One of the pleasures of Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast  is the uniquely spicy local cuisine, which owes much to the populace’s Jamaican heritage. The seductive flavors are lent predominantly by coconut, ginger, chilis, and black pepper. Breadfruit, used throughout the Caribbean isles but relatively unknown elsewhere in Costa Rica, is a staple, as are various tropical roots.
You’ll even find ackee and saltfish (one of my favorite breakfasts), made of ackee fruit and resembling scrambled eggs in texture and color. It is often served with johnnycakes, fried sponge dumplings that make great fillers to accompany fish en escabeche (pickled), or “rundown,” mackerel cooked in coconut milk. You must try highly spiced jerk chicken, fish, or pork, smoked at open-air grills and lent added flavor by tongue-searing pepper marinade.
Desserts include ginger cakes, puddin’, pan bon (a kind of bread laced with caramelized sugar), banana brownies, and ice cream flavored with fresh fruits.