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HomeArts & CultureTico Talk: 10 Spanish expressions for expats and tourists

Tico Talk: 10 Spanish expressions for expats and tourists

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

Over the past months, we have introduced you, dear reader, to tiquismos and costarriqueñismos as part of our “Tico Talk” series. Check out the previous installments here.

Today, one week after the U.S. elections (and with an eye toward 2022 in Costa Rica), let’s cover some common election vocabulary:

Admitir la derrota: Concede defeat.

Amañar una elección: To rig or fix an election.

Candidato: Candidate.

Centro de votación: Polling place.

El colegio electoral: Electoral college.

El conteo: Counting of the votes.

El día de las elecciones: Election day.

Elección presidencial: Presidential election.

Empadonarse: To register to vote.

La Encuesta or el sondeo: A poll.

Ganador: Winner.

La Papeleta: Ballot.

Noticias falsas: False news.

El Partido demócrata: Democratic party.

El Partido independiente: Independent party.

El Partido republicano: Republican party.

Perdedor: Loser.

El Presidente: President.

El reconteo: Recount.

Urna electoral: Ballot box.

El vicepresidente: The Vice President.

Una victoria abrumadora: An overwhelming victory.

Una victoria por un margen estrecha: A narrow victory.

Votación: Voting.

El/la votante: The voter.

Votar: To vote.

El Voto: The vote.

Christopher Howard has been conducting monthly relocation/retirement tours and writing retirement guidebooks for more than 30 years. See

He has a #1 relocation/retirement blog at:,  is also the author of the  forthcoming 19th edition of “New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica — the official guide to relocation”  and the  one-of-a-kind bestselling e-book, “Guide to Costa Rican Spanish,” that can be purchased through Amazon. He is also about to release a novel about the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s, “The Costa Rica Chronicles – a glimpse of a magical time lost.

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