Costa Rica Living

Why do Ticos talk about the mother of Tarzan?

Why do Ticos talk about the mother of Tarzan?You don’t want to be called The Mother of Tarzan in Costa Rica, you know why? In the past, I have been telling you about certain slang words used in Costa Rica, to give you the opportunity to go a little bit native when you move here.  

Learn the way of the local people and you’ll feel at home in no time! Today’s turn is to explain more about Tarzan’s mother.

Generally Ticos are very humble people, but they are also proud people. They like to be treated correctly. I already told you in another blog why you should treat them well.

Once in a while though, you will meet one who thinks he or she is the mother of Tarzan. You’ll also find many expats who think they are the mother of Tarzan, a wrong behavior when you're a guest in a country. Ticos generally don’t like foreigners to behave like the mother of Tarzan.


What is Que Chapa in Costa Rica?

What is que chapa in Costa Rica

The use of slang in Tico Spanish is just as common as it is in any other language. Que chapa is one of those often used words in Tico slang. It would be helpful for you to understand why someone might call you a chapa.

Or maybe when someone is a collector of chapas? What if the old man lost his chapa and can’t find it?

Your move to Costa Rica obliges you to one thing: learn how to communicate with the locals in your community.   

Que chapa

Que chapa can be translated into “what a clutz”. It’s someone who drops things, who falls all the time, who doesn’t watch out and makes mistakes for that reason.  I was like that as a kid, I was a “chapa” most of my life. And I still am sometimes, because I always want to do everything at the same time and don’t concentrate.

In Spanish, being a chapa is being clumsy. If the damage is more serious, that person would become bungling, a dummy, a useless person, a fool, stupid or a moron.

In Spanish, in that same order, it would be more or less chapa, tonto, bruto, inútil, estúpido , imbécil.

What is manda huevo in Costa Rica?

What is manda huevo in Costa Rica?

The translation of huevo in English is egg, but manda huevo is something totally different. When you move to Costa Rica, you will want to communicate with your local neighbors.  In their own language of course, not in yours. They speak Spanish. Spanish is a real easy language to learn, if you make an effort.

Just as every language has its own slang terms, “Ticos” use expressions like “pura vida” and “parado de uñas”. Or they yell “upe” when they are visiting someone. Have you figured out what a chunche and what a chorizo is yet?

Many of those expressions are really difficult to translate as they are the essence of a language. It takes a while to master the essence of a language.  Once you’re able to express yourself with those slang words, you’ll easily gain the trust of the local community. They’ll know immediately that you are one of them, or at least trying to be. Give it a shot; you’ll be surprised how much fun it is.

What is parado de uñas in Costa Rica

What is parado de uñas in Costa RicaIf you really want to go native when living in Costa Rica, you should learn the typical Tico slang that is used by the locals. In other blogs, I have told you about ChunchesUpe and some others. Today’s turn is for "estar parado de uñas".

What is parado de uñas in Costa Rica? The expression “parado de uñas” literally translates into “standing on nails”, which is why I used the image of the nails as a first image in this article.

Parado de uñas really doesn’t translate well and I even had to call in the professional help of Christopher Howard, to help me with the English translation. Christopher is a BA in Latin Studies and speaks Spanish like a Pachuco. I will explain what “pachuco” is in another blog, or you can buy his Oficial Guide to Costa Rican Spanish here.  

Ticos and Ticas have a Latin mindset. Latin people have a different character, they are hot blooded. Because of that, they usually react differently than we do, most of the time quite unsuspected. Much different than Caucasians, Orientals or African Americans are. 

Why treating Ticos like shit is not right

Why treating Ticos like shit is not right Yeah, I know, I shouldn’t use bad language and I apologize for the French. But with a title like “why treating Ticos like shit”, I knew I would get your attention. And indeed treating Ticos like shit is not right.

Why not? Well, everything you do when you live in Costa Rica, should be like any good and decent guest behaves.

I often see Ticos who treat the Nicas the same way. For those who don’t know what Nicas are, they are the people who come from the country next door, Nicaragua. They come here to work hard and earn a living, trying to get a better life.  So we should treat them well too, don’t you think so?

