All posts by tropicalsun2

12 best fruits you should try in costa rica

Here in Costa Rica we have beautiful farmer’s markets or “ferias” overflowing with exotic produce every week. It is truly an experience to wander through the piles and piles of colorful, strange-looking fruits and vegetables, some of which you might not see anywhere else on earth. The array of options can be dizzying, but it’s worth it to step out of your comfort zone and give some of these delicious options a try. Here we outline 12 of the coolest fruits we’ve tasted from our local feria, in Quepos, Costa Rica:

  1. Pejibaye: the pejibaye is a palm fruit that is hard and impenetrable when raw. These fruits are typically boiled until soft, and can then be peeled and eaten with salt or sour cream. They are savory, exotic, delicious and full of protein. The taste is somewhat reminiscent of a salty boiled peanut. Locals dip them in sour cream or mayonnaise, but they are also good plain with only salt. When blended with greek yogurt or sour cream, they make a unique and scrumptious hummus dip.
  2. Mamonchino: possibly one of the most exotic-looking fruits you’ll see in our farmer’s markets, the Mamon Chin is similar to a lychee, with a slightly tart flavor and spongy texture surrounding a large seed or pit inside.
  3. Anona: the exterior of the anona is unassuming, like a dark green avocado with the pattern of an artichoke but a flat untextured surface. The inside is white and creamy, and oh-so-delicious. Tart, citrusy, but also sweet, like a pear meets a coconut meets a banana with a little lime dashed in. Yum!
  4. Dragon fruit: this cactus fruit is impressive-looking, with deeply pigmented fuchsia skin and flesh. The inside tastes like a tart kiwi, with lightly crunchy edible seeds. The health benefits or this highly coveted fruit are immense; if you see some at a local market, snatch them up! One of the rarer options on this list (I’ve only seen them available a handful of times).
  5. Guanabana: large and spiky, this eye-catching fruit has mildly sweet white flesh with a creamy texture. Be sure to remove the seeds before eating, as they are potentially toxic in large quantities.
  6. Sapote: this strange brown potato-shaped fruit has bright orange flesh, and tastes somewhat like a sweet potato mixed with a pumpkin mixed with a banana, if you can imagine that. Not for the faint of heart, but chock-full of vitamins.
  7. Ice cream bean: the ice cream bean got its name from the flavor of the white flesh surrounding the little pods inside—it’s sweet, mild, not at all tart or tangy, and tastes a little like ice cream (or even cotton candy, in my opinion). The edible portion is minimal—just a thin layer of flesh surrounding each large pod—but it’s definitely a flavor experience. Personally not my favorite on the list, but fun to try nonetheless!
  8. Water apple: shaped like an upside-down pear, this tree fruit is highly coveted amongst experienced feria-shoppers in the tropics. It’s tart and slightly grainy, like a pear, but with more of a twang. You can bite right into it and eat the skin as well.
  9. Granadilla: one of my personal favorites. The granadilla is a cousin of the maracuya, or passion fruit. The clear seedy pulp inside the granadilla is slightly sweeter and much less tart than the orange insides of the passion fruit, and the seeds are crunchy and part of the experience. Scoop the slimy insides out and eat them all with a spoon, discarding the orange-and-white outer shell. YUM!
  10. Peruvian groundcherry: these little guys are edible whole, and taste somewhat like a mix between a cherry tomato and a sour grape. My 2-year-old devours them. Easy to eat and easy to love.
  11. Mangosteen: purple with white, creamy flesh surrounding garlic-shaped pods inside, the mangosteen is famed for its health benefits and is even rumored to prevent some types of cancers. It’s also purely delicious. These are quite seasonal so if you happen upon them, definitely snatch a few up!
  12. Cas: we love this little round green fruit when it’s in juice form. Not user-friendly when raw, the fruit must be extracted from the hard shell and numerous inner seeds, then blended with sugar or sweetener to make a juice (the most popular way to consume this fruit). But oh, how delicious the juice is! I recommend you find a juice shop that sells fresh cas juice that’s already made up for you, if you want to experience this flavor in all its glory. There are many fruit juice shops around Quepos, near the feria location, and most feature a cas-juice option.

The feria in Quepos is open on Fridays starting at 4pm and lasting through the evening, and Saturdays until 2pm.

Vegetable Soup Recipe

In our previous blog, we discussed some of the exotic fruits you might encounter at our local farmer’s market. The vegetables are just as luscious and plentiful, however, and should definitely not be ignored—year-round you can find delicious veggies in all shapes and sizes. This soup recipe is a great way to use those veggies, especially if you have some left over that are lingering in your fridge and about to go bad. Chop them all up, put them in a pot with some coconut milk, and BAM! You have a healthy, delicious soup that is good for you and easy to create too.

Any combination of veggies will work for this recipe, and you can tailor the ratio of veggies-to-milk based on how thick you want the soup to be. The options are endless!

