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What is qué vaina in Costa Rica?

What is qué vaina in Costa Rica?Qué vaina is one of those expressions your landlord might use when you complain about a leak in the roof.

Or when your coffee maker stopped working and you’re asking for another.

In this case, the translation is “what a problem”. But. instead of qué vaina, it is also possible to say qué torta. It is used when a person is annoyed because something has happened.

Vaina is one of those words that has many different meanings, depending on how it’s used.

The word vaina or vainica means a pea.


Other uses are:

Qué es esa vaina? – what is that thing? Also esa cosa – ese chunche means the same thing)

Cuál es la vaina? – what’s the matter?

Voy a tener que aguantarme las vainas de mi inquilino – I will have to support my tenant’s crap

No me venga con vainas – stop having excuses

Qué vaina con vos – You’re always a problem, I’m disappointed with you

Ni de vaina – Not a chance

Juan Vainas – a person who is not too intelligent

Es una vaina –  It´s a pity, a dilemma

Es una vaina ser un limpio – What a pity to be penniless!

Engañar con la vaina vacía – to preach qualities you don´t have

Machete, estáte en tu vaina – watch out! think what you are doing

As usual, my sincere thanks to my dear friends Alf Giebler (A lo Tico), Christopher Howard (Costa Rica Spanish) and Wagner Freer (Spanish School For residents and Expats).

If you’d like to learn more about the Costa Rican culture and how to prevent culture shock, read more blogs about this topic. Contact us for any real estate requirements you have.

The grammar of this blog was checked and corrected by Wagner Freer of Spanish School for Residents and Expats. We strongly recommend this language school as your best choice to learn Spanish, click here to contact them. 

Spanish School for Residents and Expats

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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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