Picking The Perfect Sandía (Watermelon)

You can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can judge a watermelon by its shell.



If you are like me, picking the right sandía (watermelon) is a hit and a miss. To show off my expertise to no one in picking the right melon I go through a ritual: I pick it up, big or small, I feel it if is heavy or not, then I tap the sandía for a hollow sound. A ripe one will have a deep hollow sound. Under-ripe or over-ripe melons will sound dull. Using my method I’ve gotten some sweet, juicy tasting watermelon and some not so much.

The sandía is available year round in Costa Rica, though prices vary in different months. For example, at Pricesmart the price in June was less than a ¢2,000 colones for a watermelon (they sell by the unit and not weight), in July it is over ¢3,000. At Mas x Menos and Automercado, the current price is between ¢800 and ¢1,100 per kilo.

In the search for picking the perfect watermelon, the article Jake Manning on Shareably.net on the ‘5 Key Tips To Pick The Perfect Watermelon’ caught my interest.

1Field Spot

When viewing watermelons, the first thing that sticks out are those weird white spots. However, these spots (called field spots)are quite natural. The field spot is the area where the watermelon rested on the ground. While every watermelon has a field spot, the best watermelons have creamy-yellow or even orange-yellow spots. Go for the gold.


The webbing of a watermelon indicates the amount of times that bees touched the flower. The more pollination, the sweeter the watermelon is.

3Boy or Girl?

You may not have known this, but watermelons have genders. The ‘boy’ watermelons are taller and more elongated, while the “girl” watermelons are more round and stout. The boy watermelons are more watery, while the girl watermelons are sweeter.

(Q edit: did not know that, but it makes sense in a perverted kind of way)


Our common sense tells us that bigger is better. So we may think that we should get our money’s worth and get the biggest watermelon we can haul onto our carts, but in reality, the best watermelons are average-sized. Don’t go for too small or too big, but just right. Size matters.


According to the Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganaderia (MAG),  watermelons in Costa RIca are cultivated primarily in Orotina, San Mateo, Bagaces, Cañas, Parrita, San Carlos, Upala and Guápiles.

Nothing beats a fresh slice or a bowl of cut up watermelon as I sit at my computer updating the Q.

I share my morning melon with a fresh pineapple slice.

How do you enjoy your sandía?

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