The term "cuerda" refers to a unit of measurement in some Spanish-speaking regions, including Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Cuba, Spain, and Paraguay. In Puerto Rico, the term cuerda (and "Spanish acre"[1]) refers to the unit of area measurement.[2] In Guatemala, cuerda is both a unit of length measurement as well as of area measurement.[1] As a unit of area measurement, the Guatemalan cuerda can have various meanings.[1][3][full citation needed] In Cuba, cuerda refers to a unit of volume measurement;[1] in Spain[a] and Paraguay, it refers to a unit of distance (length).[2]

By unit typeEdit

Cuerda is a unit of area, volume, and distance (length), depending on the country of use.

Area: Puerto Rico and GuatemalaEdit

In Puerto Rico, a cuerda is a traditional unit of land area nearly equivalent to 3,930 square meters,[2][1] or 4,700 square yards, 0.971 acre, or 0.393 hectare (ha). The precise conversion is 1 cuerda = 3,930.395625 m2.[2] The term "Spanish acre" instead has been used sometimes by mainlanders.[1] A cuerda and an acre have often been treated as equal because they are nearly the same size.

According to Carlos Menocal Villagran,[3][full citation needed] in Guatemala, the term cuerda refers to a unit of area and can have various meanings. Cuerda can refer to areas that are 50 x 50, 40 x 40, 30 x 30, 25 x 25 or 20 x 20 varas (i.e. 2500, 1600, 900, 625, or 400 square varas). In addition, some sources[which?] describe a cuerda as 32 x 32 varas. In Guatemala, the linear vara is equivalent to 0.8421 meters.[b] Thus,

  • One cuerda of 50 x 50 varas = 1,746.84 square meters
  • One cuerda of 40 x 40 varas = 1,117.98 square meters
  • One cuerda of 30 x 30 varas = 628.87 square meters
  • One cuerda of 25 x 25 varas = 436.71 square meters
  • One cuerda of 20 x 20 varas = 279.50 square meters

Volume: CubaEdit

In Cuba, a cuerda is a traditional unit of volume for firewood,[1] about 21% smaller than the U.S. cord. A cuerda of firewood is equivalent to 0.79 cord or 2.87 cubic meters (128 cubic pies).[1]

Distance: Guatemala, Spain and ParaguayEdit

In Guatemala, a cuerda is a traditional unit of distance, equal to exactly 25 varas[1] or almost 21 meters (nearly 69 feet).

During 19th-century Spain, a cuerda was a unit of length, of nearly 6.889 m (approx. 7.554 yd).[2] However, in Valencia, Spain, the cuerda measured 40 varas, over 5.4 times longer, as nearly 37.21 m (approx. 40.7 yd).[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Archived at the WayBack Machine on 16 August 2013, from the original Units: C: cuerda. Russ Rowlett. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Units - Cuerda. Puerto Rico Act 135, section 4 (page 100), 1913–14, as amended by Act No. 3, 1913–14: A cuerda, quote: "a unit of land area, approximately 3,930 square meters (approximately 0.971 acres)...In land measurements and records, the measurement by cuerda customarily used in Porto [sic] Rico...equivalent to 3,930.395625 square meters..."
  3. ^ a b Carlos Menocal Villagran. La Importancia para el Notario de Conocer el Sistema de Conversión de Medidas Agrarias al Sistema Métrico Décimal e Interpretatión Básica de Planos. Tesis. Facultad de Ciencias Jurídicas y Sociales, Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala. San Carlos, Guatemala.


  1. ^ In both Spain, it was a unit of distance until the 19th century; it is no longer in use.
  2. ^ The length of a vara varies slightly among different Latin American countries.

External linksEdit