tropical fruit

Crazy Costa Rica Fruits That You Need to Try

Did you know that there are some Costa Rica fruits you’ve probably never even seen before? It sounds strange but it’s true! 

One of our favorite things to do when we have people visiting us is to introduce them to crazy fruits in Costa Rica. It’s fun to see their responses to different tastes and textures. 

Here are eleven fruits that you should try while visiting.

Maracuya

fruit

English Name

Passion Fruit

Taste

On its own, it can be very sour. It is definitely best once sugar is added.

How to Eat it

We like to make juice out of passion fruit. In fact, we almost always have a pitcher of it in our fridge. 

To make this juice we scrape the insides of the fruit into our blender. We then blend it on high until completely blended. The next step is to strain out the juice from the black seed bits. You can drink it with the blended seeds, but i think it is better without.

We have a metal strainer with really small holes that we use. Usually, we just put a large bowl underneath the strainer to capture all the juice. When most of the juice is through I use a wooden spoon to scrape along the bottom of the inside of the strainer to get all the juice out.

We then pour this juice in a pitcher, add some sugar, and add some water. We don’t have an exact measurement but just add each in small increments until it tastes great!

Pro Tip: You can make great cocktails like passion fruit margaritas with this. 😉

I have also heard of people putting passion fruit seeds in salads to add a fruity taste with a bit of crunch.

Cas

fruit

This is also sometimes referred to as “Costa Rican guava”

English Name

Sour Guava

Taste

They are usually rather sour.

How to Eat it

This is one of the most commonly used fruits in juice here in Costa Rica. The juice is made the same way we talked about making passion fruit above. 

I have also heard that this is tasty to eat as just a fruit with salt on it, but we have not tried that out yet.

Granadilla

Copy of Untitled (1024 x 800 px) (2)

English Name

Google is insisting that the translation would be passion fruit. It may be a strand of passion fruit, but this is completely different than the passion fruit we wrote about above.

Taste

They have a sweetness to them. The seeds are somewhat bitter if you chew on them.

How to Eat it

This is by far my favorite food to make people try when visiting! 

The look on their faces is always priceless. It is also going to be really fun to describe how to eat this to you without it sounding really weird.

Anyway, granadilla is eaten raw. To eat it, you need to peel a little more than half the shell off. The fruit inside looks like a sack of brains (told you this would be fun to describe). 

Bite into the sack and it’s very juicy with little seeds. 

You can suck on them a bit and then swallow it all. Don’t chew the seeds because they are a bit bitter.

If you try this, definitely report back! It’s a tasty fruit, just really weird to eat at first. 🙂

Pejibaye

fruit

Pejibaye is a red or orange fruit grown in clusters on a really tall palm tree. 

The harvesting process is interesting and a bit terrifying to watch. 

Basically, a really long pole with a large blade on the end is used to cut off the clusters. You, of course, have to be extremely careful because large clusters of fruit are falling directly at you from high above.

English Name

I can’t find a different word for this so we are going to just stick with pejibaye.

Taste

They taste a bit like yucca or a very firm sweet potato. 

How to Eat it

If you buy pejibaye it will almost always come already boiled in a light brine. If not, you need to boil it for a couple of hours before it will be ready to be eaten.

You then need to peel the skin off on the outside. It’s not easy to peel so you’ll definitely need a good peeler. Next cut up the fruit into large slices. You can then add mayonnaise or Natilla (basically a Costa Rican version of sour cream) on them and enjoy.

It’s definitely a lot of work to enjoy Pejibaye, but I think the taste of this delicious fruit is worth it.

Manzana de Agua

fruit

English Name

Malay Apple

Taste

This tastes somewhat like a normal apple mixed with a pear but much juicier and with a bit more of a bite.

How to Eat it

Just bite in and enjoy! There is a pit in the middle like an apple. This is one of my favorite fruits in Costa Rica and I now eat these in place of apples. 

They are just really easy to eat and don’t fill me up too much like apples tend to do.

Guanabana

fruit

English Name

Soursop

Taste

This one is difficult to describe. I think of it as a sweet fruit with a bit of an acidity.

How to Eat it

This fruit is most commonly used for smoothies or juices. You can eat the fruit as is, but it’s a bit stringy. Having it blended with milk is definitely my favorite. It’s super tasty and the creamy texture makes the perfect milkshake.

Rambután

fruit

How weird do these look? The first time I saw them all I could think of was those Koosh balls. Do you guys remember those from back in the day? 

Anyway, these are actually members of the lychee family. They are super tasty and definitely worth picking up if you see them while in Costa Rica.

English Name

Rambutan

Taste

They are sweet and delicious!

How to Eat it

I like to just eat them as is. Just use your fingernail to peel off the skin and you can pop the white interior right in your mouth. Yum! Buy a bag of them and you’ll be snacking for hours.

Guaba 

fruit

“What is that weird dried bean?” is what I thought when I first saw guaba. We were so curious that we had to buy them and try them out.

English Name

Ice-cream bean (is that not the best fruit name you’ve ever heard?)

How to Eat it

This is worth trying, but you don’t need many. It’s not a fruit you get much out of. 

In order to consume this fruit you have to break the outer shell open which will reveal white little fruits inside. Each of these fruits is mostly just a giant seed with some furry (furry is not a word that makes it sound appetizing at all haha, but I don’t know how else to describe it) white fruit on the outside. 

What you do is pop a fruit in your mouth and suck as much juice out of the furry fruit before spitting it out.

