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January 27, 2022

Basic Spanish for Costa Rica

Every 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.


After 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 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 their 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 guide inspires you to visit us in Guanacaste, Costa Rica so that you can practice your Spanish from the comfort of one of My Guanacaste Vacation home, in the gorgeous Reserva Conchal, Golf and Beach Resort.

Category: Blog