Whenever you visit a new place that you have never been before a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture is to try new and exotic dishes. Every country, city, and town has their own individual dishes that celebrate local ingredients and are prepared in a particular manner. Costa Rica is no different, it has a wide selection of amazing ingredients to choose from and the local cooks and chefs create innovative dishes that make up the cuisine of this most wonderful country. Costa Rica also draws many influences from other countries in its cuisine, from those that are neighboring states or the countries that previously colonized Cota Rica. Because of its geographical position and its cultural history there are many outside influences that contribute to the cuisine of Costa Rica which explains the incredible variety and diverseness of the food. Listed below are some of the amazing dishes that form part of the cuisine of Costa Rica. There are also many local variations and regional dishes that add extra variety to the national cuisine of this exciting Central American country.
Not every place in the world has amazing tropical ingredients and the people of Costa Rica are most fortunate to have a wide selection of things to eat. One such ingredient is the cacao, the large yellow pods that encase the beans have a delicate fleshy part inside them. The fruit is utterly delicious, it is both sweet and tangy and not remotely like chocolate at all. There are several places in Costa Rica that grow cacao and it is an important part of the economy as the product gets exported all over the world.
Casado translates into married, and the dish is called this because it brings together certain ingredients that complement each other perfectly. The crux of this dish is the white rice and black beans, this is the marriage. The Casado then will traditionally contain a vegetable and a protein to complete the dish. The vegetable could be almost anything, but local cabbage is common. For the protein it could be a pork chop or a piece of fish and anything in between. The protein normally dictates a specialty dish of a particular restaurant or town. Because the dish is made up of individually cooked ingredients the whole thing is normally smothered in fried onions and a spicy salsa to bring the individual components together as a complete dish.
Many places have tried to claim that they were the first people to make Chifrijo but most of the evidence seems to point to San Jose as the birthplace of this particular dish. It is a highly popular dish consisting of rice, pork, black beans and a piquant tomato salsa. The dish is traditionally served with tortilla chips so that the diner can scoop up the mixture with a crispy chip and devour it in one bite. Chifrijo is a highly popular snack in bars and goes great with an ice cold beer.
GALLO PINTO (SPECKLED ROOSTER)
Many Caribbean and South American countries have their own versions of rice & beans and Gallo Pinto is Costa Rica’s. The origins of this particular version seem to hail back to the remote town of San Sebastian, when a local spotted hen was highly fancied by the townspeople for a sumptuous dinner. The owner of the hen fooled the townsfolk by cooking white rice and ladling in copious amounts of black beans to replicate the spotted hen. Of course this is just folklore but stories such as this are a part of regional cuisine.
Typically Costa Rican this refreshing treat is ideal on a hot summers day when you need to cool down. All over Costa Rica you can see small handcarts being pushed along the street with the vendors calling out to everybody Granizados! It is a particular favorite with kids as it is a local version of a lolly-ice. The cart owner has a large block of ice which he shaves shards from and then covers the ice with condensed milk, then any flavored syrup is smothered over the top. Classic syrups that are sold with the Granizados are mango, cherry, and grape.
Naturales can be found all over Costa Rica and are delicious drinks made from fresh tropical fruits. The best places that make these refreshing and healthy drinks are the little standalone kiosks that often have one or two stools at the front so you can enjoy a rest while consuming your freshly juiced Naturales or as they are sometimes called Refresos. The choice of fruit is usually what is in season and can include sour green mango, melon, mango, banana, and milk with cinnamon and rice.
This dish is highly influenced by Mexican cuisine and is normally sold at roadside stalls and small diners. Typically Picadillo is eaten as a side dish but can easily be eaten on its own. Basically it is diced vegetables that are fried with garlic, onions, carrots and a little minced meat.
This spicy coconut soup that emanated from the Caribbean is different in every place you eat it, in fact the only constant about Rondon is that it is always different. Basically it is a fish soup that can be made from any fish and any fish parts. Indeed it is quite common to see a fish head glaring back at you from your bowl. Different cooks then throw in assorted tubers, which can include yucca and sweet potato. The broth part of the soup is always the same and is coconut milk, and Rondon is usually then simmered for hours over a wood burning fire. The spice comes from local chilies that bring the soup to life on the tongue.
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For the first time in history, the famous national symbol of Costa Rica was chosen to carry a message of preservation, decorating the tail of a US airline plane.
The Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT) and Frontier Airlines officially announced that the two-toed sloth was selected as the endangered animal that will embellish one of the new planes in the fleet of this US-flagged airline.
Our famous national symbol will literally be “hanging” from the tail of this aircraft, with the aim of providing a conservation message and promoting Costa Rica in a unique and creative way as a sustainable destination with extensive biodiversity.
Frontier traditionally displays on the tails of its planes a unique and emblematic animal from one of the countries of its destinations, this species is baptized by the public with a special name and a particular background story. On this occasion, the two-toed sloth was chosen by the airline from a group of other animals in danger of extinction to highlight our country’s efforts to conserve it in its natural environments.
