How to Say "Hello" in Mexican Spanish: Essential Greetings and Tips (2024)

How to Say "Hello" in Mexican Spanish: Essential Greetings and Tips (1)

By Siobhan Wood Last updated:


“Good morning!”

“What’s up?”

“How’s it going?”

They all mean the same thing: “Hello!”

And that’s just a handful of the ways you can say “hello” in English. There are dozens of options depending on who you’re talking to and where you’re speaking to them.

For example, in my native Yorkshire, a common greeting is to simply say, “Now then!”

Spanish is no different. There are stacks of ways to say “hello,” and they’re different across the Spanish-speaking world.

With nearly 130 million peoplecalling Mexico their home, Mexican Spanish is the most widely spoken variant in the world.

Although Spanish from Mexico and Spain are largely interchangeable, the wide variety of slang is what gives Mexican Spanish its distinct flavor. And, the first step to perfecting Mexican Spanish is learning how to say hello like a local.

In this post, we’re going to cover Mexican Spanish greetings in all types of social scenarios, from a formal encounter with a stranger to meeting new friends in the local cantina(bar).

Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

Formal Greetings in Mexican Spanish

So, let’s start with the basics.

Some of the first words you’ll say to most people when you meet them are buenos días(good morning). It’s a polite and universal greeting that works with anyone.

This greeting changes according to the time of day, so you would usebuenos días (good morning)until noon,buenas tardes(good afternoon) between noon and sunset and buenas noches(good night) after sunset.

Notice how the adjectivebuenos (good)changes to agree with the number and gender of the noun it describes.

When it comes to meeting people in a formal situation in Mexico, there are some key tips and vocabulary to remember:

1. Useusted(formal version of you) when speaking in formal situations.

Like in castellano (the Spanish spoken in Spain),usted is very important to show respect. Use it to address a person who you don’t know, who is older than you or who is in a position of authority over you.

So, let’s say you’re at a university and you’re introduced to one of the professors. A university professor is likely to fall into all three categories, so you’d definitely call him or her usted.

Here’s an example of how to greet them:

¡Hola! Qué gusto conocerlo. (Hello! What a pleasure to meet you.)

Note: Conocerlo is used when you’re speaking to a man. To a woman, you’d say, “Qué gusto conocerla” (what a pleasure to meet you). This is because thedirect object pronoun lo/la has to agree with the gender and number of whomever you’re talking to.

2. UseSeñor(a) (Mr./Mrs.) instead of the person’s first name.

For anyone who you’d normally call usted, it wouldn’t be polite to address them using their first name. Always call them Señor(a) +[surname] until they invite you to use their first name.

For example:

Hola, señor Ruíz. ¿Cómo le va? (Hello, Mr Ruíz. How’s it going?)

If you know the person has a profession, replaceseñor(a)with their title:

Buenos días, profesor González. (Good morning, Professor González.)


Now, let’s say you’re looking for someone you’ve not personally met before, and you need to check if you’re speaking to the right person. In this case, you’d say:

Disculpe, ¿es usted la doctora García? (Excuse me, are you Dr. García?)

Disculpe(excuse me — formal) is a super useful word, as it can be used in any situation with an adult you don’t know. When talking to someone your own age or younger, disculpa(excuse me — informal) is the less formal option.

3. Memorize the following additional formal vocabulary for meeting new people.

¿Cómo está? (How are you?)

Muy bien, ¿y usted? (Very well, and you?)

¡Que tenga un buen día!(Have a great day!)

Mucho gusto en conocerlo/la. (Nice to meet you. — male/female acquaintance)

Igualmente. (Likewise.)

Que le vaya bien. (Have a nice day! — for both male/female acquaintance)


4. Always shake hands!

It’s a cultural expectation that when Mexicans meet each other to spend time together (i.e. anything more than a brief passing), they have some kind of physical contact.

Formal introductions are no exception. Alongside your greeting,make sure you include a handshake if you call the personusted (you — formal). Shake hands when you leave as well.

Here’s a top tip: if you’re introduced to a room full of people, greet and shake hands with each person individually. Greeting the group as a whole would seem rude.

Informal Greetings in Mexican Spanish

Informal chat is where Mexican Spanish comes into its own. You’ve probably heard many Mexican slang terms from TV shows or movies.

