Green Season 2023: Heat Wave and El Niño

El Niño is definitely having an effect on the weather in Costa Rica, but not for long…

May usually brings about the first rains here in the Guanacaste region. But this year, at the beginning of May, Playas del Coco experienced a heat wave instead. Temperatures reached 39 degrees celsius or 102° degrees fahrenheit! The occurrence of this prolonged heat wave in Playas del Coco is tied to the phenomenon known as El Niño.

Beautiful rocky cove in Costa Rica

What exactly is “El Niño”?

El Niño is a climate pattern characterized by the warming of the Pacific Ocean near the equator. Its effects can be far-reaching, impacting weather patterns across the globe. During El Niño years, regions in the Pacific, such as Costa Rica, often experience unusual weather conditions. Such as alterations in temperature and rainfall patterns.

El Niño can significantly affect the rainy season in Playas del Coco and Costa Rica as a whole. Typically, Costa Rica experiences a distinct wet and dry season. During El Niño years, the arrival, intensity, and duration of the rainy season can be altered. In some cases, El Niño may delay or reduce the amount of rainfall during the rainy season.

Temperatire gauge showing high temperature

Rainy season is just around the corner

While the heat wave may seem unrelenting, there is hope on the horizon. Recently our area has received those first few sprinklings of rain meaning that the rainy season is on its way! The rain brings relief from the higher than normal  temperatures and replenishes the lush landscapes.

The rainy season in Playas del Coco is characterized by refreshing afternoon showers and occasional thunderstorms. These natural phenomena rejuvenate the flora and fauna, replenish water sources, and bring relief from the high temperatures. The anticipation of the rainy season is met with great enthusiasm by locals and tourists alike, as it brings a sense of balance and harmony to the region.

How to cope with the El Niño heat wave

In the meantime, while we wait for the coming rainy season, we can cope with the heat in the following ways.

  • Look for shaded areas such as trees, umbrellas, or covered outdoor spaces to protect yourself from direct sunlight.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Dehydration can occur quickly in hot weather, so it’s essential to replenish your fluids regularly.
  • Take advantage of cooling measures to lower your body temperature. Use fans, air conditioning, or portable misting fans to create a cooler environment indoors.
  • Schedule your outdoor activities during cooler times of the day, such as early morning or late afternoon. Avoid the peak heat hours, usually between mid-morning and mid-afternoon, when temperatures are at their highest.
  • Take a dip in the sea or relax under a beach umbrella while enjoying the refreshing coastal environment. Playas del Coco is fortunate to have beautiful beaches along its coastline. The ocean breeze and the cool water can provide relief from the heat. 
  • Wear lightweight, breathable clothing in light colors that reflect sunlight rather than absorbing it. Opt for loose-fitting clothes to promote air circulation and allow your body to cool naturally.
  • Protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays by applying sunscreen with a high SPF. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to shield your face and eyes from direct sunlight.

Man snorkeling in the early morning off the coast of Costa Rica to avoid the heat

The recent heat wave in Playas del Coco, Costa Rica, serves as a reminder of the powerful influence of El Niño on weather patterns. Thankfully, we can always take a dip in the refreshing ocean and enjoy a tall cold drink to cool us off as we wait for the rainy season to arrive.

Ways to Add Value to Your Home In Costa Rica

There are many ways to add value to your home in Costa Rica. Here are some tips on how to get the most bang for your buck.

If you’re a homeowner in Costa Rica looking to add value to your home, there are so many ways to do so. Whether you are on a budget or not, you have plenty of options! 

Inspect your home

The first and most important step is to take a moment to inspect your home. Walk around your entire home, inside and out, and take notice of its current state. Things such as peeling paint, door latches that don’t work, dripping taps, loose tiles, cracks in the ceiling, broken roof tiles, termite trails, or moldy spots can cause your home to lose value. But many of these issues are easy cheap fixes that will add back so much value into your home.

