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Costa Rica Food and Drink

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Tradtional Costa Rican dish
Alberto Coto/Photodisc/Getty Images

All about Costa Rica food, from breakfast to beverages:

Take a culinary tour of Central America! Explore the food and drink of every Central America country.

If you're traveling to Costa Rica for the first time, you're probably curious about Costa Rica food. Fortunately, food in Costa Rica isn't that different from food in the United States – with a few notable exceptions. Here are some savory examples of Costa Rican food and drink. Be sure to follow the links for tasty Costa Rica recipes!

Breakfast in Costa Rica:

A typical Costa Rican breakfast consists of gallo pinto (rice and beans), scrambled or fried eggs, cooked plantains, tortillas and/or toast, and orange juice and coffee. Most menus include variations on the above; for example, onions and tomatoes stirred into scrambled eggs.

Costa Rican Meals:

The traditional Costa Rica dish is called a casado: like a typical breakfast, the meal is a mix of items like black beans and rice or gallo pinto, fried plantains, a chunk of Costa Rican cheese, salad, and a meat item, usually fish, beef or chicken. Casados are served with tortillas for wrapping.

Other popular Costa Rica meals include black bean soup (sometimes served with a hardboiled egg), heart of palm salad, and seafood in any form.

Snacks & Sides in Costa Rica:

American snacks, like Pringles and Doritos, are ubiquitous in Costa Rica food -- but be prepared for some strange and unfamiliar flavors!

Other Costa Rica snacks:

Ceviche: chopped raw fish, shrimp, or conch mixed with onions, tomatoes and cilantro, and marinated in lime juice. Served with fresh tortilla chips. Popular in every coastal region.

Chilera: a spicy dressing made with pickled onions, peppers and vegetables.

Costa Rican Desserts:

Tres Leches Cake (Pasel de Tres Leches): A cake soaked in three kinds of milk, including evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and cream.

Arroz con Leche: Rice soaked in warm milk with sugar, cinnamon and other spices. Also known as Costa Rican rice pudding.

Flan: A soft caramel custard. Orange custard is another popular Costa Rica dessert.

Beverages in Costa Rica:

Refrescos: Fruit smoothies made with water or milk (leche). Called "frescos" for short.

Agua dulce: water sweetened with sugar cane.

Guaro: a fiery sugar cane liquor, served as a shot or in a cocktail.

Beer (Cerveza): the national beer of Costa Rica is Imperial. Other brands are Pilsen (a pilsner) and Bavaria.

Where to Eat & What You'll Pay:

Costa Rica food is pricier than that of other nations in Central America. However, it’s really just a matter of context, as most Costa Rican meals generally range from $4-8 USD and are far cheaper if you dine local. Costa Rica's comida tipica, or native cuisine, is simple but tasty — just walk up to the counter in any corner café, or soda.

Want to sample actual Costa Rica food in Costa Rica? Compare rates on flights to San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO) and Liberia, Costa Rica (LIR)

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