14+ Costa Rican Cocktails To Drink Right Now

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What is better than watching a sunset in the tropics with a delicious beverage in your hand? Well, I’d argue: nothing. This guide to Costa Rican cocktails will help you decide the best drinks to order on vacation. Or, if you are home, you can recreate them with my recipes.

In this post, I’ve rounded up the top Costa Rican cocktails. If you prefer Costa Rican non-alcoholic drinks, check out our Costa Rican Drink recipes guide. If you are interested in ayahuasca, make sure to check out our ayahuasca in Costa Rica guide. Want Costa Rican microbrews? I’ve also got you covered

About consuming Costa Rican cocktails. Costa Rica’s drinking age is 18, and you can drink publically- please do it responsibly. Drunk driving carries very stiff penalties, so make sure you are sober before you get behind the wheel- especially of a rental car.

Costa Ricans enjoy alcoholic beverages as much as anyone, and especially on the beach you’ll find “ticos” drinking beer while listening to music. Drinking responsibly is not stigmatized in Costa Rica, so feel free to enjoy your drinks in the land of pura vida!

Note: You can find almost all of the liquors listed in grocery stores for a fraction of the cost at the bars. This makes it easy to recreate delicious drinks in your hotel or vacation rental. Another trick I have found is to grab the liquor you want at the Duty-Free in the airport on the way into the country.

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Costa Rican cocktails

Costa Rican Beer

Beer is king in Costa Rica. It’s by far the most popular alcoholic drink, and you can buy a beer in even the very most remote places. National beers are all produced in the same brewery, the largest in the country. It is called La Florida. Below, I list the most popular beers in Costa Rica.

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Costa Rican nachos topped with a generous portion of pico de gallo.


Known as “el aguila” because of the prominent eagle on the label. The red and yellow logo has been plastered on almost every t-shirt, beer mug, hat, and keychain in the country, so you won’t have trouble finding it. This is bar far the most sold and consumed beer in the country.

You can find it anywhere- it’s the top drink. It’s a light lager akin to Bud Light or Red Stripe from Jamaica. Recently Imperial had a big push to export to the United States, and you can find it in liquor stores across the country.


Pilsen is Imperial’s little sister. It is the second most popular beer in the country. It is a bit more bitter than Imperial and has a slightly higher alcohol content. You’ll recognize the bottle by its distinct red and white label.


Bavaria is a slightly more expensive beer with several versions. There is Bavaria Light, Bavaria Gold, and Bavaria Masters. They all taste a bit like Imperial but a little bit lighter.

Rock Ice

Rock Ice goes through an ice brewing process and is infused with a lime flavor. It is popular with the younger crowd as it kind of tastes like an alcoholic juice.

Craft Brews

You can find Costa Rican micro-breweries around the country that make craft beers. The majority of micro-breweries are in San Jose. You will also find canned craft beers in the beer section of liquor stores in larger cities in the country, or in beach towns where the breweries are located. Some popular craft beers include Lake Arenal Brewery (La Fortuna), Manada Coyote (San Ramon), and Papagayo Brewery near Liberia, Guanacaste.

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Wine is not hugely popular in Costa Rica, but there is a sort of underground wine called contrabando. Contrabando (meaning contraband) is made from the poisonous “reina de la noche” (queen of the night) flower. Once fermented it is no longer poisonous.

But while no longer poisonous, contrabando wine is very strong and will make you drunk very quickly. If you go out in the sun while drinking it you can experience hallucinations. Needless to say, this is not a very easy wine to find, and it’s definitely not sold in grocery stores.

Liquors for Costa Rican Cocktails

There are two popular liquors made in Costa Rica- Cacique (known as guaro) and Ron Centenario. Cacique is the trademark liquor in Costa Rica.

Cacique Guaro

Cacique is made at the national brewing plant aptly known as the brand Cacique Guaro. It is located in the northern Central Valley.

Cacique is a sugar cane liquor. It’s a clear spirit similar to those of many other countries in Central America. It is often paired with Fresca soda in bars across the country. It also makes an appearance in the chiliguaro, pura vida, guaro sour and coco loco cocktails. (More on those below.) It is by far the most popular liquor in Costa Rica.

Centenario Rum

Centenario is also made right in Costa Rica and is the only rum made there. It comes in several ages- the 5-year being the most common.

This rum is often compared to the Flor de Caña made next door in Nicaragua. While there are lots of different rums throughout Central America and Latin America, Ron Centenario continues to be one of my favorites ever for Costa Rican cocktails.

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The ultimate list of Spanish phrases for Costa Rica with kids.  

Costa Rican Cocktails

If you are heading to any of the beach bars, you’ll want to try these cocktails. Many of the bars and resorts have huge lists of cocktail recipes, and not all are the same versions listed here. What you can be sure of is that there will be fresh fruits and fruit juice in all of your cocktails, due to the large number of different types of Costa Rican fruits in the country.

Chili Guaro or Chiliguaro

This drink mixes tomato juice, Cacique, and a shot of hot sauce. It’s served as a shot most often and can be requested at almost any bar. Sometimes it comes with a bit of Salsa Lizano (LINK) It’s one of the most popular drinks in the country.

Guaro Sour

This is a tropical take on a whiskey sour. Again, using the signature Cacique, this drink combines guaro, simple syrup, and a splash of club soda. It’s garnished with lime wedges and oh so delicious! This is a top drink to try in Costa Rica.

Pura Vida

There are as many takes on the pura vida drink as there are ways to use the phrase (meaning pure life). It’s sort of like a Costa Rican rum punch. Of course, it incorporates the top liquor- Cacique. Additional ingredients include pineapple juice, orange juice, and lime juice.

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Pina colada in a hollowed out pineapple with the beach in the background.

Piña Colada

The traditional Costa Rican piña colada combines fresh coconut cream (or coconut milk), juiced coconut, and Ron Centenario to round out one of the best cocktails on the planet. Costa Rica does the drink major justice with fresh ingredients. It’s a good option for someone trying cocktails for the first time.

Rum punch cocktail in glass with ice and umbrella.

Rum Punch

Need I say more? This rum punch recipe is one of the most popular recipes on this website, and garnishing it with fresh mint makes it all the better.

Coco Loco

The Coco Loco drink truly is crazy! You’ll use agua de pipa, which is the coconut water inside a green coconut. Break that coconut open, add Cacique guaro and stick a straw in the hole. This might be dubbed the national drink of Costa Rica- even without the guaro it’s delicious!

If you would like to talk to me about a customized itinerary or specific Costa Rica travel advice for your family, (zero sales- just advice!) check out my “Ask Christa” page for more information on custom Costa Rica trip planning geared towards families.

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Christa Jimenez

Welcome! I’m Christa, a Spanish teacher married to a handsome Costa Rican and mother of two bilingual daughters. We’ve spent over 25 years living in and traveling to Costa Rica with our daughters, and this website is my love letter to all things Costa Rica- and to bilingual parenting too. You can read my full story here. Thanks for stopping by!

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  1. The Bar tender , Jose , at the Tabacon Hotel , in the Arenal is probably the best bar tender I’ve ever had the pleasure to sit with. He is a student of his craft and a consumate professional.