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What is guácala en Costa Rica?

What is guácala en Costa Rica?When the food is awful, you say guácala. But when it’s great you say esta riquísimo!

The word guácala means horrible, disgusting, distasteful, yuck, dreadful, gross or nasty.

Even if you’ve never had anything like it, and they serve you a Gallo Pinto, don’t say guácala. Just tell the host or anfitrión, no, pero muchas gracias. Personally, I don’t like Gallo Pinto at all. But with cilantro, I just hate it! Guácala!

But the word is not only used for food. It’s used for anything that you think is disgusting. Guácala is one of those strange words that are not so easy to remember.  You can also say qué asco. I would say that guácala is like yuck and qué asco is like disgusting. It’s not only used for food. You can use guácala also when your kids are doing something gross or when someone is throwing up. I’m sure you get the picture.

What is guácala en Costa Rica?

And while we’re talking about food, and you’d like to express that your hungry, you can say tengo hambre. A more pachuco way of saying the same is tengo filo.


When the bread or the empanada is not fresh, you can say it is añejo. But the word añejo is also used for someone who hasn’t taken a shower that day or looks like it.


After dinner, for sure you’d like a coffee, which is called a yodo in slang. You can use this when eating at a soda. Don’t use the work yodo in a nice restaurant, then you should order un café o un Cafecito.


Or you can order another drink like Guaro or a Chiliguaro.


Going back to guácala, there are a few other words you could use instead:

  • asqueroso,
  • hediondo,
  • cochino,
  • repugnante,
  • apestoso.

You are not used to taking a shower at least once a day? I’m sure you don’t want people to say guácala when you enter the room. Ticos always smell good and you can learn more here.

At GoDutch Realty, we care about you and want you to feel comfortable when you move to Costa Rica. That is the reason for my blogs. Do you want to work with a realtor that you will feel comfortable with? Then contact us now.

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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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