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Best food in Costa Rica - Feria Verde, San José

Beyond Restaurants: Where To Find the Best Food in Costa Rica

Looking for the best food in Costa Rica? Here are our favorite festivals, ferias, and foodie tours in the country for a culinary experience to savor.

Did you know that Costa Rica has a healthy and vibrant food scene? While it’s more famous for its beaches and rainforests, Costa Rica also offers something for foodies. But there’s more to discovering Costa Rican food than by simply going to restaurants. In this article we’ll offer some alternative ways to find the best food in Costa Rica. From food festivals to foodie tours, we’ll show you that Costa Rica is perfect for anyone who loves to explore new flavors.

Food Festivals: Where Flavor Comes to Life

For example, in San José, the city parks often come alive with foodie festivals. These events feature a wide range of food stalls offering everything from traditional Costa Rican dishes to international flavors. It’s a great way to sample a bit of everything in a relaxed, outdoor setting.

One of the top events is the Festival de la Cerveza Artesanal (Craft Beer Festival) in San José. Here, local craft breweries present their best beers alongside tasty treats from gourmet food trucks. Another standout event is the Envision Festival in Uvita on the southern Pacific coast. Envision is most famous for music and art, but also features organic food markets and cooking workshops that emphasize sustainable and plant-based eating.

If seafood is your passion, you won’t want to miss the December Ceviche Festival in Puntarenas, a paradise for ceviche fans with many different versions of this fresh, tangy dish made with local seafood. For those who love traditional foods, the Tamal Festival in Aserrí is a must-visit event where you can sample all kinds of tamales, a beloved Costa Rican dish wrapped in banana leaves.

Another popular event is the BBQ Fest in Pedregral, near Belén, where grill masters gather to showcase their skills and offer smoky, savory BBQ dishes that will tantalize your taste buds. The Festival Internacional de las Artes (FIA) is another highlight, combining art, music, and culinary delights, with a fantastic food section where you can enjoy a variety of gourmet offerings from local and international chefs.

Farmers Markets: Fresh and Local Delights

Costa Rica’s farmers markets, or ferias, are where you can find the freshest local produce and homemade goods. The Feria Verde de Aranjuez in San José is a top spot on Saturday mornings for organic fruits and vegetables, plus unique artisanal products. The friendly vendors are always happy to chat and share their passion for their goods.

In Tamarindo, the Tamarindo Night Market is a lively event that happens every Thursday evening, offering a fun mix of food stalls, crafts, and live entertainment, including traditional Costa Rican dishes and international favorites. The Guadalupe Farmers Market is another bustling spot where you can find an incredible variety of fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and homemade treats.

For those seeking organic products, the Ciudad Colón Organic Farmers Market (run by the same guys who do the Feria Verde in San José) is a fantastic destination on Tuesdays, offering a wide selection of organic fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and more, all produced by local farmers committed to sustainable practices.

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Foodie Tours Costa Rica: Dive into Local Flavors

For a deeper dive into Costa Rica’s food scene, Foodie Tours Costa Rica offers guided tours that highlight the best of the country’s culinary offerings. We’ve been operating since 2017 and we’re the pioneer of gastronomic city tours in San José. A Foodie Tours Costa Rica tour is an experience focused on high-quality local products and the best restaurants. Whether you’re learning about artisan coffee or enjoying a cooking workshop on the Caribbean side, these tours offer a unique and delicious way to experience Costa Rica.

Rural Food Festivals: Finding the Best Food in Costa Rica

You’ll also find some great food festivals in the countryside. The Fiesta de los Diablitos takes place over the New Year period in Boruca, an indigenous community in southern Costa Rica. Here, you can enjoy traditional foods while experiencing indigenous rituals and dances. The community of Upala, also in southern Costa Rica, near San Isidro, hosts the Feria del Maíz each October, focusing on corn-based dishes and showcasing the importance of corn in Costa Rican cooking.

In Guanacaste, the Fiestas de la Anexión take place in July to mark the province becoming part of Costa Rica. The fiestas celebrate the region’s history with traditional music, dance, and, of course, food. Here, you can taste authentic dishes like arroz de maíz and rosquillas, which are a real treat.

The village of Tucurrique, near Turriabla in Cartago, hosts the Pejibaye Festival every October. Visitors can enjoy pejibaye (a peach palm fruit) in various forms, from savory dishes to sweet treats. Speaking of Turriabla, their annual Cheese Festival is a must for cheese lovers. This festival highlights the rich dairy traditions of the region. You’ll find an array of local cheeses to taste and buy, alongside other dairy products and culinary delights.

Enjoying the Pura Vida Lifestyle Through Food

Costa Rica’s food scene is a wonderful reflection of its diverse culture and love for sustainability. There’s always something delicious to discover at its festivals and ferias, or on a foodie tour. Whether you’re a seasoned foodie or just love trying new things, Costa Rica offers a warm, welcoming, and tasty adventure.

Adriana H. Font is the founder and CEO of Costa Rica Foodie Tours.

Adriana H. Font

Adriana H. Font

Adriana H. Font is the founder and CEO of San José tour company Costa Rica Foodie Tours. They design exclusive gastronomic tours to showcase Costa Rican traditional and modern cuisines. Adriana has several certifications in Gastronomic Tourism to ensure that every tour is authentic and unforgettable. She lives in San José, Costa Rica.