Last Names

50 Cuban Last Names As Vibrant & Diverse As This Island Country

They’ve got that dynamic energy you’d expect.

Originally Published: 
Cuban last names reflect the vibrant culture of this diverse city.
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Maybe a visit to Cuba sparked your love of the country. Or perhaps you have roots in the area. Whatever brought you here, you’re interested in learning more about Cuban last names. If you’re expecting a child, you might even want to see if you can adapt one to a first name for your baby. Cuban last names can be a beautiful and vibrant way to pay homage to this special place known for its picturesque beaches, colorful streetscapes, rum, cigars, and deeply charming people.

From the modern American perspective, Cuba didn’t really register until the 1950s, when the Cuban Missile Crisis rocketed Cuba and Cubans to the front page of every newspaper. That perspective couldn’t be farther from the truth, however. Cuban has existed, in some form or another, as long as any other country on our planet. It was first inhabited by the Taíno, a group of people indigenous to the Caribbean islands believed to have been there since at least the 4th millennia BC. Things changed in the 15th century, however, when European countries began exploring the west and looking for new lands to conquer. Spain claimed Cuba as their territory and began to colonize it. That lasted for roughly three centuries until Cubans rose up and fought for independence. In 1898, America entered the fight, starting the Spanish-American War and, once again, leaving the fate of Cuba in the hands of anyone but Cubans. U.S. interest in Cuba has been ongoing for the last century and a half with stop-and-go attempts to embed ourselves in the Cuban government.

Why are we so interested in Cuba? Despite being a somewhat small island, Cuba is rife with natural resources that everyone is dying to get their hands on. When you think of Cuba, you undoubtedly think of its more tropical contributions, like sugar cane, tobacco, and coffee. As of 2013, though, Cuba also held onto roughly 7% of the world’s nickel reserves. That mineral makes up about a fifth of all Cuban exports. Who knew?!

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Walter Bibikow

We’d be remiss not to mention how vital tourism is to the Cuban economy as well. In 2011, Cuba recorded more than 2.6 million visitors to the country, ranking them the third most popular country in the Caribbean to visit. While you might think of Cuban tourism consisting mostly of beach lays, sweaty night dancing, and sporting events, Cuba actually has much more to offer. Its diverse terrain outside of its cities lends itself to being one of the world’s top spots for hiking and mountaineering. Another major part of Cuba’s draw is medical tourism — many people travel to Cuba seeking less expensive medical treatment ranging from dental services or fertility treatments to major surgery.

But what are the Cuban people like? As with many countries in the Americas, Cuba is a true melting pot of culture. You’ll find elements of the indigenous Taínos, as well as Spanish and African cultures, in almost every aspect of Cuban life, from cuisine to music and even family dynamics. Famous Cubans include two of the most renowned Latin performers in music history: Celia Cruz and Gloria Estefan. We promise; you’ve heard them both. Danzón is Cuba’s “official” music genre and dance, but it’s popular in other parts of the Caribbean, too.

The list of most popular Cuban last names might help illustrate just how diverse Cuban culture is these days. These are the most popular Cuban last names, what they mean, and where they originated.

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Most Popular Cuban Last Names

1. Alonso

Meaning: variation of Alfonso

Origin: Germanic

2. Álvarez

Meaning: son of Álvaro; from Alvar

Origin: Germanic

3. Amaral

Meaning: vineyard

Origin: Portuguese

4. Arce

Meaning: stone

Origin: Spanish

5. Arenas

Meaning: sand

Origin: Spanish

6. Ayala

Meaning: a pasture along a hill

Origin: Basque

7. Batista

Meaning: baptist

Origin: Spanish and Portuguese

8. Bazán

Meaning: brambles, a place of brambles

Origin: Basque

9. Bernal

Meaning: strong as a bear

Origin: Catalan and German

10. Beltrán

Meaning: bright raven

Origin: German

11. Corzo

Meaning: deer

Origin: Spanish

12. Delfín

Meaning: dolphin

Origin: Italian

13. Díaz

Meaning: son of Diego

Origin: Spanish

14. Domínguez

Meaning: son of Domingo; from Latin Dominicus or Dominus, meaning “master”

