9 Ways to Say ‘Hello’ in Spanish | Tell Me In Spanish (2023)

If you’re learning Spanish, one of the most fundamental things you can learn is how to say hello. Even though hola is one of the most common and standard ways to do this, there are many common expressions and words that Spanish speakers use for this purpose.

For that reason, we’ve compiled a list of 9 different and popular ways to say ‘hello’ in Spanish. Although all of these expressions are very common, keep in mind that some of them may be more suitable for either formal or informal contexts.

Additionally, you’ll find some expressions that are only popular in certain Spanish speaking countries. Read the descriptions carefully so you have a better understanding of which option is the best for your situation.

By the end of this, you will be able to say Hola as a native Spanish speaker.

1. Hola – Hello / Hi

As you may know, hola is the most common and standard way to say ‘hello’ in Spanish. Since it’s a standard word, ‘hola’ can be used in all Spanish speaking countries. Depending on the context this word can be translated either as ‘hello’ or ‘hi’.

Something to keep in mind when using this word is that even though ‘hola’ is a standard term, it’s mostly used in informal or casual situations such as greeting:

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Acquaintances
  • People the same age

Hola, me llamo Tim y soy irlandés
Hello, I’m Tim and I’m Irish

Hola, Jenny, ¿está tu hermana?
Hi, Jenny, how is your sister?

Ay, ¡hola! No las había visto
Oh, hi, I didn’t see you there, guys

¿David? ¡Hola! ¿Cómo has estado?
David? Hi! How have you been?

2. ¿Qué tal? – Hi / What’s up

¿Qué tal? is another popular expression that you can use as a way to say ‘hi’ in Spanish. Unlike other expressions from this list, ‘¿qué tal?’ has a double purpose: to greet and to ask people how they are. As a result, depending on the context, ‘¿qué tal?’ can be translated as:

  • Hi
  • What’s up?
  • How is it going?
  • How is everything?

Here are some examples of how to use this expression in real-life situations.

(Video) Spanish Lesson 4 - GREETINGS Basic words in Spanish Expressions How to say hello Survival Spanish

Qué tal chicas, qué gusto verlas
How is everything, girls? It’s so nice to see you

Qué tal, todavía no nos han presentado, soy la novia de Sául
Hi, we haven’t been introduced yet, I’m Saul’s girlfriend

Tú: Chavos, esta es Paulina, mi novia.You: Guys, this is Paulina, my girlfriend.
Tus amigos: Qué tal, Paulina, mucho gusto.Tus amigos: Hi, Paulina, nice to meet you.

Take Note: As mentioned before, ¿qué tal? is a popular expression to ask how are you in Spanish. In order to know which meaning is being used, you need to pay attention to the context of the conversation.

3. Buenos días – Good morning

In Spanish, buenos días can be used in formal situations as a polite way to greet someone. Depending on the part of the day you’re in, you may need to change this expression for one of the following:

  • Buenas tardes – Good afternoon
  • Buenas noches – Goodnight / Good evening

Buenas noches, Don Paco
Good night, Mr. Paco

Buenas tardes, doña Silvia, ¿cómo está?
Good afternoon, Ms. Silvia, how are you?

Don Carlos, buenas noches, ¿todavía tiene tacos?
Mr. Carlos, good evening, do you still have tacos?

Maestra, buenos días, ¿le ayudo con sus cosas?
Good morning, professor, do you want me to help you with your things?

Take Note: Buenos días is a popular and standard expression in Spanish. However, you may also hear that people say ‘buen día’. Both expressions are correct and mean the same thing, as a result, you can use either one of them.

4. ¡Qué milagro! – Long time no see

In Latin American Spanish speaking countries, ¡qué milagro! can also be used as a way to say ‘hello’. However, you can only use this expression when you run into a person that you haven’t seen for a while.

On top of saying hi, ‘¡qué milagro!’ expresses surprise and happiness for seeing this person again. In this context, this expression is the direct translation of ‘long time no see’.

¿José María? ¡Qué milagro! ¿Cómo has estado?
Jose María? Long time no see! How have you been?

