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Beans, rice, fresh fruit and vegetables, along with chicken, pork and fish are food staples in Costa Rica. Beef is also plentiful, however, most is grass fed, with little or no fat content, creating a tasty, but often tougher cuts. If you chose to retire here, it will be easier to live a healthier life, due to the abundance of fresh food, using less calories in the preparation. Also after moving here, you will soon notice that your overall fitness will improve, due to weight loss and the year around weather, that allows you to be outside in the sun and fresh air, almost yearound.

Regardless of where you relocate, a common weekly event, is the Saturday morning “farmer’s market.” It is generally held in the center of town, on one of the main streets, which is closed to through traffic for about 6 hours in the morning. It is interesting to move from one vendor to another and chose from a large selection of fruits and vegetables, many quite familiar, others will be new introductions to your normal eating habits. Just keep in mind… once you live here, that it is not necessary to take home one of everything. The first few times you find yourself in the midst of so many selections at reasonable prices, you may be tempted to overbuy.

Once you have retired here, you will notice that there is a very large selection of restaurants. From fast food to gourmet cuisine. Besides, what one would normally expect to find, there are small cafes, advertising Comida Tipica (Typical Food) these are called “sodas.” Typical cuisine, generally refers to a lunch or dinner plate called a casado. It consists of a plate of either pork, fish, beef or chicken, fried platains (a type of banana), gallo pinto (black beans and rice), vegetables and a salad of shredded cabbage and carrots with chunks of tomato, and a plate of warm tortillas, on the side. Anyone who has lived here for very long knows a “casado” is often an easy choice for lunch or dinner. The local food is tasty, hearty and simple.

Of course, depending on where you have chosen to live, you will be able to find many different options for grocery shopping and dining out. However, almost every small town with foreign retirees, will have small markets and restaurants that cater to the appetites of many different cultures, offering a wide variety that one is often surprised to find in the most remote locations.

After you have chosen a local and settled on where you want to retire, there will be many opportunities to sample the preparation of many Costa Rican dishes. But once you have tasted local food…it is best when cooked by a Costa Rican. Even the best cooks will soon learn to leave the native cooking to the locals. Hey, you’re retired! You've moved to Costa Rica. Why spend hours working and slaving in the kitchen, anyway?

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