Costa Rican Spanish: Speak like a Native!

¡Diay! Think you know Spanish? Think again! The moment you land in Costa Rica you will be bombarded by local words, phrases, and sayings that will leave your head spinning. Come with us and discover what they are really saying.

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Costa Rican Spanish: Speak like a Native!

Don't settle for generic Spanish

On the images below, slide to the right to see generic Spanish. Then, slide completely to the left to reveal the local Spanish.

Generic text example 2 before Costa Rican text example 2 after
Costa Rican generic Spanish 1 Costa Rican Spanish example 1 after
Generic text example 3 Costa Rican Spanish text example 3 after

Start speaking like the natives

Greetings

¡Pura vida!

To ask a Costa Rican how he's doing, just say: ¿PURA VIDA? His answer will be the same, but as a declaration: ¡PURA VIDA! That means: I'm great! And the pure life is the good life.

Compliments

¡Qué chema más chiva!

For the locals, a CHEMA is a shirt. And CHIVA, which literally means a female goat, in this case means nice, pretty, or cool. This phrase, then, means: What a nice shirt!

Local sayings

Me cayó la peseta.

Need to call from a public phone? Years ago you had to put a PESETA —a local coin— into the phone. When the PESETA fell, you got a dial tone. Today ME CAYÓ LA PESETA means: It dawned on me!

What they are saying

C o n n e c t   o n   a n o t h e r   l e v e l  w i t h

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