Origin: Spanish

15. Falcón

Meaning: falcon

Origin: French and English

16. Fernández

Meaning: son of Fernando

Origin: Germanic

17. García

Meaning: son of Gerald

Origin: pre-Roman, Basque

18. Gil

Meaning: from older form Egidio

Origin: Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Dutch, and German

19. Gómez

Meaning: son of Gomes, Gomo, or Gomaro

Origin: Germanic

20. González

Meaning: son of Gonzalo

Origin: Germanic Vidal

21. Gutiérrez

Meaning: son of Gutier, Gutierre, or Gualtierre

Origin: Germanic

22. Hernández

Meaning: son of Hernando, variation of Fernando

Origin: Spanish

23. Ibarra

Meaning: meadow or valley

Origin: Basque

24. Jardinez

Meaning: gardener or one who lives by a garden

Origin: Spanish and French

25. Jiménez

Meaning: son of Jimeno, Xemeno, or Ximeno; origin god

Origin: Spanish, Basque

26. León

Meaning: lion Origin: Spanish

27. López

Meaning: son of Lope; Latin Lupus, meaning wolf

Origin: Spanish

28. Madera

Meaning: wood or wooden

Origin: Spanish

29. Marin

Meaning: one who lives by the sea

Origin: Spanish and Catalan

30. Marrero

Meaning: stonemason or one who hammers stones

Origin: Spanish

31. Martín

Meaning: of Mars, war-like

Origin: Latin

32. Martínez

Meaning: son of Martín, son of Martino; Latin Martis, genitive form of Mars

Origin: Spanish

33. Mirabal

Meaning: one who gazes upon the valley

Origin: Spanish and Aragonese

34. Montalván

Meaning: white mountains

Origin: Spanish

35. Mora

Meaning: mulberry or mulberry grove

Origin: Catalan, Portuguese, and Spanish

36. Moreno

Meaning: brown-haired, brunette; tanned

Origin: Spanish, Portuguese, and Jewish

37. Muñoz

Meaning: son of Munio

Origin: pre-Roman

38. Navarro

Meaning: Navarrese, “from Navarre”

Origin: Basque

39. Ojeda

Meaning: foliage or mass of leaves

Origin: Spanish

40. Ortega

Meaning: grouse or quail

Origin: Spanish

41. Pérez

Meaning: son of Pedro; Latin Petrus

Origin: Spanish, Hebrew

42. Rivas

Meaning: shore or riverbank

Origin: Catalan

43. Rodríguez

Meaning: son of Rodrigo, Roderic

Origin: Germanic

44. Romero

Meaning: pilgrim

Origin: possibly Italian

45. Roque

Meaning: rock

Origin: Spanish and Catalan

46. Ruiz

Meaning: son of Rui; variation or short for Rodrigo

Origin: Spanish and Germanic

47. Sánchez

Meaning: son of Sancho; Latin Sanctius

Origin: Spanish

48. Torres

Meaning: tower

Origin: Latin

49. Vázquez

Meaning: son of Vasco or Velasco

Origin: Basque

50. Zayas

Meaning: watchman or guardian

Origin: Basque

Cuban Expressions

Want to dive a little deeper into Cuban culture. Here are a few phrases you can whip out when you visit.

“Go to Havana and extinguish fires.” (Va a La Habana y apaga fuego.)

Meaning: A phrase used to describe someone very talented

“Throw a mango aggressively.” (Le zumba el mango.)

Meaning: When you think something is outrageous

“Where the devil gave the three voices, and no one heard him.” (Donde el diablo dio las tres voces y nadie le oyó.)

Meaning: Used to describe something very far away

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