Speaking Spanish in Nicaragua

Hi everyone,

It is widely agreed that speaking Spanish is essential for a successful integration in Nicaragua. Do you agree? Share your experience!

Do you speak Spanish? If so, where did you learn this language? Where can one attend a language course in Nicaragua?

If not, how do you cope with daily activities? Is it easy to communicate in a different language with Nicaraguans?

Thank you for sharing your experience.


I took Spanish in high the middle-of-nowhere North Dakota. Funny to think about as it was (and still is) the whitest town you'll ever find. How can one practice Span in a setting like that? can't... Pretty much learned the super basics and laid the foundation from that. Continued studying in college but the professor was all about the "Spain" Spanish. That time helped me learn more the different speech tenses (past, predicate etc).
Honestly the majority of what I have learned is when I am in Nicaragua, surrounded by Nicaraguans and conversing and hanging out with them. What the dictionary tells you and what the Nicaraguans say on the streets are to different things.
For example: They interchange saber and conocer in many instances. That's not what "school" taught me.

The most important thing is to speak what you know. Practice. Practice, and practice! EVEN AND ESPECIALLY IF YOUR SPANISH SUCKS! Nicaraguans are genuine and kind. They will understand that you're still learning and if you ask, they'll even correct you. If you don't do any of that "because my Spanish isn't good enough" then it won't improve as quickly as you would hope.  Don't be afraid to request mas despacio, por fa
     You can also listen to Spanish music. Something I used to do was watch a movie that I knew in Spanish audio with Spanish subtitles. That helped me a lot to train my ears to pick out words as I listened and read, especially for the people who speak very fast. That is sometimes hard as the subtitles are usually translated word-for-word while the audio is more natural; but I digress. The trick is not to translate literally every word in your brain while trying to keep up as the person keeps talking. You will get headaches if you do that and drain all your energy in the process. In contrast, the trick is to catch the main idea.

Now that I'm married to one, our kids will grow up speaking Span at home and Eng when we go out-and-about so I'll be able to learn the language with them, I imagine.

When I first came to Nicaragua "for prospection", the first thing I did was take 2 weeks of Spanish course in Xalteva school in Granada which was a great experiene. I can really recommend this school. When I came back one month later to stay, I continued to take private conversation lessons (1-2 hours per week).

As I am very fluent in French, Spanish is easy for me, but speaking is easier than listening and understanding. I was told that Nicaraguans speak the sloppiest Spanish of all countries in Central America. Well - when talking with someone from Spain (they speak incredibly fast!), Mexico or Guatemala, I am astonished that I understand almost everything...

In the meantime (after 2 years here) I translate the texts of the films I produce myself and only have them revised by a native speaker, and there are less and less mistakes.

As I feel I still make mistakes (often probably the same, because I speak quite fast and no one corrects me),  I think I will again take some Spanish lessons now to become more perfect.

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