Costa Rica Travel Guide |
Home Accomodation What to do in Costa Rica Travel Guide Costa Rica Airfare

What to Eat in Costa Rica: Famous Costa Rica Foods

The traditional food in Costa Rica is often viewed as uninspired and repetitive, although flavorful. Usually you’ll find rice and beans at every meal. Locals are definitely used to it, but visitors might find it boring.

However, the Costa Rican cuisine incorporates several staples of Latin American cuisine and includes a lot of vegetables and fruits. So if you don’t care much about rice and beans, you’ll be happy to find ceviche, empanadas and tamales in restaurants or farmer’s markets.

Gallo pinto

This is a dish of rice and beans, mixed together, served for breakfast . By the way , it’s the national dish in Costa Rica. The dish is often accompanied by fried plantains, egg (scrambled or boiled) , toast and coffee…after all, we are talking about breakfast.


This is what you’ll typically get for lunch. Some kind of meat – be it steak or chicken – is served with…yeah, rice and beans. Cabbage salad with tomato and carrots is also served.

Olla de Carne

This is a stew made with beef, yucca, corn, potatoes , carrots, green plantains and squash. It’s a national dish in Costa Rica.


It is a dish popular all over Latin America. It is said to have originated in Peru, but it’s common in Costa Rica , too. It’s fresh raw fish, marinated with lime juice, onions , chili, cilantro , garlic and celery. It can also be made with shrimp.


It’s a good option for an alternative breakfast. These are corn pancakes – mashed corn, milk, spices , put over a griddle – served with natilla cream – a sour-cream like product.


This is a popular fruit in Latin America and you can try it in smoothies , ice-cream or juices.


These are fried plantains and are a very popular appetizer (bocas) in Costa Rica. They are served with thick French fries , guacamole , cheese and beans dips.

Arroz con Palmito

If you’d had enough of rice and beans, you can try rice with heart of palm, onions, mozzarella cheese and spices.

Arroz con Camarones is rice with shrimp , while Arroz con Mariscos is rice mixed with a lot of vegetables and sea food (shrimp, squid, fish).

Sopa de Mariscos

This is a tomato-based soup , made with fish, muscles, shrimp and vegetables.


These are made with boiled plantain leaves stuffed with rice , pork, beans, vegetables and corn meal.


The dough is stuffed with chicken, potatoes, cheese or beans; then they are fried or baked.

Photo credits: Gallo pinto , Casado , Empanadas , Tamales , Sopa de Mariscos , Patacones , Guanábana , Ceviche