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Tico Lindo - Dictionary of Costa Rican Slang

a lo tico Costa RicaTico Lindo - The guy who knows EVERYBODY. When he walks down the street he waves and says hello to everyone or they wave and say hello to him. The actual root of the saying comes from the contest where the Tica Linda is chosen and rides in a parade and waves to everyone doing the Parade wave.

Many of you expats will study Spanish and begin to speak fluently. You will find yourself becoming more confident and speaking only in Spanish to the locals! At some point, though you will find that to your surprise you understand the words but nothing seems to make sense?

Tica Linda -Parade in Costa RicaHola Pura Vida! (So far so good). Que Tuanis Mae (hmm? OK). Donde esta mi Nave? (HUH!?).

You think you are going crazy because you studied and practiced soooo hard and are surprised you don't understand them. Don't worry. The reason you don't understand is that the Costa Ricans are speaking to you in slang or "Pachuco" as the Ticos call it.

At the end there is a link to a video done by the University of Costa Rica that includes many of these Pachuco sayings so hopefully you can understand the video a little better and you too can be a TICO LINDO!!!

So to help out those of you who want to understand some of the Pachuco slang I prepared a list of Pachuco sayings with the translation, both literal and the actual meaning. Sometimes the literal translation is funnier to think about than what they are actually saying.

Dictionary of Costa Rica Slang (Pachuco)

Pachuco Real Life Translation Literal Translation
Mae Dude Dummy
Echarnos unas Birras Give us some Beers Throw us some Beers
Ahuevado I'm Bored My Eggs are too big to move
Viene la Guata The Rain is coming  
Es un Queque A Piece of Cake It's a cake
Compa Friend or Co Worker Companion
Ponerse las pilas Get to work, Get Moving Put in the Batteries
Pele la oreja Listen closely Peel your ear
Agarrar la lata Catch the bus Grab the Can
No le pinta It doesn't suit you Do not Paint
Agarrar un Pirata Grab an informal taxi Grab a Pirate
Mae Cara de pistola Jerk Guy with a Gun Face
Echar más harina Give them more money Add more Flour
Tucán The 5,000 Colone Bill Toucan
Buena nota A good guy Good note
Mala nota Not a very nice guy Bad note
No hacerse bolas Don't complicate yourself Don't tangle yourself
Irse a Pata Go on foot Go by Duck
Abrace la pared Follow along the wall Hug the Wall
Chocar con Cerca Dead End Hit the Fence
Es un Hueco Bad reputation Bar It's a hole
Un dolor de Huevos Pain in the rear Pain in the Balls
Tomarse un Yodo Drink a Coffee Drink some Iodine
Plato de Bocas Appetizer Plate Plate of Mouths
Cabras Girls or Women Female Goats
Solo Bates Only men Only Bats
Echarle un Ojo al mesero Keep an eye on the Waiter Throw an eye at the Waiter
Se le rayo el Disco Repeating Yourself Scratched Record
Huele Pedos Ass Kisser Fart Smeller
Estar tostado Already drunk Toasted
Mujeron Stunning Woman Huge Woman
Mover el Piso Rock my World Move the Floor
Me dio un taco Bad feeling He gave me a Taco
Echar el Cuento Pick up a Girl in the bar Pour the Story
Ser una Teja He or She is a Gem Be a Tile
Verla peluda Seems difficult Hairy Eyes
San Francisco Neighborhood in San Jose Saint Francis
No encuentro la Nave I can't find my Car I can't find the Ship
No tengo ni un Cinco I'm Broke I don't even have five colones
No dejen que lo limpien Don't let them cheat you Don't let them clean you
Váyase volando Hurry, get going Go flying
Soda de la esquina Restaurant on the corner  
Agarre dos Manzanas Walk two blocks Grab two Apples

Me pescó GRINGITO !! (Did you catch all that GRINGO?)

So now you might be ready to understand this video a little better and have a laugh.

Have patience as you go through the video and you will be dying from laughter (cagandose de risa)!! You can translate that last one.