Sunday, 26 June 2011

Traditional food in Costa Rica and Panama

Traditional food in Costa Rica and Panama was something that I remembered to be not so great from my last trip. However so far, we've had many great experiences with food since we got here. Of course, in this post, I added a blend of local, traditional and international cuisine, because that's what's widely available. Most of it is executed very well too. At first, we were pretty suprised since the last time we visited central america, we weren't that impressed with the food, but this time around, things are different. Everything is good, from typical rice and chicken dishes, to burgers, BLTs, grilled cheese, pancakes and even pizza. Here is a collection of photos I have taken of the dishes we have had since we arrived! Enjoy :)

Really yummy homemade pineapple juice at Cafe de Encuentro in Boquete

This pizza wasn't very good =s

The best eggs and bacon we've had in Central America - at Cafe de Encuentro in Boquete

The coffe at the same cafe, very good!

Syrup basket for my waffles at cafe de Encuentro

Some very good, dense waffles

The really good fried fish with onion rings we had in Boquete. Ranch dressing for the rings and tartar sauce for the fish, yum!

Strong double espresso at cafe Ruiz in Boquete

One of the best iced coffees I've ever had - cafe Ruiz Boquete

The great corn dog we had in Boquete, the exterior was light, airy and slightly crispy and the sausage was really flavorful.

Very good BLT at the Casa Verde restaurant

My BLT, with no tomatoes, I guess that would make it a BL =p

Fish filet in blue cheese sauce served at Bibi's on Caranero island.

This is a somewhat upscale version of traditional food in Costa Rica and Panama. Lime juice, garlic and butter shrimps, Fried Yucca and rice served at Bibi's in Caranero Island. It was great!

Casa Verde's burger, the patty was really good!

Mamma Mia pizza at the Black Olive in Bocas Del Toro. It had sausage, pepperoni and cheese. It tasted delicious. They also make a four cheeses pizza which we had on another night. That one was also great ^^

Pancakes from the Golden Grill, fluffy but crispy on the outside. Yummy =D

The coffee at the Golden Grill, very good!

The insides of an egg, rice and cheese empanada. Empanadas are increadibly cheap and filling.

Fried chicken and plantains from El Chitré a very typical restaurant in Bocas Del Toro. The chicken was superb, but the plantains were very plain. The lady at the counter gave me ketchup to go with them and it was a nice combination.

This is fried chicken with gallo pinto (rice and beans) and a potato salad, also from El Chitré.

This is an empanada with some lemonade from the Golden Grill. This one had chicken and rice in it. Very tasty.

On Isla Colon, there is a chinese restaurant serving amazing Chow Mein like this one. It was absolutely delicious!

This is a bacon and cheese omelette from a Panaderia (bakery) near our hostel. I wasn't a fan of it, the bacon was undercooked and tasted odd. The bread was great though!

This is a hot chocolate from the same Panaderia, it came unsweetened and I had to add the sugar myself (odd XD), but it was pretty nice.

Grilled cheese from the restaurant at the Casa Verde hostel. The tortilla chips were great and so was the bread, but the cheese tasted very mild and was overpowered by the bread.

This is a BLT (served with dijon mustard, no less) from the same restaurant. I didn't taste it, but apparently it was filled to the brim with crispy bacon and juicy tomatoes! The coleslaw and chips were good too.

A great coffee from the Panaderia.
Yummy red snapper taco from the Taco bar in Jaco, Costa Rica
Breakfast each morning at the Vista Pacifico hotel in Jaco, yummy!
Another part of the included breakfast at the Vista Pacifico hotel, yogurt with granola. Oddly enough, because of this I have developped an obsession with granola. I never knew I liked it until now :P
Weirdest banana split ever! Jello, three color ice cream and a pirouline cookie? It wasn't very good x_x
Mozzarella sticks that tasted suspiciously like fish sticks with a marinara sauce at the Hostel Pangea. Definitely not the best I've had.

Pretty good burger from the restaurant at the Pangea hostel in San José. The bacon and cheese were great and so was the bun. The patty, however, didn't exactly taste like beef, maybe it was a mix or maybe they added an egg in the mixture?
The second time we returned to hotel Pangea, Mathieu ordered the burger again and this is what we got. What? How come is it nothing like the other time? Mind you, I'm glad it changed because it's much better now (the meat is still not quite right though), but we were very confused.

Bocas Del Toro Diving

 Bocas Del Toro diving is renowned to be quite good in comparison to most other dive sites in Panama or Costa Rica. Therefore, like I mentionned in my last travel update post, Mathieu and I have decided to take the advanced open water certification course as soon as we reached Isla Colon. For only 175 USD, you get 5 adventure dives as well plus two free fun dives. Good deal, right?

You can choose some of the adventure dives among a list of available dives, but some others are mendatory for the certification. The dives we did were :

- Navigation dive (mendatory) : you learn how to use a compass underwater.

- Deep Dive (mendatory) : You go deeper than the open water certification limit of 18 metres. We went down to 27 meters!

- Peak Performance buoyancy dive : Allows you to control your buoyancy by breathing.

- Fish identification dive : We learned to recognize fish families and identifies more than 7 different species during the dive! We saw (and touched!) a jellyfish, starfishes, parrottfishes, butterflyfishes and a couple lobsters and tons more.

- Night dive : this is the dive I was the most apprehensive about. You basically go on a dive in the dark, with nothing else but a small flashlight to illuminate the sea's bottom. It was very exciting! Lots of fish only come out at night so we had tons to see.

Bocas Del Toro diving was great after all! The visibility, even though it was the rainy season, was pretty good most of the time and we saw tons of fish. The quality, however, is not necessarily comparable to Utila diving (which was out of this world), but I have to say that it was quite good nonetheless. After all of this, we are now certified advanced open water! I'm really glad we did this =)

We still have two fun dives to complete tomorrow and we intend on visiting the surronding islands by water taxi too. Our next destination is Panama City! We cannot wait to see the canal!

We also celebrated the Saint Jean Baptiste here in Panama! It was raining buckets, but we still enjoyed a couple drinks at an outdoor bar. (1$ beers, an electric 4$ Margarita and 8.95$ pitcher of Sangria) It was a quiet, but fun evening! Too bad we were the only travelers from Quebec there that night =)

Have you tried Bocas Del Toro diving or scuba diving in general? What did you think of it? What is your favorite diving spot? Tell me in the comments!


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