Eat Like a Local, Mae!

Costa Rica is known for its biodiversity in flora & fauna and the famous phrase “pura vida”, which it basically means living in the moment & peacefully. But there’s also a richness when it comes to our traditional dishes due our location of the and close proximity to local tropical fruits and vegetables.

Here’s a list of the most popular dishes that you MUST try on your next trip down to PARADISE!


Casado is your typical Costa Rican plate. It’s not one food, but rather a combination of several Costa Rican staples that make up this dish. Plates typically include rice, beans, fried sweet plantains, a salad, and protein (chicken, fish, beef, or pork). Casado is as Costa Rican as it gets. This traditional dish is also incredibly affordable and more than filling. For any traveler, a Casado is the perfect meal to fuel up for a day of surfing or exploring.

Gallo Pinto

This is the national dish of Costa Rica. It consists of rice and beans stir-fried together in a pan to create a speckled appearance. It is usually served for breakfast along with scrambled or fried eggs and sour cream or cheese. Seasonings in this mixture of rice and beans include cilantro, red pepper, onion, celery, and Salsa Lizano.

Arroz con Pollo

Arroz con pollo consists mainly of cooked rice, chicken, whole or cut, vegetables, spices and condiments. In some regions, the dish will be green and in others it will be red, yellow or yellow-orange depending on the ingredients and spices.


Is a dish made up of raw fish and seafood that can include octopus, shrimp, shellfish, tilapia, dorado, dolphin and sea bass.The raw seafood is soaked in lemon juice, which “cooks” it by breaking down proteins. It is then mixed with seasonings such as coriander, onion, garlic, cilantro, and chiles. The dish is normally accompanied with plantain chips or saltine crackers.


This is pronounced Chee -Free-Ho. The name itself is a combination of the main ingredients, Chicharones and Frijoles. Chicharrones are fried pork rinds, while frijoles are beans. The dish is an amazing layer of ingredients that are served with fried tortilla chips, corn tortillas, or bread. The layered ingredients include the two main foods, along with rice, and either tomatoes or pico de gallo

Tres Leche

It is a vanilla sponge cake soaked in three kinds of milk: evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream and topped with whipped cream or meringue. This is great for the afternoon coffee time which by religion around 3:00 pm ticos enjoy a cup of coffee with salty or sweet desserts.

Tamarindo Drink

Make sure to ask at the “sodas” the local restaurants what natural juices they have and most likely they will offer you this delicious and refreshing beverage “agua de Tamarindo” It is a bit tart and sweet at the same time but great for this Guanacaste heat!

So, next time you’re in the barrio (neighborhood) make sure to try this dishes & believe us you won’t regret it. Imagine eating a chifrijo after a great surf sesh accompanied by one of our craft beers for sunset. Now you’re really able to imagine your next trip to Costa Rica.

What are some of your favorite local Costa Rican dishes? Anything that you dream about eating on your next trip? Let us know!


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