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Jeff Fraser, Bayon Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Me at the Bayon Temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia

My name is Jeff Fraser and I was diagnosed as celiac about three years ago. I have a fairly mild reaction to gluten so my opinions on the safety of any businesses or products on this website may be different from yours.

I started this website because it is so difficult to find good gluten free options in Tamarindo. They are there, but it is rarely advertised or even mentioned on the menu, you just have to ask.

Costa Rica is a surprisingly modern country and most restaurant workers will speak at least some English. Knowledge of gluten free foods is not as widespread as in other countries though so when ordering in restaurants you really need to be careful what you are getting.

Even if a menu item is market as gluten free that doesn’t mean anything if those preparing your meal don’t know about the proper precautions. If you have celiac disease and are extremely sensitive to gluten, even the slightest cross contamination may make you sick so it’s best to be safe and ask questions. If the staff can’t answer your questions to your satisfaction you can always go somewhere else.

Even more importantly, there are always those minor ingredients that people don’t realize are not gluten free. I have seen gluten free dishes prepared with blue cheese, or a stir fry prepared with peanut sauce and wonder if it truly is gluten free.

We’ve created a downloadable Gluten Free Restaurant Card that you can print out and show to restaurant staff that explains your dietary needs. Click here for more information.

It’s as true in Costa Rica as it is anywhere, don’t be afraid to ask questions. And if you aren’t satisfied with the answers you should leave. The alternative is not pretty.