Starting with the easy fixes helps to add value quickly

Let’s start with the easy fixes. Make sure you have no squeaky or sticking doors/windows, sometimes all it takes is a quick hinge readjustment or WD-40. Scrub all the calcium and mildew off in places like the bathroom or kitchen. If you have sewer smells, pour water down all the drains. Wash the windows to bring more light in. Power wash around the exterior of your home, clean tiles and concrete are always more appealing! Having a clean, great smelling house in general will increase the value exponentially. Most importantly make sure your home is decluttered, you want potential buyers to be able to see themselves in your home.

The more expensive improvements

Next let’s talk about the improvements that require a little more cash but will definitely pay off. Repainting your home inside and out may cost between $2,000-$6,000 (depending on the size) but the difference will be priceless. Make sure to choose neutral colors that will make the space bright and inviting. Other ways to add value are updating your AC/water heaters, fixing a damaged roof, or putting all stainless steel appliances in the kitchen. Adding some money back into your home where it counts, is a great way to significantly add value.

Keep up regular maintenance

Lastly, the best way to add value as well as retain value in your home is simply by keeping up with regular maintenance and repairs. Keeping your home in tip top shape and tackling problems when they come up will save you a lot of headache later on. These little repairs may not seem important, but if each room has just one issue, all those things add up and make your home seem as if it’s been neglected. Staying on top of maintenance today eliminates problems down the road should you decide to sell.

By implementing some of these ideas, you can add value to your home in Costa Rica and create a more comfortable and attractive living space for yourself and potential buyers.

What Time Is It In Costa Rica?

Costa Rica doesn’t observe Daylight Savings Time. Here we discuss the reasons why and the effect it has on citizens and residents

Costa Rica makes keeping time easy! You never have to worry about different time zones throughout the country or Daylight Savings Time. Conveniently located near the equator, Costa Rica enjoys 12 hours of sunshine and 12 hours of night year-round. You can actually watch the sunrise over the ocean on the Caribbean Coast and then watch the sunset on the Pacific Coast all in one day!

Four white clocks on the wall illustrating daylight savings time

Since Costa Rica does not observe Daylight Savings Time, from mid-March to October, the time is the same as Mountain Standard Time in the United States. From November to mid-March, the time is the equivalent of Central Standard Time in the United States.

Why Costa Rica stopped Daylight Savings Time

The decision to forgo changing the clocks in 1992 stemmed from the fact that days and nights are nearly equal. Costa Rica is only 10 degrees north of the equator so the sun rises at about 5:30 a.m. and sets around 5:30 p.m. You will notice that the length of days varies by only half an hour depending on the season. During the rainy season (May-Nov) the sun rises and sets about 30-35 minutes earlier than the dry season (Dec-Apr).

Beach open early due to not having daylight savings time in Costa Rica

Other reasons for getting rid of Daylight Savings Time in Costa Rica were that DST would at most only have a 1.4% drop in energy consumption. It would be dark for children walking or taking the bus to school and for farmers or construction workers, there would actually be a loss of productivity. Costa Rica felt that changing the clocks would just be more of a nuisance.

Understanding “Tico Time”

When it comes to time in Costa Rica, you definitely cannot forget about Tico Time! It supersedes daylight savings, central time, or time zones. Tico Time dominates Costa Rican culture. So what is Tico Time? Essentially it is bringing the “Pura Vida” mindset to keeping time. Ticos are notorious for never being punctual or very relaxed when it comes to the pace at which they work.

Patio of a luxury home in Costa Rica a with a pool

This is definitely a curse and a blessing. Foreigners cannot wrap their minds around someone showing up 2 hours late for an appointment or taking a few hours on a simple task. But Tico Time represents a beautiful part of the Costa Rica way of life. Tico’s tend not to stress about keeping a tight schedule and working themselves too hard. This is a huge factor as to why Costa Rica is such a happy and laid back country!

