Yes it is true, Ticos really love chicken. No wonder they are even saying "arroz con siempre" which literally translated means "rice with usual" or "rice with always". A chicken lover paradise.. but there are also many other tasty options!
Vegetarians are always anxious when traveling to a new country. We are always wondering what we are going to be able to eat.. and how not to be rude when refusing to eat certain dishes.
But hold on, I think Costa Rica is one of the best countries I have visited as a flexitarian myself. The country's fertile volcanic lands produce all the fruit, vegetable and root vegetables you could ever dream of.
Here are a few options that you'll be able to find in any restaurant or soda (a traditional Costa Rican restaurant) in Costa Rica:
Casado: The traditional lunch in Costa Rica is called a "casado". You will find it in almost every soda restaurant around Costa Rica. It is basically composed of beans, rice, a small salad, some fried plantains and then a slice of meat or fish. You just have to ask for one without meat or fish adn you will be left with an incredibly healthy and complete meal containing everything a traveler needs to stay healthy while traveling. In some restaurants, if you ask for a vegetarian casado, they will even add another portion of vegetable to your plate, some eggs or some cheese.
Gallo Pinto: The traditional Tico breakfast which is composeed of rice, beans and that is usually accompanied with a plain tortillas and some eggs. The perfect breakfast to kick off the day.
Refresco natural/Smoothie/Agua de pipa: To accompany your casado, I recommend trying a "refresco natural" or a smoothie. Made with fresh local fruits, they are just the perfect refreshing drinks after a long day of trekking. To chill out on the beach, a "pipa fria", a fresh cocunut is just ideal; simply Pura Vida!
Fresh fruits plates: Fruit plates are widely available and are a delicious and filling snack given the variety of fruits that are available in Costa Rica. Fruits such as granadillas, bananas, apples or tangerines are easy to transport while going on an excursion. Make sure you check out the numerous local markets to try all the different fruits Costa Rica has to offer.
Pastries: Stop at a local bakery to try all the different Costa Rican pastries. There are many sweet vegetarian options. Also it is a good way to be closer to the Costa Rican culture.
Corn tortillas: Corn tortillas are widely available throughout the country. Try their plain corn tortillas served with cheese and sour cream "tortilla con queso y natilla".
Now you see... These are only a few examples. You wil find many more vegetarian and even vegan options in Costa Rica. You will not be left hungry! Moreover, there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan restaurants in touristy places. Off you go! Nothing can hold you back from visiting this echanting green paradies
If you have other questions regarding vegan dining or any other concerns about Costa Rica just let us know. That's what we are here for.