Posted on


Lush green Costa Rica is a thin strip of a country bordering Panama and Nicaragua to the north and southeast, respectively, with coastlines on the Caribbean and the Pacific. Contained within this tiny country roughly the size of West Virginia is an entire universe of experiences, not the least of which is its flora and fauna: though it has only about .1% of the world’s landmass, it contains 5% of the world’s biodiversity.

But I digress.

One of the many enchanting aspects of traveling through Costa Rica is the many sodas, or home-spun restaurants that dot the roadside, as well as the ubiquitous fruteros, roadside fruit stands that overflow with the ripe tropical goodness of this charming Latin American gem.

On a recent road trip from San José, the capital, to Quepos, the gateway to the renowned Manuel Antonio National Park, my driver looked in the rear view mirror and casually asked if I was hungry. I figured the gnarly sounds coming from my hollow stomach had given me away, so I casually answered yes and eagerly awaited his next comment.

“Do you like ceviche?” he asked. Of course, I enthused. “Well, you’re going to love green mango ceviche, guaranteed!”

Green mango? What? Doesn’t that give people, you know, stomach issues? I gamely nodded, thinking there was still another hour to go to get to Quepos and the sodas kept whizzing by with no stopping in sight.

A few minutes later, Jorge pulled into a typical roadside stand with an extra large sign proclaiming we had just arrived at Frutas Tropicales Nahomy in no uncertain terms.


The place was busy and, like many of the other fruteros we had passed by on the way here, had a colorful display of some of the fruitiest fruit I had ever seen, not to mention quite the display of traditional candies. Apparently, Ms. Nahomy and her team were quite the candy makers.

We walked up to the stand and were immediately greeted by Julián, the affable master of ceremonies and truly a salesman extraordinaire. In the space of 10 minutes I had tasted five different kinds of candy—coconut balls made condensed milk; nut and honey clusters; a “breakfast” concoction made with cornflakes, honey and coconut; a round disc made of cajeta (caramelized milk) and a coconut caramel.


The effect was slightly dizzying but absolutely delicious, and I made up my mind to buy up as much as I could on the way home. Neverthless, we had come here for the green mango ceviche and Julián was ready with a plastic cup and spoon of the freshly made mix.


I popped off the lid, sat at the lone table and prepared to be wowed. A slight racket in the tree to my right, however, made me pause before taking a bite—and when I looked up I had my first taste of just how sweet Mother Nature is on this lovely country. Rustling about in the branches of the leafy green tree next to the giant sign were two of the biggest red macaws (they call the lapas in Costa Rica) I had ever seen. Unfortunately, they were pretty camera shy and my iPhone didn’t do them justice, so there are no pics. Suffice it to say I felt like I was at a Florida theme park, only with no lines, no handlers and definitely no cages.


Once the macaws decided they’d had enough of us and flew off I settled back down in my chair and took my first bite of this legendary green mango ceviche. Wow. Pow. I had never tasted anything so fresh, so refreshing, so tasty and so… Green. If you’re a ceviche lover like me, you know it takes just the right blend of lime, onion, spices, tomatoes, etc. to make a perfectly balanced dish that will dance on your palate. And these guys had done it with green mango! As if that weren’t enough, Julián told me they make a fresh coconut ceviche to die for. They had run out of that delicacy about an hour earlier, since they can only make a limited amount each day. Fresh coconuts have very little actual flesh and they only use the sweetest and most tender coconuts they can find. It’s definitely on the list for my next trip.

After I was done with my green mango ceviche, the enterprising Jorge had yet another surprise up his sleeve. As I followed him towards the bridge just beyond the frutero I kept noticing the word cocodrilo on the signage. As we stopped halfway across the bridge and looked down, I realized I had stumbled upon on National Geographic moment.

In the river below (the Tárcoles, I later found out) was a swarm of crocodiles the size of the reptiles usually found in… The Nile. No kidding. I tried to take a video but the critters stopped moving as soon as I hit “record,” natch. I hope this picture speaks a thousand words, because a few choice ones were running through my head when Jorge casually mentioned these crocs were at home in rivers and in the ocean. So much for the kayak expedition I was looking forward to (just kidding, but it did give me pause for thought.)


After a few more minutes of ooh-ing and ah-ing—especially when a flock of the aforementioned red macaws took off from the trees that lined the river—we walked past the (other) tourists with cameras hanging from their wrists and hopped back aboard our SUV.

One more hour to the next stop in paradise: Manuel Antonio, Quepos and the delightful Parador Hotel Resort & Spa, the topic of another dispatch from Costa Rica.

¡Pura vida, amigos!


Ready to enjoy an adventure in Costa Rica? It just so happens to be within the SkyMed UNIVERSE, so don’t forget to slip that membership in your bag! 

Please follow and like us:

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *