Costa Rica offer as much variety in its beverages as in its food and you will find beverages ranging from tea and coffee to beer and some US expats have even started to produce wine locally, though so far in small quantities.
We’ve already introduced you to Costa Rica’s amazing cuisine, which yet is not rightfully cast into the shadows. Hopefully we made a difference there by presenting your favorite Tico dishes. Now it’s time for the beverages, because come on, a nice meal it’s complete without a delicious drink. Here are 5 of the top drinks to sample during your Costa Rica vacation:
Most of the best coffee in Costa Rica is exported, so to get the quality cup of Joe Costa Rica is famous for I heard you have to head to the plantations. Thus, I spent my first night in Costa Rica at Finca Rosa Blanca, an organic coffee plantation just outside of San Jose. Leo, the coffee plantation guide, opened my eyes to the magic of coffee with his passionate stories sharing the discovery, trade, and organic process of the little bean that changed history.
Being there during harvest season, I actually got to help pick, clean, dry, and roast my own batch of coffee! The magic really happened after the tour during the “coffee cupping” session with a barista that treated coffee like fine wine. I will never look at my morning cup of Joe the same.
This slush drink made of finely shaved ice and flavored syrup is one of the most popular beverages of Costa Rica. The most popular flavor is Kola, which is not the usual carbonated cola drink but a fruity cherry like syrup. It is sometimes served with evaporated or condensed milk on top.
Run, Guaro & Vine de Coyol
While Costa Rica does not boast about their beer and wine selection, the Ticos (Costa Rican locals) definitely know how to take the edge off. Ron, the Spanish term for rum, is the spirit most commonly served at bars and restaurants, preferably mixed with the flurry of fresh fruit juices concocting a deliciously sinful tropical cocktail perfect for accompanying the brilliantly colored sunsets. One touch I really appreciated was the concept of bocas served alongside drinks ordered at bars and restaurants. Bocas are small snacks, being anything from a portion of fresh ceviche, bean soup, or even turtle eggs.
A night out with some Ticos introduced me to Guaro, a dangerously strong jungle juice made of sugar-cane enjoyed by the rugged campesinos (Costa Rican Cowboys), quite the step up from the fruity cocktails I had been sipping. I had been warned to stay away from the wines in this tropical paradise because most aren´t even made of grapes, but rather other ruby fermented fruits. But my Tico friends encouraged me to give Vine de Coyol a try with an open mind. Vine de Coyol is wine distilled from a liquid collected in the holes of the spiny palm. Definitely not wine as I know it, but a fun Costa Rica experience non-the-less, when drunk with caution of course!
The Costa Rica marketing pictures of well-tanned, bikini clad tourists sipping coconuts and cocktails on the beach are no lie…that can really be you every day, if you desire! I found it hard to find the time to sit on the beach and relax due to all the fun excursions of hiking, horseback riding, snorkeling, sailing, zip-lining and river rafting, but when I did make the time to hit the beach and relax it was never without a sweet and refreshing fresh fruit drink in hand. You´ll find the tropical classics of pineapple, mango, papaya, and guava juiced over ice or milk.
My favorites however were the more unique Cas (a bitter fruit mixed with honey and sugar) or Tamarindo (a date like fruit pulped and mixed with cold water). The fresco de frutas (a combination of finely chopped chilled local fruits with coke or sprite poured on top) is served as a drink, but makes a perfect light afternoon snack. And of course there is nothing like sipping a fresh chilled coconut water (called Aqua de Pipo by the locals) with your toes in the
German immigrants made sure Costa Rica produces some excellent beers as well and there’s nothing like a cold Imperial, brewed here since 1924, to help you cool down after a day trekking through the humid jungle on one of the best tours to Costa Rica.