Are there celiac friendly restaurants in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica opened back up to travel in November 2020 with travelers all over the world looking to make this Central American country a must visit destination. It’s easy to see why- rugged rainforests, instagram worthy beaches, amazing wildlife and cuisine. We often get asked if there are celiac friendly restaurants. Traveling with food allergies can be tricky, but there are plenty of options for celiacs. We have made it even easier for tourists with our new gluten free Spanish translation card. This card is designed to help you explain to your waiter or waitress of your dietary requirements. Download your free card before setting off to beautiful Costa Rica. 

What can you eat gluten free in Costa Rica?

There are plenty of options for celiacs in Costa Rica. In fact, Costa Rica was named in the top ten destinations for celiacs to travel to. The country cuisine is catered perfectly for those with gluten intolerances. Costa Ricans have a diet rich in meats, seafood, rice, vegetables and tropical fruits. This means eating gluten free in Costa Rica is quite easy and removes that stress for travelers.

Here are some options for you:

Gallo Pinto – (meaning ‘spotted rooster’ in Spanish) 

It’s a rice and bean dish that is usually served at breakfast. The dish looked speckled with a mix of colour from the rice and red or black beans it’s cooked with, hence the name Gallo Pinto. Have this with eggs and fresh fruit for a simple, filling gluten free breakfast.

Casado – (meaning ‘married’ in Spanish)

A side dish of rice and beans (similar to Gallo Pinto) served with meals at lunch or dinner. A simple, gluten free lunch might be Chicken Casado where the chicken is cooked in a red sauce and served with rice and black beans. A high protein mean and delicious meal.


Costa Rica is a haven for delicious tropical fruits. Mangoes, Pineapple, watermelon, bananas and Rambutans are all available. Great for a light breakfast or quick and easy snack while traveling around.


A fish based soup. Made with raw fish and other seafood such as octopus, shrimp or shellfish. The raw fish is soaked in lemon juice. This “cooks” the fish by breaking down the proteins. Spices and seasoning is added such as garlic, onion, coriander and chilli. 

Sopa Negra

A vegetarian soup made with black bean, onions and peppers. This broth is great for a light meal or appetizer.

Salsa Lizano 

Is lizano salsa gluten free? It certainly is! Made from carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, onion, spices and turmeric, this condiment is popular in Costa Rica. It provides wonderful flavor to dishes and can be used in cooking or as a table side condiment to add to a dish. 


A flattened, fried plantain usually served in tapas style or boquitas. Usually filled with a meat or cooked vegetable, it’s similar to a taco.

To assist with dining in Costa Rica download our gluten free Spanish translation card.

Where Can You Eat gluten free in Costa Rica?

The majority of Costa Rica has celiac friendly restaurants. San José, the nation’s capital, is the cosmopolitan heart of Costa Rica. With its European inspired architecture, zoos and parks, museums and modern dining, the city is welcoming for tourists and travelers. There are plenty of great dining options for celiacs in San José and throughout the country.

If you want to know more about Costa Rica and traveling with food allergies, contact Zane today. Zane is a wealth of knowledge about Costa Rica and can help you plan the perfect vacation to Costa Rica.