In the song "Hotel California" by the Eagles, what are "colitas"?



Hotel California is one of my favorite songs. One mysterious line at the beginning of the song states:

Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air

I speak some Spanish, but neither I nor my friends who are native speakers could decipher what "colitas" are.

What are colitas in this context?

Brian Rushton

Posted 2015-03-26T20:32:51.437

Reputation: 331


This question should be closed because it is about the English language, not music. BTW, check *In the song "Hotel California," what does "colitas" mean?*.

– user3169 – 2015-03-26T20:38:01.213

It's Spanish slang for buds of the cannabis plant. – Budhaditya Bhattacharjee – 2017-05-17T02:08:02.087



The way I heard it, one of the guys on their road crew, who was Latino, told Henley and Frey that "colitas" meant "little buds" in Spanish. As in, marijuana buds. So, in that lyric they're describing driving down the highway smoking weed.

Johnny Bones

Posted 2015-03-26T20:32:51.437

Reputation: 6 247

5Can you provide a source for this? – Anton dB – 2015-03-26T22:09:36.703


I heard that years ago. A quick Google, though, turned up the Wiki as the first hit, which does support my answer:

– Johnny Bones – 2015-03-26T23:54:17.020


When this album came out I had the official music sheet for this song. I'm pretty sure colitas should be "eucalyptus".

I think in the song the words get a little bit muzzy as they sometimes do, and the bit that comes through loud and clear sounds like colitas. I think it's passed in to common lore that that is the word sung even though nobody knows what it means!

"Warm smell of eucalyptus, rising up through the air".

Try it, listen again, get the phrasing right and it's bang on.

By the way, eucalyptus, grows quite commonly in South California.

Star Man

Posted 2015-03-26T20:32:51.437

Reputation: 11

I looked at the printed sheet music and it clearly says "colitas". – Donald.McLean – 2017-08-15T18:53:37.410


Colitas are the name of a popular oxtail soup in Baja California.


Posted 2015-03-26T20:32:51.437

Reputation: 11

1can you give an example, e.g. link to a menu with this dish listed ? – Angst – 2017-08-17T22:13:21.790


I heard someone tell me that the smell of colitas is the oder of a decomposing body. I never could find anyone else who could give me an answer.


Posted 2015-03-26T20:32:51.437

Reputation: 1