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HomeCosta RicaCosta Rica's Guanacaste Province: Home of Corn-Centric Foods 

Costa Rica’s Guanacaste Province: Home of Corn-Centric Foods 

Although Guanacaste is part of Costa Rica, it has its own culture, traditions, customs and food. Just as cooks in the Caribbean region base their secrets in the coconut, Guanacaste chefs use corn as the base for many of the region’s traditional dishes and beverages. A selection of corn-based recipes follows.

Arroz de Maíz (corn rice)


  • 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs.) maíz cascado (broken corn kernels, found in the central market)
  • 1 gallina criolla (free-range chicken)
  • 2 cloves, garlic 1 small onion
  • 2 medium red bell peppers
  • 10 leaves of culantro coyote (a wild species of cilantro with large leaves),
  • 1 cup manteca (lard or shortening)
  • Salt to taste

Preparation: While boiling chicken in enough water to make broth for later, wash corn and strain. When chicken is ready, cut into small pieces. Mix chicken, corn and the rest of the ingredients in the chicken broth and cook until corn is soft, stirring constantly.

Tortillas Revueltas (Guanacaste-style tortillas)


  • 1/2 kg (1.1 lbs.) corn kernels
  • 1/2 lb. Tico cheese, grated

Preparation: To cook corn kernels, first take cold wood ashes and sift until fine. Boil the kernels with the ashes; this process removes the skin from the kernels. Wash well to remove all trace of ash, then grind the corn and mix it with the cheese. Make tortillas by first forming balls out of the dough and then flattening and shaping them with your hands. Cook tortillas in a greased clay tortilla pan (comal), briefly heating both sides.

Buñuelos (sweet yuca balls)


  • 1 lb. masa de maíz (corn dough)
  • 1/4 lb. Tico cheese, grated
  • 1/2 lb. yuca (cassava), boiled until soft and mashed
  • 1/2 lb. manteca (lard or shortening)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tapa de dulce (dark brown unprocessed sugar in cakes)

Preparation: Mix corn dough with cheese and yuca. Make balls and fry in vegetable oil. Heat Tapa de dulce until melted and dip the fried balls in it, covering their outsides with the syrup.

Pozole(traditional drink made from purple corn)


  • 1 kg (2.2 lbs.) maíz pujagua (purplecorn)
  • Sugar to taste
  • Cinnamon (optional)

Preparation: Boil corn kernels until very soft. Grind and add water, sugar and cinnamon to taste.

Makes 10 servings.

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