Spanish / English words you already know

Crisis, is that a Spanish or English word?

Actually is both.

Spanish and English shares hundreds of words that are the same and you already know them.  These words are called COGNATES and they sound similar, have similar spelling and have the same meaning in the two languages.

Take a look at these words:

English     |  Spanish

Telephone   |  Teléfono

Actor            |    Actor

Person         |  Persona

Culture        |   Cultura

Invite           |   Invitar

Some words are exactly the same and some aren’t but the difference is little, and there you have, 5 easy words you already know and that you won´t forget.

Yes, of course, it’s easier to remember the ones that are exactly the same, like panorama, natural, radical, among others (don’t forget that the pronunciation changes).  But the rest of them are not that difficult to remember, you just need some practice in front of the mirror or with a partner.

In this video, you will find more words, will learn the rules that apply and will listen to their pronunciation (pronunciación).

Find a longer list of words here: The most useful Spanish cognates.

Things to consider when visiting Peru

Are you coming to Peru for the first time?   Are you coming to do business or tourism?

Check out this list with useful information you should be aware of when coming to Peru.



1. Lima is the first city you are going to visit.

Lima is the capital and the main city.  If you are coming to Peru for business most likely you are going to stay in Lima.  And where in Lima?  Most people stay in San Isidro, most headquarters are in San Isidro, lots of hotels and restaurants too.  Miraflores is the second neighborhood people visit, mostly for tourism but businesses are placed in Miraflores too and again, lots of hotels and restaurants to visit.

Barranco is the bohemian neighborhood of Lima, worth to visit it and walk around.  And if you want to take a look at our historical past go around Lima downtown and enjoy a good walk or take the tourist bus.

If you are coming for tourism you might want to be in Lima for a few days but maybe you already have the plan to go somewhere else, like Cusco to visit Machu Picchu or the jungle.

If you have to stay in Lima waiting for the next plane to go somewhere else, there’s a hotel right in front of the airport you may want to use to stay the night.

2. Transportation

There are different options for getting around in Lima and the rest of the country: taxi (cab), a bus system called Metropolitano (only in Lima), and smaller buses called “micros” and “combis”.

Hailing a taxi on the street is fairly easy, but there have been incidents of assault and robbery as street taxis are unregulated by the government. Likewise, many of them will attempt to overcharge inexperienced tourists. It is always safer to have your hotel hail a cab for you, or the restaurant you are dining at call ahead and order one for you.

Other safer ways to get a taxi include calling a taxi company by phone or using an app, like Uber.

No buses to get out or to the airport, only taxis.  You can get safety taxis at the airport with fix prices.

3. Money and credit cards100

You will find several places to exchange money called “Casa de Cambio”.  They don’t charge extra fees to exchange money.

You can use American dollars in almost every supermarket, hotel and some stores; just make sure they are in pristine shape because they can be rejected. Simply ask the rate the establishment offers if you decide to pay with dollars.

Same thing with credit cards.  Before using them, ask the establishment what kind of credit cards they accept.

4. Go mobile

Do you want to use your smartphone in Peru?  First, check if your mobile plan includes free-of-charge international roaming.

If it doesn’t, check if you have a GSM and unlocked phone to buy a pre-paid SIM card from Movistar, Claro, Entel or Bitel retail stores and add credit to make the calls.

If you can’t use your smartphone but need to communicate, you can buy a really cheap cell phone, with the same companies, and choose a pre-paid plan.

5. And what about the food?

Peru is a famous gastronomical country. Peruvians are known for our fabulous food, using a wide range and variety of ingredients from the coast, highland and Amazon regions.  Some of our restaurants are listed in the 50 best restaurants in Latin America.


6. Local business customs

  • Peruvians value neat and elegant business clothing so dress formally.  Also, several companies employ a casual Friday policy.
  • It is essential to know that there is such a thing as Peruvian time (hora peruana). This means that Peruvians will often come at least half an hour later than the scheduled time. This is not always the case for business meetings, but I advise you to always confirm your appointments a day or even hours before it is to take place.
  • People will address you as “señor”, “señora” or “usted” which express respect and formality.
  • Formal greetings will be shaking hands but some people may greet you with a kiss on the cheek (our traditional greeting).

Don’t forget to check the public holidays in Peru before your trip.

What other information or tips can you  share after your visit to Peru?

Want to create a marketing message for your Latin American audience?

When companies outside Latin America want to offer their products/services to markets in one of those countries, they need to make sure their message is understandable by those audiences; they need to make sure they use the correct Spanish dialect.

Each country uses its own “version” of Spanish that can differ in pronunciation, vocabulary and expressions.   For instance, the use of the second-person singular subject pronoun used in Argentina, Uruguay and some other regions is “vos”, while in the rest of Latin America is “tu”.