It’s just a lot of work for very little return.

Mangostán

fruit

We love this fruit because not only do they look cool and taste great, but we have also had good experience with them lasting for a week or two.

English Name

Mangosteen

Taste

Sweet and delicious

How to Eat it

The shell of the mangosteen is hard. The best way to eat it is to use a knife to cut the fruit in half and then peel off the top half of the fruit. You will then be left with something similar to the picture above. 

Peel off the bottom half and then you have just the edible fruit left. Peel the fruit apart and eat each piece separately. The larger pieces will have a seed in them (which you should spit out), but the smaller pieces are just pure goodness.

Pitahaya

dragon fruit

The hipster of fruits! These are not only beautiful, tasty, but also expensive and rare as far as Costa Rican fruits go. 

By rare I mean they can only be harvested in late summer/ early autumn. 

If you are active on Instagram, I’m sure you’ve seen some perfect pictures of people eating these.

English Name

Dragon Fruit

Taste

Sweet with a tiny bit of sourness

How to Eat it

You can use dragon fruit in many different ways, but our favorite way to eat it is by keeping things simple. Just cut the fruit in half, grab a spoon and eat the inside of the fruit. It’s soft and oh so tasty!

Cacao

I’m pretty sure all of you have had this in another form in your life. Any chocolate lovers here? 

We saw cocoa at our local farmers market and had to buy some. I mean, how cool is it to hold the bean where tasty chocolate comes from? 

After buying these we realized we had no idea what to do with them.

English Name

Cacao

How to Eat it

You can cut the fruit lengthwise and remove the pulp. You can either dry, grind, or roast the seeds and use them as cocoa powder in various recipes. 

If you try this out let us know how it went for you.

You can also take out the white seeds and suck on them. It is an interesting flavor, but not something you probably want to eat on a regular basis.

Pro Tip: If you love chocolate, check out a chocolate tour while in Costa Rica. It’s really fun and usually involves eating lots of delicious sweet treats. You can find out more with our guide to chocolate tours.

Other Costa Rican Fruits

tropical fruit

Although these fruits are not highly unusual, there are a few other tropical fruits you should definitely eat while on a trip to Costa Rica.

Mango

mango bag

Mangos are found in almost every fruit salad you will have in Costa Rica. Another unique way to eat them is with salt before they are fully ripe. Usually, if you are driving on the highway and get stuck in traffic you will see locals selling these in little plastic bags.

Coconut

coconut

On the beach, you can always find people selling fresh coconuts to drink out of. There aren’t many things more enjoyable than walking down a beautiful beach while drinking fresh coconut water. When you are done, you can always cut it open and eat the pulpy white fruit.

Papaya

Papaya is found in most fruit salads you will have at breakfast in Costa Rica. I am very particular about papaya and will only eat it when it is extremely fresh. If it is the tiniest bit too ripe I think it tastes like vomit haha.

Limes

I’m sure you have most likely eaten plenty of limes in your life, but the limes in Costa Rica are extra juicy. The best time to eat them is during the rainy season when you can buy about 10 for $1. 

Bananas

banana

Next time you go to your local grocery store, check where the bananas come from. It is not unusual to see Costa Rican bananas at grocery stores all over the world. 

It is always nice to eat a fresh banana, from the country it grew up in.

Plantains

Plantains are a common breakfast food in Costa Rica. They are often served fried with gallo pinto (rice and beans), scrambled eggs, and a fruit salad. Delicious!!

Pineapple

pineapple

Pineapple is grown all over Costa Rica. Just like with bananas, check at your local grocery store and see where your pineapple comes from. There is a good chance it came from Costa Rica.

Sugar Cane

sugar cane

Sugar cane isn’t a fruit, but I will add it here anyway. Sugar cane is grown throughout the country and it is even possible to go on a sugar cane tour to see the entire production process from cane to sugar.

Costa Rica Fruit Markets

Our favorite place to get crazy fruits in Costa Rica is at our local farmers’ market. 

Usually, we buy things which we have no idea how to eat and then ask a friend or search online. 

If you would like to visit a farmers market while in Costa Rica (which we highly recommend), just ask at your hotel. Almost every town has a market at least once during the week.

Another option is to stop at the fruit stands you might see along the highway. These are sometimes a bit more expensive than the farmer’s markets and they sometimes don’t have a huge selection.

We also like to stop at the individual fruit sellers you will see along your drives throughout the country. It’s not unusual to see someone with a small table set up on the side of the road selling some fruit. Just pull your car over and buy some!

You can of course always buy fruits at any supermarket throughout the country but they tend to be much more expensive and don’t have the varieties that the farmer’s markets tend to have.

As I mentioned earlier in this article, another common place to try these fruits is in restaurants for breakfast. 

Usually, you will have the option of getting your fruit juice in water (en agua) or in milk (en leche). I usually opt for the water (it’s more like blended ice), but milk is really tasty as well.

Have you tried any of these crazy fruits in Costa Rica? Tell us your favorites! If you have any questions about any of these fruits just leave them in the comment section below and we will help you out!

costa rica fruit

 

About Us

We’re Thomas (the German) and Sarah (the US-er).

We met in Virginia, moved to Germany, and now live in sunny Costa Rica. It was a spontaneous decision to move here, but it was the best decision!

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One Response

  1. Thank you I’m a Costa Rican Looking for names on f Costa Rican fruits to build a vocabulary specific of Costa Rica in English, because English doesn’t have one

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