To enjoy an authentically Tico day in the country, follow a winding river road up to this family-run tilapia fish farm in the tiny hamlet of Vergel. You can work up an appetite on a short hike to a spectacular, nearby waterfall with a swimming hole (bring your swimsuit and binoculars for bird-watching), then catch your own tilapia. The cooks at the open-air wooden restaurant overlooking the tidily kept fishponds will fry up your fish in 10 minutes, presenting it whole or filleted, with rice, salad, yuca, and excellent patacones (fried, mashed plantains), plus a pitcher of refreshing fruit naturale, a feast for only $9. There's also chicken for non–fish fans, plus wine and beer. It's open 9–6 weekdays, 9–8 weekends, so it's a good spot for lunch or an early dinner.
2 km (1 mile) south of Ojochal, then just before bridge in Punta Mala, follow a dirt road 4 km (2½ miles) uphill to tiny hamlet of Vergel, Vergel, 60504, Costa Rica