Costa Rican Slang for Your Next Surf Trip.

Do you need to speak fluent Spanish to visit us? Of course not! All our staff are bilingual and love to test out their English skills with our guests. But if you want to make an impression and get some genuine smiles from the locals, surprise them with some of these popular pachuco (slang) words. It’s always fun to try to communicate in your non-native tongue, even if you completely butcher it!

Here are some of the most common words / phrases that 100% exist in the Costa Rican vocabulary, even if you can’t find them in your Spanish dictionary.

Tico/Ticas – is what Costa Ricans call themselves.

Mae– Dude

Example: Mae, let’s go surf!

Buen Ride– Awesome!

Example: That mae is super buen ride!

Al Chile-Really.

Example: The waves were epic this afternoon! Al chile?

Que torta– What a problem.

Example: I dinged the board, que torta!

Zarpe-Last call for alcohol!

Example: Mae, let’s go for the zarpe.

Tuanis– Cool or everything is good.Example: ¿Hey buddy everything tuanis?


Example: Mae, Volcano Brewing has birras muy tuanis!

Por dicha-Luckily

Example: Por dicha, I had a great time surf session this morning.

Que chiva– Cool.

Example: My trip to WRSC was super chiva once again!

Harina- Money

Example: Mae, make sure to bring harina to buy birras en Pacifico.

Dar pelota: To pay attention.

Example: Dar pelota, I need you to watch that boat carefully.

Hale– Let’s Go.

Example: Hale, to surf Santa Teresa for the weekend!

Jama: To eat.

Example:  Hale a jamar to Eat @ Joe’s.

A cachete – That’s awesome.

Example: Costa Rica has some of the nicest people in the world.

Diay–  What do you mean?

Example: Are you sure that the waves will be epic in Grande today?

Response: Diay, am not sure.

Suave un Toque– Wait a minute.

Example: Let’s go surfing? Suave un toque.

Salado– Tough luck.

Example: I can’t surf today since I must work.

Response: Salado!

A cachete – That’s awesome.

Example: Costa Rica has some of the nicest people in the world.

Response: A chachete?

Cuidado Pierde– Fortunate.

Example: I booked a trip to WRSC for the month of August with the kids since the kids surf for free.

Response: Cuidado pierde, Mae!

You’ve obviously heard the famous phrase “Pura Vida” which can literally translate to “Hakuna Matara.” Basically, it means to live a life full of happiness, no worries and epic waves! So, if you get any questions asked and you’re not exactly sure what was said, all you have to say back is “Pura Vida” and you will be rewarded with a smile and a shaka.


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