skip to Main Content

Common Costa Rican Phrases

Before you visit Costa Rica or any Spanish-speaking country, it is a good idea to learn about the local vocabulary. This includes Costa Rican-specific phrases.

Here are just a few of the most important items of Costa Rican slang to keep in mind while visiting or living here.

¡Pura Vida!

“Pura Vida” translates to “Pure Life”.  You will find it plastered on signs, menus, clothing, and almost any souvenir within the country. It is a positive phrase about seizing the moment and enjoying life.

You will hear it being used as a greeting, in the middle of a conversation, or after someone has said or heard something that is deemed exciting. It is a phrase that has a “one-size-fits-all” usage. This is the most common of the Costa Rican phrases.


Even if you think you’re pretty close with someone in Costa Rica, it’s still better to refer to him or her as “usted”. In fact, “tú” is rarely used. Instead, Costa Ricans use vos”.

Perhaps you’re unfamiliar with vos”but it’s similar to “tú”, very common in Central and South American countries. Conjugations using “vos” are a bit different, but you can easily learn them!


This phrase means “good” or “cool” or shows excitement about anything. If someone says something cool or interesting, you can respond with “¡Tuanis!


This word means “dude” and can refer to a man or woman. As you can most likely guess, this term is reserved for use between close friends. Don’t call someone you just met in Costa Rica “mae”.


This is the common name for Costa Ricans.  It is widely used and is not offensive in any way.

Estar de goma

This phrase means to have a hangover. If you were to drink too many beers the night before, you could say: “Hoy, yo estoy de goma.


If you say this to another person in an argument, it means “calm down.” If you and a friend get into a heated exchange, you can say: “¡Suave, mae!” which means “Take it easy!”

Al chile

This phrase expresses surprise or shock in response to what someone says. It translates to “Really?” or “Are you serious?”

These are just a few of the many Costa Rican phrases that you will hear. Spend enough time in the country, and you’ll learn a lot more!



Need a loan? – Click HERE.
Want to invest? – Click HERE.
Looking for Real Estate? – Click HERE.
Ready for a Relocation Tour? – Click HERE.

This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back To Top