There are a great amount of Costa Rica slangs that you may find useful on your next visit to this beautiful country, so, we created a list of some of the most useful ones to understand.
1. Birra / Beer
Anytime you are in search of a drink, maybe on a hot day, you can ask for a “birra.”
2. Que torta / What a mess!
This expression is commonly used when something went wrong, or someone screwed up.
3. Mae / Dude
Dude, hey dude, and how are you, dude? Mae is the same.
4. Hablar paja / Speak Straw (Literal translation)
Whenever you hear someone speaking something that they don’t know anything about, you can say “Está hablando paja.”
(This one is very Costa Rican, we suggest you don’t use it in other Spanish speaking countries as it may cause confusion)
5. Casado / Married Man
There are lots of theories of how this dish got its name, but it’s that, a dish! The Costa Rican daily dish in every house, in every family. Usually is composed of rice, beans, a piece of meat, salad and picadillo.
6. Suave un toque / Wait for a sec.
When you hear “suave un toque” is for you to wait for a moment.
7. Dar Pelota / Give ball
Have you been in the situation in where you are flirting with someone and that someone does the same, that’s “dar pelota.”
8. Brete / Work
Whenever you hear “Voy para el brete,” it means that someone is going to work.
9. Un Rojo / A Red
The smaller bill that you will find in Costa Rica is for 1000 colones (close to 2 dollars), and a “Rojo” it’s the name that it gets because of the color that it has.
10. Diay / well
On a sentence; Well, it’s what you got to do, right?
There “well” in there is the same as “diay.”
11. Soda / little and fast food restaurant
Soda is a little restaurant, where you can usually eat thing like empanadas, tacos, or sandwiches. Merely snacks. The Costa Rican version of fast food.
12. Tuanis / Cool
That’s so cool! (¡Eso es tan tuanis!)
Read also: Tipping in Costa Rica the right way
13. Salado / Tough life
When something happens and there no other way around it, you can say “salado”. Sal (Salt) in Costa Rican Spanish means luck. Bad luck in general.
14. Vara / Thing
Hey! Get that thing over there! “traiga ésa vara”
The usage is the same.
15. Mejenga / Non Professional Soccer game
Little kids and grow ups use this expression to refer to any football (soccer) game.
16. Pulpería / Grocery Store
The Pulpería is the Little town store where you can buy essential stuff for your house and living.
17. El Zarpe / The last one and we are out!
When you are in the bar, and you have to go, you can take “el zarpe” which is the last drink before you go home.
18. Buena nota / Cool
This can also be translated as cool, and its usually used for someone who did a good act of a good situation.
19. Va jalando / Go away
Is there more to say?
20. Por dicha / Luckily
When you are in luck, or something good happened you can say “Por dicha”
21. Que pereza / Laziness
22. Al suave / Take it easy
In the beach, with some coconuts, a beer and all the time in the world, that’s “al suave”.
23. Pura Vida / Pure life
This is the way that costa Ricans live their life, is more than two words, it’s a philosophy of thankfulness, appreciation, and a way to live “al suave”.