I went to Costa Rica a few months ago for work. At the same time, I took the opportunity to travel a bit and go out to Cocos Island to go scuba diving.
From a culinary perspective, I expected (perhaps naively) that the availability of fresh food meant I wouldn’t have an issue finding appropriate food to eat. If nothing else, I could just eat fruit, rice and beans. Oh, I was mistaken…
A meal I was served in Arenal at my resort.
Apparently putting butter in the rice is standard, despite me specifically explaining to the wait staff in both English and Spanish that I was allergic to dairy. Looks nice, but was totally inedible.
This happened throughout my travels in Costa Rica. I figured I could just live on rice, beans and fruit if worst came to worst. Except pretty much everywhere I went they put butter in the rice and put this cheese (queso) sauce and sour cream on the beans. In fact they put queso on just about everything making it inedible for me. I asked repeatedly for food to come sin queso and they didn’t comply. While I’m not fluent, I can speak Spanish and I know what I was saying and that they fully understood me. Whether they just chose to ignore me and not relay the request to the chef, or whether the chef chose to ignore the request, I don’t know. Either way, I was served a lot of food in Costa Rica that I couldn’t eat, despite making it abundantly clear what my dietary requirements were. Always fun when it comes to paying the bill and they try to charge you for food that you clearly didn’t order…
On the other hand, I was surprised at the amount of gluten free food you could buy in the stores!
Lighly salted plantain chips became my go to emergency ration when restaurants inevitably screwed up my order.
At least there’s always fresh fruit on the boat?
Liveaboard scuba diving trips are notoriously difficult in terms of catering. Boats have limited space to store food, so catering to multiple special dietary requirements can be hard. I went out on the Undersea Hunter boat to Cocos Island and the chef was amazing! Admittedly I pretty much just lived on fruit and plain steamed vegetables for almost 2 weeks. One of the benefits of liveaboard diving in the tropics I guess, there’s always fresh fruit!