Guagua (pronounced wawa) is a popular word for bus in Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Canary Islands. There are differing versions of the word’s origins, from the Canarian Guanche language to the English ‘wagon’. But almost any large multiple-passenger motor vehicle can be called a guagua.

In Panama, Colombia and Ecuador another popular word for bus is chiva.

Chivas are decades-old artisan-modified buses. Today they survive mainly in the rural areas and have become pieces of popular art on wheels. Miniatures are sold as souvenirs.

Original chivas have a bus chassis with a modified body made from either metal or wood. Seats are wooden benches, and there are doors instead of windows. They are colourfully painted with decorative designs.

In Panama, chivas were replaced by school buses called “diablos rojos” (red devils). These red buses race through the streets like devils in search of customers. They usually have religious images or famous film/sports stars painted on the back. The drivers give names to their buses and write their girlfriend’s names on the windows. Favourite quotes are also painted on these buses and some of them have neon lights.

Today some of them have been modified to become party buses. You’ll find anything from smokes machines, laser and disco lights, to sophisticated video and audio systems … even live bands playing different genres of Latin music.

Night city tours on party buses have become popular, with plenty of drink options to oil the wheels! They’re used for birthdays, graduations, proms, bachelors/bachelorette parties or city tours with trips to popular nightclubs.

So, join our salsa wawa and dance the night away, make new friends and have a fantastic time with fun-loving people.

About Guaguas
Diablo rojo
Celia Cruz
Click pictures or text below to see videos about party buses
Camilo Sánchez, 2009 Wikimedia Commons
Website created by Rogelio Carles Rosas