If you’re traveling to Peru, it’s safe to assume you’re going to meet some Peruvians along the way. Even if you don’t speak Spanish, it is a good idea to be familiar with the basic etiquette of greetings, introductions and farewells.
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The little gestures and phrases that are used to say hello and goodbye to someone in Peru are calledsaludosand are expected in social situations. When meeting new people in Peru, you’ll want to be polite and friendly, though you may not know whichsaludosare best to use in formal and informal situations. To help you along your journey, we’ve compiled some tips so that you’ll better understand the appropriate ways to greet people in Peru.
Saying Hello in Peru
In Peru, the people are usually exceptionally polite when speaking to their elders or figures of authority. If ever you are in doubt as to how polite you should be, just remember that it is always better to be overly polite than rude. The following are some formalsaludosyou can use when greeting someone in Peru:
•Buenos días– This greeting means “good day” or “good morning” and can be used until noon.
•Buenas tardes– This greeting means “good afternoon” or “good evening” and can be used from midday until nightfall.
•Buenas noches– This greeting means “good night” or “good evening” and is typically used during night time, both as a greeting and a way of saying farewell.
If you wish to be extra polite when greeting a figure of authority or someone you don’t know every well, you can tag on the wordseñorwhen greeting a man,señorawhen greeting a woman orseñoritawhen greeting a young woman.
When greeting someone they know very well, it is common for Peruvians to simply use a quickbuenasin passing or the standardhola,meaning “hello.” These greetings are friendly and informal and can be used along with other informal phrases such as:
•¿Cómo estás?– This standard question means “How are you?”
•¿Qué tal?– Similarly, this phrase means “How are you?” or “What’s up?”
•¿Cómo va?– This greeting means “How’s it going?”
Saying Goodbye in Peru
When it comes to saying goodbye in Peru, there are a few different ways to do so, though the most common is a simplechau.Chauis the same as saying “bye” in English and is very straightforward and informal. However, despite that it is informal,chauis often used in formal situations in combination withseñor, señoraorseñorita.
Some of the most common ways of saying goodbye in Peru include the following:
•Hasta mañana– This farewell translates to “Until tomorrow” and is used if you are certain that you will see the person the next day.
•Hasta luego– Meaning “until later,” this farewell is best used if you know that you will see the person again that same day.
•Nos vemos– This directly translates to “we will see each other,” but is used to say “we will see each other again soon.”
•Buenas noches– Meaning “good night,” this phrase is best used when saying goodbye at night.
•Adios– While this word is typically translated to “goodbye” in most phrasebooks, it is actually like saying “farewell” in English. It is a very formal word that is not typically used in social situations but is more appropriate when you are saying goodbye before a lengthy or permanent absence.
•Chau– As already mentioned, this is the most common way to say goodbye in Peru and means “bye.” If you aren’t sure which farewell to use in a social situation, a simplechauwill certainly suffice.
Physical Gestures and Etiquette
To accompany the typical greetings listed above; in social situations Peruvians typically greet each other with a handshake or kiss on the cheek. Between men, a customary handshake is acceptable, though between women or men and women, it is standard to kiss each other once on the right cheek. When joining a social gathering, it is polite to greet the people who are already there in this manner. Moreover, you should do the same when leaving a social gathering. These handshakes and kisses are very important during formal introductions but should be limited to social situations.
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When it comes to day-to-day interactions, no physical gestures are needed for greeting shopkeepers, taxi drivers or others who are working in the service industry in Peru. In those situations, a simple smile andbuenos días, buenas tardesorbuenas nochesis perfectly polite and acceptable.