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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.

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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