How to Learn Spanish in Puerto Rico

Want to learn or improve your Spanish skills? Check out our list of ways to learn Spanish in PR.

Spanish in Puerto Rico is a rich blend of its cultural heritage and influence from Pre-Columbian Indigenous (Taíno), Spanish colonial (Africa, Spain) and American colonial (U.K. and U.S.) eras. With such a wide variety of cultural influences, it is common to hear both Spanish and English being spoken on the Island. Those with knowledge of Spanish from Mexico, stateside or Spain can struggle with Puerto Rican Spanish since many dialectical variations, unique slang words and phrases are used. Also, Puerto Ricans also talk very fast!  While it is generally easy to get around the metro area speaking English alone, having a basic understanding of Spanish is important, especially if you plan to explore outside the capital city or to reside long term.

Whether you’re planning to visit Puerto Rico, or you’re already here, make the most of your time by knowing at least the basics. It can be daunting at first, but we’ll try to make the process as simple as possible for you. If all else fails, Google Translate can work in a pinch.

Ways to Learn Spanish

  • Private Tutoring: in-person or online
  • Language School: in-person, online, group
  • Immersion
  • Books
  • Apps
  • Media

Private Tutoring

Taking private classes from a personalized tutor can be an excellent way to learn Spanish. You’ll go at a faster pace and have more flexibility on what you want to learn since classes can be personalized to your learning style and goals. 

The great thing about private tutoring is that you don’t waste time commuting to and from classes. The needs of other students in a class won’t slow you down since private classes are one on one, and it’s usually a lot cheaper to get private lessons than enroll with a language school. 

Private tutoring is also useful to supplement your learning while in an immersion program. While your program is going on, it’s best if you try to schedule as many private classes as possible to address your own unique language challenges. This will optimize the returns from your investment in the language school, while also filling in some of your learning gaps. 

There are several options for online language tutors and private classes. Use these options to fine-tune your language skills, particularly with learning vocabulary and carrying on conversation. 

Instructor Daniela is Boricua (Puerto Rican native) and reasonably priced. She has an educational background as a former teacher in Puerto Rico. She offers classes and tutoring online.

Kerry is a Spanish tutor with free resources on her website and she offers both one-on-one and live group classes for a reasonable fee using the Kajabi platform.

Spanishland School has an extensive list of resources, both free and paid. They have a membership that gives you access to live online classes weekly and previously recorded classes. Their curriculum includes videos, notes, quizzes and tests for a variety of grammar lessons. They also offer YouTube videos and podcasts. 

You can also find a personal tutor on any of the following sources/websites: 

Language School 

Another way to learn Spanish is by enrolling in a language school and attending group classes. This will ensure you’re immersed in the language, and you’ll also have a cohort of students to learn with. Immersion programs teach classes entirely in Spanish. While it is a challenging way to learn, it is very effective. If that seems too frustrating for you, make sure you enroll in a program that is dual immersion, meaning it is taught in both Spanish and English. 

Before you enroll in any language school program, it is a good idea to have a basic understanding of Spanish in order to accelerate your conversational progress. The more knowledge you have of Spanish prior to entering a language program, the better. A student who knows absolutely nothing about Spanish when entering a program may find the immersion experience quite frustrating as they will face communication issues. 

We recommend taking a basic Spanish course at home first, or practicing on an app like Duolingo (see more apps in the section below), before enrolling in a language school program in order to maximize your learning. 

The great thing about going to a language school is that they take you on excursions where you can practice the language with locals, so it’s not like you’re always learning in a classroom. Puerto Rican Spanish includes many aspects of body language and expression, so there’s no better way to learn than to converse with the people around you. 

Most language schools are located in San Juan, the capital city, and offer high-quality intensive classes taught by native speakers. Many programs offer small classes with flexible start dates so you can choose when you begin. Puerto Rican language schools are run by different organizations including universities, government agencies or private institutes. 

Here’s a list of language schools where you can enroll: 


It’s helpful to practice your Spanish with as many native speakers as possible. The locals are generally appreciative of people trying to learn the language and may even help you in your learning journey.  When in Puerto Rico, practice speaking Spanish everywhere. Puerto Ricans in general are very friendly and appreciate when people love their language and island. 

When conversing with locals it can be useful to use phrases like, “despacio (slow down),” and having some understanding of some of the “rules” will help. Often, “r” in the middle of a word turns to “l” for example: puerto (port) becomes “puelto.” An “s” in the middle of a word is often dropped, which contributes to thinking Puerto Ricans speak fast (they do), but knowing some sounds are deleted will help increase your comprehension. For example, “los niños” becomes “loh niñoh,” or “dos” becomes “doh.” The final “d” is not always pronounced, “hablado (spoken)” becomes “hablao.” The common greeting, “buenos días (good morning)” is shortened, becoming “buen día” or even just “buenas.” Don’t forget to say muchas gracias to them for their encouragement!  

Create additional immersive language experiences by:

  • Watching films and videos
  • Listening to songs
  • Engaging in online discussions
  • Attending webinars and online courses
  • Playing video games!

After your immersion program is over, you should find a way to practice your Spanish as much as possible. If you’re staying in Puerto Rico, continue to practice with locals. The more you speak Spanish in your daily life, the better.


Puerto Rican Spanish 101 has phrases and words that are unique to Puerto Rico. There are several other titles available on Amazon as well. Books are an informative resource and can be very entertaining! 


There aren’t many apps specific to Puerto Rican Spanish, but brushing up on Spanish, in general, will help increase your fluency and listening skills. Popular apps are Duolingo, Babbel and Mondley, in addition to the below apps:

Cloze Master

This is an app and website that looks a little like an 80’s video game. It incentivizes you to participate and has a word retention process that's effective. If you have questions about why a certain usage was correct, you can send in questions and they will answer. 

Spanish Dictionary

This is a great resource for learning a language on your computer or their app, and they have a growing Puerto Rican database. They have a yearly fee that is worth it for the extras and no ads. 


Practice your listening skills and exposure to Puerto Rican speaking patterns by listening to the local news, such as Telemundo Puerto Rico.


Listen to Puerto Rican movies, videos, and music (like Bad Bunny, for example) to get used to the accent, pronunciation, unique words and phrases.


Search for Puerto Rican Spanish on YouTube and you’ll find many native speakers you can listen to in order to get more exposure to the language. 

Facebook Groups

Supplement your learning by joining Spanish language groups such as the Puerto Rican group, ‘Así lo Decimos’ for practice. This particular group offers classes on Tuesdays via Zoom - beginner at 9am; conversation at 10am for those with a good foundation. There is no charge. For more info see the FB group:

Wrapping it Up

Choose the learning path that best works for you to smash those Spanish learning goals! And remember, the more you practice, the better you will become.

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