What You MUST See/Do/Eat in Costa Rica! - Part 1

At the beginning of July, my husband and I (finally!) took our honeymoon. Since we got married in Massachusetts last year and used up all our vacation time, we decided to make this our one-year-anniversary trip.

When I was researching for our trip, I found a lot of suggestions on what to DO, but not a lot on what to EAT! So I thought I'd do a roundup of both for my blog. This is specifically for the area we visited, Arenal and Monteverde, during the rainy season.

First up (of course) is what you MUST EAT when you visit Costa Rica.

While most of the food in Costa Rica is what you'll find throughout most of Latin America, there are a few unique dishes I came across that I immediately fell in love with. For the most part, the food here is so good because it's all super fresh, local, and not buried in seasoning so the bright flavors come forward.

Chifrijo - If there is one thing you must eat in Costa Rica, this is it. I need to make my own version because I keep thinking about this dish! It's a classic bar food but so incredibly tasty. Rice, beans, pork, salsa, served with chips. It sounds so simple, but it is SO. GOOD. It's one of the few totally Costa Rican dishes I could find and it was hands down my favorite. It's typically an appetizer, but I ate it as my dinner at least twice. It's filling!

Casado - Casado is a Costa Rican meal made up of rice, black beans, plantains, salad, a tortilla, and a protein like fish, chicken, or beef. It's a simple dish but you can find it everywhere and it's a meal you know will taste good. You can eat it separately or use the tortilla to make your own taco. Nothing is over-seasoned, and the freshness of the food stands out.

Arroz con Pollo - Chicken and rice. Or beef, or pork, or whatever else but chicken was the most popular. Rice is a staple here, so low carb diets will have a lot of trouble avoiding it. My advice? Don't avoid it. Indulge. It's worth it. The rice isn't soaked in sauce or cheese, but the flavor is worth it. Slightly spicy with fresh veggies, this was a whole meal in and of itself.

Salsa Lizano - This stuff is like ketchup in Costa Rica and it is DELICIOUS. Tangy, only slightly spicy, and so perfect on everything from rice to eggs to every meat. I brought home two huge bottles and am consuming them by the teaspoonful so as to make it last as long as possible.

Breakfast! - We filled up every morning with the generous breakfast buffets at each of our hotels. I feel like this is where America comes up short--our continental breakfasts (crappy make-your-own waffles included) honestly suck. Costa Rica had amazing breakfast spreads with all sorts of breads, meats, eggs, and more American options like cold cereal. Gallo pinto (rice and beans), fried cheese, and fresh fruit.

Fresh fruit juice - Every hotel and restaurant we went had their own fruit punch or fruit juice, as did every restaurant. The fruit here is plentiful and fresh so it's easy to find just about everywhere! Strawberry and Pineapple were my favorites, but Sour Guava was a surprisingly tangy juice we loved, too!

Chocolate and Coffee - You'll find these together at souvenir shops since they're two of Costa Rica's most popular exports. The best place to grab these are straight from the farms themselves, as you'll be guaranteed local, fresh products. However, if you want to save some money you'll find excellent options at grocery stores as well.

What did you think of this list? Let me know in the comments!


  1. Sounds like such a fun trip! I would love all the fruit punch options!

  2. Costa Rica is on our bucket list, so I'm saving this post. Chifrijo sounds especially delicious and I can't wait to try!

  3. Sounds like you had a delicious trip! I love the sound of some of the dishes you mentioned, especially the Chifrijo I'd love to try and make that!

  4. Costa Rica is on our list of places to go next year. The food looks amazing!

  5. Costa Rica has been on my wishlist for ages, mostly for the wildlife viewing, but I had not even thought about the food, and it looks fabulous. Thanks for the tips!

  6. Hahah, my husband and I still haven't taken our honeymoon- it will probably fall on our second year anniversary. I love how good everything in your pics looks! I bet Costa Rica is absolutely amazing, totally on the go-see list


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