Costa Rica is a beautiful, unique country unlike any other place in the world. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that it has its own unique sayings that perfectly reflect its happy, laid back nature! Here are a few to know and use during your Costa Rican vacation:


Pura Vida

The motto for the Costa Rican way of life, you will be sure to hear this phrase often during your trip. Literally translated as “pure life,” Pura Vida can be used in a variety of contexts, whether as a way of conveying how you are doing, a means of saying thanks/you’re welcome, a greeting, or as a description for a person, place, or thing. Most often it’s thought of as the Costa Rican equivalent of “cool.”



Often used in much the same way as Pura Vida, Tuanis generally translates to mean “cool” or “awesome.”



The name that Costa Ricans call themselves by.



An informal way of addressing a person, often used among friends, but can be used to refer to another person. Most closely translated as the word “dude.”


Buena Nota

Literally translated as “good note,” this phrase is used to describe a person who is regarded as nice or good.


Por Dicha

Used to express how fortunate one is, such as “I’m doing well, por dicha.”


Qué Chiva

An expression of how cool or awesome something is.


Con Gusto

Respect and happiness are deeply engrained parts of Costa Rican culture, a fact that is evident in this phrase. Used to say “you’re welcome,” be prepared to often hear “con gusto,” which translates to “with pleasure,” in place of “de nada.”


pura vida






Commonly Used Phrases in Costa Rica