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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.
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.
This is also sometimes referred to as “Costa Rican guava”
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.
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.
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 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.
I can’t find a different word for this so we are going to just stick with pejibaye.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
We love this fruit because not only do they look cool and taste great, but we have also had good experiences with them lasting for a week or two.
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.
The hipster of fruits! Pitahaya 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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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 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 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 that 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 as a smoothie.
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.
FAQ: Costa Rica Fruit
Is it safe to eat the fruit in Costa Rica?
Yes, typically it is very safe to eat the fruit. However, always purchase your fruit from a trusted source. It is best not to pull things off the trees and eat them unless you know for sure it is a fruit and not something poisonous.
Which fruits does Costa Rica export?
Costa Rica exports; pineapple, bananas, watermelons, mangoes, papayas, passion fruit, and guavas to destinations around the world. Next time you are at the grocery store, check the bananas, pineapple, or mangoes. There is a good chance they came from Costa Rica.
What fruit is Costa Rica most well known for?
I would say that Costa Rica is most well-known for pineapple and bananas. Growing and exporting both fruits are a huge industry for the country.
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!
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🚗 Should I rent a car in Costa Rica?
Having a rental car will give you the most flexibility when traveling in Costa Rica. This will allow you to visit more off-the-beaten-path destinations and will allow you to take fun day trips on your own.
☀️ Should I buy travel insurance for Costa Rica?
Yes, travel insurance is always a good idea. It is not just for illness or injury, but also lost luggage, delayed trips, and more!
We like Heymondo for Costa Rica travel insurance.
✈️ What is the best way to book a flight?
Usually, we have the best luck finding great prices with Skyscanner. Check for flights to both San Jose Airport (SJO) and Liberia Airport (LIR).
🛏️ What is the best way to book my Costa Rica hotels?
🗣️What is the main language in Costa Rica?
The main language in Costa Rica is Spanish. Most people working in tourism speak at least some English.
💰 What is the currency in Costa Rica?
The currency used in Costa Rica is the Costa Rican colón (CRC). However, the US dollar is widely accepted in most tourist areas
🌴 Is Costa Rica safe?
Generally, Costa Rica is considered safe for tourists. However, like any travel destination, it’s best to use caution and be aware of your surroundings.
🛂 Do you need a passport to go to Costa Rica?
Yes, Costa Rica is its own country. You will need a passport to visit.