How To Say ‘Cool’ In Spanish In Different Countries

How to say cool in Spanish?… Straight and simple mis amigos:

“Genial” is the most universal equivalent for this expression.

However, if you’ve been studying Spanish for a while now, you know native speakers have unique ways to communicate according to their home countries.

Yes, there are some universal ways to say cool in Spanish.

But, in this blog post, I will give you a free imaginary plane ticket to go with me to six Latin American countries:

  • Colombia
  • Mexico
  • Argentina
  • Costa Rica
  • Chile
  • And Spain

The goal?

We’ll uncover the many different answers you can find worldwide to today’s question:

How to say cool in Spanish?

This is crucial for you, especially if you’re planning to make a real-life trip to a Spanish-speaking country…

These are phrases that locals use all the time, so it’s bound to happen that you’ll hear them!

So mis amigos…

Pack up your things, grab your passport and I’ll see you in the airport’s waiting room.

5 Universal Ways To Say “Cool” In Spanish

Hands with map painted on skin

Before we take off and go to our first destination on this trip, I want to mention that the literal translation for Cool in Spanish is:


You know, just like when, in English, you say cool to refer to how nice the temperature feels. 

Something like:

  • Example: “El clima está fresco, perfecto para salir a caminar”
  • Translation: The weather is cool, perfect to go for a walk.

Now, in English, you mostly define something as “Cool” whenever you want to say that something is great.

And for this kind of meaning, in Spanish, we have five different expressions that everybody understands in the world.

Yes, Amigos…

You may use any of the following 5 expressions in any Spanish-speaking country:

  1. Genial: Cool or great.
  2. Estupendo: Awesome or cool.
  3. Formidable: Awesome or cool.
  4. Maravilloso: Wonderful or cool.
  5. Magnifico: Magnificent or cool.

All of these may be interpreted as cool in Spanish.

But notice that they also have a slight variation like “Awesome” or “Wonderful”.

Here are some examples:

  • Example: Qué genial que tu mamá te dejó venir a mi casa
  • Translation: It’s so cool your mom let you come to my house
  • Example: ¡Qué formidable aventura!
  • Translation: Such a cool adventure
  • Example: ¡La película estuvo estupenda!
  • Translation: The movie was wonderful (or cool)
  • Example: ¡Tu casa es magnifica! 
  • Translation: Your house is magnificent (or cool)

Using these expressions, though, may sound a little formal.

That’s probably why all native Speakers around the world understand them.

Now, if you want to sound more spontaneous, you’re going to need to use slang or idioms. 

And these are owned by each country individually. 

So, here’s where our trip begins…

Did you check your bags already? 

I hope you did because it’s time to board the plane and go to our first destination:

How To Say Cool In Colombian Spanish

Colombia's flag

Welcome to my hometown: The beautiful Colombia! 

I was born and raised here, and let me tell you:

Just as the country itself has a huge variety of people, accents, and foods, the locals here use slang and idioms all the time.

People here have quite a few expressions to communicate the idea you’re learning to say in this post. 

For instance:


This is one of the most common ways to say cool in Spanish.

Colombians own it, like me.

I say it all the time!

It’s also widely used all across Latin America like in Venezuela, where they say it pretty often.

These are some examples of how people use it:

  • Example: ¡Qué célular tan chévere!
  • Translation: What a cool phone!
  • Example: ¡Chévere! Nos vemos mañana a las 6pm.
  • Translation: Cool! See you tomorrow at 6:00 p.m.


Another expression people use is “Bacano” or the female version of it “Bacana”.

All Colombians know it and use it.

For example: 

  • Example: ¡Mira!, qué camioneta tan bacana.
  • Translation: Look!, what a cool SUV.
  • Example: Me parece que lo que estás estudiando es muy bacano.
  • Translation: I think what you’re studying is really cool!

¡Qué Bacanería!

Here we have a variation for “Bacano”. 

I might even say that this is a way to increase the “coolness” of something for Colombians.

You know if something was “cool” (Bacano) in the past, and it’s “cooler” now then you may say:

  • Example: ¡Parce, qué bacanería de fiesta!  
  • Translation: Dude, what a cool party! 

