En Last Minute Transfer we are expert in excursions and transfer in Lanzarote and Gran Canaria. Even if for us the word guagua is popular and common, for the tourist is still so curious. Today we will mention different theoried about the reason why buses in Canary Islands are called guagua.
Origin of the word guagua
Even if the term guagua is very common in Canary Islands, the word has not been originated from the guanche language. All the theories say that the term comes from Cuba. It seems that this word started to be used in Cuba since XIX century. By the way the word appears in the official documents in Canary Islands just one century later, XX century.
Possible origin of the term guagua
The most reliable theory says that some Canary immigrants went to Cuba in order to improve their lifestyle and from there they brought the word guagua.
An other theory says that the origin of the word comes from quechua and means “baby” or “infant”, due to the fact that in Cuba the toddler didn’t have to pay to travel with the public transportation. This habit is very common all around the world.
For this reason , cuban people started to used the expression “travel in guagua” when they travelled for free or for a very cheap price. They started to use the word guagua to indicate very cheap or free buses .
The second theory affirms that americans brought to Cuba during the war, vehicles that were very similar to buses. The word used in english to define them was wagon, from wich the word guagua seems to derivate for the similar sound.
A third theory says that there was a company dedicated to the transportation of people that was called “Wa & Wa Co. Inc”. Also this name has a very similar sound and become guagua. But there are no proofs enough to confirm this idea.
Why buses in Canary Islands are called so
There are several theories but is not 100% sure which is the most reliable. What is sure is that if you go to Canary Islands you will hear the term guagua.