One Man’s Shack is Another Man’s Shanty
You can never fully grasp the true flavor of another culture without learning the language of the people who live there and soaking up a little local slang along the way. When traveling to Costa Rica you can soak up the sun and a rich culture full of vibrant additions to the traditional Spanish language.
One way you’ll immediately know that Costa Rican slang is different than slang in other Spanish speaking countries is because one word can have several meanings. Let’s say for example that you learned traditional Spanish in the United States. It can get quite confusing if someone asks if you want to come to their “chante” or “choza.” In the traditional sense they would’ve said “casa.”
Choza is just one example of Costa Rican slang that can have several connotations, but still generally means the same thing. In general conversation, someone could casually ask you to come to their house. This could be done using either chante or choza as both words are used to describe a house.
Dig a little deeper and you’ll find that these words can be used for a specific type of dwelling. Depending on the conversation, the “Tico” (native of Costa Rica) may be speaking of a thatched hut shack; more of a cabana style casita than a residential house.
Every culture has it’s beginning with a good idea and then all the spices and flavors that make it special are added over time. That is exactly how to explain the dialect and slang that has grown to be the norm in Costa Rica. There is no right or wrong version of Spanish because ultimately you will be understood in any Spanish speaking country. The fun part will be taking a vacation in Costa Rica and exploring the culture while learning the local slang and probably making some hilarious slip-ups along the way.