The beauty of Costa Rica is not restricted to the landscape alone. It also lies in the delicious food, inviting visitors from near and far to keep coming back. Part of the reason is the fresh local ingredients that grow abundantly in the tropical environment. Add to that are traditional recipes and what you have before you is a selection of flavourful items.

Costa Ricans combine rice with black beans, making simple carbs more nutritious, delicious and colourful. Check out a few of the traditional favourites that tourists find hard to resist. 

Gallo Pinto – Breakfast Favourite

Made from rice and beans, Gallo Pinto or “spotted rooster” is born from blending both Costa Rican and Nicaraguan culture. Lovingly called “pinto” the dish is made of rice and beans flavoured with red bell peppers, cilantro, onions and the tangy condiment, Salsa Lizano, gives the dish a riot of colour and flavour.

Sopa Negra – Black Bean Soup

Sopa Negra is a traditional soup thickened with refried beans that is a great option for vegetarians, and those allergic to gluten. Ingredients include black beans, onions, bell peppers, cilantro, tomatoes, hard or soft boiled egg and spices, and sometimes tabasco sauce or a dollop of cream for extra flavour.

Patacones – Deep Fried Appetizer

Patacones are deep fried flattened plantains fried twice for an extra crispy crunch and sprinkled with a pinch of sea salt. It is served with pico de gallo or mashed black beans. Patacones make a great appetizer!

Casado – Traditional Meal

Packed with a variety of ingredients, casado meaning marriage brings many flavours together on a single plate. It combines rice and beans with tortilla, salad, fried potatoes, meats of your choice or fish and fried platano maduro (sweet, fried plantains).

Tamal – Wrapped in Banana Leaf

You may have heard of the Mexican Tamale but the Costa Rican version differs slightly, even though they may appear similar at first glance. A tamale is made of masa or corn dough, steamed in a corn husk that discarded while eating or used a plate. In Costa Rica, the tamale filling is similar, flavoured with garlic but less spicy than the Mexican version, and wrapped in banana leaves, served with beans for breakfast.

Olla de Carne – Wholesome Stew

The hearty olla de carne is home favourite usually savoured over the weekends when the full family gathers around the dinner table. It’s made of cassava, carrots, corn, plantains, and taro root creating a rich broth that’s full of flavour. Enjoy it with rice and beans.

Chifrijo – Quick Snack

Chifrijo makes a great snack that is served at local events and fancy restaurants. It is made of two main ingredients: chicharrones (fried pork rind) and frijoles (beans) and served with fried tortilla chips, corn tortillas, or bread. There are layered ingredients in between made of tomatoes or pico de gallo (black bean dip).

Arroz con Leche – Delicious Dessert

Made of short-grain rice pudding mixed with milk, sugar, salt, lemon zest, raisins and cinnamon sticks. How sweet does that sound? It makes a delicious dessert that’s hard to miss. 

AXR Jaco – #1 Tour Agency & Vehicle Rental

Did we get you hungry? When you are ready to savour these meals, call us at AXR Jaco for a well-planned, unforgettable trip to Costa Rica and the surrounding areas. We throw in adventure tours, vehicle rentals and combo packages for an exhilarating experience at the best value. Explore our website to see the perfect tour for you and your family or friends.