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Letters from the trail: Hiking the Camino de Costa Rica (Part 3)

June 21, 2019

Earlier this year, we told you about Camino de Costa Rica, a 280-km hike from Costa Rica’s Atlantic to its Pacific coast. 

Garry Wallace recently completed the Camino de Costa Rica, and he wrote a series of stories recounting the experience.

Below is Part 3: 

***

A Taste of Costa Rica: Gastronomy on El Camino

You would be forgiven to think our little group ate simple carbohydrate-laden foods, and lots of them, given the calories we were burning each day. But nothing could be further from the truth. We ate like kings and queens.

All our hosts along El Camino went out of their way to impress us with their local cuisine, and trust me, we loved it.  In a sense, we ate our way across a continent, and I don’t believe any of us lost a pound on the hike.

Just a few examples:

Cuisine on Camino de Costa Rica
Mondongo soup. Photo by Garry Wallace.

Mondongo soup, made from cow tripe and local root vegetables, was creamy, smooth and warming. Dessert was a simple bowl of caramelized coffee beans spiked with cinnamon and served warm.

Cuisine on Camino de Costa Rica
Typical Olla de Carne. Photo by Garry Wallace.

Olla de Carne is the ultimate Costa Rican beef stew.  This was traditionally a community collaboration. Everyone brought the ingredients they could contribute.  Sometimes it was beef, or pork or the rabbit that was caught that day. Everything was thrown into a big pot, and no one went hungry that night.

Cuisine on Camino de Costa Rica
Gallo pinto con huevo. Photo by Garry Wallace.

How do you make a simple breakfast of scrambled eggs with gallo pinto special?  Serve it on banana leaves at 4,000 ft to famished hikers, that’s how.

Cuisine on Camino de Costa Rica
Photo by Garry Wallace.

Cuisine on Camino de Costa Rica
Photo by Garry Wallace.

Cuisine on Camino de Costa Rica
Lunch with a view!  Photo by Garry Wallace.

A wood barbecue lunch served on a mountaintop consisting of mushroom skewers, grilled plantain and caramelized pineapple slices, was cooked by Chef Martine.  This has to be the best seat at any restaurant I know.

Cuisine on Camino de Costa Rica
Photo by Garry Wallace.

Healthy and tasty, this meal included fish river trout, lightly grilled served with vegetables and, of course, rice and beans.

No one — vegan, carnivores or omnivores — went hungry on this trip!

Stay tuned for Part 4 tomorrow! 

Garry Wallace is a managing partner at Serenity Boutique Hotel in Quepos, Puntarenas.  Learn more at www.serenityhotelcostarica.com

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