(Video) Learn how to Greet people in Spanish. Greetings in Spanish. Learn Spanish in 3 minutes.

¡Qué milagro! ¡Qué gusto verte!
Long time no see! It’s so good to see you!

¡Marcela! ¡Qué milagro! ¿Cómo estás? ¿Vives por aquí?
Marcela! Long time no see! How are you? Do you live around here?

Take Note: ¡Qué milagro! can also be used over texts or emails when you haven’t heard from a person in a while and they reach you. Additionally, this expression can also be applied to express your surprise or happiness about a certain situation.

5. ¡Qué onda! – What’s up / Hello

Qué onda is a popular and informal expression that people use as a casual way to say ‘hello’ in Spanish. This expression can be translated as “what’s up”, “hi”, “how is it going?” and “how are things”. Although this expression is very common in Mexico, you can also use it in the following Spanish speaking countries:

  • Argentina
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Chile

In Mexico, this casual way to say ‘hello’ is widely used among all the population. However, in other Spanish-speaking countries, this expression may only be popular among young people.

¡Qué onda! Hace mucho que no te veía
What’s up! I haven’t seen you in a while

Ey, ¡qué onda! No sabía que ibas a venir hoy
Hey, how is it going? I didn’t know you were coming today

¡Qué onda, chavos! Miren les presento a mi novia
What’s up, guys! Look this is my girlfriend

Take Note: ‘¡Qué onda!’ is very popular in Mexico. However, Mexican speakers have other popular and more informal variations of this phrase such as ¡Qué hongo!, ¡Qué honduras!, ¡Qué pex!

Related Resource: How Do Mexicans Greet Each Other?

6. Buenas – Hi / Hello

Buenas is an informal and shortened version of the expressions ‘buenos días’, ‘buenas tardes’ or ‘buenas noches’. As a result, you can use it as a casual way to say ‘hello’ in Spanish. Even though buenas is a colloquial term, this word is pretty well known and widely applied in all Spanish speaking countries.

Buenas, ¿estará Gustavo?
Hello, is Gustavo around?

(Video) Greetings and Goodbyes in Spanish

Buenas, Bárbara, ¿qué tal estás?
Hi, Barbara, how are you?

Julio, buenas, Paulina te estaba buscando
Hi, Julio, Paulina was looking for you

7. ¿Aló? / ¿Bueno? – Hello

When it comes to say ‘hello’ in Spanish over a phone call, you can use the expressions ¿aló? or ¿bueno? Both of these expressions are used as a way to answer the phone and say hi. However, they’re mainly used in casual conversations. In other words, when you’re answering your personal phone.

Even though they have the same purpose, ¿bueno? is only used in Mexico and ¿aló? is more popular in the rest of Spanish Latin American countries. Here is how you use it:

Sí, ¿bueno? ¿Quién habla?
Hello? Who is speaking?

¿Aló? ¿Con quién desea hablar, señorita?
Hello? Who do you want to speak to, miss?

¿Bueno? ¿David? ¿Cómo estás? ¿En qué te puedo ayudar?
Hello? David? How are you? What can I do for you?

Take Note: ‘¿Bueno?’ and ‘¿aló?’ are appropriate for answering the phone and saying hi in a very casual way. However, if you need to be a little bit more formal, you need to use ‘buenos días’ or ‘buenas tardes’.

8. ¡Qué bola! – What’s up!

In Cuba, ¡qué bola! is a casual and popular way to say ‘hi’ in Spanish. On top of only being suitable in informal situations, ‘¡qué bola!’ is only popular in Cuba and even though you can use it in other countries, you may need to be ready to explain its meaning.

‘¡Qué bola!’ is the Cuban version of ‘¡qué onda!’, as a result, it can be translated as ‘what’s up’, ‘hi’, ‘how is it going?’ and ‘how is everything?’.

Asere, ¿qué bola? ¿Cómo está el viejo?
What’s up, buddy? How is the old man?

Oye, qué bola, vieja, qué bueno verte
Hey, how is it going, dude, it’s so good to see you

(Video) How to say HELLO in Spanish (🔊 Native Speaker Pronunciation)

Eddy, qué bola, ¿cómo va todo?
Eddy, what’s up? How is everything going?

