25 Cuban Slang Words And Phrases That Will Help You On Your Next Trip To Cuba

Believe it or not, the Spanish language is filled with different dialects and slangs depending on what country you are in. Much like there is different slang in the English language when looking at Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Here are 25 Cuban slang words that will come in handy if you ever make it down to the island for a vacation.


This word is used as a super casual way to address someone you know relatively well. This isn’t something you would say to a store clerk for example as it is roughly translated to mean “dude” or any variation there of.


This generally means bra. It might look familiar to the English word adjust and that should give you some kind of clue as to what the word would mean. This is mainly for the ladies but it can come in handy no matter what gender you are. You never know when you might need an ajustador to use a slingshot to cause havoc.


Think chismosa and you know exactly what this word means. Bemba is slang for lips so that should give you a clue. The person who you would call a bembelequero(a) is definitely the town gossip so you never want to share too much info with them unless you want them to spread the news.


One hint: bloomers. That’s right. This is one way to say panties in Cuban slang. This isn’t the only Cuban slang word that sounds a lot like an english word. Pulóver is commonly used to refer to a t-shirt. Literally, something you pull over your head to put on.


You might have heard “Aye, que chévere” from a Cuban friend or coworker. Well, fret not. They were not making fun of you or your questionable Ché Guevara shirt/poster/whatever, which we should really talk about. Instead, this is just a way to say that something is cool or, in some cases, chivalrous.


This literally means “to catch a [a] bottle” but it is the common way of saying hitchhiking. Now, we do not recommend or condone hitchhiking either in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world because it is dangerous but this is how a lot of people get around in Cuba. Kind of like illegal taxis.


Pitbull’s favorite phrase. This has become just about anything but it is most commonly used to mean “hurry up.” Like, “Dale, mijo. We are going to be late for the bus.” It can also mean, “What’s up” or a simple acknowledgment of something said.


Pretty much means a good fit. It is commonly used to mean that two people are a good fit for each other. Kind of like lovers or best friends. Ellos son en talla.


This phrase literally means dancing skeleton. The skeleton part should lead you to the conclusion that we are talking about somebody’s size. You would be right. This phrase is typically used when talking about somebody who is very thin.


This is what Cubans use to talk about the fruit papaya. There is a reason Cubans do not use the word papaya and it has to do with anatomy. If you stick around, the answer of what papaya means is answered in this list.


The “gu” makes a “w” sound, first off. This is what is used to refer to the bus. Sure, there is a word for bus in Spanish and some Cubans might use it but you will definitely stick out like a sore thumb if you use the actual word for bus instead of guagua.


Hot. Yeah. This is used when you want to say that someone is hot without saying directly that they are hot. Who knew that foods could be used to mean something other than foods?


Literally it means, “Slides off me” so the closest English colloquialism would be “Water off a ducks back.” In context, the phrase means that it just doesn’t bother me.


This does not refer to someone who is a gossip. Instead this phrase is used to refer to someone who just talks way too much. This is interesting because Latinos love to talk so if you are saying that someone talks to much, they must really be talking too much.


This is something you tell someone when you don’t want them to repeat what you are saying. You would typically only say this to someone who you know would be spilling the beans so it is really your own fault since you should know better.


This is what you tell someone who you don’t want to flake on you. Sometimes it might be used on you because we all flake every now and then. When is the last time you flaked on your friend and vice versa? Exactly. Learn this phrase well.


This is used to refer to a woman’s body part. See. I told you we would answer this for you. Don’t got screaming it while you are running around Cuba or Miami because it is offensive to use that language but now you know so can order the papaya fruit correctly.


This means that something is shady or under the table. You would be right to say that this means “to the left” but it not used in that sense colloquially.


Another way to say, “what’s up?” It is a little more common than dale since dale is more commonly used to say hurry up ro to sound like Pitbull.


Guy or girl is what this translates too and rarely in a good way. Usually, you would use this when you are are talking about “that kind of person.” You feel me?


Super hot man. Next time you see that Danny from the floor above you walk by, let your friends know what you think in a cuban way with him even knowing what you said.


DRAMA! This is literally just pointing out that there is a lot of drama going on. Like, for real. You are just pointing it out.


Literally, this means “your briefcase” but is used to exclaim that something is your problem. Like you have to carry this around so you better deal with it.


“I am going to make coffee.” While this might sound like a pleasant surprise or snack, it is not. it is a gentle way of the person who is saying it to tell you that it is time for you to leave. It is best ti listen to them.


A foreigner who is typically white and blonde. Not to be taken in a negative way. It is just a way for us to point you out.

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Spanish Actor Javier Bardem Will Be Playing Cuban Entertainer Desi Arnaz in a New Movie and Fans Wish Hollywood Cast a Latino Instead


Spanish Actor Javier Bardem Will Be Playing Cuban Entertainer Desi Arnaz in a New Movie and Fans Wish Hollywood Cast a Latino Instead

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Recently, it was announced that Amazon studios will be producing a movie based on the lives of groundbreaking Old Hollywood power couple Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. According to reports, Nicole Kidman is set to play Ball while Spanish actor Javier Bardem will be playing Arnaz.

