Ways to Say “Cool” in Spanish Around the World

There are plenty of ways to say “cool,” but some are decidedly less cool than others.

Your Spanish skills are already pretty cool if you’ve mastered Mexican slang and tried learning and using colloquial words from Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries.

But now, it’s time to learn the 30 coolest Spanish words for “cool.”


The 30 Coolest Words That Mean “Cool” in Spanish

1. Bacán / Bacano

In Chile, Colombia, Peru and Cuba, bacán is used to describe something as cool.

In Colombia in particular, it may sometimes appear as bacano.

Este hotel es bacán / bacano.
(This hotel is cool.)

Be careful with this one, though. In other parts of the Spanish-speaking world, this word can mean anything from “lover” to “boss” to “steep” to “posh” because we live in a strange and confusing world.

2. Bárbaro

This word literally means “barbarian” or “barbaric,” so you’d think it would be a negative. Indeed, it’s often used to describe something terrible. However, in Argentina, it’s frequently used to mean “cool.”

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¿Te has comprado un convertible? ¡Qué bárbaro!
(You bought a convertible? How cool!)

3. Buena onda

Onda literally means “wave” or “ripple,” so buena onda is “good wave.” Buena onda is used in Argentina, Chile and Mexico to mean “cool” or “good vibe.”

Ella es buena onda porque siempre va a todas las fiestas.
(She is cool because she always goes to all the parties.)

4. Buenazo

Used in Ecuador, Costa Rica and Peru, buenazo is the equivalent of “cool” or “really good.” It’s generally used to describe inanimate objects rather than people.

Ese coche es buenazo.
(That car is cool.)

It can be also used to speak about people, but in that case it can mean anything from “really good looking” to “kindhearted person who is a bit too soft,” so before using it, check its meaning in the country where you are.

5. Cachete

While cachete literally means “cheek,” it’s used in Chile and Costa Rica to mean “cool.” It’s often used with a todo .

¿Vas a Chile? ¡A todo cachete!
(You’re going to Chile? How cool!)

6. Cachilupi

This word is used in Chile to mean “cool” or “nice.”

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Este lugar es muy cachilupi.
(This place is really cool.)

7. Calidá

Calidá is Guatemalan slang for “cool” or “excellent.”

Esta playa es calidá.
(This beach is cool.)

8. Chévere

For Spanish students, this is probably one of the more familiar words for “cool.” It’s used throughout Latin America.

Qué chévere, no tenemos tarea.
(How cool/awesome, we don’t have homework.)

9. Chido

Chido is a Mexican slang term for “cool.”

Las vacaciones estuvieron muy chidas.
(Vacation was really cool.)

10. Choy

Choy is used as “cool” in Peru.

¿Has visto Machu Picchu? ¡Es choy!
(Have you seen Machu Picchu? It’s cool!)

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11. Copado

While it literally means “tufted,” copado is used to mean “cool” in Argentina and Uruguay.

La clase es muy copada.
(The class is very cool.)

12. Descueve

Descueve is used to mean “cool” or “fantastic” in Chile.

El Valle de la Luna es el descueve.
(The Valley of the Moon is very cool.)

13. Es una pasada

In Spain, es una pasada is used colloquially as “cool” or “nice.” Hint: it stays feminine even if you’re using it to describe masculine nouns.

Este artículo es una pasada.
(This article is cool).

14. Genial

This term is used widely throughout Spanish-speaking countries (though somewhat less often in Colombia and Ecuador). It literally means “great,” but it’s often used to mean “cool.”

Ella es genial.
(She is cool.)

15. Guay

Guay is another common slang term that many Spanish students learn in school. It’s popular among children and teenagers in Spain.

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¡Qué guay!
(How cool!)

16. Gufeao / Gufiao

This Puerto Rican term can be spelled either way. It can be used to describe people or objects.

Tu teléfono nuevo está gufeao / gufiao.
(Your new phone is cool.)

17. Molar

While the noun molar means “molar,” as in the tooth, the verb molar means “to be cool” in Spain.

La camiseta mola.
(The t-shirt is cool.)

18. Molón / Molona

This word is mostly used in Spain. It means “cool” or “neat.”

Esta película es molona.
(This movie is cool.)