Take Note: Qué bola is such a distinctive Cuban expression that it’s very likely that speakers from other countries know its meaning. Worst-case scenario, you can always use your Spanish to explain to people what ‘qué bola’ means.

9. ¡Quihubo! – What’s up / Hi

In Mexico, Colombia and El Salvador, ¡quihubo! is an informal word that you can use to say ‘hello’. As an informal word, this expression is only suitable for casual conversations. Quihubole is a variation of ‘quihubo’, therefore, you can use this word with the same purposes and meanings.

Here are some examples of how to use ‘quihubo’:

Quihubo, Moisés, ¿cómo andas?
What’s up, Moises, how are you?

¿Andrea? ¡Quihubo! No sabía que trabajabas aquí
Andrea? Hi! I didn’t know you work here

¡Quibuho, morros! ¿Ya nos vamos?
What’s up, guys? Are we leaving now?

Take Note: Just like ‘what’s up’, quihubo and quihubole can also be used to ask people what’s going on with a certain situation. In this case, ‘quihubo’ will need to work with more elements and you will need to mention the situation or activity that you’re asking for.

¿Quihubo con el azúcar? Te pedí que fueras a comprar más
What’s up with the sugar? I asked you to go buy more

Wrapping Up

If you’re learning Spanish, you may already know that there are multiple words or expressions that you can use to say the same thing. So even though hola is the standard word and most common way to say ‘hello’ in Spanish, you’ll notice that Spanish speakers also use other expressions.

For that reason, in this article, we compiled 9 different ways to say ‘hello’ in Spanish. Although all of these expressions are very popular, you need to make sure that you apply them in the correct context and country.
Now, you can leave ‘hola’ behind and use these expressions to say hello in Spanish.

(Video) How to Say Hello in Spanish - Basic Spanish Phrases


What are other ways to say hello in Spanish? ›

1. Five Different Ways of Saying “Hello” in Spanish (Spain)
  • 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.
  • 2- Buenos días. ...
  • 3- Buenas tardes. ...
  • 4- Buenas noches. ...
  • 5- Ey. ...
  • 1- ¿Cómo estás? ...
  • 2- ¿Qué tal? ...
  • 3- ¿Qué pasa?
Jan 12, 2019

How many ways can you say hello in Spanish? ›

There are two ways in Spanish to cover the meaning of “to say hi”: decir hola and saludar.

What are 3 Spanish greetings? ›

Greetings in Spanish
EnglishSpanish – Informal
Hi, helloHola
Good morningBuenos días
Good afternoon/ Good eveningBuenas tardes
Good evening/ good nightBuenas noches
33 more rows

How do you respond to hi in Spanish? ›

If in passing someone says “hola!” to you, it would acceptable to reply: “como estas?

What is a common Spanish greeting? ›

Hola - Hello/hi (the most common greeting) Buenas tardes - Good afternoon/evening. Hey - Hi (variant) Buenas noches - Good night. Saludos - Greetings.

What is the most common Spanish phrase? ›

Start learning the most common Spanish phrases
  • Hola: Hello.
  • Buenas: Hi (informal)
  • Buenas noches: Good evening.
  • Bienvenido: Welcome.
  • Buenas noches: Good night.
  • Que te vaya bien: Have a good day.
  • ¿Qué te gusta hacer?: What do you like to do?
  • Me gusta / No me gusta…: I like / I don't like…

How to introduce yourself Spanish? ›

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 you greet someone in Spanish in the morning? ›

Good morning is buenos días.

Can Bueno mean hi? ›

However, in Mexico in paticular, it is common for people to answer the phone with “bueno.” In this context, bueno is loosely translated to “hello” or “yes”.

