Costa Rican Language: 12 Important Idioms you should know

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Spanish is the official Language in Cost Rica, this language is spoken in more than 20 countries around the world.

Each country has special characteristics in different areas such as; culture, traditions, typical food, music, family values, religion, clothing, among others.

The same happens with language; the body language and gestures play an important role, but a remarkable part of language which might set the difference between being understood or not are the idioms.

Idioms or idiomatic expressions are words or phrases that don´t have individual and literal meaning by themselves or word by word.

For example: “It´s raining cats and dogs”, as you know it doesn´t mean that dogs and cats are literally falling from the sky, it means that a heavy amount of water is raining now.

The popular translation apps do not always help to know the real meaning of these phrases.

Costa Rican language is full of interesting and funny idioms, and if you know their meanings you´ll enjoy even more your visit to this wonderful country.

Every Day Idiomatic Expressions in Costa Rican Language

These are 10 popular idioms you should know when you visit Costa Rica:

  1. “Pele la oreja” (peel your ear) it means that you should pay attention to what the other person is about to say.
  2. “Es un queque” (it´s a piece of cake) the good news are that it has the same meaning as the phrase in English, the confusion might arise when you try to find out the translation for “cake” into Spanish because the translator will translate it as “pastel” and here in Costa Rica we almost never use the word “pastel” to refer to a cake.
  3. “Vayase a pata” (take the female duck or go on your legs) it means that it´s better to walk to get to the place you want to get because it´s probably nearby or close to you.
  4. “Vayase a pata” (take the female duck or go on your legs) it means that it´s better to walk to get to the place you want to get because it´s probably nearby or close to you.


Resultado de imagen para montando un pato

4. “Echar harina” (add flour) it means that you´ll have to pay or to pay more to get something.

5. “un Rojo” “un tucán” (a red one- a toucan) the first one means one thousand colones and the second one means five thousand colones (it´s because the old bill got printed a toucan, even when the current one doesn´t have a toucan some Ticos still use the expression.)

Resultado de imagen para billete de cinco mil colones tucan

6. “ser Buena nota” or “ser mala nota” (good tone or bad tone) it means to be nice or to be mean.

7. “Ya me hice bolas” (I´ve made myself a bunch of balls) it means that you got very confused or you didn´t understand something.

8. “Siga hasta chocar con Cerca” (just keep going until you crash with a wall) it means that you should keep on your way or following the same route up to you get to a dead-end street.

9.“Deje de Andar de huele pedos” (just stop smelling farts) it means you shouldn´t listen to others conversations or give your opinion if none is asking for it because you might get a bad consequence.

Resultado de imagen para huele pedos

10. “Echar el Ojo” (to throw an eye) it means to watch out and pay attention to someone or something.

11. “Estar Tostado” “Sin un Cinco” (being toasted –not even five colones) it means without any money at all.

12. “Echar el cuento” (to tell a fairytale) it means flirting or teasing someone by using nice words.

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What are you waiting for?

As you can see Costa Rican language is more than Spanish, this country is full of nature, adventure, great typical food, very nice people and really interesting and funny idioms you might share with your friends.

In Spanish Pura Vida we are glad to guide you in this wonderful experience.

Just come a visit us… there are some more you would like to know