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Gluten Free in Costa Rica

Famed for its national parks and protected areas of rainforest, Costa Rica has become a really popular destination for eco-tourists in recent years. But, does this mean you can you eat Gluten Free when travelling to the country? Find previous recommendations here and do share your own as well.

Click on one of the more popular locations or search for where you want to go or what you want to eat. Alternatively, use our Map to find all Gluten Free locations near you!

Puntarenas|Guanacaste|Esterillos Este
El Chante Tipico
Jaco Beach, Puntarenas View On Map
El Chante Tipico is a small eatery with tables carved from huge tree trunks. The owners speak some English. Rather than choosing from a menu, there is a small serving area where you ask for what you want from a buffet of food. Normally I advise against buffets, but not this time. Here's why: 1) The employee serves the food, and there are separate utensils for each dish. Less cross-contamination is likely to occur. 2) Nothing (nothing that was available the day I was there) contained gluten. The only thing that could have contained it was the fried fish, but it was coated in corn flour. The thing is, wheat flour is very rarely used in day to day cooking. It's common in the sweet breads sold at bakeries, but most cooking is done without it. Still, I always recommend asking, as recipes change.

The price of the lunch buffet ranged from 2500 colones ($5) to 3000 colones ($6) depending on whether you added fish to your plate. Three lunches plus three bottles of water came to the equivalent of $16 US. Aside from beans and rice there were a variety of vegetables, fried plantains, meat, fish, and salads to choose from. The plates were overflowing with typical food that tasted great and was safe for our son to eat. The location is convenient, right on the main street next to the beach. I don't know how the menu changes at night, but the lunch deal was cheap, plentiful, and delicious. Sadly, we were the only tourists there. The place was full of locals, but most English speakers were across the small side street at a place advertising jumbo hot dogs with not a Costa Rican in sight and prices easily 3 times what we paid. I know because we scoped out the menu. When in a new place, we try to eat where the locals are eating, especially if that coincides with great gluten free options. We felt welcome at this small eatery, and everyone was friendly. Even if you speak little to know Spanish, you can always point to what you want. Worth a visit!
Recommended By: @CeliacBaby / coulditbeceliac.blogspot.com On: 2013-06-09

Hotel Playa Bejuco
Playa Bejuco, Esterillos Este View On Map
Playa Bejuco is a stretch of beach about halfway between Jaco Beach and Manuel Antonio National Park along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. We recently spent two weeks in a rental home close to the beach, and on our last night there decided to go to dinner at the nearby Hotel Playa Bejuco. Eating out anywhere is always a bit of a gamble because we need to make sure the food preparation is safe for my gluten free son. We asked to see the menu before committing to the restaurant, and it was extensive enough that we were certain to find something for our son. We asked a few questions of the waitress when we arrived and were happy to find that she was able to answer all our questions to our satisfaction. She confirmed that the French fries were fried in a separate fryer from anything breaded, and knew the ingredients of the dishes we asked about. The menu was pretty extensive, and the prices were reasonable. We ordered two appetizers and three main courses and the bill came to approx. $40 US. Pretty reasonable, especially for the quality of the food. The meals were delicious.
Recommended By: @CeliacBaby / coulditbeceliac.blogspot.com On: 2013-06-09

Occidental Grand Papagayo
Gulf of Papagayo, Guanacaste View On Map
My husband and I spent 2 weeks at this hotel in December 2010. The weather was fantastic, the views of the bay from the hotel and the beach was small but had a nice relaxed atmosphere.

The food was lovely. The options were limited but changed each day and were always of a high standard. I am a coeliac and found the hotel catered really well for my needs. The a la carte Italian restaurant comes highly recommended (especially the beef steak!).

We ventured out on a few trips, pala verde boat trip was brilliant for spotting birds, monkeys, iguanas and crocs. Buena Vista was great for the zip lines and mud baths. The day trip to Nicaragua was a long day but so interesting to visit 2 counties in 1 holiday! The hotel rooms were clean but in need of a little TLC. Due to the humid climate there were some damp patches on the walls and curtains but this did not ruin our experience.
Recommended By: LukeDeb On: 2010-12-19