Cuban Spanish is a little different to accents in Spain and most parts of Latin America. Cubans speak fast and mumble and the eastern part of the island they eat the letter S and sometimes put where it doesn’t belong. Besides that, in Cuba, people use a lot of expressions that are just being used in Cuba. This makes them hard to understand even for native speakers. But don’t worry they will try to speak slowly and clear when they realize that a foreigner doesn’t understand them.
But to appear more local and make some conversations or haggle easier here are some useful Cuban expressions that might help you to get around.
La Guagua – The Bus, people will understand Bus or autobus but this is the most Cuban way to say it.
agro – fruit and vegetable market
Cadeca – currency exchange
la cola– is the queue, do not forget to ask for the last person in line
maquina – route taxis
moneda nacional – CUP, also known as Peso Cubano
Asere– used like buddy
Qué bolá, que vuelta – whats up ? less slang is: como anda? or que tal?
la Cosa – yes it means the thing, but is used in Cuba for the general situation and the everyday life of somebody like La Cosa está mala!
la Lucha – la lucha (the fight) is the everyday struggle of people. mostly used when somebody asks how are you? people answer: ahí en la lucha (here fighting…)
Oriente – eastern part of Cuba
vianda – Vianda are roots like sweet potato manioc/Yuca, malanga or plantains. people eat them fried or boiled with almost every meal.
For just food vocabulary there will be a separate post (or check the guidebook: where to eat in Havana)and many many more this is just the first part of many to get into the Cuban vocabulary and to get aplatando/a (adapted to Cuban culture and life).