When travelling to Costa Rica, the first thing that comes to our mind is a country with paradisiacal landscapes, lots of green nature with beautiful trails, incredible colourful birds, hidden waterfalls, epic rivers with lush tones and wonderful and exotic coasts, but we do not think so much about Costa Rican gastronomy and there is a variety of dishes you must try!
Costa Rican dishes are based mainly on four pillars which are cereals, legumes, animal protein, and flours. To be more clear the "Ticos", as they are popularly called, eat rice, beans, red meats, bread or similar.
The fact of being a small country makes that its cuisine can be replicated in every corner, creating almost a single or similar menu in most of these places where you can buy a delicious dish, perhaps in a rural “soda” (a Costa Rican expression for a typical and small restaurant), a bar from the beach or an exclusive restaurant in the capital.
The “gallo pinto” is usually served in the morning and is basically made of rice with black or red beans, which were mixed during its cooking along with finely chopped and sautéed smells. The “gallo pinto” can also be found accompanied by meat with tomato sauce, ripe plantain and bread or webbed tortillas.
This dish is the most popular in the whole country. Normally it is served at lunchtime and has the following accompaniments: White rice, black or red beans with broth, a portion of meat to choose: can be fish, steak with or without onion, chicken and, as an additional option, you can substitute the fish or the steak for a tasty well-cooked pork chop. But that's not all, because it's also accompanied by a traditional “picadillo de chayote” or potato, along with some delicious ripe plantains in syrup and green salad with dressing.
"In some restaurants, the “casado” includes a natural drink, for which I recommend consulting the waiter in advance".
In Costa Rica we call it "arroz con siempre", it's just a phrase, since it is almost a "sacred" tradition in every house in the country, to make this dish when there is a good reason for a celebration like a birthday, a graduation or any party in which you have a large number of guests because it is a simple dish and yields a lot.
This dish has a varied mixture of finely cut vegetables along with a large amount of white rice and “achiote” to give colour and aroma. But let's not forget the main actor, the shredded chicken, which was previously cooked in water along with onions and other natural species that gave it an exquisite flavour. The rice with chicken is served with 2 accompaniments that can vary between ground beans, cabbage salad with carrot, Russian salad (Purple beet with hard-boiled egg), potato chips or ripe bananas.
This name comes from abbreviating, in some way, the words "chicharrón" and "frijoles" creating one of the most popular contemporary dishes of the Costa Rican territory.
This dish has different versions that give different “personalities” depending on the bar or restaurant you are visiting. Normally the "Bocas", as the Ticos named the bar dishes, are served in a medium-sized deep dish, however, there are very creative places where they serve it in a fried flour tortilla that simulates being a deep dish and turn this simple dish into an explosion of crispy flavours, which will undoubtedly make you salivate.
Now let's talk about the ingredients: this dish is served with a base of tasty beans called “cubaces” brown or red with a lot of broth, white rice, pork rind freshly cooked, pico de gallo (tomato chopped with smells, lemon, and salt), slices of avocado and is decorated with tortillas on one side or around the plate. Without a doubt, when I finish writing this post, I will go for a chifrijo and a beer!
If the Caribbean coast is part of your destination, undoubtedly you have to try the famous and acclaimed "Rice & Beans". This is an afro-Caribbean dish, which contains a tradition of decades on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, which turns the common ingredients of the area into an experience of indescribable flavours and sensations.
This dish is quite elaborate in its simplicity, the "rice & beans" mix the beans with coconut milk, white rice and cooked with some “habanero chiles”, besides it could be accompanied by a tasty portion of chicken that was also cooked in coconut milk, patacones (ripe plantain) and green salad.
"This dish is also accompanied by a drink called “agua de sapo”, which is a soft mixture of sweet cap with ginger and lemon. Normally it comes included in the price, but if it is not the case, it would be a drink that goes with this dish very well, so I recommend it 100% ".
Costa Rica, besides being a country with many paradisiacal landscapes, also has a wide culinary culture based on the pillars that I mentioned earlier and without a doubt, this top 5 list does not honour all the tico dishes but can give you an idea to discover the endless flavours that the Costa Rican culture captures.
If I didn´t mention any of the dishes you like the most in this top 5, I would like to know what is it? Tell me in the comments, where did you try it? And what did you like most about that dish?
The trip was wonderful! Your help was invaluable and without your choices it would not have been so good! I am very very satisfied and very happy with the choices you made!
Thank you very much for everything!
Hello dear Aline, many thanks to you for the great compilation and organization of the trip. We were able to spend eventful, interesting and wonderful days in Costa Rica and will keep them in good memory. A thank you also goes to the ARA Tours team, which was available 24/7 for problems and questions, which were solved and answered quickly and reliably. The punctuality of the transfers offered should also be emphasized. In summary, it was a wonderful holiday.
