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Girl’s guide to falling in love – in Chile!

Written by 24 May 2011 18 Comments

There are lots of reasons to visit Chile. A stunning and one of the most diversified landscapes is one of them. In about 4000km of coast offering the driest desert of the earth (the Atacama desert), a region called Lake District with volcanos, deep blue lakes and silent green forests and awe-inspiring Patagonia with its rain forests, fjords and glaciers, you might well find your very own piece of paradise.

But apparently that alone is not attracting enough tourists. The chilean ministry for tourism has recently shifted their focus on a very special group of visitors: us! The young globetrotter, yearning to discover the world and its wonders and maybe to fall in love with a local. Check out this pretty funny promotional video called “Chile is yours“:

As I have spent almost two years living in Chile, I was able to make quite a few experiences with Chilean guys. So, if you are inspired to travel to Chile after watching this video and want to participate in the national past-time of lying around in public parks with your darling like in this photo…

photo by Jessie Reeder

… or if you already found your handsome Chilean but you struggle with some cultural / language problems, then continue reading carefully. I have a few tips for you to deal with them. I hope they will help you!

  • Don’t wonder why your boy always wants to stay at your place. A lot of Chileans live with their parents until they get married. That’s also the reason why he always wants to take you to the park.
  • If he decides to introduce you to his parents – which is first a real big step, it means he really likes you! – don’t expect to sleep in one room together, if you are staying over night. Chile is catholic. It introduced divorce only in 2004 – as the last country in the world! Habits won’t change that fast, so enjoy your night alone in his little sister’s bedroom next door.
  • He’s taking you out, you’re having a great evening and you are ending up in – a motel! That’s normal. For reasons we already know he can’t take his girl home, so Chileans have very often their first, second and third intimite encounters at a motel. Don’t be surprised if you have trouble finding a free room – there are plenty, you just have to keep looking!

photo by J Philipson

Since English is not likely to get you very far with Chileans, here a few more

Tips on vocabulary:

pololo / polola = boyfriend / girlfriend (the Spanish word “novio/novia” means in Chile that you are already engaged!)

Estoy pololeando = I have a boyfriend/girlfriend

po = you will always hear that at the end of a phrase, but it doesn’t really mean anything. It’s an abbreviated form of “pues” used to add emphasis.

piola = relaxed, calm, quiet

bacán = perfect, very good, the best thing / person

huevón / huevona = a whole book could be written about this very common word – it was once described as Chile’s best addition to the Spanish language, but long story short: it means something like “dude”

cachar = to get it, to understand sth., it derives from the English word “to catch” -> Cachai? = Do you understand?

gallo / galla = guy

gringo / gringa = foreigner, usu. from Northern America, Europe or Australia. Used negatively, neutrally as well as positively

guata = belly

guagua = baby

micro = local bus

al tiro = immediately

choro = cool, neat

ya = okay

la raja = amazing, excellent

If you already got that far into “chileno” and there were no new words on the list for you, here is just the perfect book for you to understand his friends as well. You can also get it here.

photo by Edgardo

Last tip: A cliché but not untrue – if you are blond, the chances are very good to find your future husband in Chile!

*Article written by Franziska Gutsche

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  • @Zen_kiu said:

    Im a chilean guy and i think that this note its amazing , becuase the chilean its like this, sometimes a little different but , the tipical chilean is just this, the ove in chile its special, and the different culture sometimes its the best part of the relationships, but sometimes no.
    Great note and i hope to cheek and other in the future

  • gustavo miranda said:

    en shileno pa ke lo entiendas bacan !!! tu pequeña reseña es como un poco generalizadora dejas a los chilenos como unos flojos aprovechadores y olgazanes si puede ser que en una gran mayoria sea asi… sacadores de vuelta… pero para que tu esti metida en un parque tirando con un loko!!!!!

    osea! eso es lo mas flaite de de chile, nose donde andubiste metida y con que clase de cuma pero ten por seguro esos caballeros shilenos que generalizas como shilenos deben estar diciendo ” terrible de maraca la gringa culia” osea te gustaria eso bueno generalizo como tu TODAS LAS GRINGAS SON UNAS MARACAS… eso esta bien??? yo creo que no… piensa un poco antes cretina!!

    gustavo miranda!

  • felipe said:

    Hi! im a chilean guy, and all i want to say is: you right!! we are just like you describe!… congrats and welcome to all American girls who wants to come here.. my cellphone number is 76272….. naa! joking!

