Embrace Costa Rican Culture with these Essential Phrases

Prepare to embark on an extraordinary journey to Costa Rica, a land celebrated for its breathtaking natural beauty and intriguing culture. In this article, we will explore Costa Rican common phrases, words, and expressions that will not only enhance your communication skills but also immerse you in the local way of life!

1. Pura Vida: Translated as “pure life” this expression represents a unique mindset that embraces positivity, simplicity, and a profound appreciation for the simple joy of existence. It has multiple applications that you can use to say hello, goodbye, express gratitude, or simply to convey a sense of well-being. Pura Vida thinking is the essence of Costa Rican culture.

2. Tico/Tica: In your travels, you will encounter the endearing nicknames “Tico” and “Tica” for Costa Rican men and women, respectively. These endearing nicknames foster unity and camaraderie among the locals.

3. Mae: This versatile term, often used in friendly banter, refers to a “close friend” or “partner.” If you’re traveling with someone close to you, try calling them “mae” – the locals will know what you mean!

4. ¡Qué Chiva!: This exclamation of enthusiasm can be translated as “how amazing” or ”how nice”and is commonly used to express excitement or appreciation.

5. Gallo Pinto: Beyond words and phrases, no exploration of Costa Rican culture would be complete without mentioning its beloved national dish - Gallo Pinto. The name “Gallo Pinto” translates to “spotted rooster,” a nod to the speckled appearance of the rice and beans dish when combined. This delightful meal features a combination of rice, black beans, vegetables, meat, and flavourful seasonings.

Gallo Pinto Recipe:
1 ½ cups cooked black beans (or 1 can, drained and rinsed)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium bell pepper (red or green), finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
3-4 tablespoons Salsa Lizano (or Worcestershire sauce as a substitute)
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil, vegetable oil or coconut oil

Prepare your ingredients:
Measure out the cooked rice, cooked black beans, and Lizano Salsa (or substitute Worcestershire sauce). Finely chop the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and cilantro. Heat the oil: In a large skillet or pan, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil or coconut oil over medium heat.

Sauté the vegetables: Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, and garlic to the skillet. Sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened and fragrant. Add the black beans: Stir in the cooked black beans, and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.

Combine with rice: Add the cooked rice to the skillet, and mix everything together until the rice, beans, and vegetables are evenly combined. Season the dish: Pour in 3-4 tablespoons of Salsa Lizano (or Worcestershire sauce), and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir well to ensure the flavors are evenly distributed throughout the dish.

Cook until heated through: Allow the mixture to cook for another 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. This will help the rice to slightly crisp and the flavors to deepen. Garnish and serve: Remove the skillet from heat, and sprinkle the freshly chopped cilantro over the Gallo Pinto. Serve immediately, accompanied by your choice of sides such as fried eggs, avocado slices, plantains, tortillas, sour cream, or cheese.

Embracing these expressions will unlock the door to meaningful connections, unforgettable moments, and a deeper appreciation of what makes Costa Rica the ideal place for your next vacation destination.

¡Pura Vida!