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Food and drinks Costa Rica

Costa Rican food is quite unpretentious. There are plenty of restaurants, but you might want to visit a small 'soda' (restaurant with local dishes). Preferably visit busy restaurants or eating-houses. They are busy for good reason and therefore guarantee a faster turnover rate of the food prepared. Wash your hands thoroughly before dinner.

Breakfast (desayuno): You will most likely be served a solid breakfast including tortillas or bread, eggs (huevos) prepared by choice with bacon or sausages and bean sauce (frijoles). Typically Costa Rican is the so-called 'gallo pinto', a mixture of rice and beans, possibly served with eggs. If this is too much for you, you may opt for toast, jam and sweet rolls. An absolute must is Costa Rican coffee as Costa Rica produces the world’s best coffee beans. Furthermore, fresh fruit juices (fresco natural) with milk (leche) or water (agua) are always available.

Lunch (almuerzo), dinner (cena) and snacks: For Costa Ricans lunch is the most important meal of the day. However, this is not the case for visitors being on the road a lot of the time. Meat (carne), fish (pescado) or chicken (pollo) form the main part of the meal and come in larger quantities than Europeans are accustomed to, particularly in the pricier tourist restaurants. Delicious salads usually feature on the menu. Casado is a very complete dish including rice, beans, salad and meat, fish or chicken by choice. Most dishes are not terribly spicy. You’ll find bottles containing local variations of Tabasco on your table. In the pricier restaurants in the cities you can treat yourself to excellent fish (especially ceviche, fish marinated in lemon). City restaurants offer pastas, pizzas and Chinese food as well.

Fruit: Availability depends on the season: oranges, bananas and pineapples are most popular, but also more exotic fruits. To name a few: Chirimoy, carambola, granadilla (a passion fruit), guave, guayaba, cas (some sort of pomegranate) and papaya. The jugos naturales or fruit juices made from these fruits is delicious.

Drink: Costa Rican drinking water, especially in the Central Valley, has an acceptable quality. Outside the region hotels often use filtering installations to purify water for drinking. If you don’t want to run any risk, you are best to buy bottled water, on sale practically everywhere. Generally, meals are accompanied by beer. However, wine is available almost everywhere. Beer is for sale in all sorts and sizes. Stronger brews include rum, gin and the local guaro (firewater). Fresh fruit juices are available, everywhere.

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