According to Ireth Rodríguez, Head of ICT Promotion, Costa Rica’s position within the United States, our main source market for tourists, is notable, due to a sustainable tourism model that is committed to environmental conservation, since almost 6% of the biodiversity of the world is found in our territory. “We feel very honored that such an emblematic species of our country and national symbol as the sloth, is now an ambassador of our nature every time it takes to the air on the tail of a Frontier plane,” added the spokeswoman.
“We are very pleased to honor our destination partner: Costa Rica and highlight one of the unique and extraordinary sloth species that call Costa Rica home,” said Tyri Squyres, Vice President of Marketing for Frontier.
“Our animal-decorated airplane tails not only delight adults and children alike, they serve an important purpose by highlighting animal species, many of which are endangered. Some people come to Costa Rica just to see the sloths, and our nonstop service from Orlando to Liberia and San Jose offers easy and affordable flight options for visitors to come see them, as well as for Costa Ricans to travel to the US. .” Squyres concluded.
The most photogenic sloth
Once the Marketing Department of the ICT was notified of the choice and the endorsement of the airline to decorate one of its aircraft with the image of a two-toed sloth, the airline requested the sending of a group of photographs of large format to choose the winner.
In the development of the process, the ICT was advised by wildlife experts from the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) to carry out the sloth photo session respecting all its guidelines. The recommendation given was precisely to visit at least two animal sanctuaries, spaces specialized in the rescue and care of endangered species that had sloths in adequate conditions, in recovery and under the supervision of a biologist.
The selected wildlife sanctuaries were the Wildlife Rescue Center (known in the past as ZooAve) located in Garita de Alajuela, as well as the Natuwa species conservation center, located in Aranjuez de Puntarenas. Both locations contributed all their scientific knowledge to collaborate with the photo session of their two-toed sloths.
Precisely, the Costa Rican photographer Jesús Fung was in charge of capturing the images for the ICT with the format and specifications sent by Frontier Airlines, respecting the natural behavior of the individuals who collaborated voluntarily and without forcing them at any time to make any movement , always waiting for the natural reactions of the lazy.
Although more than 500 photos were registered in both locations, a total of 70 were selected, 35 photographs of the two finalist sloths and the material was sent to the airline’s marketing area for the selection of a single photo that would decorate the tail of the plane.
The winning and selected photo was that of the restless and curious juvenile sloth with light fur, an inhabitant of the one-hectare forest of the Natuwa sanctuary, who brought his face close to the camera lens while moving on a solid branch, a moment that will be captured for the posterity in the tail of one of Frontier’s planes.
Said image was revealed at the official announcement ceremony and will be shared starting today on the social networks of the American air transport company on its Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter profiles.
At the same time and through a contest, they will ask users to choose a name, using the hashtag #NameTheSloth. The three name options are: Manny, Tony and Tico. These particular names have a very particular explanation, Manny and Tony allude to the Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica where sloths can easily be seen in their natural environment. Tico is the name by which Costa Ricans are known. The contest will last until June 11.
According to Frontier data, the plane with the Tico sloth will take to the skies and possibly land at one of our two main international airports in the first half of 2023.
As of August 24, 2021, the two- and three-toed sloths were named as Costa Rican national symbol. The country decided to protect them and declare them an emblematic species, since they represent the conservation efforts that are being developed at the national level and are protagonists in the ICT’s tourism promotion campaigns.
The two-toed sloth is the larger of the two sloth species found in the country. They are mostly nocturnal and can be distinguished by their bushy, thick fur.
Sloths are mammals that spend about 90% of their lives in trees within tropical forests, their favorite tree to feed on is the guarumo and they can live up to 30 years. Costa Rica is taking measures to guarantee that these unique creatures continue to thrive in their natural habitat and is even one of the protagonist species of the Stop Animal Selfies campaign developed by MINAE with the support of ICT.
For the first time in the ancestral indigenous lineage of the territory of Alto Comte Burica the official appointment of a woman Ngäbe-Buglè cacique took place. This historic event occurred on the rainy afternoon of Saturday, April 23rd at the Progreso Community Center, located between the cantons of Corredores and Golfito in the Southern Zone of Costa Rica.
Idalia Andrade Degracia will now lead the cacique at the age of 36, continuing with her family's tradition and above all, validating her proven leadership capacity, as well as the legacy of her father, Don Miguel Andrade, the previous cacique, who passed away two years ago.
Her brothers agreed to support her decision and are confident in her abilities. Besides being a Cacique, she is also an outstanding entrepreneur, a single mother of four children, a primary and secondary school teacher, as well as a teacher of the Ngabe-Bugle language (popularly known as Guaymi).
Now, as part of her appointment as a cacique, she must preserve the customs, the continuity of the language, gastronomy and the tradition for the new generations. She must also fight for the rights and protection of her
people, in collaboration with the Association for the Integral Development of Alto Comte. Her chieftainship had the approval and ratification of the majority of the National Council of Caciques and Indigenous Leaders of Costa Rica, modifying a patriarchal and traditional paradigm of the community and of the other five Ngäbe-Bugle settlements