The Secret to Preparing Pacuare’s Traditional Christmas Tamales

Is´s the season for giving, so we at Pacuare would like to give something to you. Every year, Doña Giselle from our kitchen staff, prepares her famous homemade tamales for Pacuare Lodge, and we’d like to share her secrets with you. Tamales at Pacuare are a time-honored tradition, and we are happy to pass that tradition on to our guests.

Tamales for Christmas

It wouldn’t be Christmas in Costa Rica without the traditional tamales. And, although every tamal shares the same basic ingredients, every family has their little secrets to how they prepare their tamales. And, Pacuare is no different. If you want a little taste of Costa Rica this Christmas, read on and see how Giselle prepares the authentic traditional Christmas tamale for the guests at Pacuare Lodge.


Preparing a traditional Costa Rican Christmas tamales

The one thing that everyone recognizes about a tamale is the banana leaves that wraps it, and the jute ties that create the classic green wrap.

Next comes the traditional corn dough, which we make using only corn flour.

Stuffed inside the corn dough is delicious Christmas pork, which we flavor with thyme, cilantro, celery, onion, garlic, and salt.

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We also use the broth from the pork to mix in with the dough once it has cooled, creating the perfect flavor and texture.


While the pork is cooking we prepare the rest of the filling. At Pacuare, we add chili, carrot, rice with achiote – a spice that will add a yellow tint to the rice and a mild peppery flavor – chickpeas, and petit pois.

Once we are ready to prepare the tamales, we gently wrap the corn dough around the pork and veggie mix and fold it gently together. The final step is wrapping it in the banana leaf and tieing with the jute ties.

The best way to enjoy the costarrican tamal is sharing it with special people around you and complement it with a good cup of coffee.

Visit Pacuare Lodge

You can visit Pacuare Lodge and enjoy luxury accommodations surrounded by untouched rainforest and world-class cuisine. Treat yourself to Christmas at Pacuare Lodge.

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