Related: 19 Ways To Say Dude In Spanish Slang

  • Example: Qué bacanería de lavadora, ¡no hace nada de ruido!
  • Translation: What a cool washing machine, it makes no noise at all! 

Ser Un Bacán

Colombians use this expression to call a person cool. 

You know, like when you really like someone (as a friend). 

However, this expression is NOT to say something is cool.

 if you say it like that in Colombia, it would sound incorrect.

You know:

  • Este hotel es bacán (Wrong!)

In this country, people only use it to define someone as a cool person.

That’s the only way to use it!

  • Example: Diego es un bacán, me eseñó muchas palabras en español hoy. 
  • Translation: Diego is cool, he taught me a lot of Spanish words today.

And for women, you just need to add an “a” at the end of the word: 


  • Example: Lucia es muy bacana, siempre tenemos buenas conversaciones.
  • Translation: Lucía is really cool, we always have nice conversations. 


In Spanish, “sabroso” means tasty.

However, Colombians may use this word as a way to Define something as cool or Nice.

You know, if something you eat is tasty, then it’s something cool!

  • Example: Imaginate un viaje a la playa con nuestras familias; muy sabroso, ¿no? 
  • Translation: Imagine a trip to the beach with our families; very cool, Right? 
  • Example: Este carro anda muy sabroso, no puedo creer que sea tan barato.
  • Translation: This car runs very cool, I can’t believe it is so cheap.

Related: Cómo Hablar De Comida En Español

¡Qué Nota! 

If you ask Colombians how to say cool in Spanish, “Qué Nota” would be one of their most common replies.

It means “What a note”.

And yeah, I agree… 

It makes no sense at all if you try to relate this expression by definition with “Cool”.

I feel like a good way to associate this phrase with this meaning is by thinking about music.

Like when you hear a nice musical note.

You know, like :

“What a good musical note”. 

That would be easier to link with “something cool”, right?

Here’s how Colombians use it:

  • Example: Qué nota de vídeo hiciste en YouTube.
  • Translation: A cool video you made on YouTube
  • Context: At the zoo.
  • Example: Mirá que nota de León, me pregunto porqué duerme tanto.
  • Translation: Look what a cool lion, I wonder why he sleeps so much.

¡Qué Cuca!

You have to be careful with this expression.

For people in Medellín, city (my hometown), it means:

“This is so cool!”

However, for people on the Colombian Coast, this means vagina.

Wait… what! 😱

Yes, it is what it is amigos.

In fact, according to Google, it seems like people in Medellín are the only ones who think “Qué Cuca” is a way to say cool in Spanish.

So, you don’t want to go outside this city saying something like: 

“¡Qué cuca de hamburguesa!”

It’d be so weird, right? 😅

But anyway, this is how Paisas (what people from medellín are called) would use this expression: 

  • Example: ¡Qué cuca de guitarra la que me compré! 
  • Translation: What a cool guitar I bought!

Qué Elegancia

If you translate this, we will get something like: 

“What a fancy…”

It sounds as if you were just about to talk about the look of clothes or someone’s physical appearance.

This might not always be the case for Colombians who use this phrase as another way to say cool in Spanish.

  • Example: ¡Qué elegancia de pizza! Es la mejor que he comido en mucho tiempo. 
  • Translation: What a cool pizza! It’s the best I’ve eaten in a long time.

Qué Calidad

This is another phrase Colombians use, and it translates to “what a quality”.

It conveys the idea that something is of a “high-class quality”.

Colombians use this expression to say that something or someone is cool.

  • Example: ¡María es qué calidad de persona! Ella es muy buena amiga.
  • Translation: Maria is such a cool person! She is a very good friend.


Honestly, I think this is not a word that only Colombians use for when they want to say cool in Spanish.

I feel like people from other countries use it as well, like in Puerto Rico.

But if you’re outside Colombia you’ll have to ask.

Just to make sure they use it as “cool”. 

Like Colombians say it:

  • Example: Messi hizo un gol brutal.
  • Translation: Messi scored such a cool goal.
  • Example: Estoy haciendo un curso de español brutal.
  • Translation: I’m doing such a cool Spanish course.

Ser/Estar Play

Young woman wearing sunglasses

This expression also comes from Medellín city.

Because of that, people outside this area may not understand it correctly.