On the other hand, we are different than they are, aren’t we? We know everything so much better. We are better educated, smarter and have a lot more money. They, the Ticos, are uneducated, stupid and poor.

What is Upe in Costa Rica?

What is Upe in Costa Rica?Everyone in Costa Rica knows what upe is. Or uuuuupeeeeeee, when you yell it. If you don’t say upe loud enough, nobody will hear you and they won’t come to the door. Do you want to know what Upe in Costa Rica is?

Alf Giebler, in his book “A lo Tico”, says that is means “is someone there?” when you are at the door of a house or a business. Constantino Lazcariz, in his book “El Costarricense” says that is means "Ave María purísima, aquí le traigo de parte de nuestra señora la Virgen de Guadalupe". Since it’s so long, over time the sentence was shortened to upe. 

Upe is definitely much easier for those of us who don’t speak much or any Spanish. 

So why do you need to know about upe? Because whenever you are going to visit someone, you’re going to need to yell uuuupeeeee so the people you visit will know you’re standing at the door.

Why don't people just have a doorbell instead of all that yelling?

20 Genius household hacks that work in Costa Rica

20 Genius household hacks that work in Costa RicaMy blogs are meant to make things easier for you when you live in Costa Rica. That’s why this time I have tried to find 5,555 genius household hacks that should work in Costa Rica.

I decided to start with only 20 of them and leave a few for some other day.

I have told you in other blogs about how famous MacGyver is in Costa Rica. Often, you need to try to make things work. 

In this article you will find 20 MacGyver’s or household hacks that work.

I have added some funny and ingenious ones and even a video so it's a bit more entertaining and you can share them with your friends and family on Facebook. Enjoy yourself using them, here we go.

12 facts that everyone living in Costa Rica takes for granted

12 facts that everyone living in Costa Rica takes for grantedWhen you first arrive in a new country, there are concepts, habits and unique facts that everyone notices. They might be the reason you move to Costa Rica or not, but you assume you’ll do all you can to enjoy them. After a while of living in Costa Rica, you get into the rhythm of living your life, doing what you do and you forget. You forget about those unique facts because up start taking them for granted. 

You don’t really notice that you take them for granted until you get visitors or when you travel. I invite you to join me on a fact finding tour. Please do not take those facts for granted, once you are living in Costa Rica. 

These facts will give you the opportunity to live the pura vida.

The death of a landmark in Costa Rica

The death of a landmark in Costa RicaFew things are as hard as directions or finding an address in Costa Rica if you have recently arrived, even if you are fluent in Spanish.  

Our addresses are weird and even if you use Waze on your phone, you might need to know about a landmark in the area you are visiting, so you won’t get lost.

Costa Rica is full of landmarks, even though they change once in a while. I have been living in Escazu, for most of my 36 years in Costa Rica, we just lost one of the most important landmarks: the Mango Tree. Escazu News picked up on the happening and allowed me to the photos.

Most of you probably say “what, a mango tree is a landmark?”

There are places in Costa Rica that has thousands of mango trees. I actually did a blog a while ago about mangoes and a tenant who complained that the mangoes where keeping her awake.  

Adjust to food in Costa Rica

How to adjust to food in Costa Rica

The plan to move to Costa Rica is a winner for many. Most who start looking and homes for sale or for rent in Costa Rica will not get any further than dreaming of such a big step. Moving to another country is a much bigger step than most think it is, especially when it's about trying to adjust to the food in Costa Rica. 

Although there is so much information available online, I find that only a few future expats take the time and make the effort to learn as much as they can about their future home country, the reason for the existence of Ivo’s blog. 

In the past, in December 2014 to be exact, I wrote a blog about the traditions from your home country that you will miss when you move to Costa Rica. Food in Costa Rica is not only different than what you are used to, it is also cooked different and they use different spices than you do. But don't worry, it's not so bad that it should stop you from moving to Costa Rica and I'm sure this article will help you adjust to the food in Costa Rica well.