  1. Chop up your veggies: in my most recent version of this, I used cabbage, yellow onion, sweet corn, and chayote. Chop all of them up roughly and place in a large pot or saucepan. Add salt and pepper if desired.
  2. Add 1 can of coconut milk.
  3. Bring all ingredients to a boil, then lower the heat and cover. Simmer until the vegetables become soft and are able to be pierced easily with a fork.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor, working in batches if necessary. Puree until blended.
  5. Done! Top your soup with herbs, cheese, crackers, hot sauce or anything that suits your fancy! We make this soup at least once a week. It’s a great detox meal that also helps us make the most of our weekly farmer’s market purchases.

10 Facts You Need To Know About Sloths Before You Visit Costa Rica

Sloths are some of the most fascinating animals on the planet, and here in Manuel Antonio we have no shortage of them! You can see 2 different species of sloth, the 2-toed and 3-toed variety, in any given tree all around the area. In fact, here at Pacifico Colonial we have what we like to call our “resident sloth”, who spends tons of time in his favorite tree located right outside of our balconies. You can often see him hanging from a branch or munching on leaves while you’re swimming in our luxurious infinity pool. Here are a few fun facts about sloths I bet you didn’t know:

  1. Sloths can live up to 40 years old.
  2. 3-toed sloths have an extra neck vertebra that allows them to turn their heads almost all the way around (about 270 degrees).
  3. Sloths are among the most common rainforest mammals and are extremely successful in their environment. If you keep your eyes open and look up, you are very likely to spot one during your vacation in Costa Rica!
  4. Costa Rica has the world’s only sloth orphanage, with a sick bay named “the slothspital”.
  5. When a female sloth is ready to mate, she will scream out loud. Once she finds a partner (or the partner finds her), it only takes about 5 seconds to do the deed.
  6. The common ancestor of both the three and two-toed sloths was a gigantic ground sloth about the size of a modern-day elephant.
  7. Baby sloths learn what to eat by licking the lips of their mother.
  8. Sloths have extremely slow metabolisms—the slowest of any mammal—and digestion can take over a month. This is why they only defecate once a week. They can also slow down their metabolism even more when swimming, which allows them to hold their breath for up to 40 minutes.
  9. Many people wish for a sloth as a pet. Sloths are not as cuddly as they look, however: their fur hosts multiple species of algae, beetles, moths and other insects. They thrive on this symbiotic relationship and would be quite unhappy receiving baths or living in a sanitized environment (rather than a rainforest tree). Additionally, sloths have trouble staying warm anywhere outside of their tropical homes. They cannot shiver, and depend heavily on the equatorial sun and year-round warmth to stay alive. A pet sloth sounds like a lovely idea but in reality, it is not very practical.
  10. Sloths are related to anteaters and, like their cousins, also have very long tongues. Their tongues can measure 12-15 inches!

Melissa Real Estate Specialist Interview

Meet Melissa, Tropical Sun Villas’ Vacation and Real Estate Specialist! She knows all there is to know about this gorgeous area. We sat down with her to ask her a few questions on what she loves about living and working here in the rainforest.

  • What made you move to Costa Rica?
    • My husband and I had been looking for a place we felt we could live for several years. We looked in Mexico, Belize, Panama and even Spain. When we came to Costa Rica for the first time for a visit in 2001 and saw Manuel Antonio, we knew we had found our place by the end of our 2 weeks here.
  • What is your favorite place in Costa Rica?
    • My favorite place is Manuel Antonio, because there is so much to do. A short distance from anywhere in MA, and you can find every kind of water and land adventure and so much beauty. Not to mention all the wildlife that abounds in the national park and the jungle. You can also get to a lot of places easily by walking, bus or taxi. I always say it’s got a boutiquey and cosmopolitan feel to it, since so many diverse people live here. It also has a warm and cultural Costa Rican feel at the same time.
  • What do you think is special about Manuel Antonio?
    • It’s so green and lush here all year long, and the mono titis—aka squirrel monkeys—are only here in Manuel Antonio. The park has one of the most beautiful beaches in Central America and you can see why when you are there. It’s truly breathtaking.
  • How long ago did you move here?
    • It’s been over 10 years now. Our first visit was in 2001.
  • What is your favorite activity or tour to recommend to visitors and why?
    • That’s tough to say—but I think for me, I love to recommend that guests visit the national park with one of our top recommended guides. There is so much to learn; kids and adults alike discover how much life is hidden but discoverable. After visiting the park, guests have the best pictures of the bugs, frogs, monkeys, sloths, birds etc. The guides use special telescopes that allow guests to take close-ups of faraway animals in excellent detail. It’s a truly memorable experience. Afterwards, guests can visit and enjoy one of the most gorgeous beaches on the planet, where the jungle meets the ocean.
  • What is your favorite thing about working with vacationers and why?
    • Really my favorite thing is learning about them—where they are from and what they are hoping to enjoy while they’re here. For so many families it’s precious time together as they come from all over North America and many other parts of the world. I want to be sure we are helping them experience this place in the most special way possible, and that each guest makes memories that last them a lifetime. What we hear time and time again is that this was the best vacation of their lives. That is a great feeling, knowing that we were a small part in making that happen.