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Food in CR

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Food in CR

This is a very general question because as of yet I have no idea where we'll be staying or if this trip can even happen!

I have celiac disease and a few other autoimmune diseases, so I eat a very specific diet to help me manage them - no gluten, dairy, beans, grains (including rice), corn, soy, tomatoes . . . I think that's it! I try to always eat grass-fed meats and organic veggies because I do sometimes have reactions to the pesticides used.

How difficult will I find it to eat in CR? Do restaurants generally prepare foods from scratch and can just make me a plain piece of meat and a side veggie or are they "pre-made" like most restaurants in the U.S.? I am fine with all seafood . . . and I'm assuming this is widely available in CR??

I don't follow a typical gluten-free diet because I still find GF substitutions to be pretty junky and full of soy/corn/rice, etc. I'd rather just find real food options like good quality meat/seafood and veggies/fruits.

I always pack some easy snacks like beef jerky, so I'll at least have a backup plan, but I can't live on that alone for 10 days!

Now avocados, on the other hand, I think I could live on! When are they in season??

Thanks for any info!

Chicago, Illinois
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for Costa Rica
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1. Re: Food in CR

You should have a great time in Costa Rica! The bad news is that the most prevalent food served with most meals is rice and beans and it sounds like you want to stay away from both. The good news is that fresh fruit is abundant and excellent, fruit shakes and juices are everywhere, avocados are readily available, and fish is easy to find in most places.

If you are not a Spanish speaker, you need to learn and practice phrases to communicate your restrictions and watch out for fried food if that is an issue for you.

I would suggest you stay away from large resorts and pick smaller inns and hotels where you can talk directly to the manager and those preparing your food.

Costa Rica
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2. Re: Food in CR

There are a lot of vegetable and tropical fruits in Costa Rica. And they are SO delicious.

I guess in San José, you can find gluten free food at "Auto-Mercado". It is a big supermarket.

Costa Rica
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3. Re: Food in CR

Pretty much all beef in Costa Rica is grass fed so that's not an issue.

As for food preparation - some restaurants prepare parts of a meal ahead of time -- rice, beans, salad for instance - but cook the meat portion of a meal at the last minute.

It will be difficult to find restaurants that serve organic vegetables (or fruits) but they are readily available in large and upscale supermarkets such as AutoMercado or Mas x Menos. However, you will not find these stores in all locations.

But it will be easy to get just meat and a salad - I often order this. Either chicken, beef, pork or fish is readily available pretty much everywhere. Seafood varies from location to location, of course, but there is a tremendous amount of tilapia raised in Costa Rica so you can always get good fish.

There is a nice seafood soup that you would probably like. You can get it milk-based or clear broth and it has a nice assortment of seafood. "Sopa de mariscos" is widely available.

If you are renting a car, you can buy a small cooler to take with you and store some fresh fruits and vegetables in it. You can also choose lodging that has a refrigerator in the room.

The fruit drinks suggested by crfan are a good choice. "Refresco natural." I am seeing more and more little kiosks where they make an incredible variety of smoothies - but most have sugar added. There are some "healthy" choices however.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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4. Re: Food in CR

Good advice by Hattie and crfan..


Calgary, Canada
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5. Re: Food in CR

We are staying in between Quepos and Manuel Antonio so if you come this way look out for the organic farm that sells it's fruits and veggies on site (on your right if you are heading to M.A. Park. I have also seen gluten free items in most grocery stores we have been in..maybe not a huge variety but it is there. I think you will have lots of options here to stay healthy on your trip.

6. Re: Food in CR

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