No matter what time the clocks may indicate, remember it’s Tico Time here in Costa Rica, especially by the beaches! It’s best to go with the flow and embrace the “Pura Vida” lifestyle otherwise you may find yourself a bit frustrated.

Millionaires Looking For Happiness

Why are more and more millionaires investing in Costa Rica, and what does that mean for you?

More and more millionaires have begun to leave the United States. The “American Dream” is failing. Millionaires are looking for opportunities as well as happiness, elsewhere. Costa Rica has become a destination for those searching for better investment options, a better lifestyle, and a safer place to raise their families.

Aerial view of beautiful coastline in Guanacaste Costa Rica

From the years 2013 to 2019, the net inflow of millionaires to the US varied from 6,400 to 10,800. In 2022, the net inflow dropped 86%… to only 1,500 high net worth people. Millionaires no longer feel the United States is the best option for their money and this is not just because they want to evade taxes.

Million dollar home in Costa RicaHigh net worth individuals are tired of political tensions, the increase of crime rates, gun violence, social issue conflicts and an unpredictable market in the United States. Costa Rica offers a breath of fresh air. Here, foreigners can own titled land, easily attain a Costa Rica residency, never worry about a military or gun violence, and most importantly have a safe place to raise their families.

This shift is easy to see. Just in the Papagayo region, four new 5 and 7 star hotels/resorts will be opening. The Ritz Carlton, Six Senses, Waldorf Astoria, and One & Only are all breaking ground. At the Guanacaste International Airport, they are planning on building a new terminal specifically for private jets due to the fact that private flights have increased from 460 to 1,300 in 2022. Property values are going up and many more million dollar homes are being constructed.

Thankfully, Costa Rica is not just for millionaires. But the fact that high net worth people are investing here should give you peace of mind. If a millionaire is comfortable investing $7,000,000 dollars in an ocean view home, the $200,000 dollar walk to the beach condo you have been dreaming about is a safe bet!

View of the Gulf of Papagayo from a luxury home in Costa Rica

You don’t have to be a millionaire to have access to a warmer, safer, and more “Pura Vida” future. We have begun to see a variety of people moving down to the Papagayo region. Young families, digital nomads, and regular everyday people just trying to escape the rat race. Costa Rica has opportunities for all budgets, not just millionaires and retirees. Plus your property value is bound to go up, as the airport begins to fill with private jets.

Follow the millionaires. Forget the “American Dream” and just live in Costa Rican Paradise!

Renewing Your US Passport In Costa Rica

The US Embassy in Costa Rica has just made it a lot easier for foreign residents to renew their passports. Here’s how.

Great news! The US Embassy in Costa Rica now offers the option to renew your US passport by mail. You no longer need to go through the hassle of going to the US Embassy in San Jose and doing an in person appointment.Image of a US passport

The process is fairly simple and quick. You are eligible to renew your passport via the Costa Rican mail service (Correos de Costa Rica) if you are renewing an adult 10 year passport. You must have your current passport in your possession, you are not eligible if the passport is lost/stolen/mutilated. Keep in mind that if you are eligible to renew via mail you will NOT be granted an in-person appointment.

Step 1: Pay the Passport Renewal Fee

First step is to pay the passport fee using Make sure to print the payment confirmation you receive via email and set it aside to include in the package that will later be sent to the embassy.

Step #2: Fill out the DS-82 Passport Application

is to fill out the DS-82 Passport application form online and print it out so that it can be added to the package for the embassy. This form can be found on :

Step 3: Get an updated passport photo

Next you must get an updated passport photo. For this step you may have to go to Liberia, since there isn’t always a good option in Playas del Coco. You will need one color passport photo, 2 x 2 on a white background. Feel free to contact me about which places offer this service.

Person adding documents to an envelopeStep 4: Take the package to the post office

Once you have paid the passport fee, completed the application, and had your photos taken, you will package all these items together along with your current passport and take it to the local post office (in our area this means the one in Playas del Coco). The Correos is located on the main road, 200 meters past the anchor, heading into town, on the right hand side.

