San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

‘If the towel dispenser is empty, use your clothes’

On the road between Grecia and Alajuela there is a sign for “Asientos Inodoros, Artesania.” Translation: artisanal toilet seats. Uh huh. Here are some other favorites we’ve seen, some in English, some in Spanish, some in both:

“Please do not stop in the chickens.”

“Do not use elevator in case of earthquake.”  

Por favor no pasar. And if you can’t read ask in the ticket office.”

“Do not wash your feet in the sink.” 

“Don’t put anything in the toilet unless you’ve eaten it first.”

“Do not poop in the waterfall.”

“Looking for an employee to sleep on the job.” (An ad for a live-in employee.)

“Jaus for sale.” (An ad for a house for sale.)

“T-shits – forty percent off.”

“Show your education. Do not stick buggers on the wall.”


Items on menus and restaurant signs:

“Race and beans.”


“Beers would dribble.”

“Rock hoist” as the translation for Rock Ice.

“Soup chicken to the style our.” 

“In Saun of the Sea” for sopa del mar.

“Meat is pot,” for olla de carne


Some altered signs:

“Ruta provisional,” or provisional route, becomes “puta provisional” or provisional prostitute. “Prohibido a vehiculos pesados” or prohibited for heavy vehicles, becomes “prohibido a culos pesados” or prohibited for heavy butts.

A graffiti artist in Alajuela spray-painted on a on a bench, “The next time that u feel perfect, try walking on water.” Sounds about right.

walk on water

Good advice.

Mitzi Stark


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