Perhaps a visit to Cuba sparked your love of the country. Or maybe you have roots in the region. No matter what brought you here, you want to know more about Cuban surnames. If you’re expecting, you might even want to see if you can adapt one to your baby’s name. Cuban surnames can be a beautiful and vibrant way to pay homage to this special place known for its scenic beaches, colorful streets, rum, cigars, and deeply charming people.

From a modern American perspective, Cuba didn’t really register until the 1950s, when the Cuban Missile Crisis thrust Cuba and Cubans into the headlines. This perspective, however, could not be further from the truth. Cuba has been around, in one form or another, for 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 who are believed to have been there since at least the 4th millennium BCE. Things changed, however, in the 15th century, when European countries began to explore the west and seek new lands to conquer. Spain claimed Cuba as its territory and began to colonize it. It lasted about three centuries until the 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 the Cubans. The United States’ interest in Cuba has lasted for a century and a half with intermittent attempts to integrate us into the Cuban government.

Why are we so interested in Cuba? Despite being a bit of a small island, Cuba is full of natural resources that everyone is dying to get their hands on. When you think of Cuba, you undoubtedly think of its more tropical contributions, such as sugar cane, tobacco and coffee. In 2013, however, Cuba also held around 7% of the world’s nickel reserves. This ore accounts for about a fifth of all Cuban exports. Who knew?!

Walter Bibikow/Getty Images

Walter Bibikow

We would be remiss not to mention how vital tourism is to the Cuban economy as well. In 2011, Cuba recorded over 2.6 million visitors to the country, making it the third most popular Caribbean country to visit. While you might think of Cuban tourism consisting mostly of beaches, sweaty night dances, and sporting events, Cuba actually has so much more to offer. Its diverse terrain outside of its cities lends itself to being one of the best places in the world for hiking and mountaineering. Another big part of Cuba’s appeal is medical tourism – many people travel to Cuba in search of less expensive medical treatments, ranging from dental services or fertility treatments to major surgery.

But how are the Cuban people? Like many countries in the Americas, Cuba is a real cultural melting pot. You’ll find elements of indigenous Taínos, as well as Spanish and African cultures, in nearly 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. The danzón is Cuba’s “official” music and dance genre, but it is also popular in other parts of the Caribbean.

The list of the most popular Cuban surnames might help illustrate how diverse Cuban culture is these days. These are the most popular Cuban surnames, their meaning and origin.

Most Popular Cuban Surnames

1. Alonso

Meaning: variation of Alphonse

Origin: Germanic

2. Alvarez

Meaning: son of Álvaro; of 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. Bazan

Meaning: brambles, a place of brambles

Origin: Basque

9. Bernal

Meaning: strong as a bear

Origin: Catalan and German

10. Beltran

Meaning: shining crow

Origin: German

11. Corzo

Meaning: deer

Origin: Spanish

12. Delfin

Meaning: dolphin

Origin: Italian

13. Diaz

Meaning: son of Diego

Origin: Spanish

14. Dominguez

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

Origin: Spanish

15. Falcon

Meaning: falcon

Origin: French and English

16. Fernandez

Meaning: son of Fernando

Origin: Germanic

17. Garcia

Meaning: son of Gerald

Origin: pre-Roman, Basque

18. Gilles

Meaning: from the old form Egidio

Origin: Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Dutch and German

19. Gomez

Meaning: son of Gomes, Gomo or Gomaro

Origin: Germanic

20. González

Meaning: son of Gonzalo

Origin: Germanic Vidal

21. Gutierrez

Meaning: son of Gutier, Gutierre or Gualtierre

Origin: Germanic

22. Hernandez

Meaning: son of Hernando, variation of Fernando

Origin: Spanish

23. Ibarra

Meaning: meadow or valley

Origin: Basque

24. Garden

Meaning: gardener or one who lives near a garden

Origin: Spanish and French

25. Jiménez

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

Origin: Spanish, Basque

26. Leon

Meaning: lion Origin: Spanish

27. Lopez

Meaning: son of Lope; Latin Lupus, meaning wolf

Origin: Spanish

28. Madeira

Meaning: wood or wood

Origin: Spanish

29. Sailor

Meaning: the one who lives by the sea

Origin: Spanish and Catalan

30. Marrero

Meaning: stonecutter or one who hammers stones

Origin: Spanish

31.Martin

Meaning: from Mars, warrior

Origin: Latin

32. Martinez

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

Origin: Spanish

33. Mirabal

Meaning: the one who contemplates the valley

Origin: Spanish and Aragonese

34. Montalvan

Meaning: white mountains

Origin: Spanish

35. Mora

Meaning: mulberry or mulberry tree

Origin: Catalan, Portuguese and Spanish

36. Moreno

Meaning: brunette, brunette; bronze

Origin: Spanish, Portuguese and Jewish

37. Munoz

Meaning: son of Munio

Origin: pre-Roman

38. Navarre

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. Perez

Meaning: son of Pedro; Latin Petrus

Origin: Spanish, Hebrew

42. Rivas

Meaning: shore or bank

Origin: Catalan

43. Rodriguez

Meaning: son of Rodrigo, Roderic

Origin: Germanic

44. Romero

Meaning: pilgrim

Origin: possibly Italian

45. Castling

Meaning: rock

Origin: Spanish and Catalan

46. ​​Ruiz

Meaning: son of Rui; variation or short for Rodrigo

Origin: Spanish and Germanic

47. Sanchez

Meaning: son of Sancho; Latin Sanctius

Origin: Spanish

48. Torres

Meaning: turn

Origin: Latin

49. Vazquez

Meaning: son of Vasco or Velasco

Origin: Basque

50. Zayas

Meaning: guardian or watchman

Origin: Basque

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