19. Nítido

While nítido literally means “vivid” or “clear,” it’s used to mean “cool” in Puerto Rico.

¿Arepas para el desayuno? ¡Qué nítido!
(Arepas for breakfast? Cool!)

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20. Padre

As you’ve probably already realized, this word literally means “father.” In Mexico, however, it’s also used to mean “cool.”

Me encanta tu casa. ¡Está muy padre
(I love your house. It’s very cool!) 

21. Pichudo

Pichudo is commonly used by Costa Rican teenagers to mean “cool.”

Tus gafas son pichudas.
(Your glasses are cool.)

22. Piola / Quedarse piola

Piola literally means “rope” or “string.” In Argentina and Chile, though, piola means “cool” as in “calm.” Quedarse piola is “to stay cool.”

Ese invento está piola.
(That invention is cool)

Él solo quiere provocarte. Quédate piola.
(He just wants to provoke you. Stay cool.)

23. Estar de poca madre / A toda madre

While poca madre literally means “little mother” or “motherless,” in Mexico, estar de poca madre can mean “to be cool.” Poca madre can also be used to criticize someone, so be careful—don’t direct it at a person.

A toda madre is a slang expression often used in informal contexts in Mexico to say that something is “cool” or “awesome.”

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¡Tu moto está de poca madre!
(Your motorcycle is cool!)

¡La cena estuvo a toda madre!
(Dinner was awesome!)

24. Pulento

Mostly used by poor residents of downtown Santiago, Chile, pulento means “cool.”

Tus pantalones nuevos están pulentos.
(Your new pants are cool.)

25. Pura vida

While it literally translates to “pure life,” this popular Costa Rican phrase more often means something similar to “cool.”

No hay problema. Todo pura vida.
(There is no problem. Everything is cool.)

26. Qué chilero

This Guatemalan slang for “how cool” is so popular that a children’s show is named after it.

¿No hay huracán? ¡Qué chilero!
(There isn’t a hurricane? How cool!)

27. Suave

Suave literally means “smooth,” but it can be used in some Spanish-speaking countries to mean something similar to “cool.”

George Clooney es muy suave.
(George Clooney is very cool.)

28. Topísimo

In Chile, topísimo means “cool” or “hip.”

El concierto fue topísimo.
(The concert was cool.)

29. Tuanis

Tuanis is a term used in Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador. It’s very similar to pura vida.

Tu reloj es bien tuanis.
(Your watch is cool.)

30. Zarpado

In Argentina, zarpado is often used to mean “cool.” That being said, zarpado can also refer to someone who has stepped out of line, so use it with caution.

¿Fuiste a la fiesta? ¡Qué zarpado!
(You went to the party? How cool!)

If you’re craving even more Spanish slang, check out this blog post, which wraps up with a list of all our Spanish slang posts:

Why Learn “Cool” in Spanish?

If you need a reason to learn new words other than the sheer pursuit of “cool,” there are plenty of reasons from which to choose.

First and foremost, learning “cool” words is fun. Let’s face facts: any colloquial words are fun. They’re more colorful than conventional language. But “cool” language is even more fun in that you can use it all the time. Which brings us to our next point…

Words for “cool” are also a great conversational tool. You’ll be using these terms whenever you see something you like, whenever you agree with something or even when you want to describe someone. These words are tremendously versatile.

Last but not least, learning these colloquial words will make you sound like a native speaker. Anyone can learn textbook Spanish (and indeed, many people do in schools every day). These colloquial terms, on the other hand, are more unique. Most schools don’t teach many colloquial words, so being able to use these terms appropriately will make you sound and feel more like a native speaker. What’s cooler than that?

As with any colloquial terms, these words are often nuanced, so it’s important to understand their use in real life—make sure you practice them in context so you don’t inadvertently overdo them!

Watching, listening to or reading authentic Spanish media is great for this, helping you keep your cool as native speakers do. The authentic content on FluentU in particular is aimed at language learners, with the authentic Spanish video clips featuring interactive subtitles and other tools to help you identify and review colloquial words, as well as their usage in natural speech.

By consuming native media, you’ll be able to not only learn cool colloquial words but also identify when and how to use them.


Now you know 30 ways to say “cool” in Spanish, it’s time to start using them in your own conversations!

¡Qué padre! (How cool!)

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