Spanish is so cool that we have 9 words for “cool”

How to say “cool” in Spanish should be a simple question, yet it isn’t. We will do our best to cover the most common ways to say cool in Spanish - but if you’re learning Spanish very thoroughly, keep in mind that there are about 30 different ways to do it!


It’s guay over here in Spain! It’s a slang term that you can hear throughout the country, but nobody in Latin America will understand it.


Chido is Mexico’s slang term for cool. It wasn’t very popular in other countries, but since Mexico exports a lot of cultural products (soap operas, TV series, films, etc.) it’s increasingly understood abroad.


Chévere is extremely popular in Venezuela, more than anywhere else. It’s also a slang term popular throughout the Caribbean, including in Cuba, in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and in Colombia.

Bacán/ Bacano

Bacán is used to describe something cool in Chile and Peru, but also in Cuba and Colombia (where chévere is also used in the sense of being nice, good). In Colombia, it occasionally appears as bacano.


Bárbaro is a Spanish word that means “barbarian” or “barbaric”. Except… when you head to Argentina, when it is casually used as cool or great, e.g. ¡Qué bárbaro!


You won’t hear this anywhere else in the Spanish-speaking world. But head down to Peru and choy is used as cool or nice.


Tuanis is a slang term used in Central America: Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador. In Costa Rica it is interchangeable with the expression “pura vida” (lit. pure life) - e.g. ¡Pura vida, está bien tuanis!


Did you miss a Central American country in tuanis? It’s because Guatemala uses the slang term calidá. It can mean either cool or excellent, e.g. esta playa es calidá.


Almost giving up? If you don’t know which word you should pick to say something is cool in Spanish, then choose genial (great, cool). It’s widely understood in Spanish-speaking countries, although it might sound a little odd (or less casual) in Colombia and Ecuador.


If you want to learn Spanish and navigate the wonderful Spanish-speaking world, enroll in one of our Spanish group courses. We have courses for every level, from beginner to advanced, which you can choose accordingly to your time zone and schedule.