Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Restaurants in Guanacaste, Costa Rica: Gastronomy & Typical Cuisine
The cuisine of Guanacaste, like in most other Latin American countries, is an impressive mix of Spanish, indigenous and African flavors. The ingredients that can never be excluded from typical Guanacaste fare is corn, in any of its presentations: tortillas, empanadas, tamales, bread and even, as a drink.
The fertile lands of Guanacaste offer a great variety of fruit like "cas", guava, passion fruit, achiote, sugar-apples, mangos and dozens of other citrus fruits like limes, mandarins, oranges and grapefruit. The rivers and coasts of Guanacaste are home to a large variety of fish that are also used in typical regional dishes.
The casado is the most representative dish of not only Guanacaste but in all of Costa Rica. The dish tends to have various elements that make it a very complete meal: rice, beans, salad and a portion of meat (pork, chicken or beef). You can find it in the majority of restaurants geared for tourists and is a product of foreign and indigenous customs.
This dish forms a part of traditional breakfast fare and is very popular in the region. It's made up of white rice, black or red beans with egg and is accompanied by corn tortillas. It is a meal that has a high calorie count for all the energy you'll need in the morning.
Tamales are a delicious indigenous creation that can be found in all of Costa Rica and Latin America in its different variations. In Guanacaste, you can usually find the banana variety of this food during holidays, though it is possible to find them all year long. They are wrapped in banana leaves and have a chicken and vegetable filling and are ideal for excursions for their convenient wrapping.
Bocas are also known in the region as "tapas." It is a light fare that is prepared for consumption before the main dish or as a light dinner. Always found at parties and get-togethers as a finger food, this is one of the most popular foods in Chifrijo and is made of pork rinds and beans. It is also a typical bar food, normally to accompany your drinks. Its origin is a recent one and it has become a staple dish in the country's cuisine.
Pasteles de Viento
This charming dish is considered part of the "fast food" in Costa Rica. You'll find it in typical restaurants and street food stands. They are ideal for a quick bite to eat and a wonderful manner to calm those hunger pangs. The name comes from the fact that the moment the dish is consumed, it disappears as quickly as the wind, hence "pasteles de viento" (cakes of wind). They are made up of two layers of wheat dough fried in butter, salt and mineral water, stuffed with ground beef, potatoes and vegetables.
Atol with Pujagua Maize
The Pujagua Maize is characteristic of the Guanacaste region and has been cultivated since pre-Hispanic times. The Pujagua is a variation of maize with purple, red or black kernels. A tasty drink called "atol" can be made from the kernels and it is traditionally served in a gourd during festivities or to accompany typical meals. The preparation of the drink is time consuming and is considered a test of patience that ends in a tasty reward.
Another traditional drink is the chicheme. It is similar to the atol but the drink's main ingredient is maize and lightly fermented, it is a bit sweeter than atol. Served with ice or in the bottle, it can also be found in all sorts of celebrations. Try these delicious drinks the next time you are in Guanacaste.
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