Hello dear Aline,
Now we have arrived back at San Jose Airport after a great trip. Everything worked out great and the tour was just perfectly planned and organized. Thank you very much. We take a lot of positive memories with us.
The Costa Rica trip together with my family is already behind us - it was wonderful!!! Everything went smoothly from A to Z, we had a wonderful time, no incidents and wonderful experiences.
We all enjoyed it very much; the nature is enormous, but also the warm-hearted people, the cleanliness, the food - we are very enthusiastic!
At this point I would like to thank you very much for your support in the preparation, for all the bookings, clarifications and enquiries!!!
We visited the waterfall in La Fortuna and had a great view of the Arenal. In Monteverde we did a Hanging Bridges and Zipline tour and in Nosara a surf course. In Finca Rosa Bianca we did the coffee tour, it was all great, fun and interesting 😊. All in all, we saw lots of animals, always ate well, enjoyed the beaches....even in rainy weather 😊. Often we were even glad that it was overcast, otherwise it would have been almost toouuu hot for us.
So THANK YOU again so much for everything!!!!
Many thanks for the extensive support (before, during and after the trip) and the professional handling of our concerns. With your support we had a smooth and unforgettable vacation in Costa Rica! Our favorite hotels: Hotel Plaza Yara and the Poas Volcano Lodge - a dream!
All the best
Yay! I´m glad we are back on track. Thank you again for helping us with all these changes.
I´m glad we choose ARA-you are amazing! Thanks for all your help! It made it a very memorable visit!
Hi Eli & ARA Team,
We have spoken to the guest and they are super enthusiastic about their Costa Rica roundtrip! Everything was well organized, nice hotels, nice mix of activities & beach and they have big compliments for you guys!!
Many thanks for all the good work!! The guest highly appreciate it!!
They had lunch nearby in Ara Ambigua Lodge, and they loved this place. Friendly staff and good food!
Do you work with this accommodation? If so, we would love hear 😊
Once again, heads off for this amazing trip!
With warm regards
Happily I write some words to you in English, so you can easily forward them also to Ara Tours, please. Thank you all, we spent a magic time in Costa Rica! Baumeler's and Ara Tours organisation and logistics were perfect, everything worked out even better than we expected. The tours were brilliant, we really enjoyed everything very very much!
All the accomodation was absolutely wonderful... the setting, the quality, the food, with happy helpful friendly staff everywhere. It was a wonderful way to experience this beautiful country the way we did, on a private tour with personal guide and drivers. We saw and learnt sooo much - it would have been impossible to do so on our own.
Especially we praise our brilliant guide Fernando Perez, we benefited so much from his truly wide knowledge and deep love for his Country which he passed on in lovely encouraging way. We even became friends and we will meet in Switzerland coming September! Also our driver Carlos Sandi was great, not only as a driver but also as a compagnion, animal spotter and photographer. Thank you!
So.... now we just enjoy our last day...
Sunny greetings, pura vida
Unfortunately, our wonderful trip is already over and everyday life has caught up with us again. We would like to thank you very much for everything. The trip was planned exactly according to our wishes and we have seen so many beautiful places.
Thank you Stefanie!
We have felt completely comfortable and top cared for by you. Via Whats App we got immediate answers to our questions, with the car everything worked out great. In all locations we were treated very warmly and nicely. It was just so indescribably beautiful, we will dream of the beautiful experiences for a long time. In any case, we will warmly recommend you and hope for a next time. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
We have arrived safely in Switzerland and have already returned to work.
It was a wonderful trip you put together for us.
Your excellent service, as well as the 24 hour support service from ARA Tours, was truly outstanding.
I have already recommended you several times and would book with you again and again. Thank you very much and keep me informed if there are any interesting offers.
Hello Pedro, our time in CR is coming to an end and we wanted to say "thank you very much for organizing a phenomenal week". Everything has been well organized and we have seen many beauties of nature. Thanks!
Thanks Jenny for the clear answer. We will make an appointment via the link you gave us.
Today we visited National Parc Cabo Blanco. What an amazing park, so quiet for tourists, so full of animals, really lovely and therefore together with Monte Verde, Cahuita and Corcovado the park today, Cabo Blanco, scores high in our ranking of most beautiful parks of CR.These parks give us reason, together with the Pura Vida in CR, to come back soon. We'll keep in contact.
Good day Jennifer
As we have already told Simone, the stay at Lapa Rios is extremely enriching, thanks to the well planned planting and the untouched environment we see a lot of animals. Contrary to the plans before the stay, we do not want to visit more animals in captivity at the end. We will have a look at the few hours before we leave.
We thank you and your team very much for the excellent advice and the permanent support! We can only recommend Ara Tours.
A big thank to you, you saved our vacation!
