guatemalan slang terms

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 is different from the slang of other Central American or South American countries.

Spanish learning travelers should pick up pretty quickly, while those without experience in the language may struggle with pronunciation and use. No matter — Spanish is the official language of Guatemala and you’ll pick up some basics quickly while there.

Cuate

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.

For example:

Voy al cine con mis cuates. — I am going to the cinema with my friends.

Simón

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.

For example:

¿Estás bien? ¡Simón! — Are you okay? Yes!

Pisto

This is the common slang term for money, particularly cash. You’ll need some “pisto” for beer, food, or to get into the museum.

For example:

¿Traes pisto para el taxi? — Do you have cash for the taxi?

Dos que tres

More or less.

For example:

¿Estuvo buena la fiesta? ¡Dos que tres! — Was the party any good? More or less!

¡Aguas!

Be careful, when advising someone or giving advice.

For example:

Aguas con el perro. — Beware of the dog.


Chapino, chapina, or chapines

People from Guatemala called themselves chapines.

For example:

Los chapines son muy gentiles. — Guatemalan are gentle people.

A huevos

This one doesn’t mean “to eggs” as it might first imple. Instead, it’s “of course” or “exactly”.

For example:

¿Vamos al a fiesta esta noche? ¡A huevos! — Shall we go to the party tonight? Of course!

Orale

Goodbye, used casually in conversation with someone you know or work with.

For example:

Orale, María. — Bye, María.

Burra

Bus, a common form of transport here and a term that many locals will use with a sarcastic dose of disdain.

For example:

Agarra la burra para llegar a casa de tu tío. — Take the bus to get to your uncle’s house.

Boquitas

Snacks or nibbles served before lunch or dinner.

For example:

Tenemos servicio de boquitas y banquetes. — We have snacks and catering service.

Going further than Guatemalan slang

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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