Buena Nota: what it means in Costa Rica slang
The word cool is an English slang term that is easily understood by most everyone. However, when it comes to translating the word cool into the Spanish language especially in Latin America, it takes on a few different variations and can’t be translated literally.
The slang word cool may refer to someone or something. The same applies to most Spanish variations of the word across Latin American countries, but in certain situations, it differs. The meaning rarely strays far from its English slang definition but is still dependent on its use.
Buena Nota is the variation of the English slang word ‘cool’ used in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is a country with a rich Latin heritage and has a long history of many English-speaking visitors where the word might have originated. The literal meaning of Buena Nota is ‘good note.’ It means cool and can also mean nice (as in a “nice person”). There are many Spanish variations of the word ‘cool’ used in Costa Rica, and Buena Nota is one of the most commonly used. It is one of the many Costa Rica slang expressions that a tourist can learn and hear often during their vacation.
The reason Buena Nota is one of the most common phrases to refer to ‘cool’ in Costa Rica is that it is used to refer to people. People will often describe other people as Buena Nota, and therefore the word ‘cool’ will often come up to describe someone, especially in a country that has so many friendly people!
Its usage can best be expressed using an example: One may say, “He is Buena Nota. He let me have his best suit for my job interview.” As you can see, Buena Nota is used to show that the lender is nice and helpful. It also means that he is ‘cool’ as per the English slang definition meaning that the recipient of the favor holds his generosity in high regard. The phrase can be used in any other situation in which one respects or appreciates another person or an action by that person.