Costa Rica exports a huge diversity of fruits, produce, dairy products, seafood, and meats. To get an idea of the rich variety and diversity of the country's fruits and produce, I recommend that you shop at the local farmers market or the town’s Central Market wherever you are. It is a fun and great experience.
Costa Rica has so many different climates and altitudes, and that means an abundance of fruits and vegetables. From passion fruit and dragon fruit to bananas and strawberries, there are almost as many types of fruit in Costa Rica as there are places to visit.
You can also find fruit in supermarkets. Again, the fruit here tends to be mostly what is in season or what the company could get for a good price. Grocery stores also tend to have a bit more expensive prices, but they do carry imported fruit as well.
Introducing our Farmers Markets
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Fruitful Delights: Exploring Costa Rica's Vibrant Farmer's Markets
One of the best places to buy fruit in Costa Rica are farmer’s markets, which often offer a wider variety and some more exotic fruits than supermarkets. When you go to a farmer’s market in Costa Rica you are most likely buying the fruit directly from the source, which means prices are better and you are directly supporting a local farmer.
The downside is that farmer’s markets generally happen just one day a week in most places, so your trip to Costa Rica might not align with the market. You can find great markets in Jacó, Tamarindo, San José, and San Ramón
Most towns have a central market, it’s usually indoors or partially indoors. There are generally stalls with fruits and vegetables alongside meat and cheese shops.
Fresh Delights: Exploring Costa Rica's Farmers Market Treasures
Within the farmers market itself, prices are not usually too competitive. Nonetheless, the prices are certainly better than in the retail grocery stores or the small community supermarkets. Without a doubt, the quality and freshness is the best. It is likely that you will be amazed at how cheap many items are compared to back home.
There are several added bonuses of shopping at farmers markets. First, you can select your own produce and the quantity that you want to buy. Another plus are the delicious samples. Vendors are happy for you to taste the freshness, flavor, or quality of their products. They are delighted to introduce you to new things like tropical fruits or local cheeses that you may have never tasted before. Finally, vendors are happy to chat and answer questions you may have about organic farming, the region where their produce is grown, or how to prepare it.
Costa Rican farmers market is highly recommended, making time to walk through a local feria near where you are staying and visiting. Plan to go for an hour and stroll past the rows of tables. Take advantage to interact with the locals, learn a little, and get into Costa Rica’s famous “pura vida” (tranquil, laid back) rhythm. As you go, enjoy savory fruits and vegetables and know that your purchases directly support local farming families. It is part of the traveling and cultural experience!
Tasty Encounters: Exploring Costa Rica's Roadside Stands and Fruit Shops
You will often see people selling produce on the street out of their truck or a little booth. These sellers often offer a few types of fruit which are mostly from the area and in season. They are a great way to have a healthy snack and keep the kids happy on long drives.
The fruit capital of Costa Rica is Atenas, which is on Ruta 27 out of San José towards the beaches of Jacó, Mantas, Manuel Antonio, Puntarenas, etc. You will find tons of huge fruit stands along the highway- be sure to stop. You will have a blast trying the fruit and it's a great snack along the road. In bigger towns, you will often find shops uniquely dedicated to selling fruits and sometimes vegetables. They tend to have a wider variety of fruit than supermarkets and good prices, yet you will have less choice than in a farmer’s market. They also sell organic produce often.
Dawn to Dusk: The Vibrant World of Costa Rica's Farmers Markets
Farmers markets, like farmers, start early in the morning. Farmers markets are usually held weekly in each neighborhood (barrio) starting on Friday evenings (at around 6pm) and continuing on Saturday and Sunday. While farmers markets have no precise schedule, they almost always open early in the morning (at around 7am) and close at around noon. Starting at the crack of dawn, farmers from all over the province, and sometimes from all over the country, bring their produce to sell.
They arrive in small trucks or ancient pick-ups filled to the top with fresh produce. With practiced efficiency, they quickly unload their wares. Colorful displays appear on the tables and stands that are set-up under tent-like structures or roofed open-air plazas that protect vendors, shoppers, and produce from hot sun and rains. In just a short time early shoppers arrive and the market is buzzing with activity.
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