Costa Rica is a beautiful country, with delicious food, and important customs and traditional etiquette. Remaining courteous during your stay in the country is important, and there’s no more important time to know the right customary etiquette than during dining experiences. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Do not begin eating your meal until you hear the host say “Buen Provecho”. Then it is okay to begin eating.
  • The knife is always held in the left hand, and the fork in the right.
  • When a meal is finished, utensils are typically laid parallel to each other on the plate.
  • When not using your hands for eating, hands should always be kept on the table and within sight. You can rest your hands and wrists on the table, but never your elbows.
  • When dining at a home, dishes are always passed to the left.
  • Never cut your salad with a knife, instead bunch the lettuce up on your fork.
  • The most honored position is at the head of the table. If there are two hosts, one will be at each end of the table. Male guests will sit to the right of the main host, and females will sit to the left.
  • When it comes to paying the bill, it is customary for the one who invited the guests to pay the bill. This can change, however, and is sometimes determined by rank.
  • Tipping 10% at restaurants is sufficient.


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