Cancun Slang

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Cancun Slang

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Welcome to Cancun! Here is a list of common Cancun Slang terms and phrases that will help you throughout your stay at this beautiful city.


Phrase: Mas despacio, por favor


Translation: Please speak more slowly.
Spanish is a rapid-fire language that can take many people, who are not native to it, by surprise. Using this simple term will help to avoid many of the misunderstandings that occur when you are not able to fully comprehend what is being said. I have, over the years, been able to get a better handle on what is being said; however, in the early days, I constantly found myself asking for directions to a certain local destination.


Word: Genta maja


Translation: Kind person, gentle and warm personality.
Flattery is a mainstay of the Spanish culture, as a whole, the locals in Cancun love to know that others have enjoyed their talents or words of wisdom. When visiting a restaurant, thank your server by saying "Bien genta maja" it will bring a smile to their face, for sure.


Word: Hincha


Translation: Fan of a specific soccer team
Chivas is seemingly the lifeline of almost every citizen of Cancun. When it comes to football in Mexico, you're either a diehard fan or you're not, there is no in between. If you are visiting Cancun during the football season, you will surely see that no words could ever describe the fascination locals have for their National sport. If you are a Chivas fan, be sure to show your support by voicing "Viva Chivas" at every given opportunity.


Phrase: Que tal


Translation: Hello, how are you
The locals in Cancun are very friendly, almost everyone is open to having a conversation with anyone given the opportunity. Sparking up a conversation using the countries local dialect will also show respect towards the culture, as most residents are not accustomed to speaking in English on a daily basis. Just a few key words can make a big difference when it comes to interacting in a meaningful and pleasant way.


Word: Cerveza


Translation: Beer
Patrons from all over the world who are visiting the area flock to the many beach front bars that serve quality, ice cold beer at rock bottom prices. They stay pretty busy, so knowing the word for the beverage of your choice can make for a much easier time.


Phrase: De donde eres?


Translation: Where are you from?
This is a question that you may be presented with on many occasions, just as you are excited by another culture so are the locals. It is a way for people to break the ice, and learn more about those who are visiting their beautiful city. Some consider it very disrespectful if you do not answer their inquiries, be sure to be polite and patient.


Word: Farmacia


Translation: Pharmacy
From time to time, everyone has the misfortune of feeling under the weather, and when you are in need of medical advice, visiting a hospital in a foreign country can end up costing more than your whole vacation. Never fear; however, Pharmacists in Mexico have the ability to write prescriptions on the spot for certain medications, if you are able to describe your ailments. Do not be afraid to write or even draw out your symptoms, if you can, in order to give yourself the best possible chance of succeeding in your attempts to find relief.


Phrase: Agua embotellada


Translation: Bottled water
When visiting Cancun, one of the most important things to remember is drinking from the local water supply can expose you to pathogens that can make your stay very unpleasant. Most shops, hotels, and restaurants keep a steady supply readily available for those who are in need. On my first visit, I found out the hard way and spent a full three days nursing an upset stomach.


Word: Vale


Translation: It is used the same way that we use the word "Okay".
Knowing even the simplest of words in a foreign language can make a world of difference in your daily life abroad. Vale is pronounced 'Valley", it can be used in a number of ways; however, its primary use is to agree with someone who has proposed a question to you.


Word: Movil


Translation: Cellphone
This Cancun Slang is used very often; for anyone planning on visiting Cancun, I suggest you learn this word before all others. Cancun has one of the largest per capita users of cellphones in the world, and on every corner someone is always trying to sell you a phone card. Be sure to read the cards wisely, if you do purchase them. I found out the hard way on several occasions, that most will only work with phones from Mexico. On the flip side, street vendors will also be happy to sell you prepaid "movils" for a decent price. It will help save a fortune when calling locally. As most pay-phones cost an arm and a leg to use, if you can even find one that is.
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