A Costa Rican Culinary Treat: Chorreadas con Natilla

It’s the middle of September. And while there are still many sunny days in the Southern Nicoya Peninsula, there’s nothing more perfect to enjoy on a rainy morning or afternoon during the wet season than a homemade chorrreada with natilla cream and a delicious cup of coffee.

Chorreadas are a flat round corn cake similar in appearance to a pancake. This simple Costa Rican dish is made with few ingredients including corn (the main ingredient), milk, salt and oil, and goes best topped with natilla, a sour cream that perfectly complements the savory and slightly sweet treat.

It all starts with a bundle of fresh corn. During the rainy season is a fashionable time to enjoy chorreadas as it’s a time when corn is being harvested, and the abundance of it by local Costa Rican farmers like Mario (pictured) brings lots of surplus to make enough chorreadas to go around. The process goes something like this: boil the corn, blend all the ingredients together, pour onto a hot ‘comal’, and you’ll be eating chorreadas in no time.

 

The best place to try one of these would be from a local family or small restaurant where you get a real, traditional sample of how the dish is made and how it should taste. If you’d like to see it done, we can always arrange a special “Let’s Get Local” tour to give the inside view. But for now, enjoy this video, and when your mouth begins to water… jump on a plane and come to see us! We’ll eat one for you in the meantime. šŸ˜‰

 

Costa Rica for 2 Weeks: 1 Bag and under $1000

Summer vacation may be coming to an end for many North Americans but if you’ve got a little time left, we have a few ideas for how you can still visit Costa Rica for two weeks, carrying just one bag and spending less than $1000. Here’s our plan and loose itinerary:

Airfare: $400

Depending on where you’re flying from, airfare could be even cheaper than this. Based on a round trip flight from Los Angeles to San Jose on Spirit Airlines, carrying only their allowed one free “personal item”, which is actually a good sized backpack, this time of year you’ll pay about $400 total. Take a few snacks, your own water bottle and pillow and you won’t have to shell out more for those little amenities on-board. See thisĀ blog for how to pack light but cut out as much as you can to make sure your items fit in a bag you don’t have to pay for!

Hostels/Accommodations: $200

Hostels will be your cheapest option for accommodations and will average about $15 per night for mixed gender dorms. Many also offer free breakfast so take full advantage of this to help save on your food costs, then maybe you can splurge on a nice room at the end of your trip.Ā Costa Rica Hostel Network is a good source for information on nice hostels throughout the country.

 

Casado - Food Costa RicaFood: $150

This is assuming you eat like a local and budget roughly $10 per day on food. An easy way to keep costs down is to again, takeĀ  advantage of free breakfasts at hostels/hotels, or buy fruit, bread and snacks from small shops or grocery stores for breakfasts. Larger lunches or dinners of casados (rice and beans with a meat like chicken, fish or beef) around Costa Rica will run about 3000 colones or $6 at the smaller sodas (small restaurants). It will give you plenty of food to fill up then you can just eat snacks or another small meal later on.

 

Bus/Transportation: $100

Bus Costa Rica - JC's JourneysOur two week budget itinerary would be something like this: Alajuela (SJO airport) to Poas, to Arenal, to Monteverde, to Nicoya Peninsula (Montezuma/Santa Teresa), to Manuel Antonio and then back to the airport in Alajuela. It is very possible to take buses to all of these areas and carrying only one bag will make your travel a lot easier. It would take a whole other blog to explain how to take the bus to and from each of these places (stay posted and I’ll try to get one up soon), but they’re the cheapest way to go averaging around $5 for each leg of your trip. Splurge on a shuttle to save time from Arenal to Nicoya Peninsula and keep JC’s key phrase in mind when taking buses; “preguntando se llega a Roma” or “asking will get you to Rome”. In other words people are willing to offer information on bus routes so just ask and ask many people and you’ll get to where you need to go.

*Send us comments for questions on specific bus routes or options and we’ll do our best to answer.

 

Tours/Activities: $150

Be selective in what tours you do. Tours can get very pricey very fast but budgeting $150 here for a nature tour, zip line or something adventurous plus a couple cultural activities or hikes in National Parks should be enough to keep you entertained. Of course we’re biased, but we also think a bird watching tour like ourĀ Bird Lovers’ Morning is great this time of year. Finding free things to do might be challenging but being in another country is entertainment in itself so take it all in and enjoy every step of your journey!

Additional tips: Budget for the exit tax at the airport approximately $30, bring your own reusable water bottle and drink tap (yes, it’s potable), and if you must buy souvenirs make it something you don’t have to check an extra bag for on your flight.