Cooking in Costa Rica

Cooking in Costa Rica: An Expat’s Guide to Buying Groceries, Cooking, and Eating in Costa Rica

by Gloria Yeatman

Buy the print edition on

Buy the Kindle edition on

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the Kindle app for your iPad or computer at this link.



When you move to a Spanish-speaking country, it can be daunting to stock your kitchen and cook meals when you don’t know what your ingredients are called in Spanish. And even when you know the Spanish translation, it can be a challenge at times to find what you are looking for.

You can download this practical, comprehensive guide and on-going reference tool on your smartphone or iPad so you have it with you whenever you shop. The table of contents is interactive, so you can easily click through to the meat section when you are at the butcher shop (carnicería) or to the dairy section when you are standing in front of the dairy case. Here’s what you will find inside:

  • A little bit about me, our life in Costa Rica, how and where we shop for groceries, what we spend, and some insights about grocery shopping in Costa Rica.
  • An English-to-Spanish and Spanish-to-English food dictionary, broken down into the following sections:
    • Fruits
    • Vegetables
    • Meat & Poultry
    • Fish & Seafood
    • Grains, Nuts, Seeds, & Baking Ingredients
    • Dairy & Eggs, Refrigerated & Frozen Foods
    • Beans, Canned & Prepared Foods
    • Herbs, Spices, & Seasonings
    • Condiments
    • Beverages
  • An English-to-Spanish and Spanish-to-English food dictionary in alphabetical order.
  • An English-to-Spanish and Spanish-to-English dictionary of things you find in the kitchen.
  • A Glossary of cooking terms and helpful adjectives to use when buying and cooking food, ordering in a restaurant, and reading recipes in Spanish.
  • Recipe substitutions for when you can’t find familiar ingredients here in Costa Rica.
  • Recipes that I have adapted to use with ingredients found in Costa Rica, plus some favorite recipes of other expat cooks in Costa Rica.
  • A U.S. Measure to Metric Conversion Guide for temperature, volume, weight, and length.
  • A resource section with links to expat cooking blogs, Facebook groups and pages, specialty products, and other food-related things.

I hope you enjoy my book and find it useful!


Reviews for Cooking in Costa Rica on

5.0 out of 5 stars – A must-have book
By Barbara on August 21, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

“Outstanding. I have been looking for a book that would tell me where to buy certain items that are not available in the local Costa Rica stores and I found all of that and more. Information such as translation from English to Spanish and of course Spanish to English. This is helpful so when I am shopping I can find what I am looking for using the translation. There is a break down of measurements and substitutions that was helpful. I like the few recipes that are included, and can’t wait to try them. This is a great book with so much information to help you learn about cooking in Costa Rica. I love the layout of the book and the clear explanations, and its easy to locate what I am looking for without going through an entire book. Also the resources in the back have been super helpful.. Thanks so much for the book.”

5.0 out of 5 stars – What is left for me to do?
By Tracey S.on October 11, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

“Gloria has done a fantastic job with this book. As a soon to be Costa Rica Expat, I am especially appreciative of all of her hard work. She has made it so easy to find the Spanish/English equivalents for fruits, vegetables, meats, etc. I was afraid of how much I will struggle when I move as I love to cook and bake. Now I have the perfect guide. I was so happy to see the “Things You Find in the Kitchen” section and the “Glossary of Cooking Terms”! I feel like I will have such an advantage in my new kitchen! Thank you so much, Gloria, for a wonderful book! I look forward to future endeavors.”

5.0 out of 5 stars – I just feel smarter for having read it!
By Amazon Customer on September 28, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

“Practical as well as scholarly, this is a must-have guide for any man or woman who commands a kitchen in Costa Rica. Wonderfully readable and quickly useable for whatever and whenever you may need to know all things culinary in Costa Rica. And if that were not enough, what an amazing tour guide for English-speaking lovers of food in a Spanish-speaking culture, where the recipes you know and have always loved can come alive in new and exciting ways. I just feel smarter having read it!”

5.0 out of 5 stars – Excellent!
By Laura Handler on September 7, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

“We lived in Costa Rica for two and a half years in the late ’70s. I wish I had had this book then. It will make cooking in Costa Rica so much easier this time around. It has all the information you need to be successful in the kitchen presented in an easy to use format. An absolute must-have!”

5.0 out of 5 stars – Must have read if you want to live and eat in Costa Rica.
By Renee M. on September 26, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

“This book was very helpful in translating ingredients from English to Spanish and as a metric refresher. I also enjoyed the chapter on where to shop in Costa Rica. I would like to see additional recipes in her next book!”

5.0 out of 5 stars – This is an excellent book. I have used it a lot.
By Diana on October 17, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

“This is an excellent book. I have used it a lot to look up Spanish names for food and cooking products here in Costa Rica.

5.0 out of 5 stars – Very helpful
By Winni Loeschon August 26, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

“Great resource for translation English – Spanish and vice versa. Well organized & enthusiastically engaging for shopping & cooking in Costa Rica!”


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