10 Delicious Vegan Options in Costa Rica

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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.

Bowl full of diced carrots and green beans on a white woven tablecloth.

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

costa rican gallo pinto in black bowl accompanied by brightly colored napkin


The ultimate list of Spanish phrases for Costa Rica with kids.  

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:

Main Dishes

Side Dishes

Here’s a complete list of Costa Rican side dishes.



(Note: Any smoothie will have powdered milk, so stick to the natural juices)


Fried plantains filled with refried beans and pico de gallo.

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.



Related post: Driving in Costa Rica

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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 chickenNo 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

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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.

You’ll like these other restaurant guides from Pura Vida Moms:

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Christa Jimenez

Welcome! I’m Christa, a Spanish teacher married to a handsome Costa Rican and mother of two bilingual daughters. We’ve spent over 25 years living in and traveling to Costa Rica with our daughters, and this website is my love letter to all things Costa Rica- and to bilingual parenting too. You can read my full story here. Thanks for stopping by!

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  1. Overall, lots of great information here, but I wanted to let you know that in the section that starts off, “Here are a few completely vegan options”, there are multiple dishes listed that, when you click their associated link, turns out contain animal products, such as dairy, eggs, chicken broth…

    1. Hi! Thanks for your comment. Some of the traditional recipes do have this but you could either make or ask them to omit the non-vegan ingredients. At the bottom of the post there are Spanish phrases so you can do so in a restaurant. Pura Vida! ~Christa