Hi in Spanish: 5 Ways To Say Casual Spanish Greetings + Examples

Ever felt like your Spanish greetings were stuck in first gear?

Say adiós to boring hellos and hola to a world of different informal Spanish greetings!

This blog post is your ticket to sounding like a local, whether you’re chatting with friends in Madrid or making new pals in Mexico City.

Spring Spanish (a project I co-founded) has a short but effective YouTube Short that you should check out. It’s all about how to say different alternatives for hi in Spanish:

And here’s what we’ll show you in this blog post – click on any of them to learn more!

Qué talWhat’s up
Qué huboWhat’s been happening

Why it’s important to know Spanish greetings

The first step in any language, in any interaction is greeting someone.

This is the basic of every relationship. And this is also true for Spanish. Knowing different ways to say hi in Spanish truly opens up a world of social possibilities.

If you know at least these 5 ways to say hi in Spanish, you’ll have a Swiss Army knife for conversation in Spanish. Just imagine walking into a fancy office, a casual bar or chatting with your new neighbor. Each and every one of these situations call for a different greeting, a different way to say hi in Spanish.

hi in spanish illustrated with graphic design

Choosing the right one in the heat of the moment isn’t easy: but that’s why we made this post. Learn these expression along with some other informal ways to say hi in Spanish, and people will see that you’ve put effort into learning the language.

These are the small details that can make a big difference in how people perceive you. We can definitely say this: native speakers will appreciate every moment when you can switch up your greetings naturally: it’s not just about saying hi or hello in Spanish, but it’s more about the Spanish culture.

Connect with people from other Spanish-speaking countries, and who knows… maybe you’ll develop life-long friendships along the way.

1. Hola (Hi/Hello)

Hola is the most versatile Spanish greeting.

Use it anytime, anywhere, with anyone. It works perfectly on its own or as a conversation starter.

Hola is appropriate for all times of day, whether you’re greeting your boss in the morning or running into a friend at night.

Here it is in a real conversation:

Juan: “¡Hola, Elena! ¿Cómo estás?” (Hello, Elena! How are you?)
Elena: “¡Hola, Juan! Muy bien, gracias. ¿Y tú?” (Hello, Juan! Very well, thank you. And you?)
Juan: “Todo bien, gracias.” (All good, thanks.)

2. Saludos (Greetings)

Saludos is more formal and often used in written communication.

It’s similar to saying “Greetings” in English. While you can use it alone, it’s more common with a follow-up, like “Saludos desde España.” Use it any time of day, but remember it’s more common in writing than speech.

In a Spanish dialogue, you could use it like this:

Marta: “Saludos, Pedro. ¿Cómo va el proyecto?” (Greetings, Pedro. How’s the project going?)
Pedro: “Saludos, Marta. El proyecto va bien, gracias por preguntar.” (Greetings, Marta. The project is going well, thanks for asking.)

3. Buenas (Hi in Spanish)

Buenas is the casual shorthand for buenos días/tardes/noches.

It’s a time-saver that works morning, noon, or night. Use it informally with friends, colleagues, or strangers in relaxed settings. Buenas stands well on its own but can be followed by a question or comment.

Take a look at how you can use this version of hi in Spanish!

Carlos: “Buenas, Sofía. ¿Llegaste hace mucho?” (Hi, Sofia. Did you arrive long ago?)
Sofía: “Buenas, Carlos. No, acabo de llegar.” (Hi, Carlos. No, I just got here.)

4. Qué tal (What’s up – informal)

Qué tal gives off “What’s up?” vibes.

It’s informal and friendly, ideal for friends or acquaintances. While it can stand alone, it’s often paired with hola or used as a question.

Qué tal is appropriate at any time of day, and it’s a great alternative for hi in Spanish.

Like this:

Miguel: “¡Hola, Laura! ¿Qué tal?” (Hi, Laura! What’s up?)
Laura: “¡Qué tal, Miguel! Todo tranquilo, ¿y por allá?” (What’s up, Miguel! Everything’s chill, and over there?)
Miguel: “Igual, sin novedades.” (Same, nothing new.)

5. Qué hubo (What’s up – very informal)

Qué hubo is the most casual greeting of this group.

It’s like saying “What’s been happening?” and is very informal. Use it with close friends or in very relaxed settings. It works any time but might be out of place in formal situations.

It’s often used alone but can lead into more conversation.

Casually chatting with your friend:

María: “¡Qué hubo, Andrés! ¿Cómo va todo?” (What’s up, Andres! How’s everything?)
Andrés: “¡Qué hubo, María! Todo bien, ¿y contigo?” (What’s up, Maria! All good, and with you?)
María: “Nada nuevo, lo de siempre.” (Nothing new, same old.)

Common informal greetings in Spanish

Although these examples were the 5 most popular, there are other ways to say hi in Spanish – informally.

Take a look!

¡Qué onda!What’s up!
¡Quiubo!Hey there! (Contraction of “Qué hubo”)
¡Dime!Tell me! (Used as a greeting)
¡Che!Hey! (Argentina, Uruguay)
¡Güey!Dude! (Mexico)
¡Pana!Mate! (Venezuela, Ecuador)
¡Chamo!Dude! (Venezuela)
¡Weón!Dude! (Chile, very informal)
¡Tío!Mate! (Spain)
¡Chaval!Kid! (Spain, used for young people)

Although it was a true challenge to include all of these common Spanish phrases in a conversation, we made sure to show it to you, so you can see all of them in action:

María: “¡Epa, Javier! ¿Qué onda?” (Hey, Javier! What’s up?)
Javier: “¡Quiubo, María! Todo tranquilo, ¿y tú?” (Hey there, María! All chill, and you?)
María: “Pues aquí, tirando. Oye, ¿viste a Carlos?” (Just hanging in there. Hey, have you seen Carlos?)

And then you could continue like this:

Javier: “¡Hombre! Justo estaba con él hace un rato.” (Man! I was just with him a while ago.)
María: “¡Dime! ¿Dónde lo viste?” (Tell me! Where did you see him?)
Javier: “En el café de la esquina, compa. Creo que sigue allí.” (At the corner café, buddy. I think he’s still there.)
María: “¡Qué buena onda! Voy para allá. ¿Vienes?” (That’s great! I’m heading there. You coming?)
Javier: “Dale, pana. Vamos juntos.” (Sure, mate. Let’s go together.)
María: “¡Perfecto! Nos vemos en la puerta, ¡chao!” (Perfect! See you at the door, bye!)
Javier: “¡Chao, nos vemos!” (Bye, see you!)

Practice saying hi in Spanish with our exercises

Fill in the blanks with the correct Spanish greetings!

You can practice even more with our full practice worksheets!

Learn different ways to say formal and informal greetings in Spanish with Conversation Based Chunking

This post and learning all these different ways to say ‘hi in Spanish’ isn’t just about expanding your Spanish vocabulary.

These greetings in Spanish are your ticket to sound more natural, to sound more like a native speaker. Do you know what else you can do with us? Use the Conversation Based Chunking method!

With this approach, you don’t need to memorize a boring list or study complicated grammar rules to master these phrases.

You can pick up these greetings naturally, just like you did with your first language. This approach focuses on learning language in chunks – practical, ready-to-use phrases – through real conversations.

So, next time you’re chatting with Spanish-speaking friends or traveling in a Spanish-speaking country, try dropping in a casual “¡Quiubo!” or “¡Epa!

You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can level up your Spanish game and make new connections – and here’s your first FREE Spanish Chunking Guide to start on this journey.

¡Buena suerte! (Good luck!)

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