Beyond ‘lluvia’: How to Talk About ‘Rain’ in Spanish!

If you want to say ‘rain‘ in Spanish, then the word you’re going to need is ‘lluvia‘.

But what do you say if it’s just drizzling, or if it’s literally raining cats and dogs?

Well, here are the most common ways to say ‘rain‘ in Spanish ordered from “light” to “super heavy”

Infographic illustrating the difference between the different words for "rain" in Spanish

Read on to find out how to use them like a pro!

Oh, and we’ve thrown a few colloquial phrases into the mix too for you more advanced learners 😉

Brollies at the ready, let’s get to it!

Llovizna – drizzle

Is it raining lightly? The word for ‘drizzle’ in Spanish is ‘llovizna’.

Después de la sequía, esperaba un aguacero, pero solo cayó una breve llovizna.

After the drought, I expected a downpour, but there was only a bit of drizzle.

And if you want to say ‘it’s drizzling‘, the phrase you need is ‘está lloviznando‘ –

Juan – Ya empezó a llover.

Carlo – No exageres, nada más está lloviznando.

Juan – It’s already started raining.

Carlo – Don’t exaggerate, it’s only drizzling.

Chipichipi – drizzle

This is one of my favorite words in Mexican Spanish (I think it’s used in Guatemala too!), but boy was I confused the first time I heard it being used!

I remember that I’d just learned the word for “drizzle” (and was feeling pretty chuffed with myself if I’m being honest!), so was left reeling when a pal of mine came out with a cheerful, “¡Nada más es chipichipi!“.

A happy man with an umbrella while it's drizzling

And what’s ‘chipichipi‘?

Well, it’s actually just a lovely onomatopoeia for raindrops hitting the ground and it translates pretty well as ‘drizzle‘.

To pronounce it, just say ‘chee’ as in ‘cheeky’, followed by the word ‘pea’, and repeat. It should sound something the likes of ‘chee-pee-chee-pee’.

Había un nubarrón que amenazaba de tormenta, pero al final, solo cayó puro chipichipi.

The dark cloud looked threatening, but in the end, it only drizzled.

Rupert’s pro tip – although ‘chipichipi‘ is a noun, I’ve actually heard it being used like a verb, so don’t be surprised if you hear phrases like, “Estuvo chipichipi toda la tarde.” (“It was drizzling all afternoon.“)!

Just bear in mind that this is VERY informal Spanish!

Lluvia rain

‘Lluvia’ is the simplest, most “correct” way of saying ‘rain’ in Spanish. This should be your absolute go-to word when translating ‘rain’ no matter what Spanish-speaking country you’re in.

A not-so-happy man with an umbrella while it's raining

Me encanta el olor a tierra mojada después de una lluvia profusa.

I love the smell of wet soil after a heavy rain.

Famosa canción mexicana de Pedro Infante

Parece que va llover, el cielo se está nublando, parece que va llover ¡ay¡ mamá me estoy mojando.

Famous Mexican song by Pedro Infante

It looks like it’s going to rain, the sky is getting cloudy, it looks like it’s going to rain, oh, mom, I’m getting wet.

The verb form of ‘lluvia‘ is ‘llover’, or ‘to rain’ in English, and if you want to point out that ‘it’s raining’, you just need to say ‘está lloviendo’

¿Vas a salir? Está lloviendo*; no olvides tu paraguas.

Are you going out? It’s raining; don’t forget your umbrella.

¡Ya está lloviendo! Creo que tendré que pasear a la perrita más tarde.

It’s already raining! I think I’ll have to walk the dog later.

Finally, to describe something ‘rainy’, you can use the adjective ‘lluvioso’

No hay nada como un buen chocolate caliente durante una tarde lluviosa.

There’s nothing quite like hot cocoa on a rainy afternoon.

*Expert tip – you might be tempted to say ‘es lloviendo’, but DON’T! Even though ‘es’ and ‘está’ both mean ‘to be’ in English, ‘está’ is used for all things temporary, whilst ‘es’ refers to permanent qualities. So, unless you happen upon a planet where it’s always raining, well, ‘es lloviendo’ wouldn’t make sense!

If you want to MASTER these two Spanish verbs, I suggest you head over to our article on ‘SOY’ AND ‘ESTOY’.

Aguacero – downpour

If you’ve ever heard the phrase ‘está cayendo un aguacero’ (and if you’ve visited Mexico, chances are you have!), you probably wondered exactly what an ‘aguacero’ is …

Well, let me enlighten you 🙂

An ‘aguacero‘ is a sudden and heavy burst of rain (better known as a ‘downpour’ in English!).

En la oficina

Javier – ¡Está cayendo un aguacero! El tráfico se va a poner insufrible…

Lety – Tranquilo; se ve que va a pasar rápido.

At the office

Javier – It’s pouring! The traffic’s going to be unbearable …

Lety – Chill, it looks like it’s gonna be over quickly.