How do you greet back in Spanish? ›

18 Useful Spanish Greetings and Introductions
  1. Hola — Hello. This is the most basic of the greetings, and can be combined with any of the other ones found below. ...
  2. Buenos días — Good morning. ...
  3. Buenas tardes — Good afternoon. ...
  4. Buenas noches — Good evening. ...
  5. ¿Cómo está? ...
  6. ¿Cómo estás? ...
  7. ¿Cómo están? ...
  8. ¿Qué tal?
Aug 9, 2022

Can Adios mean hello? ›

At another level, this exchange might not even have been about “hello” versus “goodbye.” While we often translate “adios” as “goodbye,” it literally means “to god” akin to “vaya con dios.” So perhaps the usage of adios could be likened more to the greeting 'namaste' in South Asia or 'aloha' in Hawaii, which both carry ...

Can you learn Spanish fast? ›

Firstly, don't make the mistake of thinking you can't learn Spanish fast! It is entirely possible, and you'll find plenty of experienced language learners who will testify to this. And you don't necessarily need expensive Spanish classes or fancy learning software to do it.

How do you say hello in 9 different languages? ›

How to Say Hello in 100 Different Languages (2023)
  1. English: Hello.
  2. French: Bonjour.
  3. Spanish: Hola.
  4. Italian: Ciao.
  5. Portugese: Olá
  6. Maori: Kia Ora.
  7. Australian: G'day.
  8. Greek: Geia (γεια)
Aug 9, 2021

How do you greet in all 11 languages? ›

Greetings in 11 Official Languages
  1. Hello! – Sawubona! ( ...
  2. Hello! – Molo (to one) / Molweni (to many) ...
  3. Hello! – Haai! / Hallo! ...
  4. Hello – Dumela (to one) / Dumelang (to many) How are you – O kae? ( ...
  5. Hello – Dumela. How are you – O tsogile jang? ...
  6. Hello – Dumela (to one) / Dumelang (to many) ...
  7. Hello – Avuxeni. ...
  8. Hello – Sawubona.
Sep 23, 2013

How do you say hello in 12 languages? ›

“Hello” Around the World
  1. Chinese (Mandarin) Formal: 您好 (nín hǎo) Informal: 你好 (nǐ hǎo) ...
  2. 2. Japanese. Formal: こんにちは (Konnichiwa) ...
  3. Korean. Formal: 안녕하세요 (Anyeonghaseyo) ...
  4. French. Formal: Bonjour. ...
  5. Spanish. Both Formal and Informal: Hola. ...
  6. German. Formal: Hallo. ...
  7. Italian. Formal: Salve. ...
  8. Russian. Formal: Здравствуйте (Zdravstvuyte)
Apr 21, 2023

How do you say hello in Canada? ›

Common greetings in Canada include things like “hiya” and “heyo”. Other than that, you might hear variations of “how you doing?” or “how are you?” as a way of saying hello.

What is hi in Germany? ›

The most common way of saying “hello” in German is “Hallo”. This is a casual greeting. You should only use it when greeting friends and family: Hello = Hallo.

Do they say OK in Mexico? ›


There's no literal translation for órale in English. Instead, it can mean one of a few different expressions, such as: “Okay”

What are 5 Spanish question words? ›

Spanish question words list
  • ¿Qué? / ¿Cuál? = What? ...
  • ¿Quién? / ¿Quiénes? / ¿De quién? / ¿De quiénes? = Who? ...
  • ¿Cuándo? = When? ...
  • ¿Cuál? / ¿Cuáles? = Which? / Which ones? ...
  • ¿Cuánto/a? / ¿Cuántos/as? = How much? / How many? (Both for feminine and male nouns). ...
  • ¿Cómo? = How? ...
  • ¿Dónde? = Where? ...
  • ¿Por qué? / ¿Para qué? = Why?
May 2, 2018

What does Chulo mean in Spanish slang? ›


In Mexican Spanish, chulo/chula is the word you're looking to use if you find something (or someone, but in a kind, non-sexual nor romantic way) really pretty. Use it to compliment a part of someone's outfit or to tell someone you think they look cute today.

How do you state your age in Spanish? ›

Saying your age in Spanish

In Spanish, we use the verb tener (to have) to talk about age. To say I am [number] years old, we use tengo + [number of years] + años. Yo tengo veintiséis años. I am twenty-six years old.

