Category Archives: Food

Travel Tips to make the Most out of Your Trip

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You are perhaps thinking about visiting Costa Rica. Or maybe you’re headed to the country with the happiest people on earth soon! Your smile will fit right in.

While on your trip, your focus is on relaxing, having fun and soaking in your surroundings – a vacation. But we’ve found out that using some of our most important green travel practices below sets the stage for the kind of experience that changes you a little bit – the kind you remember and talk about for a long time afterward:

Children boating Costa Rica

  • Converse with the locals! Use  HOLA, POR FAVOR and GRACIAS with at least one non English speaking Tico (Costa Rican). 
  • Capture the moment! Take a picture of your most adventurous moment in CR and consider sharing it with us (por favor??), so you can inspire other travelers!
  • Sample the exotic! Try a cajeta, pejivaye, or – one of Irene’s favorite tropical fruits – mamones, especially if you have never had one before. 
  • Think green! Be ready to spread the word with family and friends about the “greenest” experience of your trip, and help to make the world a better place.
  • Fill up! Don’t forget to take your GreenSpot water bottles with you so you can refill instead of landfill.
  • Perhaps most important of all – Respect traditional culture. Everybody is working very hard to make your trip an unforgettable experience. You are in a different country with different priorities and ideas about values, time, and even daily life. So patience, an open mind and flexibility all let you learn something new about yourself and others.

Dart Frog costa ricaButterfly Costa Rica

High Season, Low Season and Whale Season in Costa Rica

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The dry Costa Rican “summer” is high season in Costa Rica for North Americans looking to escape a cold winter. Low season on the other hand, can be a great time to visit. During this time there is more rain, but the crowds are thinner and the forests lush. Whale season is a little different, and it takes place around the second week of September,

In the beach area of Punta Uvita, part of the Marino Ballena National Park on Costa Rica’s Southwest Pacific Coast, locals host a special celebration called the Whale Festival. The area around Punta Vita is a pristine wildlife refuge with gorgeous beaches, a distinct Costa Rican feel, and great tourism potential.

Costa Rica Beach

The Whale Festival is something like what many of us might call a local whale “country fair.” Ticos (Costa Ricans) from all over the country, and local vendors gather at this festival for a week-long celebration of local flavors, religious festivities, and most important of all – to witness the incredible Humpback whales as they migrate south with their babies!

Boat tours are available to witness this spectacular event, though tickets must be purchased in advance, as there is a limited amount of tickets available each day in order to avoid stressing the large mammals. Private boat tours can also be arranged in advance.

Don’t be afraid of the rain, contact us, pack your bags and witness an experience worth getting  a little wet for!

 

A Food Memory from Costa Rica

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We received this lovely travel memory from The Goldfarb Family and just had to share with you:

“As someone who spends her life writing and thinking about food, I really enjoyed the fresh flavors of Costa Rica, especially the fresh mangoes and pineapple, fresh herbs, and locally caught fish with exotic-tasting sauces. But what we loved most was the abundant wildlife in the national parks. I found it so enchanting to be sitting in the little open air dining room in Corcovado Tent Camp and Lodge, and watching a family of Spider Monkeys come through the camp for their daily snack. We watched them leap from tree to tree, shimmy up the trunks of the coconut and mango trees, and feast on the ripe mangoes, often while hanging from the tree by one their tails or perching in a wobbly branch. Any mangoes they didn’t finish or rejected after picking them, landed with a thud on the tent below, probably to be picked up soon by the giant iguanas or fire ants. Behind us was the Corcovado National Park, and in front of us, past the monkeys, were the waves of the Pacific Ocean crashing down on the empty beach at least empty of humans!”

Aviva has also shared two recipes inspired from her trip to Costa Rica:

Tortuguero Tilapia with Cilantro-Lime Sauce & Mango and Black Bean Salad

Our thanks to Aviva Goldfarb!

Recipes from The Six O’Clock Scramble – www.thescramble.com

Arenal Eating in Costa Rica

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La Cascada is probably the best known restaurant in the little town of La Fortuna and sits near the base of the Arenal Volcano. Our steaks were pretty good but a little tough (which is pretty common for a steak in Costa Rica).

We always spend time on our trips to Costa Rica in the Arenal Area, because Irene’s family lives here. We’ve tried a lot of different restaurants in the area – but if anyone has tips on where they had a good meal near Arenal, please do share with us in our comments section.

We move our office to Costa Rica at least a couple times a year – so we have the chance to explore some of the exciting new adventure and adrenaline experiences available. We also like to find out which ones are not living up to their billing and see how some of our favorites are holding up. We get a chance to talk to and have fun with our Costa Rican friends and colleagues, and we also take some time to visit some of the places that our travelers visit regularly, experiencing first-hand the latest and greatest that our favorite lodges have to offer.

Remember to post any good Arenal dining recommendations here!

Teach a Man to Say Fish

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Ceviche can also be bought as street food. Here we are in Zarcero, shopping for a snack.

 

The same rule about not judging a book by the cover applies to food.

Tackling another language is tricky, so it’s smart to start with survival words. Teach a man to say fish, and voila! He has dinner. Well, technically he has to say the right word for fish otherwise he may be served something that’s still swimming. In Spanish the word for fish that is still breathing is pez and the word for the fish you probably prefer to have on your plate is pescado. It’s like pig and pork.

 

 

 

 

Pescado is one of the most memorable foods you’ll experience in Central America. It’s fresh, cheap, plentiful, and delicious. Menus everywhere feature fantastic fish dishes ranging from the appetizer of ceviche (like a cold fish soup/salsa) to the most epic of entrees, the pescado frito entero. It’s a mouthful all right! A mouthful of mind-blowingly tasty fresh fish which is fried to perfection and served on a plate alongside accompaniments like succulent tomato salsa, tostones that will make you forget all about french fries, and a slice of lime if your tongue takes pleasure in an added tang.

 

 

Family style is always a fun way to have a feast when you’re on vacation~

 

Eating it is labor intensive, but that doesn’t seem to stop the locals or the tourists who discover how much flavor is packed into each piece of meat that must be picked off the bone. Yes, picked. First timers may approach the dish with their fork, but it quickly becomes clear that fingers work best. Pescado frito entero can be prepared with a variety of fish—the only requirement is that it must be fresh, and in Central America, lack of fresh fish isn’t an issue.

 

At any beachfront restaurant in San Juan Del Sur, this dish featuring an entire fish will set you back about $10. You’ll have plenty of money left to souvenir shop in town and just enough room left for dessert. Maybe next week we’ll share our favorite Central American dessert. Well, not the dessert itself because that we do not share!

Tip: order this at the upstairs section of Henry’s Iguana in San Juan Del Sur to take in the closest thing to an aerial view in town.

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