Attempting the Language

As years go on in our residency of Puerto Vallarta, we’ve found it amazing how many people speak English; the waiters, the ladies at the lavanderia, bartenders, the veterinarian we take the pup to see for his yearly exam. Even some of the taxi and bus drivers. It is an honor to live in a country where the locals have made it their business to learn our language so as to better serve us. In turn, we have worked hard to learn how to say some of the more difficult pronunciations, out of respect. Even when we badly garble the Spanish and Nahuatl, we feel like we’ve at least tried and found locals cheerful and accepting of our solemn attempts. Nahuatl is a local tongue, spoken by many indigenous people, many of whom don’t speak Spanish.

It causes us to chuckle sometimes but also feel a certain amount of frustration when visitors, as well as long time residents in Puerto Vallarta, abbreviate some of the simplest pronunciations. Basilio Badillo is a main street in Puerto Vallarta. Located on this street are entertainment venues, fine dining and taco stands, destination shopping and street vendors, and the path to the tunnels that lead out of town. As of late, we have heard it being referred to as BB Street. Basilio Badillo is not difficult to wrap ones teeth around. The two L’s make a Y and the rest of it is completely phonetic, just like the Spanish alphabet.

Pitillal is not PTL, though surely anyone would know what you’re talking about when you refer to it as such. PTL is Praise The Lord and though there is a large church in the middle of town, there is no relation to any ministries or Pushing The Limit, another meaning for this acronym. We’ve also heard it pronounced Pity-L. The correct way to say the name of this quaint little suburb of Puerto Vallarta is Pee-Tee-Yall.

Harder to pronounce perhaps is La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, the name of anther town about 25 Km north of Puerto Vallarta. It’s perfectly acceptable to simply say La Cruz (The Cross) but it’s nice to know that Huanacaxtle is a type of wood found in the area, of which a cross is erected at the entrance of the village.

Cuates y Cuetes, often called CYC or C-and-C, is a favorite watering-hole at the beach, next to the pier and can be easily pronounced. If one gets a handle of the Spanish alphabet, the realization that the language is amazingly phonetic, compared to English and doesn’t contain a lot of there/they’re/there types of conundrums. Cuates y Cuetes is Coo-wátt-es E Coo-wét-us, accent in the middle. Simply Cuates is considered entirely appropriate.

PV is probably the most annoying for locals. To them it’s a sign of gringos who are always in such a hurry they can’t even take the time to pronounce the name of the town, Puerto Vallarta.

Que es cómo es.


Thanks to our Guest Blogger Adam Garcia for this great article!


About Vacation Villas of Mexico Founder, Vanessa Cole

The founder of the company, Vanessa Cole, lived in Puerto Vallarta for 10 years and in Cancun for 2 years. She has worked in Luxury Vacation Villa Rentals since 2001.

Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Vanessa earned a degree from the University of Texas in Austin, majoring in International Business and Latin American Studies.  Fluent in Spanish, she has worked and traveled all over Mexico and South America.

This is the type of experience you can count on to assist you with your vacation villa rental in Mexico….  Contact Us Today!