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22 Mar 2012 steve asked


hi im thinking about doing a south american contiki[the adventurer]and was wanting to know is it absolutely necessary to speak spanish/[portuguese there,im not worried once im with contiki but when im at the airports arriving and departing the language barrier might be a problem,id imagine there would be english speaking staff to help??

  • Read the responses 6 responses so far
  • 24 Mar 2012 Bex said


    Hey :-)
    I would assume it would help to speak Spanish/Portuguese but I would also think that there would be at least someone at the airport who could help. They probably have so many tourists pass through and the website for the airports is in English, which is promising. :-) That’s what I’m hoping anyway, and if not, I’ll blame my unacceptable ignorance on being English…

  • 24 Mar 2012 Darci said


    There’s some pretty decent apple apps (if you have an iphone/ipod/ipad) that translate. Type in what you want to say in english, and i’ll translate to spanish (or other languages). I’m planning on having a list of the “common” phrases to refer to (where is the bathroom? Do you speak english? etc etc).
    I also read to have the hotel name and address printed out, so you can give to the cab driver… preventing a pronounciation mishap :)

  • 31 Mar 2012 steve said


    thanks my travel agent has been there before and she said they speak english most of the people and they have translaters anyway so should be good i hope

  • 4 Apr 2012 Maik said


    Airports are the most international places in the world. At every international airport in the world they speak at least a bit english.
    As mentioned earlier there’s an app for that. ;-) If you are a proud owner of an Android smartphone you can use the free app Google Translate which has “conversation mode”. You speak in english and it uses text-to-speak technology to say it in spanish. Works in both directions.

  • 9 Sep 2012 sandra_trentin said


    I’m Brazilian and I have to say most people in Brazil don’t speak english. I’m pretty sure most people who work on airports don’t speak english as well. I had friends from abroad visiting Brazil and a lot of then complained they couldn’t find someone who speaks english in the airport! I suppose Rio de Janeiro is better because they are more used with international tourists.

    It’s a good idea to write down important phrases in Portuguese in a paper or use Google Translate, to read it’s easier than understand someone speaking for most people.

    To speak Spanish should help because the languages ​​are really similar, most brazilians should understand simple phrases.

    Brazilian airports are quite chaotic places, so help yourself as much you can. And keep you eyes in your suitcase at all times.

  • 8 May 2013 lukeshartung said


    You can get by on a few basic phrases in my opinion for your situation

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