‘Caguama’ – Meaning in Mexican Slang

In short – a ‘caguama’ is a ‘loggerhead turtle’ in “regular” Spanish, BUT if you visit Mexico, chances are that someone will encourage you to share a ‘caguama’ with them at some point or another …

Don’t gasp in horror just yet! It’s NOT an invitation to gorge on an endangered species, but instead to have a nice cold beer.

Getting curious? Then stick around and find out why Mexicans named their bottles of beer after an enormous turtle!

Let’s get to it!




Uses / Meanings of ‘caguama

 ‘Caguama’ can be used in the following ways in Mexican slang –

  • To refer to a 940 milliliters (32 ounces) bottle of beer

  • To refer to any beer in a big sized bottle

  • To refer to beer in general


To refer to a 940 milliliters (32 ounces) bottle of beer

Back in the sixties, when soft drink companies began to sell family size bottles in Mexico, a beer company decided to step up their game and launch a returnable glass bottle of almost a liter (940 milliliters, or 32 ounces).

Originally, it was sold as a “family size” bottle, but people didn’t really like the name / concept, probably because beer isn’t really something you’d share with your children like you would a bottle of coke!

Now this was all happening in the northwestern states of Mexico, where eating ‘caguama’ (or ‘loggerhead turtle’) meat was still fairly common (unfortunately it’s still considered a delicacy, despite now being illegal).

Due to its size, people started to associate the enormous bottle with the giant turtles and, well, the rest is history: the ‘caguama’ bottle was born.

Nancy – ¿Sobró cerveza de anoche?

Ysair – Uy, no, nos la acabamos toda.

Nancy – ¿Neta? ¿Nos tomamos todas las caguamas?



Nancy – Is there any beer left over from last night?

Ysair – Uh, no, we finished it all.

Nancy – Seriously? We drank all the forties?


Nos sirvieron cerveza en un vaso gigante. ¡Parecía eso una caguama!

They served us beer in a massive glass. It looked like a forty!

To refer to any beer in a big sized bottle

The word stuck and spread throughout the country, so much so that nowadays people call any big bottle of beer a ‘caguama’, regardless of the brand.

Agustín – ¿Vas a ir a la tiendita?

Sandra – Sí, ¿necesitas algo?

Agustín – Porfa llévate las caguamas vacías y trae nuevas.



Agustín – Are you going to the corner store?

Sandra – Yeah, do you need anything?

Agustín – Please take the empty bottles of beer and get new ones.


Elga – Hace tanto calor que se me antoja una caguama bien fría.

Arturo – ¿Qué te parece que voy al súper por unas y preparo unas micheladas*?



Elga – It’s so hot; I’m craving a massive bottle of cold beer.

Arturo – What if I go get some at the supermarket and make some micheladas?

*Erika’s note – a ‘michelada’ is a very Mexican way of preparing beer with salt, lemon juice and, in some cases, spicy sauces.


To refer to beer in general

Finally, don’t be surprised if you hear people referring to literally any type of beer as a ‘caguama’ (irrespective of the size of the bottle!).

¡Wey, vamos por unas caguamas!

Dude, let’s go grab some beers!


Laila – Ayer corté con mi novio…No tengo ganas de hacer nada.

Imelda – Ándale, vamos a divertirnos un rato. Yo pongo las caguamas.



Laila – I broke up with my boyfriend yesterday … I don’t feel like doing anything.

Imelda – Come on, let’s have some fun. The beers are on me.


By the way, if you wanna top up on your Mexican slang, you NEED to check out our “Master Guide” … it’s everything you need to know all in one place 👇🌵🇲🇽

Erika pointing to the word "Mexican Slang Master Guide"



Caguama‘ pronunciation

‘Caguama’ has three syllables, which are pronounced as follows:

  • ‘Ca’ is said like ‘kah’

  • ‘Gua’ sounds like ‘gwah’

  • And ‘ma’ is said like ‘mah’

/ kah-gwah-mah /


Similar expressions to ‘caguama

Caguamón

If a ‘caguama’ is a big bottle of beer, a ‘caguamón’ is the real forty!

It’s basically a huge bottle of beer (usually 1200 milliliters, or 40 ounces).

Compré unos caguamones para la fiesta.

I bought some forties for the party.

Súper-caguama

This is a synonym of ‘caguamón’, i.e., a forty-ounce.

En un anuncio publicitario

Ven y lleva tu súper-caguama al 20% de descuento.



In an advertisement

Come and get your forty-ounce with a 20% discount.

Chela

This is one of the most common ways to say beer in Mexico!

Check out our article on all the different ways to say beer’ in Spanish if you wanna know more!

¿Qué tipo de chela es la que más te gusta?

What type of beer do you like the most?


Final thoughts

The next time your Mexican pal encourages you to go grab a ‘caguama’, you now know they’re talking about a big bottle of beer!

Hopefully you’ll add it to your burgeoning Mexican Spanish lexicon!

Oh, and if you wanna learn more fun Mexican slang, make sure to check out our article on the SUPER common expression ‘no manches’. It’s SURE to come in handy!

¡Hasta la próxima!

Rupert's lived in Mexico for nearly a decade and has been working as a Spanish teacher for even longer (over 10 years now, wow!). He specializes in simple (yet effective) explanations and is a veritable grammar-whizz.

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