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A Few Spanish Caving Terms

A Few Spanish Caving Terms - Beyond Cerveza y Baños
by Tone Garot and Laura Rosales Lagarde
February, 2009

Once you have gotten a taste of caving in Mexico, you crave that flavor. You will see all sorts of interesting things, and you will meet all sorts of interesting people; but how do you talk about what you have seen to the people you have met?

Here are a few caving terms in Spanish.

If you think of a few useful terms that aren't on this list, send them to me at .

  • la cueva [coo-ay’-vah], la caverna = the cave.
  • el pozo [po’-so] = the pit, the shaft.
  • el sótano [so’-tah-no] = cellar, basement. For example, Sótano de las Golondrinas means Cellar of the Wanderers.
  • la estación [es-tah-see-on’] = the station. A survey point is also known as a station.
  • el punto [poon'-toh] = the point. A survey point.
  • la luz [loos] = light. For example, a headlamp or the station light.
  • la cinta [seen’-tah] = the tape. This applies to the flagging tape or the measuring tape.
  • los murciélagos [moor-see-ay’-lah-gos] = the bats.
  • el hueso [oo-ay’-so] = the bone. You may come across animal bones or even human bones of archaeological significance.
  • la cuerda [coo-err’-dah] = the rope. Note that la ropa actually means clothes, not rope.
  • las abejas [ah-bay’-hahs] = the bees. You don't want to get stung by bees.
  • la avispa [ah-vees’-pah] = the wasp.
  • el pez [pes], los peces [pay’-says] = a fish, the fish. You may see fish in a Mexican cave.
  • la víbora [vee'-bo-rah], la serpiente [ser-pe-en’-tay] = the snake.
  • las arañas [ah-rah’-nyahs] = the spiders.
  • el biólogo, la bióloga [be-o’-lo-go, be-o’-lo-gah] = the biologist.
  • el arqueólogo, la arqueóloga [ar-kay-o’-lo-go, ar-kay-o’-lo-gah] = the archaeologist.
  • el geólogo, la geóloga [hay-o’-lo-go, hay-o’-lo-ga] = the geologist.
  • el casco [cahs’-co] = the helmet.
  • el lodo [lo’-do] = the mud.
  • el agua [ah’-goo-ah] = the water. Note that aqua is feminine, but has a masculine article.
  • el sumidero [soo-me-day'-ro] = sinking stream, drain.
  • las ollas [ol-lyals’] = the pots. Pots and pottery are common in caves in Southern Mexico.
  • los muñecos [moo-nyay’-cos] = the dolls, referring to archaeological statues.
  • las estalactitas [es-tah-lac-tee’-tahs] = stalactites.
  • estalagmitas [es-tah-lag-mee’-tahs] = stalagmites.
  • profundo, profunda [pro-foon’-do, pro-foon’-da] = deep.
  • oscuro, oscura [os-coo'-ro, os-coo'-rah] = dark.
  • vertical [ver-ti-kal] = vertical.
  • estrecho, estrecha [es-tray'-cho, es-tray'-cha] = tight
  • los vampiros [vam-pee’-ros] = the vampire bats
  • grande [grahn’-day] = great, extensive
  • guano [goo-ah’-no] = A substance composed chiefly of the dung of sea birds or bats, accumulated along certain coastal areas or in caves and used as fertilizer.