Although much of the Costa Rican diet consists of meat as farming is a huge industry, vegetarian dishes are not hard to find. Despite not having a great number of dedicated vegan/vegetarian restaurants in Costa Rica, there are already a few vegetarian options on the menus at sodas, or local restaurants that most people don’t realize. So don’t worry about not being able to eat delicious anything during your trip as a vegan or vegetarian. You won’t have to chow down on rice and beans for every meal.
Gallo pinto, or rice and beans, is the most popular local dish. They eat this for breakfast and it normally doesn’t come with meat. It usually comes with eggs, natilla (sour cream), plantains, tortillas and cheese and vegans can ask for it with just plantains and tortillas.
Casado is something you can try for lunch or dinner. Normally this comes with meat but you can ask for a vegetarian casado even if it’s not on the menu. It’ll come with rice, beans, salad, plantains, tortilla and some sort of pico de gallo or squash/plantain mix.
Potato wedges. Potato wedges are like nachos but with potatoes. Tons of vegan cheese, guacamole, tomatoes, and scallions.
Fresh fruit and vegetables. You’ll find plenty of fresh fruits and veggies in Costa Rica! In cafes, restaurants, grocery stores, markets. Eat them like they are or order a salad!
Falafel. Falafel, of course, isn’t an inherently Costa Rican dish but you can easily find it and eat it with jasmine rice, lentils, hummus, salad, pickles, beets, eggplant, roasted onion, and tahini.
Overall, there aren’t that many vegetarian or vegan local dishes but there are many vegetarian-friendly restaurants that serve the food you probably eat at home – tacos, rolls, cakes, etc. Just ask the waiter for vegetarian or vegan options!