I cannot begin to tell you how many people’s first comment to me is about how fresh the food in Costa Rica tastes. I really notice it whenever I go back home to visit friends or family. The food in the USA is terrible. It is nothing but preservatives and additives and there is really no flavor at all. We read all the horror stories too about how many steroids and hormones are in the beef and chicken, along with MSG and sodium nitrate, just to act as a food coloring. And everyone stuffs their face on a daily basis with fast food. YIKES. No wonder kids are 7 feet tall and child obesity has tripled since 1980.
Not in Costa Rica. Almost everything I eat on a daily basis is fresh, with no additives of any kind. The taste is amazing; fresh and bursting with flavor! I really notice it with dairy products like milk and cheese. Wow, are the eggs incredible and having real orange color too. They are so fresh that the grocery store doesn’t even refrigerate them; they literally just came out of the chicken a couple days ago. Fish is another perfect example. Obviously when you live in Colorado, there is not going to be fresh Swordfish as they have to truck it 1500 miles, so it must be frozen. In Costa Rica, we eat fresh fish every single day, and it is never more than a few hours old. Every morning the fishermen go out, catch their buckets full, and then sell it to the local restaurants. Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, Red Snapper, Yellow Fin Tuna and Sea Bass are daily Catch of the Day at every restaurant in town. The shrimp and lobsters too are incredible, and a fraction of what you pay back home. I bought 6 tails off the beach the other day for $20 !!!!!!
As you drive down the road in any town in Costa Rica, you see pick up truck after pick up truck loaded with farm fresh fruits and vegetables, picked literally a couple hours ago. You have never tasted a tomato like these, and the Pineapples, Bananas, Cantaloupe, Mango, Papaya and Watermelon will blow you away. Every morning I make a fruit smoothie for breakfast and I have a killer salad every night for dinner.
Wait until you try the chicken and the pork, you will never want to go home. It is so tender, and so soft, you can literally cut it with a butter knife. You practically need a chain saw to cut through it the USA, as it looks and tastes like a piece of rubber. The beef too, is very lean, as they are grass fed, not steroid corn fed, so when you cook a pound of hamburger, you hardly see any fat at all. Makes for a great spaghetti sauce.
One of the only Blue Zones in the world is in Nicoya, Guanacaste , where people consistently live to be over 100 years old, and overall Costa Ricans have a much higher average life span than we do in North American. Much of that has to do with exercise and living in a low stress environment, but so much of it also is due to their amazing diet of fresh food in Costa Rica.
A client of mine who lived in Fiji for a few months told me that one of the main reasons he will never live on an island anymore, is because of the horrible food. Since it is an island, everything has to be brought in by boat, so it is not only very expensive, but you are limited to what you can eat. No thanks. Costa Rica grows 99% of their own food, so it is not only fresh but also local, so every time you make dinner, you are also helping the local economy. Also, the food in Costa Rica is the type of food that anyone can eat. There is nothing here that will freak you out or make your shiver when it arrives at the table, like a plate of kidney beans in Argentina. It is not like Mexico, where it is so spicy you need a fire extinguisher when you get it or Germany where it is nothing but heavy breads, cheese and Sauerkraut. It is very simple, down the middle, healthy and fresh; lots of vegetables, rice, beans and meat, with some incredible fruit sauces and sides. Trust me, you will love the healthy fresh food in Costa Rica.
On top of that, we have over 50 restaurants right here in the Papagayo area. No matter what you are craving, you can find it. From steak houses to seafood, Mexican to Mediterranean, it’s here. We even have a Chinese restaurant. Maybe you want a nice breakfast on the beach, or a romantic sunset dinner, we got it. There are local Sodas, as they are called, that serve typical food, and even 5 star air conditioned restaurants so you can dine in comfort. Sushi, tapas and Italian are some of my personal favorites, along with world famous fish tacos; it is right here in my back yard. If you want, you can have a personal chef deliver a 3 course meal directly to your house for $20 or pick up a home cooked meal like meatloaf, for less than the cost of a couple Big Macs. Of course there is bar food at the local sports bars and the famous street food from the vendors too. And if you are in a hurry, there is an English Fish n Chips, multiple fried chicken places, gourmet hamburgers and pizza made by Italians. Heck, we even have a hot dog stand and a Subway.
What are really incredible, though, are the local bakeries. Literally for a couple of cents, you can have some of the freshest breads, pastries and cakes, hot right out of the oven. And when you are ready for desert, you can treat yourself to some of the best ice cream anywhere in the world.
Probably the biggest question I get asked is, “Mike, where are you going to move to when you are done with Costa Rica?” I chuckle at this. I don’t ever see myself leaving this amazing country. First off, where I am going to find the lifestyle that I have created for myself here? I have thousands of friends and an incredible business. The weather is amazing and I have never been happier or healthier. I am truly a very lucky man. But each time I get asked this question, it of course creates a little curiosity and my mind starts to wander, so I play along with it for a minute in my head. Obviously, I won’t ever live where it is cold or in a big city, ever again. But there are some beautiful countries around the world that have the same tropical weather as Costa Rica. The problem for me is three fold. One: governments. Most of these countries have horrible instability, violence, terrorism or drug cartel and I have no desire to live where I feel threatened on a daily basis. Two: location. Many of these places are just too darn far away. If I decide I need or want to go back to the USA, whether for a visit or a family emergency, I don’t want to have to take 2 days to get home. I can be back in the Continental USA in a matter of a few hours. It is a 40 hour trip from Bali. Lastly: Food. There is no way I could live in Tailand or Vietnam, because I can not eat something if I don’t know what it is. The thought of eating dog or cat, or a deep fried scorpion is just completely out of the question for me. I am not that adventurous, thanks.
I will stick to the food in Costa Rica. One of their specialties, the Casado, includes black beans and rice, served with fried plantains, salad and a piece of chicken, beef, pork or fish, sometimes topped with a mango or pineapple sauce. Yummy. Writing this has gotten me very hungry so I am off to the beach for a cold beer, a fresh ceviche and some chicken wings.
Hope you can join me soon.
PS Recently some amazing Organic Markets have opened in the area that are incredible. They have the freshest organic fruits and veggies you have ever tasted and they even bring the best of the farmer’s farm right to your doorstep. Check out their FACEBOOK page.
EAT GREEN Organic Market Guanacaste