already know more than 500 words in Spanish

Here is an example. Most English words that end with "tion" can be made into Spanish by changing TION to CIÓN. Think of English words like reservation, cancellation, celebration.  The pronunciation is only a bit different in Spanish. There are hundreds of other "cognates"  - words that are virtually the same in Spanish and English.  Once you get comfortable listening for them you will start to realize you can understand a lot. 

Here is a webpage that lists over 1000 cognates