If a company creates a message and it is translated for an Argentinian audience, it is not a good idea to use the same translation to target a Peruvian audience.  People would notice it wasn’t written for them.


Coca-Cola - Copy


cocacola_27-big - Copy

Take as an example the advertising Coca Cola created for Spain and Argentina.  Even though it is the same message, one word makes the difference for the audiences of these 2 countries.

Moreover, companies should not forget about the cultural nuances among countries.  When creating marketing materials language is especially important.

A solution that might work for all audiences would be using “standard” Spanish, where the accent, pronunciation, and vocabulary used is appropriate and understandable for most speakers.  It avoids idioms and words that might have different meanings in any of the countries.

The used of standard Spanish is also easier in comparison to translate a message into different versions of Spanish for each country.

When wondering which Spanish dialect to use, companies need to consider not only the target market, city and country they want to address but also the budget involved.

If you have the money, though, translating the message for each target market is a safe bet.

Is the Spanish language the same in all Latin America?

Probably, you have wondered, if in Mexico, Argentina or Colombia people speak the same Spanish.

Well, as a “latina”, who has lived and traveled in several Latin American countries, I can tell you that we speak the same Spanish.

The Real Academia Española, generally abbreviated as RAE, is the official royal institution responsible for overseeing the Spanish language. This Spanish is considered the correct, traditional and most pure variety of Spanish.  You can find Spanish vocabulary meaning and grammar in the Dictionary of Spanish Language of the Royal Spanish Academy or DRAE.

Most people from North America, Europe or Asia who want to learn Spanish or get immersed in the Latino culture to practice it, don’t know or are not aware of the different accents, pronunciations and use of different expressions and words among all Latino countries as well as its cities.  After spending several months living in Chile and then upon traveling to another Latino country one may realize that the Spanish accent, words and expressions they have learned aren’t used where they are now.

Think about English spoken in United States, England, Canada, and other countries.  The accents all sound pretty different and different expressions and words are used as well, but it’s still the same language.

There is also Colloquial Peruvian Spanish, colloquial Mexican Spanish, colloquial Chilean Spanish, etc.  Even for myself, who was born and raised talking Spanish, had to learn to “speak” Argentinian Spanish and Colombian Spanish when I was living in those countries – not because it is a different language, but because you want to understand and use the “everyday words and expressions” as you immersed yourself in their respective cultures.

And don’t forget about slang as those words and expressions are hard to learn and mostly use among different groups, such as teenagers or people in different social classes.   Slang expressions are different in each country as well.

Language is especially important in marketing when referring to marketing materials as those are creative, culture-based and focused on targeted, highly relevant communication.

You may hardly notice the use of “different” Spanish when reading or watching the news.  The vocabulary used in the news is highly formal Spanish and the accent most newsmen use to read the news is “standard” among all Spanish accents.  What does this mean?   That the accent, pronunciation, and vocabulary used is appropriate and understandable for most speakers.

Are there some ways to “categorize” certain types of Spanish speakers?  I can tell you what I’ve heard: Peruvians and Colombians have the slower, clearer, and more “standard” or neutral Spanish, while some people feel Argentinians speak a faster form of the language.

So the question: Is the formal Spanish language the same in all Latin America?

The answer is yes.  Formal Spanish is the same for all Latin American countries; It has the same structure and grammar.  But people from every country have different accents, pronunciation and use a very wide range of vocabulary, idiomatic expressions, and slangs.

Watch this video to listen to some funny Spanish accents.

Looking for Marketing data in Latin America? You better read this

When looking for data for your marketing campaign, where would you look for?


It depends on the type of data you are trying to collect to achieve your marketing objectives:

  • You might be looking for data to achieve market penetration in a new market.
  • You might be looking for consumer data or business data.
  • You might be looking for consumer emails data for your email campaign
  • You might be looking for business contact names data to offer your product.

How do you know where to find this data and how do you know if the data comes from a trusted source that follows country legal regulations to collect it?

If you want to start a marketing campaign in Latin America, and you need to get consumer or business data, you can find several companies, data providers, that follow the applicable law in their home countries.

Every data provider offers similar, but not the same, type of data.  They collect data from different sources and offer different data element coverage.

They also offer different services, like data hygiene, data enrichment, credit scoring, email marketing, telemarketing, prospecting, geo-prospecting, among others.

Some are global and very well known like Experian, a company that is based in several countries in Latin America and offers similar services among those countries (each country has its own particular constraints), while others are local but very well known in their own countries.

If you are looking for some references, in country DMA (Direct Marketing Association), AMDIA (Argentinian Interactive, direct Marketing Association), DIRECTA (Mexican Direct Marketing Association), are good sources to review.