At the Post Office/Correos you will pay a small fee to send the documents in a sealed envelope to the US Embassy. It will take roughly 5 business days for Correos de Costa Rica to deliver the package from/to the Embassy. The Embassy will take 15 business days to process and send your new passport to Correos de Costa Rica.

Don’t be surprised if you do not receive any notification from the Embassy, they will not communicate unless there is something missing or an error. Make sure to contact the Correos after 4 weeks to see if your passport has arrived, if not, continue to follow up. If after 6 weeks you have not received your passport or any notifications, please follow up with the US Embassy.

Renewing via mail sure beats having to take a trip to San Jose! If you need additional information or more details, check out the Embassy link Also feel free to contact me, I am here to help.

Costa Rican Last Will And Testament

Creating a last will & testament is the responsible and right thing to do for your loved ones. Find out why and how to get this done.

When living in paradise it can be difficult to think about the less savory topics such as your last will and testament. Costa Rica will honor your US/Canadian last will and testament only after it has gone through the probate process in your home country and can take up to 2 years to go through the courts and probate of Costa Rica. The last thing you want to do is put your loved ones through a difficult and expensive probate process.

Person signing a last will and testament

If you have assets in Costa Rica such as a property, bank account, car, and so on, you will need to have a will created according to Costa Rican laws to ease and expedite the probate process.

The process to create a last will and testament

The process to create a Costa Rican last will and testament is fairly simple and reasonably priced. You will need a Costa Rican notary public or an attorney who is also a notary. With the notary you will draft a will declaring all your Costa Rican assets and specifying who the beneficiary/beneficiaries will be. After this draft is created the notary will create a public deed including all of this information and require it to be signed by at least 3 witnesses. This public deed is called a “testimonio” and your notary will supply you and the National Records building “Archive Nacional” with a certified copy.  You can revoke or modify your will at any time and since it is publicly recorded you can always request another copy from the National Records building. It is important that you also make sure to send a copy to your beneficiaries and the executor of your will.

There is always a probate process

Keep in mind that regardless if you have a will or not, there will be a probate process. Yes a last will and testament will expedite the process through the courts but you should still guarantee that your beneficiaries will have the funds necessary to go through the process. There will be notary fees, National Registry fees, and the real estate transfer taxes. If you own a bank account here in Costa Rica, you can appoint beneficiaries that will receive access to your accounts without a probate process. This way your beneficiaries can pay for the necessary costs to carry out your final wishes.

View from the patio of an ocean view home in Costa Rica

Another option: create a Trust

Another great option is creating a trust. A trust is a formal agreement between you and this entity, that states the trust owns the assets. Assets will be transferred to the beneficiaries you have designated at the time of creating the trust if you pass away. Before you purchase any assets, the trust must be created so that you can transfer the assets directly to the trust that is administered by a bank or escrow company. Of course you can transfer assets to a trust later but this will be an additional cost so it is easier to have the trust created prior to purchase.

Creating a last will & testament is the responsible and right thing to do for your loved ones. Each case is different and it is best to talk to your trusted attorney on what the best option is for you. If you have any questions or need recommendations I am more than happy to assist.

Buyer’s Closing Costs In Costa Rica

Here is a detailed breakdown of the typical buyer’s closing costs for a property in Costa Rica.

A common question buyers have when purchasing property in Costa Rica is “what are the closing costs”. This is actually a very easy question to answer as the laws of Costa Rica dictate what the bulk of the closing costs are.

When purchasing a property the closing costs will be a percentage of either A) the agreed upon sale price or B) the legal registered value of the property in the Public Registry system, whichever number is higher. The government always wants their cut to be the higher percentage. The total closing costs should be no higher than 5% and can be as low as 3.85%.

