8 Costa Rican Greetings (that aren’t Pura Vida)

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It seems like every day another article pops up on the internet promising to help Gringos successfully assimilate into Costa Rican culture through the proper use of local slang, or more specifically, the correct use of “Pura Vida.” This is not one of those articles.

From The Matador Network to The Weekly Crawler, there is no shortage of absolutely terrible websites regurgitating the same garbage that you have already read a million times and next time it’s posted you will probably read it again because you are a moron.

As cute of a phrase as it may be, “Pura Vida” is about as 1999 as a Todo dar, and as any Tico will tell you, now days, there are much better ways to say hello out there.

Despite what the Lonely Planet Guide to Costa Rica your gay uncle Tom gave you might say, there are a hundred ways to say hello in Costa Rica, and they aren’t all Pura Vida. For that reason, with a little help from our newest intern, Tico Roger, the Costa Rica Post has compiled a list of the best ways to say hello in Costa Rica (and none of them are Pura Vida).

#8. “Buenas”

Buenas is the shortened version of buenos días, buenas tardes or buenas noches – it works anytime, and frees you from having to think about what time of day it is and is a great way to greet someone you bump into on the street but don’t feel like talking to.

Fun Fact: By drawingout the /s/ sound, you can make your buenas sound extra creepy.

veijo verde

#7. “Adiós”

The use of adiós as a greeting can be baffling. It’s most common when you’re walking down the street and aren’t going to stop and talk, but just make eye contact, give a smile and this quick hi/bye greeting. Its also a hilarious thing to say right before you kill someone.

Fun Fact: I have killed before and I will kill again.

#6. “Todo bien mae?”

A very handy informal Costa Rican greeting, Todo bien mae can be used at any time of the day but is a greeting usually reserved for use with people you like or are trying to get a cigarette from. Roughly translating to “What’s up dude?”, Todo bien mae can also be used to greet the security guard in front of your house.

Fun Fact: Much like Gallo Pinto, your fancy gated community’s security guard also comes from Nicaragua.

#5. “Que me ‘iche?”

A common greeting among pachucos, polos and Nicas trying to fit in, “que me iche” or “que me dice” is a great way to say hello to your little sister’s baby’s daddy “Brayan” next time you visit him in San Sebastian.

Fun Fact: Regardless of what Brayan did to get in jail, he most likely won’t be there for long.

#4. “Eso mop! Todo bien?”

Another word for “cousin”, mop was culturally appropriated by white Ticos in the GAM from black Ticos in Limon who stole from brown Ticos in Puntarenas before shortening it down from “mopri” to its current form. This phrase literally means “Hey Cousin, everything good?”.

Fun Fact: Mop is most popular among the high af demographic.

#3. “Entonces qué carepicha?”

Literally translated to “So what dickface?”, entonces que carepicha is a common way to greet your good friends and family members in Costa Rica. Entonces que carepicha is also a great way to greet someone that you just caught staring at your girlfriend.

Fun Fact: Most of the people you know are carepichas.


#2. “Que me dice playo?”

Que me dice playo, or “What’s up queer?” is one of the most common greetings you will ever hear in Costa Rica.  Generally used by straight people, “playo” is a Costa Rica specific slur for homosexuals that is mostly used in an affectionate manner except when referring to actual gay people. 

Fun Fact: Twenty bucks is twenty bucks.


 #1. “Como va esa vida mamapichas?”

Also known as a “Jaco Howdy”, como va esa vida mamapichas is the Spanish equivalent of “How’s life c***sucker?” and is a great way to greet a person you actually wouldn’t mind talking to for some reason. Very popular among the 24-35 age group, como va esa vida mamapichas is more Tico than Gallo Pinto, which is why we decided to make it number one on our list of Costa Rican greetings that aren’t “Pura Vida”. 

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