A ripe papaya will always be slightly soft, but a too-soft papaya is to be avoided. It is customary for papaya vendors to cut a triangular piece out of the papaya to show you its color. Some people are fans of the rounder amarilla or yellow-orange papaya. Others will swear that only the more elongated and red-orange cacho papaya is worthy of the name. you don't have to buy a papaya just because the vendor cut a piece out of it for you. At least Ticos don't just make sure you feel it first.

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