What is your name in Spanish formal? ›

¿Cuál es su nombre?

What is I love you in Mexico? ›

I love you in Spanish is te amo. This is the most direct translation of “I love you” there is.

How do you respond to Mucho Gusto? ›

'Igualmente' is by far the most common response to 'mucho gusto' and it's literal translation would be 'likewise'. It can be used in almost any situation (breathe sigh of relief!) as its formal Spanish, so you've got the green light to use it when being introduced to a potential employer or someone deemed “important”.

Is it Hola or buenos días? ›

Buenos días – literally meaning “good days”, “buenos días” is more formal than “hola” and it translates to “good morning. The same as in English, this greeting can be used anytime before noon in both formal and informal contexts.

What does Como estás mean? ›

This phrase could mean “What's up?”, “How are you?” or “How are things?” To use it in a sentence, you could say: Hola, ¿cómo estás? (Hello, how are you?)

Is Hola formal or informal? ›

Initial Greetings
SpanishEnglish equivalentFormality
Buenos díasGood morningSlightly formal
Buenas tardesGood afternoonSlightly formal
Buenas nochesGood night/Good eveningSlightly formal
1 more row

Is it hasta luego? ›

Translated literally from Spanish to English, hasta luego means “until then.” (Until then is used in English in the exact same way—to say you'll see someone soon.)

How do you greet someone goodbye in Spanish? ›

When it's time to say goodbye, again you've got some polite options, and some more casual options.
  1. Adiós. Goodbye.
  2. Chau. Bye! ( casual)
  3. Nos vemos. See you (casual)
  4. Hasta mañana. See you tomorrow.
  5. Hasta luego. See you later.

How do I respond to Como estas? ›

How do you answer if someone asks you, "¿Cómo estás?" or "How are you?"? The standard answer is probably "Bien" ("Fine") or "Muy bien" ("Very good"). Of course, both of those responses are often expanded: "Muy bien, gracias. ¿Y tú?" ("Quite well, thank you.

Can Hola mean bye? ›

For verbal greeting, “¡Hola!” is used as a valid and neutral greeting almost any occasion yet on formal occasions, it will be more correct to use expressions like “¡Buenos días!”, “¡Buenas tardes!” and “¡Buenas noches!” which also can be used to say goodbye.

Do the Spanish say Ciao? ›

Yes, it's an interjection and mostly used as a farewell by Spanish and French speakers, as well as Italians.

What does Ciao amigo mean? ›

Translation of "Oh, ciao amico" in English. Oh, hi friend.

Can you say Bueno as hello? ›

However, in Mexico in paticular, it is common for people to answer the phone with “bueno.” In this context, bueno is loosely translated to “hello” or “yes”.

How do you say hello in Mexican slang? ›

A more casual greeting is “Hola” (Hello), “¿Qué tal?” (What's up?) or “¿Cómo estás?” (How are you?).

How do native Spanish speakers say hello? ›

Hola is the most common way to say “hello” in Spanish.

Do girls say buenos or buenas? ›

Buenos is masculine plural, buenas is feminine plural. In general - there are some exceptions - words ending with -o are masculine and words ending with -a are feminine.

How do Mexicans say ok? ›


There's no literal translation for órale in English. Instead, it can mean one of a few different expressions, such as: “Okay”

How do you say hi cutely? ›

How Do You Say Hi In A Cute Way?
  1. “Hey, cutie! How's it going?”
  2. “Hey there, beautiful! What have you been up to so far today?”
  3. “Hey, lovely! How was your day?”
Apr 10, 2023

How do you say hello in Peru? ›

When greeting someone they know very well, it is common for Peruvians to simply use a quick buenas in passing or the standard hola, 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?”

Is Hola Spanish or French? ›

Hola is the Spanish word for "Hello" or "Hi".

How do Cubans say hello? ›

Hola is the Spanish word for hello. This is perfect for saying hello to someone in Cuba, since it's a fairly informal society. If you want to be more specific, you can impress by using Buenos días (Good morning), Buenas tardes (Good afternoon/evening) and Buenas noches (Good night).


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