10 words you should know before your trip to Tenerife


Teide National Park
Do you know what a “fisco” is? Or what “golifiar” means? Listening to a conversation between Canarians is a curious phenomenon, not just because of how happy they are when they are speaking but also because of how difficult it is to decipher what they are saying without a little help. We know how important it is to immerse ourselves in the culture of the destination we are travelling to and so, with this in mind, we are going to teach you the following 10 words so you can have a conversation in Tenerife like any other Canarian.

1. Guagua. This is the most popular word of them all. You might have heard this from someone who has recently travelled to Tenerife as it is a word that everyone remembers. If you need to get somewhere, all you have to do is wait for the “guagua”, the term for a bus, which will take you to your destination.

2. Abollado. This is an expression you will only use after trying delicious Canarian cuisine. When you feel you cannot eat another bite, you just simply say: “estoy abollado” (I’m stuffed).

3. Agüita. We all know that Tenerife boasts incredible beaches but be careful not to get confused, if you hear “agüita” (normally associated with water), they are not talking about the gorgeous Atlantic Ocean. This word is used to express surprise or admiration for something that has happened or for something you have said.

4. Calufo. The Canaries is known for its pleasant and warm all-year-round climate. When it is very warm, a local from Tenerife would say “fuerte calufo”.

5. Chascar. This could only mean one thing: to munch.

6. Fisco. If you want to try different Canarian dishes but do not want to get too full, you can ask for a “fisco” or a little of every dish to avoid feeling sick due to eating too much.

7. Canelo. Did you know that the colour brown does not exist in the Canary Islands? Instead of this, Canarians use the word cinnamon, changing between dark and light tones of this colour.

8. Cotufas. If you go to the cinema, ask for delicious cotufas, the term for popcorn, and enjoy the film.

9. Golifiar. “Golifiar” or “golisnear” means to gossip.

10. Tenderete. This is the word for parties and the more traditional the party, the better. The lively carnivals of Tenerife are the best example of a “Canarian tenderte”.

Canarian wrinkly potatoes

These popular Canarian phrases are important to know before you set off on your all-inclusive holiday to Tenerife. Write down these 10 words on your holiday agenda and let the hospitality of the Canary Islanders take care of the rest.

Arantxa Márquez

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