In this city, though, it means “to be cool”. 

I feel this expression became popular because back in the late 90’s the latest cool tech gadgets were in English. 

Of course, you were cool if you had a Walkman or a Discman back then.

To make tech work on those days, usually you needed to press the button “play”.

So eventually, if you had cool stuff or you looked stylish, young people would call you a “play” person.

  • Example: Te ves super play hoy, ¿vas a salir con alguien?
  • Translation: You look super cool today, are you going out with someone?
  • Example: Tienes una casa muy play, todo está muy moderno.
  • Translation: You have a very cool house, everything is pretty. 

Al pelo / Al peluche

If you translate these words, you’re going to get some weird meanings that have nothing to do with cool in Spanish.

“Al pelo” means to the hair.

 And “Al peluche” means to the teddy.

Yes, this is nonsense, but whoever told you Spanish made any sense was a liar.

Just understand that Colombians use this to say “cool” and you’ll be safe to go: 

Example conversation: 

— ¿Cómo está todo?— (How’s everything?) 

— Todo al pelo y ¿Y vos?  — (Everything cool, you?)

— Todo al peluche, gracias por preguntar — (Everything cool, thanks for asking)

Related: 4 Totally Different ways to say “For you” in Spanish

Qué Chimba 

In some parts of Colombia like Medellín, and Bogotá this is a slang phrase for “Cool”.

For some reason weird reason though, in other regions like the Coast, that may mean “vagina”.

Yes, just like the expression “Qué Cuca” that I explained above. 

So be careful with this expression. 

It’s super interesting how the meaning of words might differ from region to region.

For example, in Medellín “Chimba” is perceived as a way to say “cool” and swear at the same time swearing.

While in Bogotá, it doesn’t sound like such a big deal.

Either way, it is slang, and it means cool in both of these cities.

  • Example: ¡Qué chimba de tenis!
  • Translation: Cool shoes! 


If we translate this word, you’re going to get “fine”, like when you say that something is fine and expensive.

Even though that’s the technical meaning so to speak, Colombians also use it as a way to say cool in Spanish.

  • Example: Qué chiste tan fino, tengo que contárselo a mi hermano.
  • Translation: What a cool joke, I have to tell it to my brother.
  • Example: ¡Qué fino! Me encanta tu trabajo.
  • Translation: Cool! I love your job.


This expression means “neat”.

But for some, especially for those young people who use a lot of slang in Medellín city, it means cool. 

  • Example: Qué buen trabajo cucho, estás nitido.
  • Translation: That’s a good job dude, you’re cool

Honesty I have to say that old people would never use this expression.

Or the next one…

Related: 10 Spanish expressions you have to know to understand Colombians


This is not a very common expression, but you have to know that it exists and that you might hear it.

Very rarely, but it might happen.

Especially used among young people living in the poorest areas of Medellín. 

  • Example: ¡Choto! Pasé matemáticas sin estudiar para el exámen. 
  • Translation: Cool, I pass math without studying for the text.

Okay great!

So far you’ve learned a bunch of phrases and different ways to say cool in Spanish the Colombian way.

And now that you know how to do it in my home country, let’s go to México!

How To Say Cool In Mexican Spanish

Mexico's flag

How’s the trip so far? 

Are you ready to listen to some mariachis and enjoy a couple of margaritas? 

You know, like the song…

“I wanna dance by water ‘neath the Mexican sky

Drink some Margaritas by a string of blue lights

Listen to the Mariachi play at midnight

Are you with me, are you with me?”

Get ready mis amigos because this is what a Mexican would respond if you ask him/her to explain “how to say cool in Spanish”:


You might also hear it as “está chido” (that’s cool). 

Or simply “Qué Chido” (How Cool!).

This is a very Mexican way to say something is cool. 

  • Example: ¡Qué chido que vienes para México! 
  • Translation: It’s so cool you’re coming to Mexico.
  • Example: ¡Está muy chido tu reloj!
  • Translation: Your watch is really cool!

Qué Padre – Está Padre

The literal meaning of “Padre” is father.

And yes, when they don’t use it as slang, Mexicans call their dads “Padre”.

However, when they say that a situation is “Padre” like… 

  • “Qué Padre” 
  • Or “Está Padre”

What they mean is:

It’s cool.

