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Place Names – Parte 2

Corporate Spanish Trainer

Learn Spanish
U.S. place names in Spanish

domingo, el 21 de mayo de 2017



Last Sunday we did Colorado place names.
Today we’ll do Spanish place names around the U.S and beyond.

This is a great way to build general vocabulary! You’ll be surprised how many of these words show up in other situations and conversations.

Baja – lower (The Alta California Times)
Palo Alto – Tall Pole/stick
Mission Viejo – Old mission (misión vieja)
Sacramento – The Sacrament
Los Angeles – The Angels
Alcatraz – pelican
Paso Roble– Oak Pass
Big Sur – The Great South
La Jolla – the Jewel (still not known if this is derived from Spanish – la joya – a native american name)
Santa Barbara – Saint Barbara
San Francisco – Saint Francis


Arizona – Arid Zone
el Gran Cañon – The Grand Canyon
el río Colorado – Colorado River
Nogales – Walnut grove


Nevada – snow fall or snow covered
La Sierra Nevada – The snow covered range
Las Vegas – The plains
Reno – does mean reindeer, but I understand it is named after a person. El Sr. Reno.

Nuevo México/Méjico – New Mexico
Santa Fe – Holy Faith (the oldest capital city in the U.S – 1610)
Ratón – mouse
Los Alamos – the cottonwood trees
Ruidoso – noisy
Las Cruces – the crosses
Truchas – trout
Sandía peak  – Watermelon peak (Albuquerque)
Cimarrón – untamed, wild. referring to the horses that the Spanish conquistadores brought into the area


Texas/Tejas – Texas
Amarillo – yellow
El Paso – the Pass
San Antionio – Saint Anthony
Eagle Pass– the eagle that the Aztec saw perched on a nopal catus with the serpiente in its beak flew over Eagle Pass, TX
El Alamo – The Cottonwood tree
Waco – from Spanish “hueco“, meaning hole (the rocks in the area have “holes“)
Florida – In bloom
San Augustine – Saint Augustín (Founded 1565)
San Marcos Island – Saint Mark

In Georgia- On Cumberland Island, there are currently over 100 mustangs left by the Spanish Conquistadores.


Honduras – the Depths
– Equator
Buenos Aires – Fair winds
Valencia, Spain – the kind of oranges
Granada, Spain – pomegranate

This is only a partial list. It is fascinating how many Spanish place names there are around the U.S. and the world. Stay curious. Travel with a map and a bilingual dictionary!

Action Steps
: Take out a map of the Southwest and look up other place names not mentioned here.

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Gracias y nos vemos mañana,