Did you know that though Costa Rica accounts for only 0.03% of the earth’s surface, it makes up about 6% of the world’s biodiversity? Costa Rica’s geographical location between North and South America means that it has served as a bridge for an endless number of species, both animal and plant, including some amazing, delicious, and exotic fruits. Here are some of our favorite exotic Costa Rican fruits:
1. Dragon Fruit
This cactus fruit is indigenous to the Americas, growing in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and northern South America. Available in white, yellow, or red, these beautiful fruits are known for their fresh, mild sweetness and the nutty flavour of their seeds. And its season is here!
Cas is found almost exclusively in Costa Rica, though it is also grown in Guatemala and Nicaragua, and has recently been grown successfully in California. Cas is most popular as a drink, mixed with sugar and water, though some ticos do brave these tart little fruits picked right from the tree.
3. Passion Fruit
A local favorite, this egg-shaped fruit guards a delicious combination of jelly and edible seeds within its tough exterior. It can be eaten on its own or juiced, and is sometimes added to other juices to enhance flavor and aroma.
A close relative of the lychee, the rambutan is actually native to regions of tropical Southeast Asia, and is therefore known in Costa Rica as the “mamón chino”. Once you get past its strangely hairy red exterior, you’ll find a sweet, white fruit inside – but beware, the fruit itself holds a hard pit inside that you’ll need to eat around.
A fruit in the cashew family, jocotes grow in tall trees, start out green and ripen to red or yellow. While many Costa Ricans enjoy eating the ripe fruit, which is meatier and sweet, some prefer the fruit when it is young, green and tart, while a number of monkey species seem to enjoy the fruit at any stage of ripeness. Delicious!