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The most important vocabulary to know during your trip in Costa Rica

Spanish is such a friendly, pleasant language! A few simple expressions and words will help you to meet the locals more easily and get a real feel for Costa Rica. One expression that you will definitely hear while you are in Costa Rica is "Pura Vida!" which expresses the happy and optimistic outlook of its inhabitants.

A very particular Spanish

During your trip to Costa Rica, you'll sometimes hear an accent that will make you think of English. It is true that the US has a lot of influence here and that can be felt even in the language. Logically then, a lot of Costa Ricans understand and speak English. So you should be able to communicate with people. I also recommend you watch some films in Spanish before you go, perhaps even with Spanish sub-titles so that you can get used to the sounds. If you are really motivated then you could read newspapers or a book in Spanish. Don't forget to take a pocket dictionary to help with simple vocabulary and try to learn some of the country's typical expressions! Some of them are surprising.

Other languages and dialects

Do you understand the signpost?

There are a dozen other languages spoken in the country, several local languages such as Bribri with 11,000 speakers, Maleku or Guatsuo with 8,000, Cabécar with 9,000, Ngäbere and Guaymi with 5,000 speakers and Bocotá. On the Caribbean coast Mekatelyu, a sort of English creole that is very pleasant to hear, is spoken by more than 55,000 people. All these languages, which are a result of its history and culture, only add to Costa Rica's charm.

Basic expressions / Common Words

EnglishEspagnol
Good morning / Good eveningBuenos días / Benas tardes
How are you?¿ Cómo está ?
Fine, thank you, and you?¿ Muy bien gracias y usted ?
I understand / I don't understandEntiendo / No entiendo
SorryLo siento
GoodbyeAdiós
WelcomeBienvenido
Thank you (very much)(Muchas) gracias
Excuse mePor favor
My name is...Me llamó
No thank youNo gracias
Yes / NoSí / No
You're welcomeDe nada / Con placer

Commerce

EnglishEspagnol
How much is it?¿ Cuánto cuesta?
It is very cheapEs muy barato
It is too expensive!Es demasiado caro!
Can you lower the price?¿ Usted puede bajar el precio?
I would like to buy ... this one!Me gustaría comprar... esto, este mismo !
I like it / I don't like itMe encanta / Odio
MoneyDinero
I'm just looking around.Solo estoy mirando

Transportation

EnglishEspagnol
I would like to go to ...Me gustaría ir a...
PlaneAvión
BoatBarco
TrainTren
TaxiTaxi
BusAutobus
I would like to rent ...Me gustaría alquilar...
MotorbikeMoto
CarAuto / Coche
BikeBicicleta

Directions

EnglishEspagnol
Where is ...? / How can I get to ...?¿dónde está...? / ¿Cómo ir a...?
BankBanco
Train stationEstacíon
CentreCentro Ciudad
HotelHotel
HospitalHospital
Is it close / far?¿Es cerca / lejos?
Straight aheadTodo recto
Left / RightIzquierda / Derecha
North / South / East / WestNorte / Sur / Este / Oeste

Numberssieben, acht, neun, zehn

EnglishEspagnol
one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, tenUno, Dos, Tres, Cuatro, Cinco, Seís, Siete, Ocho, Nueve y Diez
twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixtyVeinte, Treinta, Cuarenta, Cincuenta, Sesenta
seventy, eighty, ninetySetenta, Ochenta, Noventa
One hundredCien

Hours/Dates and daysDienstag, Mittwoch, Donnerstag, Freitag, Samstag, Sonntag

EnglishEspagnol
What time is it?¿Que hora es?
When?¿Cuando?
YesterdayAyer
Today (morning/midday/evening)Hoy (mañana/mediodía/noche)
TomorrowMañana
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, SundayLunes, Martes, Miercoles, Jueves, Viernes, Sábado, Domingo
I am here on vacationEstoy aquí de vacaciones / viaje
I am here for businessEstoy aquí para el trabajo / tramites

Time to eat!

EnglishEspagnol
I am hungry / I am thirstyTengo hambre / Tengo sed
Enjoy¡Que aproveche!
Cheers!¡Salud!
It was delicious¡Fue delicioso!
What can you recommend?¿Que me recomendaría?
I am vegeterianSoy vegetariano
Not spicy please (I don't like spices)¡sin especia! (No me gusta el picante)
It's too hot¡Es demasiado caliente!
I am allergic¡soy alérgico!
Sea foodMariscos
PeanutsManí
GlutenGluten
I would like...Me gustaría...
WaterAgua
Tee / CoffeeTé / Café
Beer / WineCerveza / Vino
The bill, pleaseLa cuenta por favor

Health / Emergency / Security

EnglishEspagnol
I need to see a doctor.Necesito ver a un médico
Call an ambulance / Call 911Que llamen a un médico / una ambulancia
Where is the hospital?¿Dónde está el hospital?
I do not feel very goodNo me siento muy bien
It hurts hereMe duele aqui
Where can I find the restrooms?¿Dónde están los servicios/baños?
Help!¡Socorro!
PolicePolicía
DangerPeligro
I'm lostEstoy perdido/a

Other

EnglishEspagnol
Have a nice day !¡Que tenga usted un buen día!
Laure Alvarez
44 contributions
Updated 26 October 2018

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