  • franziska said:

    Hi Gustavo,

    I’m sorry if I offended you, that wasn’t my intention. I was just writing about my own experience as well as what I heard from other travelettes. And as it is not uncommom to fall in love with a local, I wanted to share it with future Chile-visitors. I don’t want to say that Chileans are bad guys, the contrary, I had a great time and lots of fun in Chile. I don’t regret it and I can recommend it to everybody!

  • Cristian tejada said:

    But huevon is a very rude word!!! You can say in a important meeting huevon….is like saying stupid, but it can be use like dude in some informal situations.

  • Kristin said:

    Gustavo, no puedes ser tan amargado! Es obvio que si escribes una nota cortita sobre un país, esta no pretende ser un estudio sociológico que haga justicia a TODAS las personas en un país… claro que te basas en clichés, que resaltas lo que te llama la atención. Y es verdad que en Chile hay mucha más gente que viva en casa de sus papás hasta viejos que en otras partes del mundo. Esto no tiene por que ser algo malo, no quiere decir que sean todos flojos, es una diferencia cultural y punto. O sea, no entiendo por qué te picaste tanto por algo así!! Y qué lata que caigas en descalificaciones estúpidas y nada que ver, asumiendo que la autora sea una “maraca gringa que se anda revolcando en parques con cumas”. No será musho?! Y el prejuicioso no serás tú? Te lo dice en buena onda una gringa que vive en Chile:-)

  • zippy said:

    buena kristin vamnos al parque????

  • Angelo Atreyu said:

    Hola soy gay y me juro metrosexual, escribo con puros emoticones y me comporto como un niñito de 15 años, pero realmente tengo 25 :( :C C:

  • Dr VIL said:

    Truth be told, don’t even wonder, neither fantasize nor consider that “Chilean guys are very prone to get married to a blonde gal”

    It’s as simple as it can be: We consider blonde blue/green-eyed gals more appealing coz that’s not an industry standard here all around. (makes sense right? any mulatto chick should be appealing in south africa and so on..)

    The real truth is that we consider Gringas as a “must have in my life at least once”, as well as Lobster o visiting Paris, but:

    – No one can stand eating lobster every day

    – No one would be able to stand staying in Paris for more than a week, since they are utterly pedants and cocky

    – No one wants a Yank Chick for getting married, considering that blondes are proven fact that they age awfully, they get wrinkles b4 they reach their 25’s (luckly 30’s) and of course, as all milky tasteless gals, they are a lame lame shag.

    Truth hurts, and there you go, my “unbiased” review… we just want you for a night stand, for the honor board and for proving that Americans are the dumbest, naive & ignorant people around.

    No wonder “White/Trailer trash” is a landmark you made yourselves well known abroad, kudos to that. Gotta love yar Mullets!

    And for those lame lame lame “chilean” guys who replied above “I’m Chilean and you’re 100% positive on that remark!!! oh you so clever!!!” -> they just either want to get you into the sack (see above) or just poor gutless mongoloids who accept their mommyness” dependence. Shame on you, get some balls for Christ Sake.

    I’m 100% Chilean (and speak English aas well Portuguese, US Citizens barely speak “American” (you know that’s NOT a language, don’tcha? )

    And statistically, Chilean People speak much more and better English than you Yanks do with Spanish, hence, do not give that lame excuse that there’s an idiom barrier, so far so good, I’ve never met any Yank who can speak Spanish well whatsoever.

    Hurts a bit? well, no “PC” here, no filter: We just want you to expend money here as well as screw you over, literally and financially.

    And for that, you’re more than Welcome! Be our Guests!!! Yank Chicks, come to visit your “Favorite Indians -Skin-Tanned-Country”, coz you’re too much of a spineless to visit other countries since “Chile is safe”. Y’all Yellow!!! Assume it! You live in war and can’t stand a country that doesn’t have at least 3G or 4G how can you survive without your Mexican/Costa Rican made smartphones (pun intended for the no so smart people) …

    U Jelly?


    V.I.L. -> We give no quarter.

  • jaclyn said:

    well perhaps if you had looked at the author’s name you would realize that it’s likely she’s not american. i am glad though that you were able to educate us about what all women from the united states are like. i guess rather than try to travel and experience some other perspectives in the world i should just accept that other people “just want you for a night stand, for the honor board and for proving that Americans are the dumbest, naive & ignorant people around.” thanks.

