Basic Spanish: Terms for your Dominican Vacation

Depending on how adventurous you are you may be willing to go to a country and not even know one word of the local language. You may feel alright using interpreters, sign language, or just figuring it out. If so, this section probably is not for you.

In any case, knowing some Spanish will always be useful. Here is my quick and dirty Dominican Dictionary.


(Yes he is selling Fish in the Street! -->)
Stacks Image 2
Dominicanisms are Spanish phrases with the local Dominican Twist. Learn them because there is a TON of slang used in the Dominican Republic.

Top Ten Most Important Phrases:
Hi= “Hola” but in the DR say “saludos” to sound more local

How are you?= “Como Estas Usted” in Dominican Spanish “Como Tu Ta”. Use it for a salutation.

How much?= “Cuanto Cuesta?” but in the DR ask “A como es?” (singular) or “A como son?” (Plural)

Where is ___ hotel?= Donde esta el hotel _____?

Where are the restrooms?= Donde estan los banos?

I am hungary= Tango hambre.

I am sleepy= Tango Sueno.

I want to go to the beach= Quiero ir a la playa.

Thank you very much= Muchas Gracias!

Good to meet you= Mucho Gusto.

Necessary Food Phrases:
Guineo= a Banana. Get used to calling it “Guineo” because that’s what it is.

Platano- Plantain. A plantain is a large sort of banana looking thing that is green, but much larger. You’ll eat platanos for almost every meal! NICE

Mangu= a great meal. Green plantains boiled and then smashed. It is usually covered with grated cheese and onions. Legend has it the name comes from a gringo eating Mangu and saying “Man Good”. What do you know? A gringo created term!

Tostones= fried green plantains. Kind of the Dominican style french fries. They are round and smashed flat and GREAT!

Queso Frito= fried cheese. Something you'll eat with mangu and salami frito. Not really good for your diet but a really Dominican food I really like.

Presidente= the local beer. Dominicans are proud of their beer because it is considered in the top ten best beers in the world.

Jugo Naturales= fresh squeezed juice. Chinola= Passion Fruit. Orange= Naranja. Limon= Lemon.

Brugal= Dominican Rum. Many tourists drink it mixed with coke or sprite (called a cuba libre). Dominicans often drink it mixed with fresh coconut water, just a dash.

Moro= rice and beans mixed. One of the staples of the typical Dominican diet.

Arroz con habituelas= white rice with beans poured over the top. One of my favorites.

Pastalon de platano maduro= sweet plantain caserol with ground meet in the middle and cheese melted over the top. By far the best traditional dish in the country.

Carne de Res= Beef.

Carne de Pollo= Chicken.

Chin Chin= un chin means a little. Un Chin Chin means a real little. This is a very Dominican phrase.

Every Day Lingo:
Se fue la luz= the electricity is off… you’ll need this one for sure!

No hay agua caliente= There is no hot water. “

Dominican Republic= DR, “La Republica Dominicana,” or “La Republica” Do not say “the Dominican” you’ll sound ignorant.

Colmado- this is like the Dominican 7-11. They have anything you need, are open most of the day, and will deliver to your front door.

Cedula= Your Dominican Identification card. You will get it when you get your residency papers.

Aplatanado- When a gringo becomes Dominican. You are Aplatenado when you have eaten enough bananas or plantains to change into a Dominican.

Hotel tip= “Quiero ver el cuarto” I want to see the room. Make sure you see it first in cheap hotels!

Jeepeta- Literally means little jeep. Jeepeta refers to all the small SUVs seen all over the country. They range from Hondas and Toyotas to Porsches, Hummers, Range Rovers and Mercedes.

Limoncillos- a delicious fruit available in the summer and early fall. The flesh is like a grape with one large seed in the middle. They are delicious!

Malecon- this is the name for the road that runs along the ocean in almost every city in the Dominican Republic.

Mirador- The park in the capital that runs along the ridge and is parallel to the ocean. Get to know the Mirador if you are into fitness or need a place to do outdoors things.

Moto- Dominicans ride all sorts of motorcycles. They range from small scooters all the way up to the rare Harley Davidson. Moto refers to any Motorcycle.

More Advanced Dominicanisms:
Ta Bien= “Esta bien” in Spanish. Many Dominicanisms are really contractions of Spanish. It means I’m good or every things good.

Lo que tu quieres= whatever you want.

Tu no sabe na= You don’t know anything. I use this whenever I know something about the Dominican Republic or Santo Domingo a native doesn’t know.

Y e’ facil= do you think it is easy?

En sus suenos= In your dreams!

Ah, Po’ ta bien= Okay, Alright.

Tu ‘ta pasao= You are past. When someone’s thoughts are outdated.

Tu ‘ta loca= You are crazy. Careful with this one because depending on the context you are also telling a woman she is a slut!

No le de mente= don’t worry.

No te preocupues= don’t worry.

Cojelo Suave= Take it easy. When someone gives you a hard time say “Cojelo Suave”.

No te quilles= don’t get mad.

Que loquera= What a crazy person or thing

El Diache= The nice way to say devil. Using the word Diablo (Devil) is kind of like swearing in some situations.

Pariguayo= Party watcher. Don’t ever be the Pariguayo. You’ve gotta get involved.

Tu no ‘ta en na= you are not in anything. Kind of like saying "you are a loser."

Tengo un hambre de cuadrito= I’m reeeeeally hungry.

Po ‘ta Bien= Alright then

Que ‘lo que hay= What’s Up?

Words to be AWARE OF!!!
Mondongo: if offered Mondongo (a great looking soup) only eat it if you like los rinones. (Kidneys)

Higado- liver (pronounced ee Ga Do) To completely understand this you’ve gotta read my book. Buy a copy Now!

Best Wishes,
Ross Weber - Dominican Republic