Bean dreams come true, and bean travels are the best travels! In October 2022, I traveled with several fantastic colleagues to present at bean seminars in four countries: Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic. I want to give a huge thank you and shout-out to the US Dry Bean Council and Todo con Frijol for this incredible opportunity to travel, talk about beans all day, and connect with colleagues from around the world! I also want to share some photos and fun facts that I learned with you all, as several of you have been asking for this. Except for the DR, I only visited one city in each of these countries, so take this all with a grain of salt, but I saw some very interesting trends and enjoyed many delicious bean dishes!
Fun Bean Facts
- In Spanish, there are several different words for ‘bean.’ For example, beans are called frijoles in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Costa Rica, but they are called habichuelas in the DR.
- The number one bean in Guatemala is black beans, whereas red beans are the most popular in El Salvador. In Costa Rica, I saw more variety in beans available in the market, but black and red beans are approximately equally popular.
- In the DR, pintos have recently started to become popular. I didn’t see a single pinto bean in the markets I visited in Guatemala and El Salvador, and I only saw them once in Costa Rica. It’s exciting that the DR is trying new types of beans and taking advantage of the impressive variety!
- Enjoying beans for breakfast is very common in Guatemala, El Salvador, and somewhat in Costa Rica (for example, in gallo pinto). However, beans are not very common for breakfast in the DR and are more likely to be served with lunch and/or dinner in the DR. It was wonderful to see beans as a staple for multiple meals a day in these countries!!
Bean Dishes Devoured on Bean Travels
Let’s start with Guatemala…
And now to El Salvador!
Next was Costa Rica, where my day always began with gallo pinto, a tasty beans and rice dish.
And last but not least, some bean dishes from the Dominican Republic!
Cheers to bean travels with beans, served in their delectable broth!
Beans Spotted in Markets During Bean Travels
One of my favorite things to do while traveling is visit open-air markets. There is something magical about them, and you can see what folks like to eat. For these photos, we’ll follow the same order: Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, DR.
Check out some of these beauties in the Mercado Central in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Beans in Grocery Stores
Another place I always stop is grocery stores – yes, obviously to check on what beans are available. I can’t be alone in this, right? Grocery stores are fun! Here are some of my bean-y finds.
Pouches of refried beans were popular in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Costa Rica. As you may have guessed, the refried beans were primarily black beans in Guatemala, red beans in El Salvador, and a relatively even split of red and black beans in Costa Rica.
There were lots of dry beans available in the grocery stores in the Dominican Republic!
At the bean seminars, there was bean swag, and the food served always included bean dishes – as it should!
Thank You for Reading About Bean Travels
I hope you enjoyed all the bean-related photos! Did anything surprise you? Or perhaps you want to jump in a plane and go eat all the bean dishes you can get your hands on?
May your next travels be full of beans! Also, pro top – spread the bean love while traveling by wearing bean t-shirts.