Here are some phrases you’ll need when meeting friends of friends, friends’ family members or pretty much anyone in a casual context.

1. Use the form with friends, family and people you know.

As we know,tú is the informal way to address people in Spanish, and this is true in Mexico as well. Use it for any casual, informal situation—think meeting people at a party, making friends in a cantina(bar) or any situation where there’s no sense of hierarchy among people.

Here are some examples of(you — informal)forms in action. Why not compare them to the usted(you — formal) versions earlier?

¡Hola! Qué gusto conocerte. (Hi! What a pleasure to meet you.)

Oye, Juan. ¿Cómo te va? (Hey, Juan. How’s it going?)

¿Cómo estás? (How are you?)

Muy bien, ¿y tú? (Very well, and you?)

¡Que tengas un buen día! (Have a great day!)

Mucho gusto en conocerte. (Nice to meet you. — The object pronoun te(you) is the same regardless of whether you’re speaking to a man or woman.)

Igualmente. (Likewise.)

Que te vaya bien. (Have a nice day.)

2. Learn some additional informal phrases.

Why not add a couple of bonus phrases to your vocabulary list?

Cuídate. (Take care of yourself.)

¡Nos vemos! (See you soon!)

So now that you’ve made some Mexican friends, you can greet them with several Mexican slang phrases the next time you see them. Let’s learn some!

The most popular is¿qué onda? (what’s up?), to which they might respondaquí nomás(just chilling) ornada, todo tranquilo(all’s good).

If everything’s also going well with you, you could reply withtambién aquí(same here).

Just like in English, there are a ton of different ways to say “what’s up” in Mexican Spanish. Here are just a handful:

¿Qué tranza?(What’s up?)

¿Qué rollo? (Similar to the Irish phrase “What’s the craic?”)

¿Qué hay de nuevo? (What’s new?)

¿Qué cuentas? (What’s new?)

Why not practice some of these the next time you’re at a party in Mexico?

3. Mate, dude, buddy… memorize some Mexican slang words to call your friends.

Mexican Spanish is full of affectionate phrases for friends. Perhaps you’ve heard of some of these:





It’s perfectly normal to hear friends greeting each other using these terms. Here are a couple of examples of how you might hear them:

Oye, carnal, ¿qué hay de nuevo?(Hey brother, what’s new?)

Hola güey, ¿qué onda?(Hey dude, what’s up?)

4. Understand friendly Mexican embraces, like handshakes and besitos(air kisses).

Like with formal interactions, when you’re meeting someone for more than a brief “hello,” there will be a form of physical contact to accompany it.

In informal situations, this can look different depending on the gender of the person you’re meeting.

Men greet other men with a firm handshake. Close male friends or family members might also hug each other after the handshake.

When female friends or family members greet other women, they give each other an air kiss on the right cheek. Men and women greeting each other also use air kisses.

So, with this in mind, there won’t be any more awkward moments where you’re deciding whether to kiss someone or shake their hand!

Now to put your newfound greeting skills to the test.

Mexico is a friendly place. One of the most interesting parts of living in Mexico is how people greet each other every time they pass in the street, even if they run into each other multiple times a day!

It’s considered rude not to greet someone you walk past. If you can’t stop to chat, greet the other person with a quick “Adiós” (goodbye) and they’ll know that you’ve got somewhere to be.

Remember, even a quick stroll around a Mexican village can lead to lots of opportunities to say hello!

Siobhan Wood is a British writer specializing in language learning. Speaking French, Spanish and German, she loves to encourage others to take the plunge and learn a language. Her business helps language schools and e-learning providers to attract new students by creating fun and engaging content. Check out her website here.

Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

How to Say "Hello" in Mexican Spanish: Essential Greetings and Tips (2024)


How do you say hello in Spanish in Mexico? ›

The common verbal greeting is “Buenos dias” (Good day), “Buenas tardes” (Good afternoon) or “Buenas noches” (Good evening/night) depending on the time of day. A more casual greeting is “Hola” (Hello), “¿Qué tal?” (What's up?) or “¿Cómo estás?” (How are you?).

How do you respond to hello in Spanish? ›

Pronounced: kohm-oh eh-stas. This phrase means “how are you?” and can be used not only to find out how somebody is feeling, but can also be used as a way to say hello. If in passing someone says “hola!” to you, it would acceptable to reply: “como estas?

