December is a special month in Costa Rica. The slightly longer nights are brightened by holiday lights in the cities and homes of many and cool, dry winds blow across the the northwestern plains and central valley.  Here golden afternoons signal the beginning of the dry weather of Costa Rica’s summer and the season of vacations at the beach.

December is also a time of year when families and friends get together and enjoy a special traditional holiday treat: hot tamales and a cup of delicious Costa Rican coffee.  In the illustrations below, we will take you through the process of making tamales.

1. Start with a specially prepared corn meal paste, green beans, red sweet peppers, culantro, corn meal paste colored with tomato and achiote, flavored rice, sliced carrots, pork, green peas, potatoes, and…

2. …fire-hardened banana leaves.

3. Next, spread the corn meal onto the banana leaf.

4. Take the orange-colored paste (a blend of corn flour meal, tomato and achiote) and spread it over the corn flour meal paste base.

5. Begin adding the other ingredients: rice, peas…

6. …sweet peppers, carrot slices…

7. …and finally add the remaining ingredients: potatoes, pork and a garnish of culantro.

8. Next wrap it all up tightly into a neat bundle in the banana leaves.

9. Tie the bundle securely with string.


10.  Finally, simmer the tamales in boiling water until they are thoroughly hot and the flavors are blended together.  Alongside heat a kettle of water for the coffee.

11. Now your tamales are ready!

12. With a cup of hot coffee, and a bottle of the very traditional Lizano sauce to add extra zest to your tamales, you are ready for your guests and a delicious meal!

Happy holidays from all of us at Costa Rica Sun Tours!

Related Posts


Jewels of The Central Valley & Manuel Antonio

Discover the combination of modern luxury travel and tropical wonderland in Costa Rica. Our Costa Rica “Deluxe & Unique End of the Year in Costa Rica” begins in the middle of lush coffee plantations and tropical fruit orchards overlooking the Central Valley at the exclusive Xandari Resort & Spa.


Unforgettable Costa Rica

We invite you to learn about "Unforgettable Costa Rica" a campaign that contributes to the protection of children and adolescents from sexual commercial exploitation linked to travel and tourism