Spanish speaking countries

At Baselang, we have helped thousands of students learn Spanish.

Many of our students share the same motivation for learning Spanish:

Travel. 

Whether you already have the travel bug, or you’re dreaming of one day buying a plane ticket and scratching that travel itch, learning Spanish is a no-brainer.

Not only will you be able to immerse yourself in a new culture and connect with Spanish speaking locals, but you’ll also have a list of 21 official Spanish speaking countries to add to your travel bucket list.

(Ok, we’re not recommending that you should travel to each country on the list, but you get the point.)

How Many People Speak Spanish?

According to Instituto Cervantes, 437 million people speak Spanish as a native language, making it the second most spoken language in the world behind Chinese which has 1.2 billion speakers, and ahead of English which has approximately 360 million native speakers.

Not to mention the fact that Spanish is continuing to grow in traditionally non-Spanish speaking countries.

Let’s take the United States, for example, where Hispanics account for 18% of America’s population, and are projected to make up 28% by 2060, according to the United States Census Bureau.

Today more than 41 million people in the USA speak Spanish as a first language, which means that there are more Spanish speakers in the United states than there are in Spain.

In fact, experts predict that by 2050, the United States will overtake Mexico and become the number one Spanish speaking country in the world.

Ay caramba.

List Of Spanish Speaking Countries

If you are planning to learn Spanish, or have already nailed down some of the basics, then there are tons of attractive options for putting your Español to the test.

To be exact, 21 countries have Spanish as their official language.

  1. Mexico
  2. Colombia
  3. Spain
  4. Argentina
  5. Perú
  6. Venezuela
  7. Chile
  8. Ecuador
  9. Guatemala
  10. Cuba
  11. Bolivia
  12. Dominican Republic
  13. Honduras
  14. Paraguay
  15. El Salvador
  16. Nicaragua
  17. Costa Rica
  18. Panama
  19. Uruguay
  20. Puerto Rico
  21. Equatorial Guinea

All population stats from worldometers.com.

1. Mexico

Mexico

Population: 130,759,074.

Highlights: “Day of the Dead” festival on November 1st & 2nd each year, postcard Caribbean beaches, delicious street tacos for 60 cents, historic ruins of Chichen Itza and Teotihuacán.

2. Colombia

Colombia

Population: 49,464,683.

Highlights: Caribbean flavor of Cartagena, Parque Tayrona national park, Medellin nightlife, learning salsa in Cali, touring a coffee farm in the Zona Cafetera.

3. Spain

Spain

Population: 46,397,452.

Highlights: Barcelona & Real Madrid battling it out in “El Clasico”, eating tapas, architectural masterpieces such as Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia and the fortress/palace Alhambra, heading south for some beach hopping.

Related: Read about the differences between Spain Spanish & Latin American Spanish.

4. Argentina

Argentina

Population: 44,688,864.

Highlights: Iguazu Falls, Tango in Buenos Aires, vineyards of Mendoza, hiking in Patagonia, and visiting Ushuaia (claimed to be the most southernmost city in the world).

5. Perú

Peru

Population: 32,551,815.

Highlights: Peruvian cuisine, Machu Picchu ruins, bustling city of Lima, Nazca Lines, visiting the Amazon, Lake Titicaca and surfing in Mancora.

6. Venezuela

Venezuela

Population: 32,381,221

Highlights: Angel Falls (the highest waterfall in the world at 3230 feet) beachtime in Margarita Island, sand dunes of Médanos De Coro National Park.

Sidenote: Unfortunately traveling to Venezuela at this moment is pretty unsafe, and so we cannot advise visiting there right now.

7. Chile

Chile

Population: 18,197,209

Highlights: Easter Island, Punta Arenas (also claimed to be the southernmost city in the world), adventure sports in Pucón, Valparaiso street art, and sandboarding in the Atacama desert.

8. Ecuador

Ecuador

Population: 16,863,425.

