For a country that is more known for its rich biodiversity, stunning natural landscapes, and friendly locals, making a Costa Rican wildlife holiday one of the best in the world, this little Central American country is also somewhat of a foodie paradise. The country’s cuisine is a reflection of its diverse history and cultural influences.
Another weapon up Costa Rica’s sleeve when it comes to its cuisine is something we’ve already mentioned – its climate and biodiversity. There is an absolute bounty of riches thanks to the variety of climactic zones, which create the perfect conditions for growing a huge range of local, seasonal produce.
In this article, we’ll open your eyes to the world of Costa Rican cuisine, and deep dive into its most famous culinary export – coffee.
What to eat in Costa Rica
One of the most popular dishes in Costa Rica is Gallo Pinto. This traditional breakfast dish consists of rice and beans cooked together with onions, peppers, and spices. It is often served with scrambled or fried eggs, cheese, and a side of plantains. Gallo Pinto is a staple in every Costa Rican home and can be found in almost every restaurant and café in the country.
If you are looking for a snack, then you cannot miss out on the Empanadas. These are small pastries filled with cheese, beans, or meat and are usually deep-fried. Empanadas are a popular street food in Costa Rica, as they are in much of Latin America, and can be found in almost every corner of the country.
Another dish that is a must-try in Costa Rica is Casado. Casado means “married” in Spanish and refers to the combination of rice, black beans, salad, and a choice of meat. The meat options range from grilled chicken or fish to beef or pork. Casado is a hearty and filling meal that is perfect for lunch or dinner.
Costa Rica is also blessed with incredibly rich seas and oceans that are bursting with life, and rarely are you more than a couple of hours drive from the Pacific or the Caribbean. All this means that the country can serve up some of the best seafood you will ever taste in your life. Whether that’s a succulent fish barbecue on tiny Isla Jesusita or a fresh ceviche in Drake Bay, all you need to add is a cold beer and a tropical sunset to make for a truly special meal.
What to drink in Costa Rica
As for drinks, Costa Rica has a rich coffee culture, and it is home to some of the best coffee beans in the world. Wherever you are in Costa Rica, you can be sure that any host will be almost immediately offering you a coffee. Another popular beverage in Costa Rica is Horchata. It is a sweet and refreshing drink made from rice milk, cinnamon, and vanilla, and the perfect beverage to cool down on a hot day.