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Do you speak Canarian Spanish?



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Tenerife is different! Not only its natural contrasts and gastronomic variety make Tenerife a culturally interesting travel destination, but also its own Spanish dialect. Did you know that some Spanish words only exist on the Canarian islands? If you’re willing to overcome the mere tourist status, then you should keep in mind these 7 typical Canarian expressions.

7 Phrases you should know before visiting the beautiful Canary Islands. What to say in #Tenerife, #GranCanaria or #Lanzarote, #Spain
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1. Cholas

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Cholas (chanclas on the Spanish mainland) refers to flip-flops and is the most important accessory to wear on Tenerife island. Even further: Cholas represent a part of the Canarian lifestyle and attitude. 

2. Papas

Papas (patata on the peninsula) is the most famous element of Canarian cuisine. Potatoes! They gave origin to one of Spain’s most famous dishes: Papas arrugadas con mojo. You just can’t leave the Canarian islands without having tried the potatoes in salty crust served with red spicy sauce!

3. Guagua

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In Tenerife, you don’t catch a bus, but you get there by guagua! It’s THE Canarian expression by excellence. The Canarian emigrants brought it over from Cuba turning the American term “wagon” out guagua. Surprisingly my impression is that many guagua drivers are always in a hurry and have a predilection for Merengue and Salsa music. 🙂 This is definitely one of the most important phrases to learn in Canarian Spanish.

4. Agüita!

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Expression of astonishment or surprise, comparable to Wow! There are only a few expressions that are more typical and the Canarian people will widely open first their eyes, then their hearts when they’ll hear a foreigner use their favorite expression. 

5. Panzaburro

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Means literally “Donkey Belly” and refers to the misty and foggy weather that can often be found in the north of Tenerife. When you have Panzaburro, dense clouds are hanging low but it’s still relatively warm. A welcome contrast to the sometimes suffocatingly hot weather in the southern coast!

6. Una Garimba

A “Garimba” is a small beer (caña in Peninsularian Spanish) With the sometimes dreadful heat in the south, you’ll need a lot of them.  … and your Canarian waiter will be over the moon when you order your beers the local way! 

Read: 30 Romantic Spanish Phrases

7. Barraquito

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There are so many coffee variations in Tenerife and the Canary islands, that it will be hard to try them all during your stay. Many tourists don’t even get to know them, since they are mostly available only in local bars.
The most famous one is called “Barraquito”. Beware, it’s highly addictive! It’s made of coffee, milk, condensed milk, hint of lemon, cinnamon and (optional) Licor 43. Make sure you’ll try this delicious sensory feast!

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A little bit of cultural integration is never bad, even if you’re staying somewhere only a few days. The Canarian people, already very warm-hearted and outgoing, will give you a place in their heart when they’ll hear your Canarian language skills!


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