Caluroso, caliente, cálido, calor – how to express heat and being hot





 How to talk about heat and being hot in Spanish.



Use ‘estar’ + ‘caliente’ to talk about ‘things’ being literally hot.


agua caliente = hot water

La arena está caliente.   The sand is hot.

La sopa estaba demasiado caliente.   The soup was too hot.

El café con leché que estoy tomando no está muy caliente.

The milky coffee that I’m drinking isn’t very hot.

Estar caliente can refer to body temperature when someone has a fever.
Eg.   “¡Uy, que estás caliente!” (Estás afiebrado)  
Boy, you’re hot.  (have a high temperature)


Be wary of using ‘estar’ + ‘caliente’ when referring to yourself or another person
though as it can also have a double meaning.  Synonym = cachondo/horny.
 Eg. Estoy muy caliente.  (Estar ganoso de sexo).
Or for animals ‘estar caliente’ can refer to them being ‘in heat’.
Ser + caliente = can mean ‘hot’ as in good looking.
¡Esa chica es caliente¡     That girl’s hot!


Giving warmth and comfort


Tengo unos zapatos muy calientes para el invierno. 

I have some really warm shoes for winter.


Getting closer to something that is being looked for or guessed at (eg. in a game).


 ¡Caliente, caliente!, sigue preguntando. 

Really hot, really hot, keep asking.


Things having an elevated temperature


No planches esta camisa con la plancha muy caliente. 

Don’t iron this shirt with the iron up too hot.



If you’re hot as in ‘feeling the heat in a hot room, or on a hot day’ …
Use, ‘tener calor’.
Tengo calor.  I’m hot.  

If you’re talking about places being hot, bear in mind that you’re really referring to the weather so you use hacer.


Don’t say …. La playa estaba calurosa.

Instead say …  Hacía mucho calor en la playa.


You can also  ‘caluroso’ to talk about the ‘day’ being hot as well as to refer to someone’s personality or a welcome as

being ‘warm’. 


una calurosa bienvenida = a warm welcome


‘Cálido’ is another option when speaking about the weather,  climate, someone’s personality etc but you can’t use it with things.


El tiempo es caluroso/cálido (but not caliente).

The weather is hot.

Nicaragua tiene un clima cálido.

Nicaragua has a hot climate.


Los salvadoreñas son muy cálidos (personalidad).
People from El Salvador are very warm.
El clima de Buenos Aires en verano es caluroso.
It’s really warm in Buenos Aires in summer.
The difference between ‘caluroso’ and ‘cálida’
Eg. Un día caluroso = agobiante (stifling, oppressive)
Un día cálido = agradable (pleasant)
They are however, often used synonymously.
Me recibió con un caluroso saludo.  He greeted me warmly.
Cuando el viento es cálido, me adormezco. 
When the wind is warm it sends me to sleep.
‘Cálida’ seems to be preferred for figurative uses.
eg.  Un ambiente cálido.  or  Una iluminación cálida.
Use ‘cálido’ to refer to ‘warm’ colours.

Hay colores cálidos y hay colores fríos.

There are warm colours and cold colours.


 ‘Caluroso’ is often the preference when referring to the intensity of literal heat felt in a certain location or situation
eg.  Una habitación calurosa.   A hot room.
Un día caluroso.   A hot day.

This is perhaps regional but in some places people who don’t seem to feel the cold can be described using ‘ser caluroso’.



Mira a Pedro en camiseta y estamos a 8º.   Sí es muy caluroso.

Look at Peter just wearing a shirt and it’s only 8 degrees.  Yes doesn’t feel the cold.


Other translations for ‘hot’


de moda =  the latest thing out

picante = spicy

la noticia candente =  the ‘hot’ topic

estar bueno/a = to be attractive

temperamento irascible, mal genio = hot headed, bad tempered

discusión acolorada = heated discussion

robado = hot as in ‘stolen’

alterado/a = hot and bothered

noticias calientes = latest news (hot off the presses)