CIA-Costa Rica Map

Costa Rica is located in Central America, south of Nicaragua and North of Panama.

Tico Slang Dictionary

tico slang  book cover

English/Costa Rican
Spanish Dictionary

Learning Costa Rican Spanish
One Word At A Time

No matter whether traveling to the Republic of Costa Rica as a tourist, or with the intention of moving there as an expatriate, this guide will serve you well. Intended for English speakers, this book's Costa Rican Spanish/English dictionary shares common slang words and phrases that will help you communicate in everyday situations like ordering dinner in a restaurant, shopping at the mercado for fresh produce, flirting, getting street directions, or hiring a taxi.

That said, be advised this little book is neither a complete course in learning the Spanish Language nor a textbook. Instead it is an introduction to Costa Rican Spanish.

The Tico Slang Dictionary his is a good pocket beginners guide you can handily carry on your travels in your back pocket or tucked away in a backpack. Finally, we have used a large font to make the text eminently more readable.

Before you go, take the time to learn Costa Rican-Spanish words and phrases so you can speak street Spanish like a local

On the streets (las calles), in the shops (las tiendas), on the beaches (las playas), in the clubs (discotecas) and at the grocery store (el supermercado), knowing at least some steet talk will pay big dividends.

Red-eyed tree frog A Tucan

Costa Rica is home to a rich variety of plants and animals like the red-eyed Tree Frog and the Tucan.

Instead of being seen as some souless gringo tourist, the locals will hold you in higher esteem. As a result you may make new friends, and as a bonus perhaps get a better hotel room or lower prices while shopping.

Top Thirty Costa Rican Slang Sayings
(Tiquismos)

  1. Al chile - Really? Are you serious?
  2. Brete - Work. The job.
  3. Buena nota - A good grade. To say thanks or to refer to something nice.
  4. Choza or chante - Abode, a house.
  5. Chunche - Thingy, thingamabob, whatchmacallit.
  6. Deme un toque - Give me a touch, give me a moment. Wait.
  7. Detras del Palo - Behind the tree. Said when someone is ignorant about the topic at hand.
  8. Esta mamando - You are sucking. When you don’t know how to do something or or say something completely wrong
  9. Goma - Glue. A hangover. Tengo goma mae, I have a terrible hangover.
  10. Harina - Flour. Money. Like dough in English
  11. Hasta aquí me la presto Dios - Until now, God borrow me. Used when telling a story where you thought you were going to die.
  12. Lava huevos - Wash the eggs. Sucking up.
  13. Mae – Derived from the maje, similar to dude or bro.
  14. Paracaidas - A parachute. Someone who drops in univited,
  15. Perico – A parrot. Cocaine. Snorted cocaine stings like a parrot biting your nose.
  16. Perro amarrado - A tied dog. To be in debt.
  17. Pinto Gallo - The traditional Costa Rican meal.
  18. Pura paja -Pure straw. Of little substance, bullshit.
  19. Pura vida - Pure life. A greeting, thank you, anything related to good.
  20. Que camote - What a yam. Anything related to crazy behaviour.
  21. Que lechero - What a milkman. A lucky guy.
  22. Que pega - What a stick. Someone or something very annoying.
  23. Que pelada - What a peeled. When you do wrong or embarrassing in public.
  24. Que tigra - What a female tiger. Synonym for bored, laziness.
  25. Que torta - What a patty. When you make a big mistake, break something, screw up. Also, an unwanted pregnancy.
  26. Suave - Soft. Spoken during heated conversation imploring for calm.
  27. Tengala adentro - Keep it inside. Take your time. Think about it. Wait.
  28. Tuanis -Cool, nice, awesome.
  29. Viejo Verde - A green old man. A pervert, a proverbial dirty old man.
  30. Tiquismo - A Costa Rican saying.

Middle Coast Foreign Language Series


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