Communication already worked very well in Germany. The help from you, especially through Aline, should be mentioned here. This was fantastic from the first WhatsApp message to the last. We already know Costa Rica, so we knew what we wanted and what not. Ara Tours was an important point of contact for us. We are very grateful to Aline precisely because our actual travel agent cancelled our trip 36 hours before departure. She immediately organized everything for us. Whether the hotel in beautiful Punta Leona, the tours to the national parks, even the shuttle service with the great driver Guillerno Ortega has to be mentioned here. We are very grateful to you, dear Aline, but also to the entire Ara Tours team. You too made our almost 3-week trip to Costa Rica unforgettable again. We would love to come back and of course we will book through Ara Tours again.
Thank you, everything really worked out great.
Super organization and at any time quick info / help / support from you!
We liked it very much. The conclusion in Quepos was crowning. We liked the beach in the National Park Manuel Antonio very much. We would have liked to stay longer, but we take home many wonderful, unforgettable impressions. PURA VIDA!
Many thanks to you Aline! We will gladly recommend you to others.
- The route was super planned, first time to arrive at the beach and then from Monteverde with excursions inland etc. and at the end again beach - perfect!
- Support from Ara Tours was VERY good!!! Through Whatsapp reachability the service was great, very quick answers / very flexible, good suggestions etc. Also with the doctor Ara Tours helped with translations by phone - that was very, very good!
- The Home Stay day was absolute highlight - very authentic - so they got to know the locals REAL, the family was super friendly and very open and have talked about everything. Not at all touristy perceived, you were also allowed to look at the house there and Mrs. Neumann found it also a great experience for their children
We would like to thank you personally for this beautiful trip that you organised for us and for the follow-up that you did throughout the stay. A big thank you also to Jennifer d'Ara tours! Thank you again and have a great week!
We really appreciated your (almost) daily updates from Costa Rica on Covid and related issues. That was a highlight compared to other incoming agents worldwide! We thank you for your effort and wish you that you manage the coming time well and stay healthy.
Our great compliments for keeping us informed every day on the developments. We wish you all the best and keep yourself and families in good health and mood during this unprecedented period!
You are really super! It is impressive how you manage the crisis with your super flow of information and the great reversal. Hats off!
Hello, we were on a round trip in Costa Rica from 27.11., which was booked through BigXtra and organised by them. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you very much. The tour was simply amazing! The support by Carlos was just great. We have done many trips before, but this one was an unforgettable experience thanks to Carlos. Carlos speaks very good German and was able to sensitively introduce us to Costa Rica, its incomparable nature and its great, friendly inhabitants. Pura Vida became for us a term for the attitude towards life in Costa Rica. Please say hello to Carlos from us and once again a huge thank you to him in the name of the whole group of 8. We wish him only the best for his future.
Wie just did a 4 week trip in Costa Rica which was organised from ARA tours and we really liked it - well done Ara Tours! We also had a guide - his name is Enrique. His German is really good and he knows a lot about Costa Rica and he showed us a lot of animals. We had a wonderful time with hime - thank you so much Enrique!
perfect tour perfect tour guide pablo, everything very well organised 👍👍👍👍🇨🇷🇨🇨🇷 were thrilled
Many thanks and great praise to our tour guide Mauricio and our bus driver Adrian! We felt very comfortable during the 2 weeks in Costa Rica. The wide-ranging knowledge of Mauricio and the super driving skills of Adrian were particularly admirable. Thanks to the eagle eyes of both of them, we had the opportunity to observe a variety of animals in Costa Rica. Thank you for everything!
I can only recommend ARA Tours. Thanks again to Nicole for the great planning of the tour and the support. Our tour guide Peter Käser was simply incredible (a walking encyclopaedia) and always had an answer to all my questions about the flora and fauna and the history of CR. Our driver Julio carried my father on his hands, for which I am very grateful. CR is also worth a trip for wheelchair users at any time (with ARA Tours, of course).
We would like to thank you once again for organizing our trip [...] through the beautiful country of Costa Rica. Our special thanks go to our tour guide Enrique, who with his extensive knowledge of flora and fauna about his country brought it very close to us and made us want to come even a second time. We were very glad and happy to travel with him, as he was also very committed to our problems on site, in addition to his competent function as a tour guide.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your sensational effort! I do not know such a competent tour guide as with you really from nowhere else... and we have already traveled a lot... 🙏🏻🍀
I wanted to thank you again for the great Costa Rica trip. We flew back home very happy and with many great impressions. A compliment for the super organisation. Everything worked out perfectly (except for the handover of the rental car, which was force majeure...). So thank you again and I have already recommended you to friends:-)!
You and your team have organized a great trip and wonderful days for the guests in your beautiful country and I thank you very much for that!
Thank you very much for your email and the tickets. We really appreciate how quickly and efficiently you deal with our requests each time!
Hello Christine Thank you very much for this information. The support is super👍 many thanks Gruss
Otherwise, the planned trip was a complete success. Everything went well and the visits you organised were all very interesting. The visits you organised were all very interesting and gave us a great insight into the respective topics. The fact that the Ticos are very friendly and always ready to help was fully confirmed.
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