• Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Tico Talk for expats and tourists: Part 3

September 22, 2019

You can’t call yourself fluent in Costa Rican Spanish unless you understand its slang.

Over the past two weeks, we brought you Parts 1 and 2 of our Tico Talk series on tiquismos or costarriqueñismos.

Here’s Part 3:

A cachete: Means something is really good. A cachete inflado is a variation of the same expression.

Buchón: A person who wants everything for himself, or a hog. There is an expression: Cada buchón muere pelón ... People who want everything for themselves die bald.

Chante: One’s house or home. Choza (literally, a shack) is also used, but the more common Spanish word for home is casa or hogar.

Dar pelota: This term literally literally means to give someone a ball. It is used here when expressing the idea of paying attention to someone or taking them into account.

Gallo Pinto: A traditional breakfast dish consisting of rice, beans, cilantro, Lizano sauce and spices.

Jama: Food, and can refer to just about any meal or snack. Comida is the more common Spanish word for food.

Por aquello: This phrase means “just in case” and is used frequently in conversations. En caso de que also means “just in case.”

Por dicha: Fortunately or luckily. Por suerte or afortunadamente are other ways of expressing the same idea.

Presa: Literally means a “dam” or “prey.” In Costa Rican slang, it can mean a traffic jam or backlog of anything. Un presón is a huge traffic jam.

Rajón or Rajona: A show-off, or a person who likes to boast or brag.

Suave: Hold on! Or, relax! Or, take it easy!

Tata: Dad or father. Tatas are one’s parents.

Techo: Means “roof,” but can also mean someone’s head. Torre (tower) is also a slang word for someone’s head. Cabeza is the more common Spanish word for head.

Timba: A big belly or beer belly. Panza or barriga are also used. Timbuco is a really big beer belly.

Torta: Literally “cake” or “tart,” but in Costa Rica it can be a screw up or big mess. ¡Qué torta! … What a mess! Jalar torta is to get pregnant. A tortero is a person who gets into trouble frequently.

Tiquismos or Costa Rican expressions of the week:

Más largo que un domingo sin plata: “Longer that a Sunday without any money.” The day seems longer when you don’t have money to go out or do something.

Here are two other similar expressions that are slightly vulgar.

  • Más largo que una meadita en moto: Longer than a stream of urine when riding on a motorcycle.
  • Más largo que pedo de culebra: Longer than a snake’s fart.

Más tico que el gallo pinto: Just like the dish gallo pinto, this expression means anything that is authentically Costa Rican.

Pedir una cobija en el infierno: Literally, this expression means to ask for a blanket in hell. It is used in Costa Rica to refer to a person who gets cold very easily.

Christopher Howard has been conducting monthly relocation/retirement tours and writing retirement guidebooks for over 30 years. See www.liveincostarica.com. He is also the author of the one-of-a-kind bestselling, “Guide to Costa Rican Spanish,” that can be purchased through Amazon.

You may be interested

‘Extremely active’ Atlantic hurricane season is nearing its end
Costa Rica
58 views
Costa Rica
58 views

‘Extremely active’ Atlantic hurricane season is nearing its end

The Tico Times - November 25, 2020

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, which produced 13 hurricanes and a record-setting 30 named storms, is approaching its conclusion. The…

News briefs: Costa Rica news highlights to start your Wednesday
Costa Rica
2140 views
Costa Rica
2140 views

News briefs: Costa Rica news highlights to start your Wednesday

Alejandro Zúñiga - November 25, 2020

Happy Wednesday from The Tico Times! Here's the news you should know as a new day starts in Costa Rica.…

Decarbonization will bring significant economic benefits to Costa Rica, study says
Costa Rica
1039 views
Costa Rica
1039 views

Decarbonization will bring significant economic benefits to Costa Rica, study says

AFP and The Tico Times - November 24, 2020

Costa Rica's decarbonization plan, which seeks to transform the economy through low-emission transport and production systems, will provide the country…