Useful Spanish Travel Phrases For Costa Rica

Road signs in Spanish

You hardly need to be fluent in Spanish to be a tourist in Costa Rica, but making an effort to learn useful Spanish phrases for conversation will certainly come in handy, or at least earn you brownie points with the locals!

We’ll start you off with the most important phrase, one that’ll be greeted with a smile across the country: ¡Pura Vida! — this phrase is basically the national motto and literally translates to “pure life.” It can also be used to simply mean “excellent.”

The Basics

If you learn nothing else, at least learn these simple Spanish travel phrases.

English Spanish
Yes
No No
Hello Hola (oh-la)
Goodbye Adiós
Goodbye Adiós
Please Por favor
Thank you Gracias
Good morning Buenos días
Good afternoon Buenas tardes
Good evening/good night Buenas noches (bwe-nas no-ches)
Do you speak English? ¿Habla inglés? (ah-blah een-gles)
My name is… Me llamo…

Navigation/Transportation

You never know when you might take a wrong turn. These are useful Spanish phrases for conversation when you’re trying to get from place to place.

Where is the bathroom? ¿Dónde está el baño?
I’m lost. Could you please help me? Estoy perdida. ¿Me podría ayudar, por favor?
Right La derecha
Left La izquierda
Bus station La estación de buses
Train station La estación de tren
Ferry La balsa (Or simply “el ferry”)
Ticket (for the bus, ferry, etc) El tiquete (Note: in Latin America, a ticket is “el boleto,” and in Spain, it’s “el billete” or ”el tique.” Central America uses “el tiquete” but they will likely understand the other phrases.)
Taxi Taxi
Stop here Pare aquí

Shopping

In addition to these Spanish travel phrases for shopping, brush up on your numbers so you know what price they’re giving you!

Open Abierto
Closed Cerrado
Supermarket El supermercado
How much is it?/How much does it cost? ¿Cuánto vale? (kwan-toh ba-leh)
Can I pay with a card? ¿Puedo pagar con tarjeta? (Pwe-doh pa-gahr cohn tar-heh-tah)
Do you take dollars? ¿Aceptan dólares? (Ah-sep-tahn doh-lah-rays)
Do you have…? ¿Tiene…? Use this if you’re looking for something specific (e.g., ¿Tiene agua?)

Restaurant

Most waiters will know basic English to serve you, but it helps to know some useful Spanish phrases for conversation on the off chance that they don’t.

What would you like to drink? ¿Para tomar?
May I see the menu? ¿Puedo ver el menú?
Thanks for the good service Gracias por el excelente servicio
I would like… Yo quisiera or me gustaría… (Note: Avoid saying “yo quiero” because it doesn’t sound as polite.)
The bill, please La cuenta, por favor

Food

If you have allergies or preferences for some basic ingredients, it’s helpful to know some basic foods to read the menu.

Water El agua
Chicken El pollo
Beef La carne de vaca
Pork El cerdo
Fish El pescado (Note: The animal is “el pez” while the food is “el pescado.”)
Vegetarian Vegetariano (male)
Vegetariana (female)
Beer La cerveza
Wine El vino
Coffee with milk or black? ¿Café con leche o negro?
Rice El arroz
Beans El frijol
Soup La sopa

Did you notice any Spanish travel phrases missing from our list that you’d like to add? Contact us to let us know!

Casa Teresa is a full-service luxury villa located right on the beautiful beach of Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. From concierge services to private chefs to adventure tours to event planning—we have it all and more. At Casa Teresa, you can see for yourself what pura vida is all about.

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