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Veganism in Costa Rica is relatively easy if you know what to order. This post outlines Costa Rican vegan food, the best vegan restaurants, and how to order vegan food in Spanish.
Costa Rica is a vegan’s paradise. With an abundance of delicious vegan food options, it’s easy to find something to eat no matter where you are in the country. In this blog post, we will explore 10 of the best vegan dishes in Costa Rica. From savory plates of rice and beans to sweet fruit bowls, there is something for everyone! So if you’re planning a trip to Costa Rica, or are just curious about what vegan food looks like here, keep reading for some mouth-watering inspiration!
What is a vegan?
If you are reading this article, you probably already know about veganism. But just in case you don’t here’s a quick overview:
What is veganism? It’s a plant-based diet that excludes all animal products. That means no meat, fish, dairy or eggs. It also means no leather and fur – even if they’re vegan versions of those things!
Veganism is more than just what you eat; it’s an ethical lifestyle choice with the goal of reducing the suffering of animals in the world as much as possible. A vegan will not use any product that was tested on animals and won’t buy clothes made from real fur (even vegan furs). Most vegans avoid honey because bees are often harmed when collecting it. Vegans also avoid food items like oatmeal cookies, marshmallows and ice cream which may contain tiny amounts of milk powder or gelatin derived from animals.
Veganism is a good fit for Costa Rica, given the country’s focus on sustainability, love for nature, and abundance of fruits and vegetables. The vegan community is definitely growing, so as a vegan traveler please don’t hesitate to go to Costa Rica!
Related post: How To Use Your Cell Phone In Costa Rica
Vegan dishes in Costa Rica
Below you will find a list of great vegan dishes in Costa Rica. However, almost any dish can be modified for veganism by just asking the waiter to omit the meat.
For example, a Costa Rican casado is composed of black beans, white rice, a vegetable picadillo, plantains, tortillas and meat. By omitting the meat, you can have a heart and delicious meal sans animal products.
Here are a few completely vegan options in the Costa Rican diet:
- Casado (modified as above)
- Gallo Pinto
- Picadillo de chayote
- Picadillo de vainica
- Black Bean Soup
- Rice and Beans (Caribbean dish)
- Arroz con palmito (check if they add cheese)
- Arroz arreglado (white rice with vegetables)
- Homemade Tortillas
- Fried Plantains
- Black Beans
- White Rice
- Tamal Mudo
- Boiled plantains
- Boiled yucca
- Salsa Lizano
Here’s a complete list of Costa Rican side dishes.
- Black Bean Empanada
- Yucca Fries
- Chifrijo (just ask to hold the chicharron)
- Black bean dip with tortilla chips
- Homemade Green Salad
- Blackberry Juice
- Passion Fruit Juice
- Pineapple Juice
- Mango Juice
- Tamarindo Juice
- Traditional Costa Rican Coffee
- Agua Dulce
- Pina Colada
- Agua de Sapo
(Note: Any smoothie will have powdered milk, so stick to the natural juices)
Vegan Restaurants and Retreats
You will find some vegan-friendly restaurants throughout the country, as well as vegan retreats. Here is a shortlist of places that are professed vegan restaurants. You will find many more “vegan friendly” throughout the country.
- The Green Room – Jaco Beach
- El Chante Vegano – San Jose
- Mixt – San Jose
- El Buho – San Jose
- Loving Hut Costa Rica – Heredia
- Casa Planta – Manuel Antonio
- Luv Burger – Accross Costa Rica
- Organico Fortuna – La Fortuna
- Lands in Love – San Ramon (vegetarian and vegan)
- Nada Brahma Healing Center -San Ramon
- Mother Earth Vegan Hotel – Tamarindo
- GAIA Hotel and Reserve – Manuel Antonio
- The Retreat Costa Rica – Orotina
How To Order Vegan Food in Costa Rica
With the rise in popularity in veganism in Costa Rica, you will likely find many people who understand your diet. However, if you are off the beaten path or in very rural areas, be prepared to explain what veganism is. Yu definitely won’t be the first vegan travlver to Costa Rica, but you may get a few questions as you order food.
Note: the word “meat” is used in Costa Rica for red meat. So you will need to specify that you don’t eat meat, fish or chicken.
Here are a few helpful phrases when explaining your diet or ordering off of a menu.
|I don’t eat meat, fish, or chicken||No como carne, pescado o pollo.|
|I am a vegan.||Yo soy vegano.|
|Does this have milk?||Esto tiene leche?|
|Does this have eggs?||Esto tiene huevos?|
|Is there butter?||Hay mantequilla?|
|May I have this without….||Puedo pedir esto sin…|
Related post: Basic Spanish Phrases For Travel – Costa Rica
If you would like to talk to me about a customized itinerary or specific Costa Rica travel advice for your family, (zero sales- just advice!) check out my “Ask Christa” page for more information on custom Costa Rica trip planning geared towards families.
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Welcome! I’m Christa, a former high school teacher married to a handsome Costa Rican and mother of two bilingual daughters. I love all things Spanish and bi-cultural, (especially travel and food!) and you’ll find my observations on life here. Thanks for stopping by