10 Phrases You Should Know Before Visiting Colombia

By Briana Seftel


Colombians have a truly unique vocabulary. With a combined square footage twice the size of Texas, you will find many different accents and phrases throughout the country.

Brush up on your Spanish and know these ten phrases before going to Colombia!


1. ¡Que chimba!

"That's awesome!"

This phrase is used all over Colombia to denote something amazing. On its own, the word "chimba" can also mean something cheap or useless.


2. Parcero/Parcera

"Friend, dude, bro, girl."

Parcero/a is what you can call a friend or acquaintance in Colombia. You'll surprise everyone around you by dropping it in a sentence, as it is a very common Colombian word, especially among youth. You'll also hear "parce" a lot which is just the shortened version of parcero.


3. A la orden

"At your service."

Probably the most common phrase in Colombia, you will hear " a la orden" dozens of times if you are near a shopping district. Literally meaning "at your service," the phrase can also translate to "may I help you?" and "you're welcome."


4. ÂżQue mas pues?

"What else?"

Colombians, especially paisas, love peppering "pues" (well) into every sentence. In this phrase, pues is added to "que mas" (what else) to add extra oomph.


5. Amorcito

"(My) love."

Colombians love using the diminutive in Spanish, meaning they add "-ito" "-ita" "-ico" or "-ica" to the ends of words. Ex: Amor/amorcito, vaso/vasito, pan/pansito.


6. Vaina

"Thing."

A highly versatile and multipurpose Colombian slang word, "vaina" is used in place of any "thing." Even if you don’t know what something is, it’s still a vaina. Ex: ¿Qué es esa vaina? - What is that thing?


7. Guayabo

"Hungover."

"Guayabo" literally means guava in Spanish, but in Colombia it can also connote being hungover. If you've had too much aguardiente the night before, you will be "guayabo" the next day and in definite need of some sancocho!


8. Polas

"Beers."

"Polas" is another word for "cerveza" or beer. The name comes from Policarpa Salavarrieta Ríos, a heroine who helped Colombia gain independence from Spain. Back in the day, Bavaria Brewing in Colombia created a beer in her honor, La Pola. While the beer doesn’t exist anymore, the name stuck.


9. Rumbiar/la rumba

"To party/the party"

It's no secret: Colombians love to party! If you're traveling to Colombia, it's important to know the word for party - la rumba! It rhymes with zumba, which is a great way to remember the word.


10. Sumercé

"(Formal) You."

This term is primarily used throughout the Boyacá region and often in Bogotá when addressing older people as a way to show respect.

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