This guide to Guatemalan slang is for English speakers visiting Guatemala for the first time. Here we’ll help you grasp slang words that can make your travel experience easier — whether you’re visiting Guatemala City or elsewhere in the country.
In Latin America, Spanish-speaking countries each have unique Spanish words that mark slang — the Guatemalan slang words you’ll hear here are different from the slang words of other Central American or South American countries.
Spanish learning travelers should pick it up pretty quickly, while those without experience with the language may struggle with pronunciation and use. No matter — Spanish is the official language of Guatemala and you’ll learn Spanish fast by talking to locals, going to restaurants, or doing other activities while there.
This is how Guatemalan’s refer to a friend. It’s used very casually, and if you’re social during your stay, you’ll make a few “cuates” yourself.
Voy al cine con mis cuates. — I am going to the cinema with my friends.
Yes (sí). Despite being longer than the word it signifies, this is the common way to say yes, or to agree with something, in Guatemala.
¿Estás bien? ¡Simón! — Are you okay? Yes!
This is the common slang term for money, particularly cash. You’ll need some “pisto” for beer, food, or to get into the museum.
¿Traes pisto para el taxi? — Do you have cash for the taxi?
More or less.
¿Estuvo buena la fiesta? ¡Dos que tres! — Was the party any good? More or less!
Be careful, when advising someone or giving advice.
Aguas con el perro. — Beware of the dog.
People from Guatemala called themselves chapines.
Los chapines son muy gentiles. — Guatemalan are gentle people.
This one doesn’t mean “to eggs” as it might first imple. Instead, it’s “of course” or “exactly”.
¿Vamos al a fiesta esta noche? ¡A huevos! — Shall we go to the party tonight? Of course!
Goodbye, used casually in conversation with someone you know or work with.
Orale, María. — Bye, María.
Bus, a common form of transport here and a term that many locals will use with a sarcastic dose of disdain.
Agarra la burra para llegar a casa de tu tío. — Take the bus to get to your uncle’s house.
Snacks or nibbles served before lunch or dinner.
Tenemos servicio de boquitas y banquetes. — We have snacks and catering service.
Expand your Spanish vocabulary beyond slang terms before your trip to Guatemala, and have a better trip for the effort. Learn more about how to talk like a true local by starting with our Spanish Survival Crash Course.
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