It is important to consider that you might need to work with more than one data provider to meet all your marketing data needs.

It is also important to know that you would need to communicate in Spanish since not all of them would have someone to communicate with you in English.  You also need to consider the cultural nuances for each country you are interested in contact, even to make business, as every country has its own peculiarity.

My recommendation is to work with someone local to help you address with Spanish communication as well as cultural and business local knowledge.

Business trip in Latin America…working and having fun?

Nowadays a lot of people have to travel because of work.  You can travel inside your country or overseas; it doesn’t really matter, the routine is pretty much the same: you work and you look to do some tourism if you have the time.

I have lived and worked in 3 countries in South America and had the chance to explore those countries while on vacation or any long weekend holiday (which we have a lot!, although Argentina wins the gold in that area).

But I also have traveled through Latin America because of work, looking for business opportunities, and exploring the country is not part of the deal.  Does it sound familiar?

The business trip started with previous research to find out the best way to get from the airport to the hotel.  In almost all Latin American countries, you will find taxi companies at the airport so you can take a safe ride to get to the hotel.  In a city like Buenos Aires, you will find companies that offer private bus rides to principal places inside the city (mostly downtown); in other cities, like Bogota, you find public transportation just leaving the airport.  Another option is to hire a private driver, it can be more expensive but if you need to deal with traffic jams in a crowded city, like Sao Paulo, you can save time to get wherever you need to go.

Once you are settled in Hotel, the routine starts:  breakfast business meetings, office business meetings, lunch business meetings, dinner business meetings and if you still have time and energy maybe some drinks before you go to bed, to start all over again the next day.

Meetings can be done in Spanish, spanglish or English (mostly inside large companies), so you have the chance to practice your Spanish if you are still learning, but if you’re not, be aware on having someone to help you with the language.

If your trip includes a weekend, and you don’t have much work to do, go ahead and explore the city.

If language is not a barrier for you, take a break from taxis and take public transportation.  In cities like Lima and Bogota public transportation can be tricky;  you would need to ask someone local which bus to take to get where you want to go, but in cities like Buenos Aires, Medellin, Mexico DF or Sao Paulo, you can take the subway, this way you will have the chance to experience tourism in a different way.

My advice, if you are in Buenos Aires go to Tigre and take a boat trip through the river;  if you are in Bogota go out of the hotel on Sunday morning and join thousands of people out in the street for a walk, run or bike and later that day visit the Usaquen flea market.

Santiago offers a different scenario:  you can get to the beach or to the high hills to ski (during winter of course), in an hour more or less, by bus or with a private transportation.  It is easy and fast to change the city view.

Last but not least, if you have a weekend in Lima and want to visit Machu Picchu (which is in Cusco), my advice is to plan your trip when you have more time than 2 days available because you will need to take a flight to Cusco, take the morning train to Machu Picchu, stay there for a few hours, take the train back and take a flight back to Lima… you will miss to visit Cusco city and other ancient attractions and be very tired to go back to work.


Project Management online courses

Have you ever taken an online course?

I was looking for Project Management online courses, and found Coursera, which is an online platform that provides Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC ).

Here you can find free courses provided by different Universities, for anyone to learn.   Courses are for free but if you want to get a Coursera Certificate, you will need to pay for the course.

I was interested in learning more about Project Management and found, Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management course, by the University of Virginia, so I get enrolled.

If you want and can study online, and you are interested in Project Management, this course can be good for you.

It is a four-week course that will cover how to define a project, define its objectives and organize everything you need to start one.   How to plan a project, how to define the tasks involved, the duration of the project and the resources needed to make it happen.

You will also learn how to identify the risks that might affect your project and how to address them.  Finally, you will see how to start executing your project, monitor and control progress.

You will take a test and develop a case study each week and be in contact with other students to start discussions using the forums platform.

I found the course well prepared and organized.  You have access to videos, recommended lectures and books to dig deeper into definitions and examples.

But, if you are looking for a course that follows the guidelines found in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) book, from the Project Management Insitute, then the Introduction to Project Management Principles and Practices Specialization, by the University of California, is a better option.

This specialization includes 3 courses and a Capstone project.  Getting enrolled in the courses you will learn how to define a project and identify its principal elements including the project management role and responsabilities. How to identify the stakeholders involved, define the project scope and build a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).

Identify all the resources involved in the new project (people, facilities, funding, etc), how to estimate costs and time, create the schedule needed for the entire project, identify the risks involved, and control the advance of the project, everything according to the PMBOK guide.

The courses are about 4 weeks long and you can enroll in the especialization or choose to take a single course.  You will get into more detail taking these courses and will need to read the PMBOK guide but also will understand better the guidelines.

There is no excuse to keep learning if you really want to.

Can you tell me what courses have you taken online lately?