Qué leche – Win an all-expenses-paid trip to the Galapagos? ¡Qué leche! A possible translation would be, “What milk?” But here in Quito, it means, “What luck!”
Es Papaya —“It is…Papaya?” Not quite. In Ecuador, this phrase means “It´s easy!” Learning Spanish? ¡Es papaya!
La yapa, por favor – These are magical words. Upon stopping at a fruit stand to buy delicious strawberries, for example, all you have to say is “La yapa, por favor,” and they will give you an extra handful of berries for free! Hmmm…learning Spanish comes in handy. “La yapa” is just one example of Ecuadorians´ generosity.
Chévere – Used throughout much of Latin America, “chévere” means “cool/good/awesome.” The street art in La Floresta? ¡Chévere! The view from the Teleférico? ¡Chévere! Your new Ecuadorian friends? ¡Chévere! You´re going to use this word a lot!
Achachay – This word comes from the Quichua language, which is spoken by indigenous people in and around Quito. Take a shot at saying it. Don´t your teeth chatter just a bit? “Brrrrr!” or “It´s cold!” is what this exclamation means.
¡Arrarray! – Parque de Las Tripas is a hot spot in La Floresta, Quito. Every evening crowds flock around food carts serving a wide variety of traditional Ecuadorian fare. Look for the stand with the flaming grill, and you´ll find the famous tripas—intestines. Don´t stand too close to the fire, though, or “Arrarray” is what you´ll be saying. This Quichua word means “that burns!”
Chumado – After a day of learning Spanish, some of our students like to sit down for artisan beers or have a blast partying at Plaza Foch. Perhaps they´ll become “chumado,” which is Ecuadorian slang for “drunk.”
De ley – Is Quito the most beautiful city in the whole world? ¡De ley!…Of course! It is a bit stronger than your basic “Sí,” and it´s perfect for when your new friends in Quito ask you if you´d like to take a trip to Baños with them. “¡De ley!” You´ll say.
Chuta – Even in this wonderful city, sometimes things do happen that can make a Quiteño say “Chuta.” While a slew of expletives could be close translations, in Ecuador, this word is family friendly.
¡Anda! – The imperative form of “andar/ to walk” takes on a new meaning when you just can´t believe the news. An almuerzo (lunch) of soup, rice, meat, fresh juice, and salad for only $2.50USD? ¡Anda! The closest English equivalent might be the disbelieving cry of, “Get outta here!”
Don´t let this slang scare you away! You´ll catch on fast. Ecuador is a great place to learn Spanish because the accent is clear, and people talk more slowly here than in other South American countries or Spain.
At Vida Verde, we´ve got a little bit of our own dialect. Besides some useful Ecuadorian slang, you´ll also learn our signature Spanish phrases like, “cabeza de pollo”. Curious about what that means? You´re just going to have to visit us at Vida Verde to find out!