Seeing as Arnaz is widely viewed as one of the first Latino actors to achieve mainstream success in the United States, this news was positive for many. But for others, the news was less than ideal.

Some critics are lambasting the decision to cast Bardem as Arnaz, seeing that Bardem was born and raised in Spain, and is therefore not Latino.

One disgruntled Twitter user wrote: “I guess it’s really hard to find a Cuban actor so you have to hire a Spaniard…Whitewashing can happen to Latinos too.”

The criticism around Hollywood relying on Spanish actors and actresses to play Latino roles is not a new one. For years, Spanish actors like Antonio Banderas, Penelope Cruz, and Paz Vega have played Latino characters in American movies. The preponderance of this phenomenon have led some people to accuse Hollywood of “white washing” Latino characters by casting Spanish actors.

Antonio Banderas is one of the most famous examples of a Spanish actor who built his career off of playing Latinos.

He has played Latinos for so long that many people think he is, in fact, Latino. But when he was erroneously called a “person of color” by American publications when he was nominated for an Oscar in 2020, there was quiet the outcry in Spain.

Spanish publications condemned American media for having an “absurd obsession” with race, and not understanding that Spaniards are, in fact, white.

Publications wrote arguments like: “Banderas might pass as a Latino ‘person of color,’ to an Arkansas farmer, great-grandson of Germans, but never to a California delivery man born to Guatemalan immigrants.”

To some observers, it seems that Hollywood prefers casting Europeans as Latinos because Hollywood sees Europe as more “sophisticated” than Latinidad.

25-year-old Spaniard Juan Pedro Sánchez, summed up the problem on Twitter, saying: “A lot of people in Spain are bothered if others confuse them for Latin American because Spaniards see Latinos as people of color, and they don’t want to be associated with that.”

He went on to say: “What bothers me is not being considered a person of color, but that people ignore that Spain was a colonizer country. It erases that history.”

The bottom line is, fans are frustrated that Hollywood keeps looking to European actors to cast Latin American characters.

Study after study shows that there is still a stubborn lack of representation for Latinos onscreen. And when there is finally a role that puts a Latino character front and center, Hollywood prefers to hire a European actor over a Latino one.

Javier Bardem is an exceptionally talented actor and there’s no doubt that he will tackle the role of Desi Arnaz with creativity and dedication–but fans’ frustrations at the casting choice doesn’t have to do with Bardem’s acting capabilities. It has to do with the all of the ways that Latinos are discounted–including professionally.

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Change Up Your Thanksgiving Dinner With These Latin American Substitutes


Change Up Your Thanksgiving Dinner With These Latin American Substitutes

Thanksgiving is almost here and the pandemic is changing things for the holiday season. One of the biggest changes is that it is not advised to gather in person for the celebration. This might seem like a bad thing but it does give you the chance to mix things up before a Zoomed Thanksgiving feast. Here are some Latin Americans substitutions you can make to your Thanksgiving table as a test run for next year.

Turkey is great but give some lechon a try.

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Lechon is a Cuban pork dish made for big celebrations. Thanksgiving is a big celebration the revolves around food. Lechon is already the meat of choice at a Cuban Thanksgiving and is usually the star of the plate. You can spend hours dealing with a turkey for the tenth year in a row or you can be a little more excited and make this delicious Cuban meal.

Tostones (patacones) are the perfect replacement for potatoes.

Tostones, also called patacones, are made using green plantains. They are tough and starchy so they make a great savory side dish. make sure you double fry these bad boys. Once when they are chopped and a second time after smashing them to their iconic flat shape. If you let the plantain ripen, you can use it to make maduros instead, which are sweet.

Or, take those plantains and make mofongo.

Mofongo uses the same green plantains except they are fried once then mashed. It goes great with pork so this is a perfect little dish to pair with the lechon if you really want to go for it. The Puerto Rican dish is something that will forever change your mind about what you’d like to see at Thanksgiving.

Causa rellena is a Peruvian take on the classic mashed potatoes.

If you want to stick to the potatoes you are used to buying, Peruvian causa rellena will given them a Latin American spin. The dish does not take long to make and requires minimal cooking. The most you have to really cook is boiling the potatoes so you can mash them but the way the dish ends it by popping it in the fridge. Just layer the cooked ingredients and set it in the fridge overnight to save on Thanksgiving Day cooking time.

Corn is always a hit, especially as esquites.

Esquites is one corn dish everyone needs to try at least once. It is a neater version of elote because it is all the same ingredients but in an easier to eat way. Better yet, you can make a big batch or opt for personal servings to make it all cleaner and easier for everyone involved.

Guava con queso pastelitos are the dessert everyone is really asking for.

This little Cuban pastry is probably one of the best desserts ever created. This is not up for debate. It is just a simple fact of Latin American desserts. Honestly, when you taste the sweet and tangy flavor of the guava wrapped in the flaky, buttery pastry, your life will change. Drop the pumpkin for one year and give this Cuban dessert a try.

READ: Take A Tasting Tour Of Latin America This Thanksgiving With This Curated Menu

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