To really sample the local cuisine, you need to look up a few local women. Ask around for Miss Dolly, Miss Sam, Miss Isma, Miss Irma, and Ghetto Girl, who all dish out sit-down meals in their modest little sodas. In addition to locally seasoned fish and chicken served with rice and beans, these joints are usually a great place to find some pan bon (a local sweet, dark bread), ginger cakes, pati (meat-filled turnovers), and rondon. Just ask around for these ladies, and someone will direct you to them.

Puerto Viejo has a glut of excellent Italian restaurants; in addition to the places listed, Amimodo ★★ ( tel. 2750-0257) serves an excellent lobster ravioli, as well as a carpaccio of home-smoked shark. There's also Laszlo’s (tel. 8730-6185), which inexplicably lacks a sign. Its tuna and seabass, however, are divine.

For something cold and sweet Gelateria Deelite  ★★★,  open Wed-Sun and located downtown near the bus stop, has Italian-style artisan ice creams with flavors ranging from Pistachio to local fruit Cas, as well as crepes.

A specialty to try in these parts: Rondon soup is a spicy coconut milk–based soup or stew made with anything the cook can “run down”—it usually includes a mix of local tubers (potato, sweet potato, or yuca), other vegetables (carrots or corn), and often some seafood. Be sure to try this authentic taste of the Caribbean.


Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.