Mouthwatering Cuisine

On your holiday in Costa Rica you will find the cuisine simple but wholesome, a savoury blend of garlic and herbs lacking in the spiciness often associated with Latin American countries. The main dish is rice and beans and it is served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Along the Caribbean coastline the cuisine has been heavily influenced by Jamaica and other Caribbean nations. These regions use coconut milk and coconut cream in their dishes, including rice and beans.

Gallo Pinto
This is Costa Rica’s national dish and you will find it (and eat it) just about everywhere on your holiday in Costa Rica. Black beans are simmered with onions, sweet peppers and cilantro and mixed with rice. For breakfast it is served with eggs, tortillas and natilla (a type of Costa Rican sour cream) and for lunch or dinner it is served with meat or fish, fried plantains and a salad of carrot, tomatoes and cabbage.

You will often be served flavourful stews for dinner on your Costa Rican holiday. A popular stew is olla de carne, a rich stew made with chunks of beef, potatoes, carrots, plantains, yucca and chayote (vegetable pear). Sample hearty sopa de mondogo, a fish stew made with tripe and vegetables; a delicious corn stew called guiso de maíz; or the traditional Costa Rican stew, sopa negra, which is made with black beans.

This popular boca (appetiser) is served in most restaurants and bars. The fish is marinated in citrus juices with herbs and diced vegetables and served raw. The most popular type of fish used for ceviche is corvine (white sea bass). It is marinated with garlic, hot pepper, garlic, onion and celery. If you do not fancy fish, try the green mango ceviche. 

Costa Ricans love their street food and you will find it on street corners, in markets and at outdoor festivals across the country. Indulging in a spot of street food really is the best way to sample some of the delicious delights of Costa Rican cuisine; just be careful to only order street food from vendors whose food is clean, fresh and cooked right in front of you.

Mouth watering tamales are boiled plantain leaves stuffed with a mix of corn meal, rice, meat, beans and vegetables. Follow your nose to the nearest farmer’s market or street vendor to sample these tasty treats.

Empanadas fit into the class of ‘fried stuff with cheese’. And we love it. These fried dough balls are stuffed with cheese, beans, potatoes and chicken and doused with hot sauce. A truly authentic Costa Rican delight.

Cool off from the hot sun with a pipa (young coconut). Street vendors are available just about everywhere with a machete to chop the top off these green coconuts, pop a straw through the flesh, and hand it to you to drink the sweet, clear liquid.

Fresh Fruit
Nothing is more refreshing during a sunny day than the fresh, tropical fruit of Costa Rica. Street vendors sell fresh fruit from street carts just about everywhere here. The fruit is served plain or as a refresco, a blended drink. Try tropical favourites including fresh mangos, papayas, watermelon, passion fruit and pineapples, but also be sure to sample some of the local fruits like marañon (a curious fruit whose seed is the cashew) or the manzana de agua (a deep red, pear-shaped fruit).