Costa Rica has a reputation as a soulful surfers’ paradise. With no army, incredible biodiversity, and some of the most progressive people in Latin America, it’s pretty true. Here, Pura Vida or good life is how Costa Ricans roll. In addition to Spanish, there are speakers of Bribri, Mal├®ku, Cab├®car, and Ng├ñbere languages, as well as a little Mekatelyu (or Jamaican Patois) along the Caribbean coastline. Within Costa Rica are high lakes and mountains, coastal lowlands, and rainforest.
Chayote, zucchini, and other squashes are common vegetables. Gallo pinto, a typical breakfast dish with rice, beans, onions, and peppers, is sometimes considered the national dish. If you like a little tang, try ceviche (pickled raw fish) or vigorón (cabbage, chimichurri sauce, and yucca, also served with lime). Coffee and bananas are the top export crops, and an important part of the local diet.
Organics are doing well in Costa Rica. Want Caribbean, Middle Eastern, macrobiotic, or raw foods? Sure. San Jose and Puerto Viejo also have a good selection of natural foods markets.