If a picture says a thousand words, then a single glance at Costa Rica’s beautiful port of Limon speaks a novel’s worth of adventure, relaxation, and culture. Despite the picturesque beaches and endless Caribbean sunsets that Costa Rica has become synonymous with; it’s the rich culture that might give you the most lasting impression during your cruise to Limon.
Of course, nothing embodies a local culture more than the food. True to form, Limon cuisine doesn’t disappoint. With a rich tapestry that incorporates the many different influences that have helped shape Costa Rica over the centuries, the sheer variety of Costa Rican food available throughout Limon will make you want to book a return visit the very moment you get back home from your cruise. In the meantime, we’ve gathered a few ideas on what to eat in Limon to kick start both your taste buds and imagination.
Similar to other stews found throughout the region, but with its own unique Costa Rican flair, Rondón is a perfect way to sample the natural bounty used in the food in Limon and across the entire country. Combining native fruits, vegetables and sometimes fresh seafood pulled straight from the Caribbean, Rondón is a savory mix of coconut, carrots, yams, potatoes and Costa Rica’s famous yellow lantern chili pepper – known locally as chile panameño. When combined with a variety of spices, Rondón is a perfect meal for those breezy Caribbean nights.
So you find yourself delightfully busy as you walk the quaint streets, shopping and absorbing the culture of Limon. You’re hungry, but you don’t want to stop for a full meal because there is so much left that you want to see and experience. Thankfully, the many vendors selling Patís throughout the city offer a perfect solution to both your schedule and taste buds.
Also known as Pattys in other areas of the Caribbean, Patís are an incredibly convenient but delicious pastry filled with local vegetables, rice, beans, or proteins like fresh seafood, beef or chicken. Often a soft shade of yellow from the hint of turmeric added to the mix, patís are an ideal way to satisfy your appetite without sacrificing much time exploring Limon.
If you’re looking for something a bit on the lighter side, it’s tough to go wrong with Chifrijo. Basically a taco salad with a distinct Costa Rican flavor, Chifrijo combines rice, beans, a fried protein like pork, and a distinctly regional version of pico de gallo served in a bowl with tortilla chips, sliced avocado, and the local favorite, salsa Lizano.
While any of the ingredients might be fine by themselves, the combination of the different textures and tastes will sing for your palate while not weighing you down for an afternoon of ziplining, scuba diving, or just relaxing on a beach with a cool drink.
4. Cacao Fresco
We bet you didn’t know the cacao beans used to make your favorite chocolate treats are only a single side of the delicious cacao fruit. Suffice it to say, Costa Ricans have been fully aware of the many delights offered by the fruit for countless generations, enjoying the tangy but sweet flesh that encases the cacao pods once fully ripened.
Often sold by roadside vendors seen throughout Limon, Cacao Fresco is sure to open your eyes to the unexpected but wonderfully different side of a fruit you’ve undoubtedly been enjoying since childhood. Whether it’s served fresh off the tree or chilled, Cacao Fresco is a satisfying snack to keep you going while experiencing the many things to do in Limon.
The epitome of a dish being more than the sum of its parts, Casado might appear basic and mundane at first glance but, as your mouth will discover, there’s so much more than meets the eye. Almost elegant in its simplicity, Casado is a plate of rice and black beans served with a variety of different proteins, including pork, chicken, beef, seafood, or even eggs. A mainstay of local menus, Casado can be found on virtually any corner of Limon and is commonplace in nearly every kitchen.
Like any dish that takes simple ingredients and creates something unique and extraordinary out of them, it’s the way the rice, beans, and proteins are prepared – taking advantage of the abundant local spices – to transform it into something that’s delicious, fulfilling, and easy on the budget.
6. Tres Leches
Costa Rica is a haven for those with a sweet tooth. While Tres Leches, the crown jewel of its sugary confections, is common to many regions throughout Latin America, it’s particularly popular in Limon and its surrounding areas for its rich, sweet taste and unique texture that might be unlike any dessert you’ve tried before.
A relatively simple white cake moistened with three different types of milk – whole milk, evaporated milk, and sweetened condensed milk – the dessert is a dairy lover’s paradise with subtle hints of rum and vanilla. After sampling this unique but memorable dish, you’ll understand why Tres Leches is considered the unofficial national dessert of Costa Rica.
7. Agua de Sapo
Although this drink literally means “water of toad,” we assure you there’s nothing unsavory about this refreshing concoction of lemonade, brown sugar, and ground ginger. Perfect for a refreshing pick me up while absorbing the sights and sounds of Limon, Agua de Sapo will put a bounce to your step as the sweetness hits your tongue and the ginger quickly relieves any congestion you might have been battling. Usually served chilled, Agua de Sapo is an ideal accompaniment to a warm Caribbean day.
Limon is the quintessential Caribbean port that personifies the warm ocean breezes, adventurous terrain, and alluring culture that will make your cruise truly memorable. Take advantage of the wonderful dishes found throughout the idyllic seaside town and Limon will permanently hold a special place inside your heart.