Detailed Breakdown of Closing Costs

1)    Attorney/Notary Fees: This is the fee that you will be charged by the attorney/notary that represents you in the transaction. The fee ranges from 1-1.5% of the A) the agreed upon sale price or B) the legal registered value of the property in the Public Registry system, whichever one is higher. This fee is for the attorney to do all the due diligence on the property to make sure you are purchasing a free and clear title with no liens, encumbrance, or annotations. The notary will also ensure that once the sale is completed, the new deed will be registered properly under your name or corporation. (Not all Costa Rican attorneys are notaries, to become a notary a person has to be a licensed attorney first)

2)    Real Estate Transfer Tax : This tax is paid directly to the Costa Rica Government and is 1.5% of the registered value or the agreed upon sale price, whichever one is higher.

3)    National Registry & Documentary Stamps: This fee will be .85% of the registered value or the agreed upon sale price, whichever one is higher.

Here is a further breakdown: National Registry Stamps (0.5%) Agrarian Fees: (0.15%) Fiscal Stamps, National Archive Fee, Costa Rica Bar Association Fees (Less than $20) Municipal Fee: (0.2%)

4)    Escrow Fees: The escrow is the registered company that will hold the funds and disburse at closing. This is usually split 50/50 between buyer and seller. The fee the escrow agency charges depends on the amount of funds they are responsible for safe keeping. Average cost for both buyer and seller is about $550.00.

5)   Wire Fees:  Depending on the escrow company that is used for holding the funds, wire fees will be about $75.00 to disburse the funds after closing. Your bank may also charge you a fee for sending the funds to the escrow company. Check with your local bank.

6)   Inspection Fees: When purchasing a finished property like a condo or a home, it is highly recommended to have a home inspection. This will run anywhere from $300 to $700 depending on the size of the property. This will be paid out at closing by the escrow agency, so no need to send fund for this ahead of time

7)    Utility Transfer: If you choose to have your attorney transfer the utilities under your name or corporation it will be an additional cost, approximately $150.

8)    Utility Deposit: You will also have to give a deposit to the utility companies, the deposit amount will be based on past usage, approximately $250.

9) Affidavit For Money Laundry: For closing, you will have to sign an affidavit for money laundering, depending on the law firm you use, the fee will be approximately $275.

10) Special Power Of Attorney: If you are not able to be present for the closing, you will have to have a Special Power of Attorney, the cost ranges from $200-$400.

11) Corporation: If you choose to put the property under a corporation, instead of your personal name it will run you about $700-$1200, depending on the law firm or type of corporation you set up. Something else to keep in mind is each year you must pay a corporate tax, register your shareholders and file a tax return.

12) Survey: When purchasing a house or a lot it is very important to get a licensed topographer to survey the property and make sure all the lot lines are correct. A comprehensive survey with markers all on points of the property will cost around $750. If you need to survey a large property, like a farm, the survey will be more expensive.

13) MISC FEES: A few additional fees that can be added into a closing are paying your new property taxes and HOA fees in advance.

14) VAT (13%): All services used in the closing of a property will include a 13% Value Added Tax. For each of the amounts listed above that are being provided as a service will have this additional tax added on. 

Home overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Costa Rica

The higher the value of the property the higher the closing costs will be. Just use 5% of the purchase price as a safe assumption as to what you will spend on your new home in paradise when you are looking at your budget. A small price to pay! If you have any questions, please reach out and I will be happy to assist. I can also help you run the numbers on a property you may be interested in!

Yearly Taxes and Filing Requirements in Costa Rica

One of the few constants in life is taxes and fees. No matter where in the world you may live, there is a price to pay. Thankfully, here in Costa Rica it is a very small price to pay.

