The Vacation Food Hunt
It is written, “Man cannot live on pizza alone.” Fact. Eventually, he must go out, make fire, and cook something yummy. Today’s savvy caveman is hunting for good deals on quality ingredients. This is no easy task in Costa Rica. In Tamarindo, there is an art to food-gathering.
Oh sure, you can probably find most things at Automercado, if money’s no object, but you won’t find everything. To get the best deals, and have the most options, you should plan to cover some ground.
Here is a comprehensive list of places you need to know about if you plan to venture out of the cave:
Villarreal Market – Leaving Tamarindo, at the intersection in Villarreal take a right. Next to the field in the center of town expect to find super cheap fruit and veggies on Friday and Monday afternoons. They don’t take credit cards though. Plan to bring some cash. $25.00 should fill your fridge.
Tamarindo Feria (Saturday Market) – Near the boat launch, go to the Alfaro Bus parking lot. The market is growing more all the time. Among other items, you will find organic fruits and veggies. They won’t be as cheap as the Villarreal market, but they will be quality. There is always someone selling fish there as well.
Villarreal Verdura Stand – “Verdura” means produce. Right near the main crossing in Villarreal, the veggie-stand has good prices. Deliveries come on Mondays so get there by Tuesday to get the best selection. Also: they keep a stash of smoked cheese in their cooler if you ask for it.
Mega Super (Villarreal) – This market just doubled in size this past year. They have the best market prices on fruits and veggies, although they can run out of things from time to time. Their prices are very competitive.
Automercado – Worth mentioning, Automercado carries many dietary restricted items: gluten-free, dairy-free, and diabetic options. You will find most of it in the second to last aisle before the cold beer.
Super 2001 – Centrally located in Tamarindo, across the street from Pacific Park, you may pay a price, but you can find some specialty items here. They stock Italian, Chinese, and even some Kosher food.
Super Compro – In the tall building where Higher Ground Bar is located, Super Compro has Tamarindo’s cheapest prices for wine and alcohol.
Bodega Sandwich Shop– This is the only restaurant on this list. Bodega carries coconut oil. They also have an assortment of other natural food items for sale.
Food Lab – Pippo is one of the main Italian food importers for Costa Rica. Food Lab, next to the Mailbox’s Etc, is a distributor for them. Their prices are the same as buying direct so there’s no need to drive to the Pippo in Liberia. Cheeses, meats, nuts, sauces, and all things Italian can be found here.
Días Carmona (The Fish Guy) – Tuesday and Friday afternoons, buy fresh cuts of fish, at prices that will make you feel guilty. He is usually in the rotunda at the end of the main drag. Look for the flatbed hauling two huge blue and white coolers, with a very friendly man at the helm.
Pop up fruit stands – Any day, any time of year, in any location, you may find someone selling fruit. This is a priceless aspect of Costa Rican life: grab bags of seasonal fruit at rock-bottom prices. These fruit stands are all over town and you will most likely find one close to your Costa Rica house rental. Buy massive quantities and give them out to people you meet. Make new friends.
Honey Guy – If you find the guy selling honey, buy some. You will pay way more in the market, and it may be lesser quality. Usually, the honey guy is selling recycled rum bottles full for $6.00.
A little farther outside of town….
Foody Goodies (Huacas) – You can custom order organic and non-organic fruits, veggies, spreads, cheeses, and more. They carry unique items you can’t find anywhere else. Order by 9 pm on a Friday and pick up Wednesday. Email [email protected] for more info.
Conchal Consignment – On the way to Brasilito, in the Plaza, on the corner. Yep. Food, at a consignment shop. They carry gluten-free products, but will also order hemp seeds and gluten-free oats if you ask for it.
La Oliva – In the same complex as Conchal Consignment, this is another distributor for Pippo. The carry some items you won’t find elsewhere. Worth a look-see.
Of course, this list is not the final word in food. As Tamarindo grows, along with the surrounding towns, so do the options. It’s great. With a town this diverse you can count on it. There will be as many new places to buy food as there are places in which to eat it.
Horizon Pacific Management & Rentals is located in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. Horizon Pacific offers vacation rentals, property management, long-term rentals, as well as a complete concierge service. Providing you with a local contact during your stay, Horizon Pacific is a company you can trust, with the experience you need.