Do People Speak English In Cuba?

Cuba is a beautiful country, and one that attracts thousands of tourists every single year.

This country is totally unique, and it is rich with history.

Do People Speak English In Cuba

Located at the point where the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Northern Caribbean Sea meet, there are lots of different things that attract people to Cuba. 

Just as with any holiday, if you are considering visiting Cuba, there are a number of things that you will need to do to prepare.

From preparing your passport, to converting dollars to Cuban Pesos, there are lots of things that you have to do. But is learning Spanish one of them?

In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at whether, or not, English is spoken in Cuba, and if you need to learn any other languages before you visit. So keep on reading to find out more. 

What Is The Official Language In Cuba?

First things first, let’s take a look at what the official language of Cuba is.

As you are probably already aware, the official language of Cuba is Spanish.

It isn’t identical to the Spanish language that is spoken in Spain, and some South American countries.

Instead, the Spanish spoken in Cuba is a variation of this language known as Cuban Spanish.

On the whole, Cuban Spanish is fairly similar to traditional Spanish.

However, linguistically the language is slightly different, especially in terms of slang and abbreviations.

Cuban Spanish is totally unique, and it is a very isolated language.

But it has thrived on this island, and it is estimated that there are around 11 million native speakers of Cuban Spanish living in Cuba. 

Spanish has been the official language of Cuba for a very long time. Like many South American countries, Spanish was brought to Cuba when the Spanish colonized this country.

Since then, the language has changed slightly due to slang, accentuation, and communism. But all in all, Cuban Spanish is still very similar to traditional Spanish.

So, if you speak Spanish, you will likely understand the majority of Cuban Spanish too. 

Do People Speak English In Cuba?

So, as we have established, Spanish is the official language of Cuba.

Due to this, we would recommend brushing up on your Spanish before you visit the country.

Do People Speak English In Cuba?

However, in this day and age, English is spoken in a lot of countries all over the world. Even in countries where it isn’t the official language. So do people speak English in Cuba?

Yes, there are people who speak English in Cuba. As we have said, English is now being spoken in lots of countries all over the world, and Cuba is one of them.

As a language, English has one of the highest numbers of non-native speakers, and that is why you will often find people who are fluent in English as a second, or even third, language. 

While there are people in Cuba who speak English, it is important to note that not everybody who lives in Cuba will speak English.

In more rural areas, it is much less likely for individuals to speak English, and in these areas you might find that only Spanish is spoken.

However, in most large cities in Cuba, and tourist areas too, there will be people who speak English. 

How Widely Is English Spoken In Cuba?

As Cuba is a communist country, for a very long time this country was fairly isolated.

This isolation plays a big role in Cuba’s character, and to a certain extent, it is part of what attracts tourists to Cuba, as some areas are almost like a land lost in time.

However, this isolation is also partly responsible for Spanish still being so widely spoken in Cuba, and English being less common. 

But over the past few decades, Cuba has opened up significantly, primarily in a bid by the Cuban government to attract tourists.

As part of this, the Cuban government has been promoting English a lot to try to get locals to learn the language.

A lot of tourists who visit Cuba will speak English, and if the language is spoken more in Cuba, then the country will become more attractive to tourists. 

However, all in all, English isn’t actually that widely spoken in Cuba.

There are a lot of people who will be able to have a basic conversation in English, but it is estimated that less than 10% of the people who live in Cuba speak English fluently.

The vast majority of these English-speakers will reside in popular tourist destinations, which is why it is unlikely that you will encounter somebody who speaks English in some of Cuba’s more rural areas.  

What Languages Are Spoken In Cuba?

Even though Cuban Spanish is the official language of Cuba, there are other languages spoken there.

As we have established, less than 10% of people in Cuba speak English, so what other languages are spoken in Cuba? Let’s find out. 

Haitian Creole 

Haitian Creole is widely spoken among the Haitian-Cuban population of Cuba.

This language developed after a large number of Haitian people settled in Cuba following the Haitian revolution of the 18th century.

This language entered Cuba through the use of Haitian slaves who moved with their French masters.

Since then, the language has grown in Cuba, and now an estimated 300,000 people who live in Cuba speak it. 

Galician And Corsican

Galician and Corsican are much more rarely spoken in Cuba than Haitian Creole, but they are still spoken among a small amount of the population.

The majority of people who speak this language are expatriates who have moved to the Cuban cities.

So, if you visit Cuba, you might encounter people speaking these languages. 

Should I Learn Spanish Before Visiting Cuba?

What Languages Are Spoken In Cuba?

It is clear that Cuban Spanish is the most widely spoken language in this country, so if you are visiting Cuba, you might be wondering if you need to learn this language before you visit. So, let’s take a look. 

If you are visiting any popular tourist destinations in Cuba, then there will usually be a lot of people who speak English residing there.

Most Cubans who work in tourist areas learn English because a lot of their customs come from native English speakers.

So, you do not need to become fluent in Spanish before visiting Cuba. 

However, it is always a good idea to brush up on your basic Spanish and make an effort to learn some common phrases in Spanish before you visit.

This will maximize your experience in Cuba, and will be essential if you want to interact with any Cuban people living there.

Likewise, if you are planning on going anywhere off the beaten path in Cuba, a basic knowledge of Spanish is essential. 

Summary

In short, yes, a number of people who live in Cuba do speak English.

While the country’s official language is Cuban Spanish, there are a number of people residing in Cuba who speak English too.

Especially in tourist areas.

However, it is important to note that less than 10% of the Cuban population speak English, so if you are visiting this country, we would recommend getting a basic understanding of Spanish before you go.

This will really maximize your experience in Cuba, and make your trip a whole lot better!

Jim Stanton
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