I Can’t Wait in Spanish: Express Excitement like a Native Speaker

In English, it’s common to say “I can’t wait” to express excitement. So when we go to speak Spanish, many English speakers translate that expression literally (I’ve done it too!).

Trouble is, “I can’t wait” is an idiom — meaning you can’t quite translate it literally into Spanish.

In fact, there are a range of translations for I can’t wait in Spanish. Let’s break down the most natural ways to express this idea.

Can you just say No puedo esperar [xyz]?

No puedo esperar translates literally to “I can’t wait”, so can you just say that?

Not really. In Spanish, no puedo esperar is used when you LITERALLY can’t wait.

As in,

– “Perdón, ya llego, sólo 15 minutos más” (Sorry, I’m coming, just 15 more minutes)

– “Lo siento pero me tengo que ir! No puedo esperar más.” (Sorry but I have to go! I can’t wait any longer)

In fact, when you Google “no puedo esperar”, the first page shows an app from Spain that helps you locate bathrooms near you… because you literally can’t wait!

No puedo esperar, an app. No puedo esperar is not the best way to express I can't wait in Spanish.
In most of the Spanish speaking world, “no puedo esperar” doesn’t mean what you think it means.

Compare that to searching “I can’t wait“, where the whole first page is famous songs with that title. That’s because it’s an important expression in English — but not in Spanish.

Search results for no puedo esperar
170 million results for no puedo esperar
2.5 BILLION results for I can’t wait

Of course, there will be exceptions.

Spanish is a language with a lot of variety, and I have seen some native speakers use this. But in most places, it’s not the most natural or common way to express yourself in Spanish.

How do you say I can’t wait in Spanish?

A simple, very common way is the expression “tengo muchas ganas de ____”.

Tener ganas is a useful expression you’ll hear all the time in Spanish. As far as I know, no direct equivalent exists in English. But if you’ve studied a language like French or German, you can liken it to “j’ai envie de…” or “ich habe Lust auf…”

Here are a few examples using tener ganas:

-> “Tengo muchas ganas de verte” (I can’t wait/ I’m looking forward to seeing you)

-> “Tengo muchas ganas de partir para nuestro viaje a Brasil” (I can’t wait to leave for our trip to Brazil).

Tip: You can use “Tengo muchas ganas de + verb” anytime you want to express that you are eager/excited to do something. If you just say “Tengo ganas de ___”, it’s more like saying “I want to ___” or “I feel like ___”.

4 other common ways of expressing anticipation/eagerness/excitement in Spanish:

How common these expression are varies from region to region, and there are surely some that I’ve missed. But these 4 will all be widely understood:

Estoy ansioso por [verb]

-> Estoy ansioso por irme de vacaciones! (I can’t wait to go on vacation!)

-> Estoy ansioso por ver el nuevo episodio (I can’t wait to see the new episode)

No veo la hora de [verb]

-> No veo la hora de que nos casemos (I can’t wait for us to get married)

-> No veo la hora de que estemos todos juntos de nuevo (I can’t wait for us all to be together again)

No aguanto las ganas de [verb]

-> No aguanto las ganas de comer esta pizza! (I can’t wait to eat this pizza!)

-> Hace tanto calor! No aguanto las ganas de tirarme al agua. (It’s so hot! I can’t wait to jump in the water)

¡Me muero por [verb]!

-> ¡Me muero por verte! (I can’t wait/I’m dying to see you!)

-> Me muero por salir de esta reunión (I can’t wait/I’m dying to get out of this meeting)

Put it into practice!

What’s something that you can’t wait to do? Write 5 sentences, using each one of the 5 expressions above.

Then you can submit your sentences to a website like HiNative, where native speakers can correct your writing.

Connor Kane, Spanish coach

Thanks for reading! I'm Connor Kane, the Spanish coach and creator behind Breakthrough Spanish. I'm not a native Spanish speaker — which means I know exactly what it's like to learn Spanish from scratch, like you. Breakthrough Spanish helps you save time, get focused, and speak confident Spanish faster.