Central America is not a culinary destination, with beans and rice tending to dominate the plate. But an amalgam of cultures, fertile soils, varied climates, and expansive shorelines have resulted in some seriously delicious dishes. The Caribbean side of the isthmus tends to work with more spice and coconut milk, with excellent results, but those looking for a true foodie's paradise should make for Mexico.

The Basics

Reservations for eating here are practically unheard of, except at high-end restaurants in the biggest tourist centers.

  • Street Food Urban areas throughout Central America have cheap street food, served from carritos (carts) or food trucks. Options vary by country, but may include tacos, pupusas (grilled cornmeal with cheese or bean filling) or churrasco (BBQ meat) with rice and beans.
  • Comedores A simple diner serving set meals – almost every town has one. Also known as sodas in Costa Rica.
  • Restaurantes A more formal dining experience than the comedor, with a wider menu and probably a selection of wines and beers.