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HomeArts & Culture10 Costa Rican Spanish Expressions For Tourists

10 Costa Rican Spanish Expressions For Tourists

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

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

Costa Rica Spanish Expressions For Tourists

  1. Botarse: to spend a lot of money.  Gastar msucho dinero means the same.
  2. Chochosca: Money
  3. Estar limpio/a or pelado/a: Is to be out of money or broke
  4. Filo: Hunger. Hambre is the correct word for hunger
  5. Estar frito/a: To be screwed or have no chance. Estar frito/a sin mantequilla  is even worse ( to be fried without butter)
  6. Jugársela: To work things out or manage to do something on one’s own. We often say se la juega.
  7. Regar veneno: To be dressed to kill or to dress to impress someone
  8. Como hormiga en popi: To be very happy.
  9. Estar como agua para chocolate: To be boiling mad
  10.  Ponerse Chúcaro: To become angry. (The verbs enojarse or enfurecerse are used more cofrequently.)
Christopher Howard has been conducting monthly relocation/retirement tours and writing retirement guidebooks for more than 30 years. See www.liveincostarica.comHe has a relocation/retirement blog at: and  is also the author of the one-of-a-kind bestselling e-book, “Guide to Costa Rican Spanish,” that can be purchased through Amazon.

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