How do you greet hello in Mexico? ›

When greeting someone in Mexico, it is customary to make physical contact, rather than simply saying “hello.” A handshake is the most common form of greeting between strangers, though friends will usually greet each other with a single kiss on the cheek. The same physical gestures are repeated when you say goodbye.

How do Mexicans talk for beginners? ›

Learn Mexican Spanish in 30 minutes - The Best of 2017 - YouTube

How do you say greetings in Spanish? ›

Learn Spanish - How to Greet People in Spanish - YouTube

How do you respond to bien y tu? ›

The standard answer is probably “Bien” (“Fine”) or “Muy bien” (“Very good”). Of course, both of those responses are often expanded: “Muy bien, gracias.

How do you answer Que Pasa? ›

Estoy bien. Nothing. I'm fine.

How do you reply to Buenos días? ›

In short – the best (and easiest) response to 'buenos días' is a simple 'buenos días' in return! 'Hola, buenos días', 'buen día', 'igualmente' and 'como está' are also excellent responses!

Why are Spanish greetings important? ›

Greetings are a critical part of our conversations in any language. They are like a key that opens endless doors—and those doors are actually new people, new conversations, new connections. However, Spanish greetings are particularly crucial, due to the importance given to personal relationships in this culture.

Is Mexican the same as Spanish? ›

It's the same situation in Mexico. There are differences in pronunciation, vocabulary, and other nuances, but essentially the official Spanish in Mexico is the same as the Spanish in Spain and throughout most of the world.

Is Hola Mexican or Spanish? ›

1- Hola. It means “hello” or “hi” in Spanish and, as we've already mentioned, this word is the most common Spanish greeting and can be used at all times.

What is a good greeting? ›

Good morning. / Good afternoon. / Good evening.

We can use these simple and polite situations to greet somebody. Obviously, we use different expressions depending on the time of day. These expressions are great for formal situations, but we can also use them naturally with our friends and family.

How do you practice greetings in Spanish? ›

Basic Conversation in Spanish - Greetings and Goodbyes Practice

How do you introduce yourself in Spanish? ›

Spanish Introductions

The most common way to introduce yourself in Spanish is to say "Me llamo" followed by your name. Alternatives include "Mi nombre es" or "Soy" followed by your name. "Hola" can be used for either "hi" or "hello."

How do I start Mexican Spanish? ›

Learn Mexican Spanish in 45 Minutes - ALL You Need to Speak Spanish

Is Mexican Spanish easier to learn? ›

Mexican Spanish is the most polite, clear and easy to understand of Latin American Spanish dialects. The speed at which the language is spoken is not as accelerated as it is Spain and some South American countries and pronunciation is softer, making the language easier to 'pick-up' and easier to learn.

What are the basics of Spanish? ›

Build your confidence up by starting with some basic words to start building your Spanish word bank:
  • Hola = Hello.
  • Adiós = Goodbye.
  • Por favor = Please.
  • Gracias = Thank you.
  • Lo siento = Sorry.
  • Salud = Bless you (after someone sneezes)
  • Sí = Yes.
  • No = No.

Is Hola Mexican or Spanish? ›

1- Hola. It means “hello” or “hi” in Spanish and, as we've already mentioned, this word is the most common Spanish greeting and can be used at all times.

How do you greet a Mexican woman? ›

Qué gusto conocerlo/conocerla. This is a nice, friendly phrase that you can use to say “hello” in Mexican Spanish. Take note that, if you are speaking to a man, you say “conocerlo”, but if you are addressing a woman, you should switch to “conocerla”.

What is Mexican welcome? ›

Remember: de nada means “You are welcome.”

Do Mexicans speak Spanish? ›

The official language of Mexico is Spanish, and the differences between the official Spanish spoken in Mexico and the European Spanish spoken across the ocean in Spain is small.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Lakeisha Bayer VM

Last Updated:

Views: 5588

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (69 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Lakeisha Bayer VM

Birthday: 1997-10-17

Address: Suite 835 34136 Adrian Mountains, Floydton, UT 81036

Phone: +3571527672278

Job: Manufacturing Agent

Hobby: Skimboarding, Photography, Roller skating, Knife making, Paintball, Embroidery, Gunsmithing

Introduction: My name is Lakeisha Bayer VM, I am a brainy, kind, enchanting, healthy, lovely, clean, witty person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.