Bolivian Slang: 28 Terms You Might Hear On The Streets of La Paz


Get our free email course, Shortcut to Conversational.

Have conversations faster, understand people when they speak fast, and other tested tips to learn faster.

More info

Whether you find yourself planning a trip to the Salar De Uyuni Salt Flats, or roaming around the chaotic capital La Paz, learning the very best Bolivian slang terms can be useful when traveling in Bolivia, especially if you wish to befriend some of the locals.

Sidenote: This post is the latest post in a series where we explore slang for every Spanish speaking country

And now, the 28 most common Boivan slang terms.

1) Anda a moler agua

Are you tired of someone, or a specific situation? Although this translates directly as “go grind water”, it actually means “screw you!”.

  • ¡Anda a moler agua! Estoy cansado de tus mentiras. – Screw you! I am tired of your lies

2) Capo

Bolivian slang for someone who you think is awesome!

  • Rafael es un capo, arregló mi carro en una semana – Rafael is the best, he fixed my car in a week

3) Chacharse

A verb to to describe skipping an activity.

  • ¡Nos chachamos hoy de la clase! – We skipped the class today!

4) Chango

In some Spanish speaking countries like México, this word means monkey. But in Bolivian slang, it means a young person.

  • En el bar habían puros changos – At the bar, there were lots of young people

5) Charlando

Even though in many parts of Latin America Charlar means to have a conversation, in Bolivian slang, it means to be lying.

  • Claudia me está charlando -Claudia is lying to me

6) Chela

The weekend has arrived. You go to a bar and try to ask for a beer but instead of using the Spanish word Cerveza, you can say Chela to sound like a true Bolivian.

  • Quiero una chela friecita – I want a very cold beer

7) Chaqui

The morning after having too many chelas, this word will be part of your vocabulary. It is used to talk about a hangover, or to feel hungover.

  • No chupes tanto que mañana vas a tener chaqui – Don’t drink too much because tomorrow you’ll have a hangover

8) Chupar

It actually means to suck, but in Bolivian slang is used to say ‘drink alcohol’.

  • ¡Vamos a chupar! – Let’s go drinking!

9) Cojudo

The severity of this word will depend on the context, but in general, it is used when you want to call someone an idiot or a moron.

  • Carlos, no seas cojudo – Carlos, don’t be an idiot

10) Estar camote

If you travel to Bolivia and fall deeply in love with a local, this someone will probably use this slang on you, as being camote means that you are crazy in love.

  • Estoy camote de una chica que estudia conmigo, creo que es amor a primera vista. – I am in love with a girl that studies with me, I think it’s love at first sight

11) Estar kh’encha

Bolivian slang to help you describe one of those days when nothing is going your way and you are having bad luck.

  • Perdí mi billetera, estoy kh’encha – I lost my wallet, I have bad luck

12) Estar pintudo

When you see something is really cool or amazing, you can say pintudo. In fact, you can also this with people or situations.

  • Tu nuevo auto está pintudo. – Your new car is great

13) Estar yema

If you go to a bar and drink a few too many beers, you’ll end up yema, which is wasted.

  • Yo estoy bien yema – I am totally wasted

14) Estar yesca

Common Bolivian slang for a person who doesn’t have any money

  • Quiero chupar pero estoy yesca – I want to drink alcohol but I don’t have money.

15) Huaso/a

This expression is used to refer to someone who is shameless or a person who has a bad attitude (In Chile, this has a different meaning).

  • ¡Qué huaso! Ni siquiera se despidió cuando se fue –  ¡What a rude person! He didn’t even say bye when he left

16)  Jailón/jailona

Another word for a person who is extremely vain.

  • No pudiste conseguir el trabajo porque eres una persona jailona. – You couldn’t find the job because you are a vain person

17) Jallalla

Let’s imagine that you arrive in a crowded place and you need to greet each person, but you want to do it in a general way. This is the word you need.

  • ¡Jallalla! Espero todos estén bien. Hello, everyone. I hope everyone is fine

18) La comida está larkh’a

When you eat something in Bolivia, and the food is tasteless, then this is the expression you need to use when complaining to the waiter.

  • La comida en el restaurante de la esquina está larkh’a. – The food at the restaurant in the corner is flavorless

19) Opa

Bolivian slang for a person who is acting like an idiot or a fool.

  • ¡Paul no seas un opa! – Paul, don’t be a fool!

20) Paparupa

When somebody is talking nonsense, perhaps they are drunk, and soo, they’re talking paparupa.

  • Cuando tú te emborrachas, usualmente dices paparupa. – When you get drunk, you usually say nonsense

21) ¡Pucha!

A common expression to express frustration.

  • ¡Pucha el bus no llega! ¿Ahora que vamos a hacer? – Oh man the bus is not arriving! What are we going to do?

22) Salteña

This is the name of a popular breakfast in Bolivia, which consists of chicken or beef and vegetables.

  • Vamos a comer unas salteñas – Let’s eat some salteñas

23) Tienes mucho ñeque

An expression for that friend who thinks of himself or herself as a daredevil, willing to take risks and show how brave they are.

  • ¿Vas a saltar ese edificio? Tienes mucho ñeque – Are you going to jump that building? You’re quite brave

24) Tinkunakama

This Bolivian slang looks quite strange when written down, but its use is simple – it’s used when saying goodbye to tell that person see them soon.

  • Me tengo que ir. Tinkunakama – I have to go. See you next time

25) Trancadera

Being stuck in traffic is the worst. This word expresses exactly that situation.

  • Había mucha trancadera – There was a lot of traffic

26) Trucho

It’s used when we find something that we consider to be fake, or an imitation.

  • ¡Pucha! Me compré un reloj trucho en el mercado – Oh man! I bought a fake watch on the market

27) ¿Vamos a pirañear?

Are you a flirtatious person? If so, you need to know this Bolivian slang as it’s used to express the idea of flirting.

  • ¿Vamos a pirañear esta noche? – Are we going to flirt tonight?

28) Wa

Is someone telling you an incredible or unbelievable story? Use this word to express surprise. Like whattttt?

  • – Me voy a comprar dos carros este verano. – I am going to buy two cars this year
  • – Waaa – whattttt?

Get our FREE 7-day email course, Shortcut to Conversational

The exact strategies you need to become conversational in Spanish this year. Join the course now, before we come to our senses and charge for it!

This blog is presented by BaseLang: Unlimited Spanish Tutoring for $179 a Month. Learn more here.