Costa Rica Cocktails – The Drinks You Should Try

cocktail manuel antonio
about us

Hi! We’re Thomas (the German) and Sarah (the US-er).

We met in Virginia, moved to Germany, and now live in sunny Costa Rica.

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If sitting on a beach with palm trees behind you and lapping waves in front of you while holding a cocktail in 80-degree weather sounds like the perfect thing to do in Costa Rica, this post is for you!

Get ready to learn about traditional liquors, cocktails, and non-alcoholic drinks as well.

Liquors

There are two main popular liquors that are produced in Costa Rica and used in many of the local cocktails. These are….

Guaro

Guaro is often considered the national drink of Costa Rica. It is a clear liquor produced from sugar cane. It is popular in many Central American countries and Costa Rica produces its own official brand of guaro liquor called Cacique. 

Please be careful when drinking guaro. The Costa Rican government started producing Cacique Guaro as a way of stopping people from making their own contraband versions of this liquor. 

In 2021 there were at least 50 deaths, mostly in San Jose, due to people drinking illegally produced guaro with high methanol levels.

It seems as though none of these deaths were tourists and instead were locals producing their own versions of the liquor. However, we suggest only consuming alcohol at legit restaurants/ hotels/ and bars.

If you would like to buy your own bottle of guaro, please purchase Cacique Guaro. It is government regulated and trustworthy.

Centenario Rum

Centenario is a Costa Rica based company which produces high quality rums which range in price from about $30 up to several hundreds of dollars.

Cocktails

cocktail costa rica

Chiliguaro

Chiliguaro is a shot made of hot sauce and guaro. It is usually served with a slice of lime on the top and sometimes a salt rim. It is really good, but if you dislike spicy things, this shot is probably not for you.

Miguelito

Miguelito is a shot made of guaro, coconut water, and evaporated milk. It sounds a bit gross (or maybe I just think evaporated milk is kind of disgusting), but its a nice sweet shot with a tropical feel.

On that note, Costa Ricans love evaporated milk. I feel like it is is way more sweet treats than I have ever seen in another country.

Guaro Sour

The guaro sour is cocktail made by mixing guaro, lime juice, a pinch of sugar, and club soda and served over ice. 

Pura Vida

The term “Pura Vida” directly translates to “pure life.” This is Costa Rica’s motto for life and you’ll definitely hear it said while in the country. 

A Pura Vida cocktail is made by mixing triple sec, orange juice, pineapple juice, and a splash of Sprite with a little grenadine mixed in. It is fruity and refreshing on a hot day.

Pina Colada

pina colada

In my opinion, nothing feels more tropical than enjoying a pina colada with a slice of pineapple as a garnish. 

A pina colada is made by combining pineapple juice, rum, and coconut milk or cream. This can be served over ice or blended. And, if you want to get really crazy, sometimes you can find pina coladas served in a pineapple. 

Coco Loco

conout on the beach

If you are looking for that perfect Instagram worthy drink, this is it! A coco loco is made from a variety of liquors, coconut milk, and coconut water. It seems every restaurant tends to make it a little differently.

Our favorite place to enjoy this is at the beach front restaurant aptly named Coco Loco in Playa Flamingo. In their signature drink there are three types of liquor; guaro, rum, and tequila.

Micelada

This is for all you beer lovers that also want some cocktail vibes. This popular drink is made by rimming the glass with salt, pouring a nice cold beer into the glass with ice (I think Imperial Silver is best for this), squeezing in a bunch of lime juice, and enjoying! 

Other Things About Costa Rica Drinks

banana beach

– We think the best way to enjoy a cocktail is at a beach bar. You can discover all our favorite beach bars here.

– We have never gotten sick from the water here, but it is still best to buy bottled water instead of drinking from the tap. On that same line, be careful about ice in your cocktails, especially in remote locations. Ice is typically made from tap water and could make you sick if you are not used to that water. 

– If beer is more your thing, Costa Rica has plenty of that as well. In recent years that craft beer culture has grown exponentially here. You can find breweries around the country and can even buy many different beer options in grocery stores. For more info, check out our guide to beer in Costa Rica

– If you would like to learn the process of making rum in Costa Rica, we suggest visiting El Viejo Wetlands in Palo Verde. They offer a rum tasting and tour which can be combined with a wildlife boat tour, culture tour, lunch, and more!

– Another drink you’ve got to try while here is to have a fresh coconut on the beach. There are always locals selling them who are happy to cut them so they are ready to drink.

– And don’t forget to drink Costa Rica’s favorite beverage…coffee! Find out all the best coffee farm tours and great brands to buy with our Costa Rica coffee guide

– Want to learn how to make Costa Rican cocktails? A cocktail-making class is always fun. We know of two great options. One is in La Fortuna and one is in San Jose. 

– And one last fun way to enjoy cocktails is with a bar crawl. Here are three fun tours….

– If you want to make your own Costa Rica cocktails at home you can buy liquor at the duty-free shop in the airport before your flight home. Or buy it ahead of time and put it in your checked bag. I have not found any place to buy Cacique outside of Costa Rica, so if you find any let us know!

If you would like to buy Centenario rum I have seen it at liquor stores throughout the US and Europe. If you are in the US, it is possible to order it on the Total Wine website.

– If you would like to buy liquor while in Costa Rica there are many places to do that. Liquor is sold at most major grocery stores, small mini-markets, and at duty-free shops in the airport. 

Do you have any questions about Costa Rican cocktails? Just leave them in the comment section below. We are always happy to help you out!

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