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Every new country you visit has its own culture that makes it special, a reflection of that culture can be found in its language. So, today we bring you a small guide to basic Spanish for your next vacation in Costa Rica.


Why learn basic Spanish for your next vacation?


The old proverb says, “when in Rome….” But learning some words or phrases in the mother language of the place you are about to visit can also open you a different perspective of this place, not just make things easier for you.


There are countless studies that talk about the close relationship between language and a culture. Either because language helps us to build culture or because language reflects our daily life that is building the culture of a place. The Western Anthropological Publications Magazine of Mexico publishes “the language unifies the culture, gives meaning and integrates all the expressions of the society that speaks it”.


So, if you are planning a trip to Costa Rica, learning some basic expressions can really enhance your experience.




You would think that Spanish is Spanish no matter where you go, however as there is a huge difference between the US English, the British English and the Australian English, it happens the same with our romance language.


After the Mandarin Chinese, Spanish is the world´s second-most spoken native language.  Languages are not static but living things. Spanish is an evolution of 1500 years of the Latin. Throughout this time, it has suffered the most varied influences, from the Germanic peoples, the Arabs and the original American languages.


The evolution of the language also means that each country has its own version, and even within its own territory, different regions have its variables. The Spanish spoken in Spain is totally different from the one spoken in Mexico, or even between neighboring countries such as Argentina and Uruguay, or between Costa Rica and Panama.


Costa Rican Spanish

Understanding the importance of language and its variables, here we have our small guide of basic Spanish for your next vacation in Costa Rica:

English: Hello / Bye

Costa Rican Spanish: Pura Vida!


English: How are you?

Costa Rican Spanish: ¿Tuanis? or ¿Todo bien?


English: Money

Costa Rican Spanish: Plata / Harina


English: Small bills

Costa Rican Spanish: Menudo


English: 5000 Colones (Costa Rican Currency, US$9 approx.)

Costa Rican Spanish: Tucán


English: 1000 Colones  (Costa Rican Currency, US$1,8 approx.)

Costa Rican Spanish: Rojo


English: 100 Colones (Costa Rican Currency, US$0,20 approx.)

Costa Rican Spanish: Teja


English: US Citizen / Tourist

Costa Rican Spanish: Gringo


English: Costa Rican

Costa Rican Spanish: Tico (male) – Tica (female)


English: Dude

Costa Rican Spanish: Mae


English: Wait a minute

Costa Rican Spanish: Suave un toque


English: Take it easy

Costa Rican Spanish: Tenga paz!


English: Good morning, afternoon or night

Costa Rican Spanish: Buenas!


English: Cool, nice

Costa Rican Spanish: Chiva


English: Natural Beverage

Costa Rican Spanish: Fresco


English: Beer

Costa Rican Spanish: Birra


English: House / Home

Costa Rican Spanish: Choza


English: Small Restaurant

Costa Rican Spanish: Soda


English: Kid

Costa Rican Spanish: Chiquito (male) / Chiquita (female) or Güila


English: House / Home

Costa Rican Spanish: Choza


English: Gas Station

Costa Rican Spanish: Bomba


English: Car / Automobile

Costa Rican Spanish: Carro


English: Things

Costa Rican Spanish: Chunches


English: I am good, thanks (After asking How are you?)

Costa Rican Spanish: Bien, por dicha.


English: Drive

Costa Rican Spanish: Manejar


English: Taximeter

Costa Rican Spanish: María


English: Can I have…?

Costa Rican Spanish: ¿Me regala…?


English: Waiter

Costa Rican Spanish: Muchacho (male) / Muchacha (female)


English: Parking

Costa Rican Spanish: Parqueo


English: Traffic Jam

Costa Rican Spanish: Presa


English: One Moment please

Costa Rican Spanish: Un toque por favor


We hope this little guide helps you understand better some words we say or even better use them yourself.  Stay with us in one of our amazing Vacation Rental properties and practice your basic Spanish for your next vacation in Costa Rica!


Let us know which Spanish words you have learned in Costa Rica.