  • Example: Está muy padre que tus papás no se enojaron por lo que pasó en la fiesta. 
  • Translation: It’s cool your parents didn’t get mad about what happened at the party.
  • Example: ¿Entonces vienes con el primo Enrique mañana? ¡Qué padre!
  • Translation: So you’re coming with cousin Enrique tomorrow? That’s so cool!


This word is a variation of “Padre”. 

And this is just a way to increase the impact of “Qué padre”.

It’s like the superlative of “Padre” so to speak. 

So, if something is “padre” (cool), then something better would be padrísimo (super cool). 

  • Example: Déjame presentarte a un chavo que juega en un equipo padrísimo.
  • Translation: Let me introduce you to a guy who plays for a super cool football team.

Está Cañón

I heard this phrase from one of my Mexican colleagues at work.

She was talking about a website and came up with this idiom out of the blue.

What she wanted to say was that the site was pretty cool using the phrase:

“Está cañón”.

  • Example: Me encanta ese sitio de internet, creo que está muy cañón el diseño.
  • Translation: I love this website, I think the design is cool.

Está Cabrón

I’m not Mexican, but I feel like this is a variation of the previous phrase. 

However, the word “Cabrón” is a popular word for swearing in México. 

I guess it would be some kind of an equivalent for “it’s f*cking” cool in the mariachi country. 

Depending on the context, people might also use this phrase to mean that something is really difficult.

Something like “f*cking difficult” in English.

  • Example: Oye me encanta este programa de TV, está cabrón, ¿no?
  • Translation: Hey I love this TV show, it’s cool, isn’t it?
  • Example: Comprar casa está cabrón por estos días, todo está muy caro.
  • Translation: Buying a house is difficult these days, everything is very expensive.

Buena Onda

As a Colombian, I want to say that this is one of the phrases that Mexicans typically use.

I mean, if I hear someone saying this phrase as a way to say cool, I immediately think he or she is Mexican. 

I guess it became popular because TV Spanish dubbing is mostly done in Mexico these days, and they use “buena onda” quite often.

They say it to define something or someone as “cool”. 

  • Example: Qué buena onda que pudiste venir a visitarme al hospital, gracias.
  • Translation: It’s really cool that you were able to come to visit me at the hospital, thank you.
  • Example: Tu abuela es muy buena onda, habla como si tuviera 20 años.
  • Translation: Your grandma is really cool, she talks like she was a 20 year old.

Related: 14 Lovely Ways To Say Grandma In Spanish People Use Every Day


Look up this word in a dictionary and you’ll get “soft”.

However, this is the Mexican way to say “cool” in Spanish just like a surfer would say “right on!” In English.

The first time I heard it was in Pixar’s movie Finding Nemo. 

You know…

Right in this scene, the little turtle was celebrating that he had managed to get back to the turtle’s current. 

The old turtle gets excited and shakes hands with the little one(or should I say they crush heads) as he says:

“Suave” (Cool). 

Example conversation: 

— Entonces, te bañas y vamos a almorzar a tu restaurante favorito— (So, you take a shower, and then we go have lunch at your favorite restaurant) 

— ¡Suave! — (cool)

Estar De Poca Madre

If a Mexican says this, he’s acknowledging that something is awesome.

Or might also communicate that he/she really likes someone as a friend.

  • Example: Este chavo me cae de poca madre.
  • Translation: I really like this guy (in this context “like” as a friend).

Related: 19 Ways To Say I Love You In Spanish Like Latinos Do It

  • Example: Las vacaciones estuvieron de poca madre, las necesitaba de verdad.
  • Translation: vacations were awesome, I really needed them.


I hope you enjoyed learning a bit from Mexicans. 

It’s time to keep going! 

This time, we have to head back south to the Latin American continent. 

Let’s go to Argentina!

How To Say Cool In Argentinian Spanish

Argentina's flag

As we fly to Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi’s origin country…

(Yes, I love Fútbol ⚽️)

Let me tell you something real quick: 

The Argentinian accent is one of the most unique accents in the Spanish-speaking world. 

Maybe not the easiest to understand, but for me, it’s as if you were hearing a cover of your favorite song with totally different instruments than the ones used in the original song. 