Desktop with a laptop, calculator and money representing yearly taxes

Breakdown of the yearly taxes in Costa Rica

Each year all property owners must pay their property tax. Costa Rica property tax is a quarter of 1% (.25%) and is based on the registered value of the property. The value is registered with the local municipality and the national registry. For example if you have a property valued at $100,000 US dollars, the property tax will be only $250.00 per year, plus garbage and parks tax. Depending on the municipality it could be roughly another $100.00 per year. The end of the first quarter is March 31.

Keep in mind the Luxury Property tax when paying your property taxes. The luxury property tax applies to houses, condominiums, and apartments with a construction value beyond ¢133,000,000.00 (approximately US$ 214,500). The tax rate can be anywhere between 0.25% and 0.55%, depending on the declared value of your property’s construction. This tax is in addition to the annual property tax of 0.25%. This equates to roughly $250 to $500 per $100,000 of your declared property value. Need more info? Check out one of my previous blogs (

Costa Rica Corporation Annual Fee

For those who have corporations there is also an annual tax. The government charges an annual fee that must be paid to keep the corporation in good standing. The fee is approximately $120 for non-active corporations that are used only as holding companies for real estate or any assets. The annual fee for active corporations is based on income and is typically between $200 and $380. According to law 9428, the tax must be paid by January 31 each year. The company’s legal representative is responsible to declare and pay the tax. If you don’t know if the taxes are current or overdue, you can consult the National Registry database ( or contact your property manager or attorney that helped you purchase the property.

Education & Cultural Stamp Tax

Corporations must also pay the The Education and Culture Stamp Tax (Timbre de Educacion y Cultura). This tax is based upon the amount of the capital stock of your corporation. Most corporations in Costa Rica have a capital stock of less than 250,000 colones which means those corporations will only pay a tax of 750 Colones or about $1.50 USD. The payments are due by March 31st of each year.

Marchamo Tax

Marchamo is the annual road circulation tax and mandatory liability tax. You can pay marchamo starting Nov. 15th and you have until Dec. 31st. To find out how much you owe ​​Text message to 1467 with the word marchamo, followed by the license plate number. You will not be able to renew or pay a marchamo unless you can show proof that the vehicle has an up to date inspection slip showing that the vehicle has passed its yearly emissions testing.

Annual Required Filings for  for Owners of Corporations

For IN-ACTIVE corporations, this year you need to file a one-time declaration with the Costa Rica Tax Authority for 2021-2022 informing the Tax Authority if it has assets and if so, the value of the investment/asset. This is for the Tax Authority to understand the present value and to avoid an increase put upon your corporation by the Tax Authority without true justification. As an example, your property is registered as an IN-ACTIVE (meaning you do not collect income from it) this filing needs to be done with an accountant indicating that the corporation has an asset and the value of that asset. THE NEW DEADLINE IS April 30, 2023.

A new law enacted in September 2019 requires Costa Rican corporations to disclose the identity of their shareholders or owners every year. ​​The corporation’s legal representative must file annually in April with the Registry of Transparency and Final Beneficiaries of the Central Bank. The filing includes details about the corporation and the name, address, identification number, and contact information of each shareholder or owner and their percentage of ownership. To file, the representative must first obtain a digital signature card from an authorized bank. Such cards are only issued to Costa Rican citizens and residents. A non-resident who owns a corporation can comply with the reporting requirements by granting a power of attorney to a third party who will then obtain the digital signature and file the disclosure.

If you have any additional questions or need any further clarification please feel free to contact me.

The Final Costa Rica Covid Update

I am pleased to announce this is the final Costa Rica Covid update blog! As we head into this upcoming high season, we hope to enjoy Costa Rica as we did pre pandemic. 

Sailboat off the coast of Costa Rica

Covid-19 cases continue to drop in Costa Rica. Although we will never be completely rid of Covid-19, this country has done an incredible job to protect its people. Costa Rica owes its success to a strong universal healthcare system, a large network of primary health care clinics and vaccination sites. As well as greatly promoting the simple, cost effective methods of washing your hands, using a mask, and making your health your priority. 

