16 Essential Cuban Slang Phrases

From the streets of Havana to the shores of Varadero, Cuban Spanish is full of colorful expressions and phrases. Join us as we explore the meanings and origins of popular Cuban slang terms, offering insights into the unique language of this vibrant Caribbean island. Whether you’re planning a trip to Cuba or simply curious about its linguistic quirks, this article is your go-to guide for understanding the rhythm and flavor of Cuban Spanish. Let’s dive in together!

  1. Jinetero or jinetera: Refers to a female prostitute. When applied to a male, it denotes a street kid or a man involved in black market activities.
  2. Camello: Truck-pulled buses commonly seen in Havana.
  3. Asere or acere: Colloquially used to mean “good friend.”
  4. Radio bemba: Refers to a person who spreads gossip or unofficial news.
  5. Yuma: A term for a foreigner or someone from the United States.
  6. ¿Qué volá contigo? or ¿Qué bolá contigo?: Equivalent to “What’s up?” or “What’s going on?”
  7. Me tienes hasta el último pelo: Literally, “You have me up to the last hair.” This idiom means “You are driving me nuts, and I can’t take much more.”
  8. Jamonero: Denotes a specific type of creep, particularly a man who gropes girls on crowded camello buses.
  9. Rayar la pintura: Literally translates to “to scratch the paint,” but figuratively refers to cheating on a significant other.
  10. Frutabomba: Papaya fruit.
  11. Pata: Refers to a friend or buddy.
  12. Chivatón: Someone who snitches or informs on others.
  13. Fula: Money or cash.
  14. Chivato: Refers to a police informant or someone who tells on others.
  15. Chapear: To make out or kiss passionately.
  16. Papaya: Refers to an easy task or something that is effortless to accomplish.

Have you heard any of those? Which one you like the most?