Chaparrón – downpour

There are a few synonyms of ‘aguacero’ in Spanish, and ‘chaparrón’* is one of them.

Clara – ¿Cómo te fue el fin de semana?

Bruno – Más o menos…se soltó un chaparrón el domingo y ya no pudimos ir de picnic.

Clara – How was your weekend?

Bruno – Not so great … there was a downpour on Sunday, and we couldn’t go for the picnic.

*Rupert’s pro tip – DON’T confuse ‘chaparrón‘ with the word ‘chaparro’ (like, ahem, yours truly!) which is used to describe a short person. Yeah, with some Spanish words, you can be one letter and an acute accent away from making a big mistake …

Chubasco – squall (heavy rain and wind)

Add a strong wind to a ‘chaparrón’ or an ‘aguacero’ and you’ll get a ‘chubasco’, a term similar to a squall of rain’ in English.

Trust me when I say that it’s never fun to get caught in a ‘chubasco‘!

An annoyed man with an umbrella during a squall

Gibrán – ¡Tardaron mucho en llegar! Estábamos preocupados por ustedes.

Tania – Nos cayó un fuerte chubasco en plena autopista; tuvimos que manejar con mucho cuidado.

Gibran – It took you a long time to get here! We were worried about you.

Tania – We got caught by heavy rain and wind on the highway; we had to drive very carefully.

Diluvio – deluge

If it’s raining extremely heavily, you can call it a ‘diluvio’ (or a ‘deluge‘ in English).

And like a ‘deluge’, a ‘diluvio’ can refer to both a flood and a downpour of rain.

The only difference is that, unlike the English word, the Spanish ‘diluvio’ also has a verb form, which is ‘diluviar’.

¡Cayó un diluvio en mi pueblo! Parecía que nunca dejaría de llover.

There was a deluge in my town! It seemed like it would never stop raining.

No vayas a salir sin un paraguas; está diluviando allá afuera.

Don’t go out without an umbrella; it’s pouring out there.

A fed up man with an umbrella during a deluge

Llovedera – persistent rain

If it’s been raining for hours or even days on end, you might hear people from Mexico, El Salvador or Cuba use the word ‘llovedera’.

It basically means very persistent rain.

Omar – ¿A dónde vas a ir de vacaciones?

Federico – Me gustaría* irme a la playa, pero la llovedera sigue sin tregua en el Pacífico.

Omar – Where are you going on holiday?

Federico – I’d like to go to the beach, but it´s been raining nonstop on the Pacific coast.

Expert tip – me gustaría’ is the Spanish equivalent of ‘I’d like’; check out our article on ‘ME GUSTARÍA AND ‘QUISIERA’ if you’d like to find out more!

La furia de Tláloc heavy rain

And now, a really fun Mexican expression for ‘rain’. I present (… drum roll …) ‘la furia de Tláloc’, which translates to ‘the fury of Tlaloc’.

And who is this Tlaloc, you wonder?

Well, he’s just one of the most fearsome and respected gods in the Mexica pantheon (the old religion in Central Mexico before the Spanish conquest), and the guy in charge of rain (amongst other things).

The god Tlaloc pouring rain out of a jar

En una cafetería en la Ciudad de México

Fabiola – ¿Ya te vas?* ¡Todavía es temprano!

Carolina – Sí, me voy antes de que nos caiga la furia de Tláloc; ya sabes cómo se pone la ciudad con las lluvias.

At a coffee shop in Mexico City

Fabiola – Are you leaving already? It’s still early!

Carolina – Yes, I’m leaving before the fury of Tlaloc falls upon us; you know how the city gets when it rains.

Rupert’s pro tip – over the years I’ve noticed that Tlaloc’s still pretty popular in ex-Tenochtitlan, so much so that any sign of drought or a prolonged ‘llovedera’ is good enough reason to set off a deluge of memes either asking Tlaloc for the rain to come back or for him to stop unleashing his fury upon the Mexican valley.

Se está cayendo el cielo / El cielo se está cayendo heavy rain or hailstorm

‘Se está cayendo el cielo’ or ‘el cielo se está cayendo’ translates literally to ‘the sky is falling down’ in English, and if you have Mexican friends you’ll probably hear them say this phrase whenever there’s heavy rain, especially if it hails!

This one’s a very popular expression all across Mexico, so it’s important to know that it’s not as apocalyptic as it sounds … it’s just rain (or in the worst-case scenario, a hailstorm)!

En una llamada telefónica

Oscar – ¿Quieres venir a ver pelis?

Daniela – Me gustaría, pero el cielo se está cayendo por donde vivo.

While on a phone call

Oscar – Do you wanna come watch movies?

Daniela – I’d like to, but it’s absolutely pouring in my neighborhood.

Before you go …

You’re on a bit of a Spanish roll, so why not check out one of the following –



Just don’t forget your brolly!

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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