Villas del Rio


5 Costa Rican sweets you can bring back home

Wanna bring back gifts for your friends but don't have space in your luggage?

Candy and sweets are your go-to "make a friend happy" treat. And if you are traveling to a tropical country like Costa Rica, you'll see that most sweets are made from local fruits and nuts, which will make a more exotic snack to have back at home.

You can find most of them at the supermarket, but for a couple of these, you might want to go the extra mile and buy them directly at their hometown, which would mean extra one day tours outside of San José.

Let's begin with one treat that will be recognized by coffee lovers:

Chocolate covered coffee beans

Delicious sweet with a contrast of a bitter roasted coffee bean in the middle.

You can get them at the supermarket or at the Mercado, which are not the same thing. Mercados are the traditional grocery market, not corporate run, but very alive and with plenty of new products you won't find at regular stores.

Tip: These treats are recommended for people trying to reduce their coffee intake, to avoid the headaches and other symptoms, because it's a tiny dose of caffeine.



One treat lots of people love to taste as a snack, a sweet or as an appetizer, is guava paste. You can combine it with a fresh cheese or crackers, the contrast of sweet and salty is delicious. 

Guavas are sweet and tangy, that's why it matches so beautifully with other flavored foods. In Europe there are similar fruits and products such as the "dulce de membrillo" and it's also paired with cheeses and charcuterie. 

Also they now sell them combined with milk cajeta (very similar to caramel candy). Just... go, try them. Go. I'll wait here.


Orejitas (pastries)

For any crunchy lover, this is a dream come true. Orejitas are cookies with its particular crunchiness and caramel flavor, they draw a smile in any tico face. 

They are made with lots of butter and sugar but are not overwhelmingly fatty. It's just the perfect pastry/cookie to munch while having a coffee and talking to friends. You can find this at the supermarket from great quality in sealed packages so you won't have any trouble taking with you.

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Sour Cream hard candy

Very similar texture to a "melcocha" (candy cane) these hard candies are made out of sour cream and sugar. They're originally from Zarcero, a town in Alajuela, a very pretty place to go on a one day tour.

They are like oldschool hard candy, knead by hand. 

But also you can get them by if you are passionate about them.

This is the only picture I found on them. Apparently I have to go to Zarcero on my own for my candy re-stocking. 

This is the only picture I found on them. Apparently I have to go to Zarcero on my own for my candy re-stocking. 


Delicious sweet and kind of burnt caramel coconut tartlets, these are sold all over Costa Rica from supermarkets, convenience stores, to homemade ones in the street. 

They are our beloved astronaut Franklin Chang's favorite dessert, so every time he has gone on a space mission he takes some to share. 

It's simple, grated coconut with cane sugar cooked to a point of caramel over a dough shell. 

Picture from  

Picture from