And this isn’t a surprise because this accent is a beautiful combination of Spanish and Italian influences. 

This is how they say cool in Spanish:

Está Copado

In Argentina, when something is cool, they may say “está copado.” 

It’s the go-to phrase for expressing approval or admiration.

Example conversation: 

— ¿Cómo estuvo la película anoche? — (How was the movie?) 

— Estaba copada, me encantó — (pretty cool, I loved it)


Argentinians often add “re” before an adjective to emphasize its intensity. 

So, if something is really cool, you can say “re-bien” along with their rolled R and that unique way of stretching the words they do. 

  • Example: La comida en ese restaurante es re-bien
  • Translation: The food at that restaurant is really cool

Qué Joya 

“Qué joya” translates to “What a gem.” 

Argentinians pronounce “joya” as HOH-SHA.

And it’s used to appreciate something exceptional or impressive in Soda Estereo’s origin country.

Just like if you were saying that something is awesome or cool.

Cultural Note: Soda Estereo is one of the most popular Argentinian rock bands of all time.

I’m a big fan and that’s why I had to mention it 😎.

  • Example: ¡Viste ese auto nuevo? ¡Qué joya!
  • Translation: Did you see that new car? What a gem!

Qué Bárbaro

This expression means “How barbaric!” 

But in Argentina, it’s used positively to mean “How cool!” or “Amazing!”.

For instance, Argentinian Fútbol narrators in Latin America are pretty well known.

So it’s very common to hear this expression at a soccer game. 

You know, the narrator sees an exceptional player doing something out of the norm and he says:

¡Qué bárbaro!

  • Example: Messi tiene el balón. Patea… ¡gol!… ¡Qué bárbaro!
  • Translation: Messi has the ball. He shoots, goal!… How cool!

Piola/Quedarse Piola

“Piola” is an adjective used to describe someone or something as cool or clever in several countries of Latin America like Argentina. 

Now, “Quedarse piola” means to stay cool, calm, or composed in a situation.

  • Example: Ese chico es muy piola.
  • Translation: That guy is very cool.
  • Example: En medio de la discusión, él se quedó piola.
  • Translation: In the middle of the argument, he stayed cool.

Qué Groso 

“Groso” translates to “big” or “large”.

But in colloquial Argentinian Spanish, it’s used to compliment someone for their coolness or greatness. 

You can say, “¡Qué groso!” to appreciate someone’s skills or achievements.

  • Example: Ganaste el torneo de ajedrez, ¡qué groso!
  • Translation: You won the chess tournament, how cool!


When something is incredibly cool or mind-blowing, Argentinians might say it’s “zarpado.” 

It conveys a sense of awe and amazement. 

  • Example: La vista desde la montaña es zarpada
  • Translation: The view from the mountain is incredible

Interesting, right? 

But, this post doesn’t end here.

Let’s talk now about Costa Rica!

How To Say Cool In Costa Rican Spanish

Costa Rica's Flag

Let’s go back to Central America, to a beautiful country full of natural wonders. 

If you get to this country and ask people how to say cool in Spanish, they sure would reply with any of the following phrases:

Pura Vida 

“Pura Vida” means pure life. 

Costa Ricans use this phrase literally ALL-THE-TIME. 

It’s very positive and it expresses a sense of well-being, gratitude, or agreement. 

  • Example: Me encanta este lugar, pura vida.
  • Translation: I Love this place, it’s cool.


“Tuanis” is a popular slang term in Costa Rica, meaning “cool” or “great.” 

It’s commonly used to describe something impressive or enjoyable. 

  • Example: La fiesta anoche estuvo tuanis
  • Translation: The party last night was cool


In Costa Rican Spanish, “pichudo” is used to refer to someone who is stylish, cool, or trendy. 

It’s often used to compliment a person’s appearance or fashion sense. 

  • Example: Ese traje que llevas puesto te queda pichudo.
  • Translation: That suit you’re wearing looks cool on you.

A Cachete

“Cachete” is a popular expression in Costa Rica to describe something as cool, excellent, or admirable. 

Example conversation: 

— ¿Cómo te sentiste en la cena con mi familia? — (How’d you feel at the dinner with my family?) 

