Here Are 5 Colombian Phrases You Need to Know Before You Go!


Besides food and local drinks, another cool part of traveling is learning new phrases and expressions. It’s always a satisfying feeling when you barely speak German, but you know how to say Ich kann nicht kacken.” Mhm, that means “I can’t poop.” Regardless of the reaction that a German speaker will give you, they’ll be very impressed that you know how to express your constipation… IN GERMAN. For that reason, whenever I meet someone new, I try to learn a few local expressions/sentences in their language. Here in Buenos Aires, my best pal, Luisa, is from Colombia, so we took over the Shut Up and Go Instagram so that she could teach me some phrases from Cali, Colombia! Check out the “Colombian Phrases” highlight on the profile to see the full series.


Photo by Jünior Rodríguez on Unsplash

Here's a quick recap of the expressions (poorly explained by me)!

  • 11

    PARCE  – friend, mate, pal

    Basically, this word is “amigo” but in “estilo colombiano.” I wonder if it carries the same weight as when my gal friends and I say, “that’s my guuuuurl! *insert 17 clapping emojis*”

    Regardless, this is a word that we’ll all use because there isn’t anything in the world like having a great friend.


    “¿ Todo bien, parce?” 

    “Everything good, my friend?”

  • 22

    MELO  – cool, dope

    You’ve gotta use this one with “estar” in order to describe something.


    “Maluma, él está melo.”

    “Maluma, he’s cool.”


  • 33

    SISAS – yes, yup, yeah

    This is probably my favorite word on the list because it’s quick, easy, efficient, and sounds a bit like “Cesar salad.”


    “¿Quieres bailar conmigo?” | “Sisas!” 

    “Wanna dance with me? | Yeah!”

  • 44

    BORONDO – hang out, chill

    I looooove the sound of this word. BORONDO… like, damn, if only this article could talk. *sigh*

    The example Luisa gives us in the IG takeover is “to ask your friends to go for a borondo.” So, I’m getting similar vibes as asking someone to go for a rendezvous.


    “Vamos a dar un borondo.” 

    “We’re gonna go for a stroll/ we’re gonna go chill.”

    P.S. This one might need to be reflexive (darse) – double check with an actual Colombian person! 🙂

  • 55

    CHIMBA – really good OR really bad

    I didn’t get much of an explanation on this one, but it means two extremes. Either it’s a high level of praise OR someone can basically call you trash by using it. I guess we’ll never know. *shrug*

    I’ll just give y’all a good example though, so you don’t go around insulting people! HAHA.


    “Qué chimba, parce!”

    “That’s great, dude!”



A huge shoutout to Luisa for hookin’ me up with some new expressions. All of my future Colombian baes are going to be shook when they hear my 5 new words.

What are your favorite Colombian expressions? Drop ’em below!


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