So, planning a trip to Costa Rica? If so, let’s give you an introduction into talking like a Tico! You’re totally going to thank us for this!
One of the very first things you need to remember to say in Costa Rica is “Pura Vida” (in fairness, this will be the easiest thing to “remember” as you will hear the locals say this no less than 37,000 times per day! And I’m only barely exaggerating!)
Think of “Aloha” in Hawaii, but on steroids! You will say ‘good morning’ to someone and hear Pura Vida back. How are you? Pura Vida. I sprained my ankle. Oh no, Pura Vida! That is a beautiful mule! Gracias, Pura Vida! You get the point 🙂
But the Tico’s (as Costa Ricans call themselves) have a lot of other sayings and phrases that are native to their tongue and may not be known widely in other parts of Latin America. Here are a few to get you acclimated:
Tuanis (Awesome, cool or neat) You will hear this descriptive word often.
Mae (Bro, or dude) Use this with the guys you run across, such as “Pura Vida Mae!” They will love it!
Al chile (No, for real…seriously!) When someone doesn’t believe your story.
Yodo (Coffee) Café basically everywhere else in Latin America. (Hint: You can still order “café”, but you will earn additional cool points asking for yodo!)
(Yodo…not Yoda, silly!)
Miando fuera del tarro! (To pee outside the can) Meaning, to totally miss the toilet. This is used when you really mess something up, not necessarily only for being a poor aim in el baño!
Que Chiva (“How cool!”) Similar to Tuanis, you will hear this often and it’s fun to say.
Chunche (A thing-a-majig) Best used when you are attempting to describe something but forgot the name.
Pinche (Stingy) Not to be confused with the same word used in Mexico, with an entirely different meaning.
We think this is a good list to get you started, and should also keep you out of Costa Rican jail! LOL! In every country on our planet, the locals will always appreciate you attempting to learn their language, and they will even more admire you if you are educated on their slang. You are going to love Costa Rica, especially when attempting to pick up their native tongue!