Highlights: Montañita beach town, Cotopaxi National Park, the Galápagos Islands (which inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution), and Quito, the highest capital city in the world (prepare for the altitude).

9. Guatemala

Guatemala

Population: 17,245,346.

Highlights: Ancient Mayan city of Tikal, sunrise hike in Lake Atitlán, and adventure sports in Semuc Champey,

10. Cuba

Cuba

Population: 11,489,082.

Highlights: Cruising around Havana in a car from the 1950s, cigar farms in Viñales, Cuba Libres & salsa in Trinidad, and beach time in Varadero.

11. Bolivia

Boliva

Population: 11,215,674.

Highlights: Salt flats of Salar de Uyuni, infamous “death road” bicycle trail in La Paz, Lake Titicaca, and Amazon rainforest.

12. Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic

Population: 10,882,996.

Highlights: Cordillera Central trek, learning bachata in Santo Domingo, whale watching in Samaná Bay, and chilling at “Playa Las Ballenas” beach.

13. Honduras

Honduras

Population: 9,417,167.

Highlights: Ancient ruins of Copán, Roatán and Utila if surfing or water activities is your thing.

14. Paraguay

Paraguay

Population: 6,896,908.

Highlights: Iguazu Falls, which border Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, and for good reason is one the top tourist attractions in South America.

15. El Salvador

El Salvador

Population: 6,411,558

Highlights: Joya de Cerén Archaeological Site, a pre-Columbian Maya farming village somehome incredibly intact under layers of volcanic ash. Playa El Tunco beach for catching some waves and relaxing for a few days.

16. Nicaragua

Nicaragua

Population: 6,284,757.

Highlights: Colonial vibes of Granada, nightlife in San Juan del Sur, surfing down the active “Cerro Negro” volcano at 93 km/hr in León.

17. Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Population: 4,953,199.

Highlights: Arenal Volcano national park, secluded beaches of Guanacaste, and the diversity of Corcovado National Park, an 11,000-acre rainforest.

18. Panama

Panama

Population: 4,162,618

Highlights: The Panama Canal, which connects the Caribbean and Pacific, Casco Viejo district in Panama city, hit the coast for surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling or simply chilling by a Caribbean beach.

19. Uruguay

Uruguay

Population: 3,469,551.

Highlights: Surfing in Punta del Diablo, strolling around the quaint Colonia del Sacramento, whale watching from the beaches of Piriápolis.

20. Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

Population: 3,659,007.

As of right now (May 2018), Puerto Rico is still recovering from the chaos and trail of destruction left behind by Hurricane Maria. We’re hopeful that this Caribbean paradise will be back to it’s best sooner rather than later.

21. Equatorial Guinea

Population: 1,313,894.

The final Spanish-speaking country is located in….…AFRICA.

(Yes, it also took us by surprise.)

67.6% of the population in Equatorial Guinea speak Spanish, while French, Fang and Bubi are also spoken. It’s situated on the Atlantic Coast in central Africa.

Despite boasting a terrain that features plains, valleys, rainforests and volcanoes, it seems like tourism hasn’t quite taken off, with Equatorial Guinea said to be 6th least visited country in the world.

While there isn’t a whole pile of available information on traveling there, Equatorial Guinea is currently categorized as Level 1 (ie. exercise normal precautions) by the US Travel Advisory, which means it pretty safe to travel.

Additionally, this travel post offers useful tips on staying safe if you decide to visit.

Finally, here is a clip of an Equatorial Guinea local speaking (in Spanish, of course) about art and culture in her country.

Bonus Country: Philippines

Philippines

Population: 106,512,074.

Ok, while the Philippines isn’t officially a Spanish speaking country these days, this wasn’t always the case.

Up until 1987, Spanish was a co-official language of the Philippines, along with English.

Although the language is on the decline since the change, Philippine Spanish (a variant of standard Spanish) is still popular with many locals continuing to speak it, and schools continuing to teach it.

Which means you may find pockets of Spanish speakers if you ever travel around the Philippines.

And if not, just hit the beaches.