The official language of Cuba is Spanish.

As with the vast majority of Latin American countries, due to the effect of Spanish colonization, the official language of Cuba is Spanish. Although Russian was taught for many years during the Russia-Cuba era. Most Cubans do not speak any of it and only in the Touristy areas they speak English.

However, other external factors have contributed to the linguistic make-up of Cuba today. During colonization, the Spanish imported a great number of African slaves, who spoke a variety of dialects. This has, inevitably affected Cuban Spanish and enriched the variety of languages in Cuba.

Cuban Spanish differs somewhat from Castilian Spanish as it contains many words uniquely Cuban, especially in the way in which it is pronounced, mainly due to heavy migration from the Canary Islands; and also heavy influences from West Africa and France. The revolution, of course, has had an impact on the vocabulary associated with Spanish in Cuba, for instance, the use of ‘compañero/a’ instead of ‘señor/a’ when addressing strangers. However, informalities such as addressing a stranger with ‘mi corazón’, ‘cariño’ or ‘mi vida’ are also very common.

As well as Spanish, the influence of English in Cuba is gradually increasing, especially amongst newer generations, with American English infiltrating into the local language used. In addition, a significant number of Afro-Cubans speak Haitian Creole, which is, in fact, the second most widely spoken language in Cuba.

Indigenous languages in Cuba have still managed to survive in some aspects of Cuban Spanish – with words and place names maintaining some of the Amerindian tradition.

Although you are not required to know Spanish for your tour if you are adventurous we do suggest you grab a book or two of phrases so you can get acquainted with the language which will make your experience in Cuba that much more gratifying or at least more fun.