The cost of meals depends on where and what you choose to eat. Prices can vary significantly and you should be aware if the sales and service taxes are included in the meal or not.
If you eat lunch at a local restaurant (called a soda) and order a "typical casada" which is usually comprised of your choice of fish, pork, chicken or beef with rice, salad and an avocado along with a juice or water, you can expect to pay around 3,000 colones (about $6 USD) including sales tax and gratuity. A dinner meal such as a decent steak or fresh fish with a couple sides will cost around 5,000 colones (around $10).
There are also restaurants that cater to tourists. These are generally nicer establishments and you can expect to pay more at these restaurants. The average lunch with a sandwich, fries and drink will cost around 5,000 colones ($10). The average dinner – say spaghetti, pizza, steak, roasted chicken, or a rice and shrimp plate will cost around 7,500 colones ($15). Prices can go up depending on how elegant the restaurant is.
Drink prices can vary significantly depending on where you go. You can expect to pay around $2 for a beer or $3 for a cocktail at a typical Costa Rican bar. Drinks can cost two to three times that amount at larger restaurants or resorts. Juices and sodas cost about the same amount you would pay in the United States ($1.50). A 20 ounce bottle of water will cost about 500 colones ($1.00).
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