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Do you want to learn Pachuco when you live in Costa Rica?

Do you want to learn Pachuco when you live in Costa Rica?I learned to speak Pachuco before I learned Spanish. I didn’t have a clue until I started dating a local woman. She thought I was pretty vulgar and I had no idea what she was talking about.

When I moved to Costa Rica in 1980, my brother and I started a window cleaning company. Our employees were from the southern barrios of San José.  We didn’t speak a word of Spanish and they, of course, didn’t speak any English.

In less than 6 months, I was getting by pretty well in Spanish, I thought. Every time I would be showing off my Spanish to a Tico or Tica, the other person would have a big smile for me. I thought that smile was to show my effort in trying to speak Spanish. Until I started dating!


Wikipedia refers to this word as

In Costa Rica, the word pachuco refers to a person who has manners that are socially unacceptable and often uses shocking language when speaking. Pachuco is also a pejorative name given to certain colloquial words and expressions. Some consider pachuco and its pachuquísmos to be Costa Rica’s second language.

I’m sure our employees had a ball teaching us Pachuco.

Do you want to learn Pachuco when you live in Costa Rica?

A second language

To some, pachuco is a second language of the Ticos. The younger people in Costa Rica use quite a few words that get close to this 2nd language, but it’s not the same. If you can understand the following video, you’re 100% Pachuco. I understand about 40% of it.

Pachuco words

Here are some words in Pachuco, if you would like to show off with other pachucos:

Tuanis = very nice, very good

Compita = bro, friend

Tabo =jail

Paco = policeman

Que es la vara = what’s up, what is this

Furris = terrible, horrible

Al chile = really? seriously?

Harinón = a lot of money

Jetear = not doing anything

Qué jeta = a big mouth

Al despiste = discretely

Un toque = just a moment

Ruliar = sleep

Rajado = incredible

Parla = talk, discussion

Ligar = hooking up people to become a couple

Chasco = a disaster

Brete = job

Me estoy quemando = in need of money

Jama = food

Tucas = legs of a person

Ahorcarse = get married

Do you want to learn Pachuco when you live in Costa Rica?
Image from Pinterest

My recommendation

My recommendation is to not learn pachuco; it’s really hard to get rid of later. You might use pachuco at the wrong time and get into trouble. Try to learn basic Spanish before moving to Costa Rica, it will save a lot of trouble and headaches.

Contact us now if you want to purchase or rent a property in Costa Rica. if you want to learn Spanish like a real Costa Rica, try this book.

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Ivo Henfling

If you are looking to buy a home in Costa Rica or invest in a condo anywhere in the central Valley, or looking for any property for sale in Escazu, you need to call me. I have been selling real estate in Escazu for over 20 years and can show you hundreds of happy buyers of real estate in Escazu and other areas. To me, a deal is not a good deal unless both buyer and seller are happy.

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