— ¡A Cachete! Todo estuvo genial.— (Cool, everything was great)

How To Say Cool In Chilean Spanish

Chile's flag

Our last destination in Latin America today is the country that speaks the most difficult-to-understand accent in Spanish: 

(At least in my opinion).


Here are some Chilean phrases:


“Paulento” is a colloquial term in Chilean Spanish used to describe something or someone as cool, stylish, or impressive. 

It’s also often used to express admiration. 

  • Example: La banda que tocó anoche era bien paulenta.
  • Translation: The band that played last night was really cool.


“Topísimo” is an emphatic way to say something is cool, fantastic, or top-notch in Chilean Spanish.

It communicates a high level of approval and excitement.

I feel is something like the top of tops of a category of things. 

Not sure though, I guess a Chilean would be in a better position to explain exactly what he/she has in mind when he uses this expression.

  • Example: ¡Ese concierto estuvo topísimo!
  • Translation: That concert was incredibly cool!


This is a slang term in Chilean Spanish that means something is outstanding, extraordinary, or exceptional.

It’s also used to express amazement or appreciation.

Certainly just like we use “cool” in English. 

  • Example: La actuación del actor principal descueve.
  • Translation: The performance of the main actor is outstanding.


Chileans also use “Cachilupi” as a term to describe something as cool, neat, or excellent. 

It’s often used casually to express approval. 

  • Example: ¡Qué cachilupi está ese auto!
  • Translation: That car looks really cool!

How To Say Cool In Castilian Spanish (Spain)

Spain's flag

Alright, amigos! 

We’re getting to our final destination:


And of course, the Europeans just like all other Spanish speakers of the world have their unique style of saying “cool”.

Here are some phrases I’ve heard from them.

Qué Guay

“Qué guay” is a popular expression in Spain used to say something is cool, great, or awesome. 

This is the “Chévere” of Europe so to speak.

And it’s a versatile term that can be used to express approval for various situations.

  • Example: Finalmente conseguiste ganar esa carrera, ¡qué guay!
  • Translation: You finally got to win that race, cool!

Qué Pasada

“Qué pasada” translates to “What a marvel” or “What a blast.” 

It’s used to describe something impressive, exciting, or extraordinary. 

  • Example: ¿Has visto el espectáculo de fuegos artificiales? ¡Qué pasada!
  • Translation: Did you see the fireworks show? It was amazing!


“Molón” (masculine) and “molona” (feminine) are adjectives used to describe something as cool, trendy, or stylish in Spain. 

These terms are often used to compliment someone’s appearance or belongings. 

Honestly, I’ve never heard it in Latin America. 

  • Example: ¡Qué molona está tu chaqueta!
  • Translation: What a cool jacket you have!


Spaniards use this verb to express that something is cool or enjoyable.

It’s funny how this expression reminds me of some video games I used to play when I was younger.

They were dubbed into Castillian Spanish, and that’s when I heard this expression for the first time.

  • Example: Me encanta esta canción, ¡mola mucho!”
  • Translation: I love this song, it’s really cool!

Ser la Caña

And speaking of video games…

Back in the day, whenever you completed a level or you defeated an important boss in the games, you would hear a voice saying:

“¡Eres la caña!”

Of course, this would come along with a strong accent from Spain.

It just means “You’re so cool”.

  • Example: El concierto fue la caña, ¡y la banda era la caña también!
  • Translation: The concert was so cool, and the band was awesome too!

Which One Will You Say?


I never thought this post was going to be this long.

As a conclusion, my best advice for you is that if you’re learning a specific accent in Spanish, pick the phrases that belong to it and use them. 

Also, don’t hesitate to keep asking native speakers how they say cool in their language. 

Now, if you just want to sound accurate anywhere in the world, stick with “Genial”.

It works as the equivalent for:

  • Cool
  • Great
  • Or right on! 🤙🏻

And before I go…

I have a question for you:

Is there any other way to say cool in Spanish that you know and that I haven’t covered in this blog post? 

Perhaps something that belongs to a specific Spanish-speaking country?

Let me know about it in the comments below:

Diego Cuadros is a blogger and a Spanish online teacher. He uses stories to help Spanish lovers understand fast-speaking native speakers, so they don't freeze and panic in conversations.

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