I’ve never had the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica before … and so far this year, I’ve traveled there TWICE!!! Yep… Twice. I remember when I was about to celebrate one of those milestone birthdays and I wanted to travel somewhere I had never ever gone before. My mind immediately went to Greece, Turkey or even go back to Italy. And when I consulted with my guru, he quietly said: “Why don’t you go to Costa Rica?”
What kind of enchantment did Costa Rica have? I would not learn that until 3 years later in which, as a yoga group, we decided to take a short trip to San José and its surroundings. It was a short trip indeed, but extremely intense. We had the chance to visit San José and see once again my friend Flori, who also practices yoga, but now lives in her native land. We also got to visit some of the volcanoes, go ziplining amongst the greeneries in Guanacaste and go down some cool rapids on the Balsa River.
It also gave us the chance to taste the local cuisine… particularly something Costa Ricans call Casados, or as translated in English, “Married”. It’s a kinda weird name in both English and Spanish… don’t think it’s just weird to read it in English. Casados??, I asked when I read a sign in a street-side eatery. It’s one of the most typical Costa Rican dishes around – it’s a combination of rice, beans, sweet fried plantain, salad, cooked vegetables, potatoes and some sort of meat. And I said to myself… Ahhhh, now I know what I want to order for lunch today.
The name “casado” was given to this combo dish because apparently when you get married is when you get to eat well and varied. The thing is… if my “casado” is meat-less, how should we call them then?? So I came up with my own little nickname – the “Soltero” or The Single, a “casado” without the meat. And we got to eat Solteros all over the place.
One of the advantages to us of Costa Rica receiving such an influx of US-based tourists is they have a sensibility for vegetarian tourists. Everywhere we went, there were vegetarian options and even pure vegetarian restaurants. One example is Vishnu Restaurant, a vegetarian fast food joint with several locations in San José. Ever since we stepped foot in San José we had delicious options to eat. And even me, the non-bean lover, was asking for more of their refried black beans. They were delish…
After having such a great time on my first trip… I accepted the invitation of my friend Carlos to return to Costa Rica a few weekends ago. This time, Carlos and I got to visit the beaches on the Pacific side of Costa Rica, something we didn’t get a chance to experience on my first trip in March. The nice thing… he got to introduce me to some fancy restaurants in San José and I got to show him what a traditional typical Costa Rican dish is – SOLTEROS!!! And Carlos was veeeeeeeery happy about that, if you get my drift. ;)
Costa Rica is truly and amazing country, gorgeous landscapes and the food is delicious. It’s a country who has taken advantage of their natural resources and made the best of it. God only knows how many more times I’ll return to Costa Rica to fully understand why Guruji recommended me to travel here a few years ago. Who knows if there is a real life “soltero” waiting for me, right?
Have you ever visited Costa Rica? What are your favorite dishes? Please share your experiences with all of us below…