Costa Rican drug terms

The legalization of drugs is a hot topic in the U.S.and many Latin American countries. Costa Rican newspapers frequently run stories about drug busts and occasional articles on making marijuana legal for medical purpose.

Interestingly, a dictionary with thirty-two thousand drug terms will be published next year in Mexico. So, the vocabulary below is just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Allanamiento – a drug raid
  • Andar hasta las narices – one of the million ways of saying that one is drunk or stoned in Spanish
  • Boleta – paper used for rolling marijuana cigarette
  • Búnker – a fortified structure where drugs are sold on a small scale
  • Desarticular una banda – to break up a drug ring
  • Desintoxicación – withdrawl from drugs
  • Garrotazo – This word literally means a blow with a club (garrote). In slang to have to pay a large bill or a lot of money.
  • Hierba – this word literally means grass but is also marijuana
  • Loquera – craziness. The correct Spanish word is locura.
  • Maricucha – marijuana
  • Marijuana hidropónica – marijuana which is grown in water to increase the potency. Lately, this term has appeared in local newspapers since the police have raided several homes where pot is grown this way.
  • Mota – marijuana
  • Mula – literally means mule but can refer to a four by four vehicle, a large woman (insulting) or a drug courier.
  • Nacrcomenudeo – small time drug dealing
  • Narguila – a water pipe
  • Operativo – a police operation
  • Pegarse un pericazo – to snort cocaine
  • Perico – slang for cocaine
  • Picadura – loose marijuana
  • Piedra – crack cocaine
  • Puro – a marijuana cigarette
  • Marijuana medicinal – medical marijuana
  • Marijuana recreativa – recreational marijuana
  • Queso – literally means cheese but is slang for cocaine
  • (una) Sobredosis – an overdose
  • Tócola – the butt of a marijuana cigarette. La colilla is the correct word.
  • Tostado/a – stoned on pot
  • Trabado/a – to be so drunk or stoned that you cannot open your mouth
  • Vaporizador – vaporizer or a device used to smoke marijuana


To use Whatsapp

  • Andar parado de uñas – to be angry
  • Asaltacunas – a cradle robber (a person who has a relationship with someone who is youger)
  • Carribarro – a shameless person. Sinvergüenza is also used
  • Checo – nickname for the name Sergio
  • Chente – nickname for Vicente
  • Botado – someone who is a big spender
  • Botarse – to spend a lot of money
  • Coronadeño – a person form the town of Coronado. The people from there are also called lecheros
  • Edu – short for the name Eduardo
  • Guglear – to use Google
  • Hacer chotas – to make fun of
  • Irse de pollo – to do something stupid
  • Isidreño or pezeteño – anyone who lives in San Isidro de General
  • Jugar de muy galleta – to act like smart ass. Jugar de vivo means the same thing
  • Llevar el susto de su vida – the scare of one’s life
  • Libre de polvo y paja – net earnings
  • Mandar al otro lado – to kill someone
  • Motelear – to go to a love motel with the purpose of having sex
  • Pelo de gato – drizzle
  • Robanaves – a car thief
  • Ser buen ride – to be good
  • Ser quitado para – not wanting to take part in an activity
  • Tufo – a bad odor
  • Vivir en carne propia – to experience something in the flesh
  • Volver a nacer – to have a close call with death
  • Wasapear – to use the application whatsapp


To be in bad shape

A lo chancho chingo – irresponsible
Acostar – to kill. This verb really means to put someone to bed.
Carne molida – a bad job or work
Choco bola or la pecosa – slang for a soccer ball
Chuzazos – pin pricks
Darse mano de gato – a quick cleaning or make over.
Desgalillar – to shout
El or la güila – child
La doña or señora de los frescos – slang for rain
Lunada – a night time celebration
Me extra – it surprises me. Comes from me extraña.
Mingo – slang for the town of Santo Domingo
Pepino – slang for a goal in soccer
Quedar pal’ tigre – to be in bad shape
Recetador – drug dealer. This term literally means a person who prescribes medicine.
Ver con mala cara – to disapprove. Ver con malos ojos is also used.

It is better to keep one’s mouth closed


  • Bocón – a person with a big mouth (figurative)
  • Calladito es más bonito – it is better to keep quiet
  • Del dicho al hecho hay mucho trecho – talk is cheap
  • Del Plato a la boca se pierde la sopa – talk is cheap
  • El que al cielo escupo, a la cara la cae – watch what you say or it will come back to bite you
  • El que mucho habla de lo que sabe, poco sabe de lo que dice – People who talk about what they know, often know nothing about what they are saying.
  • En bocas cerradas no entran moscas – it is best to keep quiet
  • Hablar no cuesta nada – talk is cheap
  • Hablar por hablar – to talk for the sake of it
  • Hablar por los codos – to talk one’s head off
  • La ropa sucia se lava en casa – it is better to talk about one’s problems in private
  • Las palabras sobran y los hechos hablan – talk is cheap
  • Las paredes oyen – the walls have ears
  • Lo prometido es deuda – have to keep a promise
  • Más pronto cae un hablador que un cojo – a person with a big mouth will fall faster than a person who is crippled
  • Más vale tonto callado, que tonto hablando – a dumb person should keep quiet
  • Mientes con los dientes – to lie through one’s teeth
  • Mucho rin rin y nada de helados – all talk
  • Para hablar y comer pescado, hay que tener mucho cuidado– be careful what you say
  • Perro que ladra no muerde – a person’s bark is worse than his bite
  • Por la boca muere el pez – watch what you say
  • Quien no sabe callar, no sabe hablar – have to learn to keep quiet at the right time
  • Quien tiene boca se equivoca – he who has a mouth makes mistakes
  • Uno es dueño de lo que calla y esclavo de lo que habla – be careful of what you say

Tattletale and more

  • A pata pelada – barefoot
  • Avispardo/a – smart or alert
  • Ayote – dumb or stupid
  • Besucón – a person who likes to kiss
  • Boleta – rolling paper for marijuana
  • Carebarreada – a shameless act
  • Chema – nickname for José María
  • Chichoso/a -Angry
  • Gallina – a coward
  • Garroteada – a physical or monetary beating
  • ¿Ladronde lo sacaste? Wordplay using the term ladrón which is a thief. This phrase translates as , “Where did you steal it from?
  • Narcomenudeo – small time drug dealing
  • Pulsearla – to work hard or do one’s best. Poniéndole bonito means the same thing in Costa Rican slang.
  • Patatús – a dizzy spell or attack
  • Soplón or sapo – a tattletale
  • Tocadera – fondling
  • Turba – a mob of people