Puntarenas is Costa Rica’s largest province, which spans Manuel Antonio National Park along the Pacific Coast in the north and the southern tip that touches Panama. The region is replete with outdoor adventure, where you can ATV through the soaring elevations of the mountains, or maneuver the white water rapids down the Cordillera de Tilaran. Traditional dishes are plentiful in Costa Rica. The Gallo pinto (or “spotted rooster”) is the national dish of Costa Rica, and consists of a blend of rice and beans. Other popular dishes are arroz con pollo-rice with chicken stirred up and casados (mixed plates of food that consist of a protein, rice, beans, salad, and plantain). Here are 5 local meals to try if you find yourself in Puntarenas:
Wood burning kitchen at Soda el GuacimoADRIENNE JORDAN
Breakfast at Soda el Guacimo
Planted in the village of Tarcoles (named after the Tarcoles River, a popular home for lounging crocodiles), the Soda el Guacimo is as local as it gets. There is no electricity or gas in the main kitchen. Instead, the meals simmer inside large stainless steel pots over the all-wood fire kitchen. For a traditional desayuno– or breakfast- you can order the Blue Runner fish with rice and beans, which a type of fish usually used locally as bait. Or if you’re more of a chicken person, you can choose the arroz con pollo which comes as rice and chicken mixed together, along with a small tomato and lettuce salad.
Lunch at the Angulo family propertyADRIENNE JORDAN
Lunch on the Angulo family property
In Pocares, following an Airbnb Experiences ATV tour, you can have lunch on the family’s local property consisting of traditional Costa Rican cuisine: rice, black beans, salad, and sweet and spicy chicken prepared with the native Lizano salsa and seasoned with wild cilantro from the property’s garden.
Dinner at Soda Garabito in JacoADRIENNE JORDAN
Dinner at Soda Garabito
Concluding the Airbnb Experiences Waterfall tour, you stop off for an early dinner at the local Soda Garabito. The restaurant is located in the bustling town of Jaco and offers a cafeteria style serving, where you can order different dishes by a la carte. One well-balanced meal could consist of fish, rice and beans, steamed veggies, and plantains.
chicken, rice, and beans at Soda GarabitoADRIENNE JORDAN
If you are more of a meat lover, you can order chicken flavored with local spices; white rice; black beans; slaw; and wrap it all up with a tortilla.
Breakfast in Your Airbnb
Local meal served at your AirbnbADRIENNE JORDAN
If you book the Waterfall tour, then your guide, Antonio will send you a list of local experiences in the Punta Arenas area. One of those suggestions is for a “Costa Rican Breakfast Served at the House” for $9.00 per person. The a la carte options come with your choice of eggs; Costa Rica rice & beans (“Gallo Pinto”); plantains; breakfast potatoes; and fruit juice.
On the Kayak Jaco tourADRIENNE JORDAN
Where to burn off the calories:
After a few heavy meals, you can get some cardio in (especially upper body) with the Kayak Jaco tour company which leads excursions along a stretch of a beautiful, rocky outcrop along the Gulf of Nicoya in the Central Pacific region. To get to the start of the tour, you pass by a cow farm down a smooth 2 km dirt road. After maneuvering about 40 minutes or so in your kayak on the ocean, the tour stops for an hour on the private Limencito beach, which is covered with soft ash-colored sand.
By Adrienne Jordan, From Forbes