Thursday, December 25, 2014

¿Pichas las caguamas?

If you don't know what a caguama is, let me help you out:

It's a species of sea turtle.  And since we're on the subject of creatures that live in the water, let's talk about one more, a ballena.

Yep, a ballena is a whale.

Yeah, I know, you're thinking, "Rodney, where are you going with this?".  OK, vamos al grano (Let's get to the point).

A caguama in Mexico is not just a sea turtle:

A caguama is any brand (marca) of beer that comes in a botella (bottle) of roughly 900-1000ml, or 33oz.  Carta Blanca is just one brand of beer that sells caguamas, but there are others.  Here are a couple of corcholatas (bottle caps) from Sol and Tecate.

If you're thinking "that's a lot of beer", well, you're right.  If you're thinking "well that's a good start", then you'll be happy to know that there's something bigger than a caguama, which is a caguamón.

A caguamón has roughly 1200ml, which hopefully is enough to quench your thirst.  Let's put the difference between a caguama and caguamón in perspective.

Wow.  That's a lot of beer.  I'm pretty sure most people know the word for beer in Spanish is cerveza, but in Mexican Spanish you have a few other ways to refer to a cerveza.

Vamos por unas chelas
Let's go get some beers

¿Qué me toca pagar las chelas?
What do you mean it's my turn to pay for the beers?

There's also the word cheve.

Vámonos a echarnos unas cheves
Let's go have some beers

This next one is universal.

Quiero una fría
I want a cold one

Know any colloquial words for beer?  Share them in the comments.

We're almost done, the only thing we have left to talk about is the word ballena.

A ballena, aside from being a whale, is just another name for a caguama when it comes to beer.  And a ballenón is the same as a caguamón.

And again, let's put things in perspective.

By the way, we still have to cover the title of this entrada (post).

 ¿Pichas las caguamas?

Pichas comes from the verb pichar, which means to treat or to pay for.  With that in mind, let's translate our phrase.

 ¿Pichas las caguamas?
 Are you buying the beers?

Regarding the verb pichar, I need to leave you with a word of warning.  It can have more then one meaning among Spanish speakers.  You can read about it's meanings at Así Hablamos.  Remember, know your audience.

Whew, that's finally it.  I'll leave you with one last thing, a video of what I think is is a pretty impressive feat.  Personally, it would take me a week or more to finish a caguama, much less a caguamón.  This gentleman puts it away all at once.  And on top of that he does it with no hands.

If you don't see the video, here's the direct link.

Here are a few other posts related to chelas.

1.  Pisteando en mi casa con mi kerida
2.  ¿Por qué estás chiquiteando wey?

Having drinks with the locals is always a great way to practice and learn some Spanish, so you might want to check out the My Spanish Phrasebook app (for Android devices) to have some great bar related phrases (and a whole lot more) at your fingertips while you're out.

Now go forth and (responsibly) have a few cheves.

¡Hasta la próxima!


  1. Great post, hope to see more frequent postings from you, especially regarding Mexican Spanish! Very fun and accessible style to learn from, thanks =)

  2. This is very useful blog. I have found many phrases in Spanish which I can teach my students. Today I'll teach them about "vamos al grano".

    Junu Jinnie

  3. Curiosamente, pichar, me parece, viene de to pitch, en inglés, en el sentido que vemos en el beisbol: el que distribuye, el que dispara, el que lanza, el que da. Cuando el beis era popular entre los chiquillos de la capital, decíamos a la hora de jugar y organizar las posiciones: "yo picho, yo picho". Entonces, ya de mayores, vimos que pichar equivalía a "disparar", y ya sabes que "disparar" es sacar la cartera y decir "cóbrese". Salú