Your Guide to Cuban Slang

Your Guide to Cuban Slang

Here’s a quick guide to some common Spanish slang that I noticed was used in Cuba during my month there! If you don’t speak Spanish yet, check out these reasons why you should. If you do, that’s awesome, and I hope this quick guide will help you on your trip to Cuba!

1. Yuma

This word means foreigner, similar to the way gringo/a is used in other Spanish speaking countries.

2. Cola

No, this word doesn’t mean Coke. It’s the word for a line, as in “I’m waiting in line”, which is something that you’ll encounter often in Cuba! 🙂

3. Chancletas

Also known as flip-flops.

4. Espejuelos

This is Cuban slang for eyeglasses–kind of like “spectacles”.

5. Mango

What you’d call an attractive person (of either gender). Example: Orlando Bloom es un mango.

6. Pulover

This is a t-shirt!

7. Chopin

Cuban (sort of anglicized) slang for “shopping”.

8. Fruta Bomba

Important: this is what papayas are called. Do not call it a papaya (that word is slang for a female body part in Cuba).

9. Blumer

Good ol’ skivvies, or underpants.

10. Chao

How most Cubans say “goodbye”.

11. Linda/Lindo

This isn’t actually slang, as linda/o does mean “pretty” in Spanish, but it’s very commonly used there versus in other Spanish-speaking countries. Also often used by the men who shout piropos at pretty young ladies, as in “hola, chiquitita linda, ¿tienes novio?”

12. Máquina/Almendrón

Two words for the classic American cars that are prevalent in Cuba. Maquina, more specifically, refers to the ones that are used as very cheap taxis.

13. Jinetera/o

This word technically means “jockey”, but in Cuba it’s used for someone who makes money off of tourists. The male term (jinetero) usually means a cab driver or a cigar-hawker, and the female (jinetera) often means someone who works in the sex industry.

14. ¿Qué bola? / ¿Qué vola?

This is used in Cuba to ask how things are going or “what’s up?”.

 Your Guide to Cuban Slang

I hope this quick guide was helpful to you, and that’ll help you understand the rapid Spanish that Cubans speak! 🙂 Have you been to Cuba? Did I miss any slang terms that you remember? Comment below!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *