Waking up in Costa Rica can cause confusion because it is so beautiful here that you will think you’re still dreaming! The beautiful beaches and wild rainforests in Costa Rica will take your breath away. To energize for your tropical adventure you must eat breakfast like a local because Costa Rican breakfast is as interesting and wonderful as the landscape!
What Is Special About Costa Rican Breakfast
Costa Rican breakfast is simple and delicious. Locals love to eat fresh fruit, rice, and other locally produced favorites in the morning. There is no one way to enjoy breakfast in Costa Rica, but rather a rainbow of delicious local flavors.
Often restaurants will offer Costa Rican breakfast platters that allow you to try a bite of everything. This is a great way to test all the different breakfast foods in Costa Rica. Every delicious bite is a reminder of what it means to live the good life!
Most Famous Costa Rican Breakfast
Gallo Pinto (Rice and Beans)
Rice and beans may not sound like the most traditional breakfast choice but it is the most authentic way to break your fast in Costa Rica. This is actually also the most common and iconic food in Costa Rica.
This basic breakfast in Costa Rica has everything you need to start your day. With plenty of protein and grains, you can enjoy this dish knowing you will feel satisfied for hours.
Gallo pinto in Costa Rica is made with brown rice and red beans. The mixture is seasoned with Costa Rica’s favorite condiment Salsa Lizano. Onions and other veggies help round out this filling breakfast medley. Often this dish is served as the base of a larger breakfast platter with more additions, like sausage and eggs.
Traditional Costa Rican Breakfast
Costa Rican coffee is world-renowned for its quality. Costa Rica rainforests support some of the best coffee beans in the world and they are exported around the world. When locals are ready for breakfast in Costa Rica only one drink will do and it is locally-grown coffee.
Complex and flavorful Costa Rican coffee is served in cafes, restaurants, and homes nationwide. Ticos love to enjoy this bold beverage black or with a little sugar and cream.
To build a beautiful breakfast platter in Costa Rica you must have tortillas. Tortillas are used to pick food up, soak up sauces, and just for snacking. They are both a food and utensil and a great breakfast in Costa Rica must have freshly pressed tortillas.
Traditionally, tortillas are made from stone ground maize that is pressed with a special iron to make them even and flat. The tortillas are then cooked on a hot stone or griddle. Finish off your perfect breakfast in Costa Rica with this local specialty!
Arepas (Small Corn Cakes)
Arepas are a historical Costa Rica breakfast food. Local chefs have been preparing this food for centuries, so every time you enjoy this breakfast you are tasting history.
This traditional Costa Rican breakfast consists of a maize cake that is pan-fried. The puffy cake is split in the middle and filled with all sorts of tasty fillings. Common fillings include pork, eggs, beans, rice, and vegetables.
Locals love this breakfast because it is easy to grab and go without slowing down. That is why it is also a very common street food and snack in Costa Rica.
Chorreadas (Corn Pancakes)
Corn is a way of life in Costa Rica. Every portion of the plant is used to craft delicious dishes including the local favorite breakfast of chorreadas. This satisfying breakfast in Costa Rica is made from airy corn cake that is pan-fried to get a nice crispy exterior.
This awesome breakfast looks like pancakes but has the delectably sweet flavor of corn. These cakes are either served with honey or syrup for a sweet take on breakfast or sausage and butter for a more savory take.
Pan Bon (Sweet Bread)
This generous bread has so much sweet flavor to start your beautiful Costa Rican day with. Pan bon is an enriched sweet bread made all over Costa Rica. It has raisins and other dried fruit along with the flavors of molasses and butter.
It’s a wonderfully rich bread that I love to eat for breakfast in Costa Rica. Enjoy this flavorful bread with butter, honey, or jam to try a bite of the sweeter side of Costa Rican breakfast.
Arroz y Huevos (Rice and Eggs)
Rice is a dish that Costa Rican chefs have truly mastered. They cook these grains with stock and seasonings to make colorful and satisfying rice. The only thing that can make this delectable local specialty better is the addition of eggs. The fatty and creamy flavor of fried eggs works beautifully with rice. The best part of this dish is how filling and energizing this breakfast in Costa Rica is.
Pan y Mermelada (Bread and Jam)
For a lighter side of local breakfast in Costa Rica you must try pan y mermelada. This simple take on breakfast is a convenient way to grab some local flavor first thing in the morning. Many Ticos love to keep their mornings simple by breaking their fast with toast and jam.
Pineapple jelly is a popular local flavor to start the day with, but this classic breakfast pair is not complete until you grab a Costa Rican coffee!
Costa Rican Breakfast: Meats
Pati (Beef Hand Pie)
Pati is a cousin of the Costa Rican empanada. It is turnover or hand-pie-style food that is stuffed with beef. The filling is often seasoned with local squash and peppers to give the beef a bold flavor.
These Costa Rican breakfast bites are commonly baked, unlike empanadas, making them a little less greasy. This is the perfect breakfast to grab before adventuring through the wilds of Costa Rica.
Salchichón (Breakfast Sausage)
A typical Costa Rican breakfast platter must include this savory food. This local breakfast staple is a link form of sausage. These tasty links are grilled or pan-fried to an excellent crisp. The links have a satisfying sausage snap and a great pork sausage flavor. These links are the ultimate accompaniment to a Gallo Pinto platter.
Chorizo (Spiced Sausage)
Chorizo is a common element of many South and Central American styles of cuisine. This spicy sausage is beloved for its texture and level of smoky, meaty, heat
. There are two main styles of this sausage, link, and uncased sausage. The style used in Costa Rican breakfast is the uncased form. It is crumbled and pan-fried to crispy porky perfection. Chorizo in Costa Rica is commonly paired with eggs, gallo pinto, and tortillas.
Costa Rican Breakfast: Fruits
Pejibaye (Palm Fruit)
Peach palm is a local tree that grows in Costa Rica. The fruit that grows from this tree can be eaten and locals devour this unique tree fruit for breakfast every day. This unique local produce tastes nutty and slightly starchy.
To make this fruit into the perfect Costa Rican breakfast, chefs will boil the fruits into a soup. The peach palm fruits break down into a lush soup that is just right for starting off the day on the lighter side.
Plantains are a must-have in Costa Rican cuisine. They are enjoyed with every meal and prepared in so many delicious ways. Many locals cannot imagine starting their day without plantains. To complete an authentic Costa Rican breakfast, plantains are pan-fried to get a beautiful caramelization. These sweet bites are paired with eggs, rice, beans, and more.
Costa Rican Rambutan
The amazing ecosystem in Costa Rica supports a wide range of unique plant life. The Costa Rican rainforests are home to some of the most diverse and special species of plants in the world, including some excellent local fruits.
These are not just great as breakfast but also simple yet tasty desserts in Costa Rica. Tropical fruits love the climate and soil in Costa Rica and odd and delicious fruits like the rambutan are able to flourish.
This fruit has a spiky green to red exterior that makes it look like something out of a Dr. Suess book. Hidden behind the spice rambutan is sweet to slightly sour fruit that tastes amazing in fruit salads, smoothies, or on its own.
There are two sides to Costa Rican breakfast, heavy and light. If you like to have breakfast on the lighter side, a batido might be the right breakfast for you.
A batido is a smoothie and smoothies in Costa Rica are better than anywhere in the world. There is so much local fruit to make these breakfast beverages amazing. You can also find them really cheap in the local markets because of the huge domestic supply of fresh fruits.
Locals love to mix coconut into their smoothies for an extra tropical flavor. Try a smoothie in Costa Rica for a breakfast that won’t slow you down!
Discovering Traditional Costa Rican Breakfast
Whether you are planning a romp through the rainforest, or a breezy beach day in Costa Rica you need to start it out right. Begin your day the best way with delicious Costa Rican breakfast favorites! There are so many bold and bright flavors to discover here, so bring your appetite and grab a bite of breakfast in Costa Rica.