Drinks in Costa Rica

Details of some of the most popular drinks and alcohol served in Costa Rica...

A popular national drink in Costa Rica is horchata which is made from cornmeal and flavored with cinnamon. It is both spicy and sweet. Other drinks include pinolillo, a corn and cocoa drink and resbaladera which is made from rice and barley.

Coffee is both a major industry and the national drink in Costa Rica. Coffee from the country is recognized to be one of the best in the world. The best coffee is thought to come from the Central Valley region. It is traditionally served strong with hot milk. A cafe con leche is generally an equal mix of milk and coffee. Herbal teas are also popular.

Refrescoes, which are a mix of ice and blended fresh fruits with either water or milk, are very popular. They are served in most restaurants and at many shops.

Beer is very popular in Costa Rica with the local breweries Imperial and Bavaria, producing light, crisp lagers. The local spirit is guaro, which is strong and has little taste. The national liquor monopoly produces vodka, gin, rum and whisky. Rum and coke, known as a Cuba libre is a local favorite. Wine is not popular in Costa Rica and is often imported and expensive.

Small snacks, or bocas, are often served with drinks bought in a bar and are an important part of Costa Rican culture. In some bars bocas are free on purchasing drinks, in others there is a small charge. A good bocas menu will include an interesting variety of spicy and exotic snacks. Popular choices include baked plantain (platanos asados), tortillas with cheese, minced green papaya (picadillo de papaya verde) and string beans with beef (picadillo de vainicas). Turtle eggs are common in Bocas dishes but it is best to be aware that turtles are an endangered species; the eggs may have been taken illegally.