Sunny Costa Rica was the place to brave the pandemic with plenty of outdoor social distancing activities, outdoor dining, beautiful unpopulated beaches, and fresh air. In general, life expectancy in Costa Rica approaches 81 years while the US is at 76 years and dropping sharply! 

View of Playa Coco and Playa Hermosa in Costa Rica

April 1st, 2022 Costa Rica repealed all Covid related travel restrictions. This eliminated the requirement to complete the form known as the Health Pass and the requirement of medical insurance for unvaccinated foreigners. All commercial establishments, activities, and events can operate at 100% capacity. Masks, hand washing, and temperature taking is no longer required.

As high season approaches both Ticos and expats alike are anxious to start fully enjoying all the festivities the coming months have to offer. As well as the beautiful sunny and hot dry season weather! 

Sunset over Playa Hermosa in Costa Rica

All Covid information will be removed from my website but you can still watch Covid update videos on my youtube  If you have any questions, you can always feel free to send me an email or give me a call. 

It’s time to book your flight and come on down! Costa Rica is fully open and ready for you to start your adventure. Pura Vida is calling. 

Slang & Sayings In Costa Rica

Sometimes Spanish class just isn’t enough, especially when it comes to learning these Costa Rica slang & sayings. Each Spanish speaking country has a slight variation when it comes to their language. Similar to the differences in British English and English spoken in the United States.

Here is a list of all the most common slang words & sayings Costa Ricans use so that way you are never out of the loop! Plus you will sound like a local.

Sunset over Playa Hermosa Costa Rica

Pura Vida – The literal translation is “Pure Life” but for the Costa Rican people it is an all encompassing phrase. For instance someone asks “How are you?” you can respond “Pura Vida” or if someone says “See you later” you can say “Pura Vida”. You are late to an appointment? Pura Vida. Enjoying the beach? Pura Vida. It is essentially a way of life here!

Tico/Tica – means Costa Rican. A Tico is a Costa Rican man and a Tica is a Costa Rican woman. Ticos have a tendency to make things diminutive with the suffix -tico or -tica, so much so they were named after it! Ticos created words like pequeñitica, chiquitico, or azulitico. It’s very endearing!

Mae – pronounced like “my” it means “bro”,”dude”, or ”man”. Costa Ricans, especially surfers will frequently use it in a sentence. Actually it may be the most often said word in Costa Rica, next to Pura Vida of course!

Tuanis – pronounced like “too-a-knees” and may have originated from a misheard mispronunciation of “too nice”. Tuanis means cool and is mainly used by the younger generations.

Costa Rican flag on a boat

A Cachete – Cachete literally means a cheek but “A Cachete” means everything is going great! You are out enjoying life, the sun is shining, the waves are crashing and you can shout “A Cachete”!

Chunche/Chunches – means a thing or stuff. It is a word you use when you can’t find the proper name for an item right away. Or it’s a chunche when you forgot the name altogether or if you can’t pronounce the word. Similar to a whatchamacallit.

Por Dicha – The literal translation for Dicha is bliss. Por Dicha means fortunately, thankfully or luckily. It is an expression of gratitude and thankfulness.

Zaguate in Costa RicaZaguate – my personal favorite, Zaguate means street dog. But not just any street dog, a Costa Rican street dog! A zaguate is the perfect mix of so many dog breeds you can’t even tell the origin anymore. A zaguate is the bestest friend you will ever have. Interested in learning more about these lovable pups? Check out one of my older blogs (

Birra – pronounced like beer-a… you guessed it, means beer! No need to use the word cerveza here, Costa Ricans will understand if you order a nice cold birra.

Wacala – means yuck! When you eat something that isn’t tasty or step into something unsavory you can shout “wacala”!

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to tiquismos or Costa Rican slang/sayings. Ticos are always creating new words. Thankfully Ticos love to share their culture and will happily teach you as much slang as you can remember. Pura vida mae, time to grab a birra with my zaguate!