  • Kristin said:

    In the first place: Who, besides a commercial made by the CHILEAN government is fantasizing about Chilean guys wanting to marry blonde girls? And to stay in your example, I think there might be quite a lot of people who would happily eat lobster every day or live in Paris. Others prefer cazuela and that´s perfectly okay, but I really don´t understand your need to generalize your pretty peculiar point of view to all Chileans. How come I know plenty of foreign female friends happily married or in longterm relationships with Chileans? It´s really hard to understand why such an innocent article as the above can provoke this kind of hatred-filled reaction. Okay, we understand that you are no friend of foreign women, but… come one, it´s a sign of impressive intellectual poorness to name them all lame wrinkled sluts. Would be interesting to know what one of these lame wrinkled sluts has done to you to deserve all this anger. Also I´m really interested in this statistic you´re referring to. Where exactly was that published? I´ve been living for several years in Chile now and I just can´t confirm your theory of the perfectly bilingual Chileans. In fact, when I get visits of friends from abroad who don`t speak Spanish, mostly of my Chilean friends are completely unable to communicate with them. I don´t think it´s because Chileans are “stupid” or “ignorant” or whatever you like to call US-Americans, but because of the awfully poor education system. Not every Chilean has the privileged position like you to travel to Paris and learn languages. I don´t know where you live, but maybe in your little bubble in La Dehesa or wherever all Chileans are fluently bilingual. The saddest thing about it: you don´t even enjoy it. You go to Paris and find the people there “utterly pedants”. Seems that you don´t even like your own country, since you apparently find it hard to imagine that someone could come to Chile for other reasons than for its safeness. Believe me, there are quite a lot of them! And even if we came partly for the safeness, would it be such a terrible thing? Is it so much cooler to be a tourist in a thirdworld country?

  • Sebastian said:

    Well, I think there is no need to take this so serious, It’s her point of view, a narrow one in deed, but.. you know… Kind regards Franziska

  • Gerardo said:

    It is an historic tradition in chile to produce snobs that eat lobster and go to Paris, some of them are polite, smart and even great figures like Vicente Huidobro. Truth be told there is not much diference in education between an average American and a Chilean, after all Chile and South America absorb much of America`s trash culture. Diferences such as Catholicism and Paganism that make Latin Americans closer to an idea of comunity freedom instead of freedom of action and individuality that USA Economists markets to the world.

    Chileans are prone to marry soon, mostly in their twenties. So they dont get to live much more in their parents houses.
    The ones that stays with their parents do that in order to obtain some economic freedom, the main dream is a house and the worst nightmare are debts so is only logical.

    No one stays in the parents house after the 30yo, In that moment the integrity, masculinity, maturity, etc. of the individual is attacked. It doesnt matter if he/she has millions of dollars or runs a company, it doesnt care if he/she had helped the comunity. In the case of a woman to live in her parents house and being single is the equivalent of a jobless man living with his parents.
    Chilean men are proud and stuborn, many times also sexists, so living with their parents after 30 is seeing as failure in life.

    The statistic that someone mentioned was made years ago, while Chileans`s english was near to nothing Americans´ spanish was almost nothing. This due to the obligation to teach english in every school, while in America “dora the explorer” was not the popular media show it is today (pun intended).

    Its because the goberment teach the kids how to comunicate with their American masters, and if one is good enough became that master. An idea that have been succesfull in Chile is that no one questions the sistem but see if they can take some benefit of that sistem. In Chile there is a big amount of large Corporations and Burocracy (because of some strange mixing between socialism and liberalism, even neoliberalism) that gives stability to the overall situation.

  • zippy said:

    vivan los parques conshe su mare!!!

  • Brett McClelland said:

    I am a guy from New Zealand and I met my polola while traveling in Chile. Now I am living with her in Valdivia. Awesome article you have written! If you want to check out my experience and see how I met my girl, read this:


  • katherine cadegan said:

    Creo que el unico flojo y flaite es Gustavo, como puedes habalr así, que ignorancia de tu parte, verguenza ajena me das, y gente como tú ensucia el nombre de los chilenos.
    I loved your article! It’s so great to share differents cultures, and your tips are really good, cos for some thing we are very different then other english countries.

  • Anne @ CaminoNomada said:

    My boyfriend is Chilean and I spent a year in his country, I enjoyed reading this article!
    I still don’t understand when or how to use “huevon”! You say it means “dude”, but it depends on the context, the person you’re talking about, and so on. It can be a rude insult and the best for a foreigner is probably not to use it at all ;-)

  • Hallie said:

    I’m an American teenager and in the past few months a Chilean boy came here and we were “andando” as he later called it, which is the equivalent to having a “thing” with someone in the U.S. I love the Latin culture and one day I plan on living in some place in Latin America at least for a while.. just to experience something new. Maybe its just him but he told me how every guy would be all over me when I came there because of my blue eyes and blonde hair…but he was probably just being nice. But yea no need for hating or generalizing… each boy likes what he likes.

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