Costa Rica is one of the most popular countries in Central America, mainly among nature and adventure lovers. This is due to the fact that it has an incredible number of national parks and private reserves that cover around 25% of its territory. It is also located in a privileged region of the world that allows it to have a large concentration of animal species native to other countries in northern Central America and some from South America.
Another interesting aspect of Costa Rica is its cuisine. It is the result of years and years of different cultures combining themselves. In it, you get traces from what the pre-Columbian natives used to eat. All of those ingredients were adopted by the Spaniards, who also brought their own ingredients and cooking techniques. As colonization went on, the Spaniards brought in enslaved people from Africa and members of Caribbean tribes that they had colonized a few decades earlier.
As you can imagine this created a unique cuisine style. Part of that gastronomy that makes Costa Rica unique is the fact that there are a few different types of beverages that will leave you wanting more.
Drinks of Costa Rica
Because of the abundant variety of tropical fruits that grow within its territory, they have found tons of times to take advantage of it. That's why you will find fruit-based beverages. They call them refrescos ("frescos" for short). These are a sort of fruit smoothies that are commonly made with water or milk.
Another delicious and quite popular traditional beverage is called Agua Dulce (sweet water). It is literally water that has been sweetened with sugar cane or a kind of candy that is made of it.
The third kind of natural drink that Costa Ricans love to drink on a daily basis is called Horchata and is made with a mixture of pulverized rice and corn. To give it a little extra flavor they also add some ground cinnamon and a bit of sugar. It is delicious and the best way to have it is extremely cold.
Another aspect that has made Costa Rica famous around the world for its coffee. However, you won't find the good stuff in most restaurants and cafes. Most of the locals I knew only drank the instant stuff. This is because almost all of the quality coffee is exported.
The national beer of Costa Rica is called Imperial. You will be able to see it being advertised all over the country, almost in every corner. However, there are a few other Costa Rican beer brands that go by the name of Pilsen (a pilsner) and Bavaria.
If you're looking for something stronger, but still local and traditional, you should try guaro. This is a fiery sugar cane liquor. It is commonly served as a shot or diluted in a tropical cocktail.
They also prepare hot beverages of different kinds that they call Atoles. You should definitely try a few of these. A couple of the most popular ones are called Atol de Maizena, Atol de Piña, Atol de Naranja, Atol de Arroz, and Atol de Elote. They are all sweet and quite tasty.
Note: Whenever you travel in Central America you should always keep in mind that you can't just drink tap water. Instead, you should also buy bottled water or carry around a filter.
When you ask for beverages that don't involve cooling the ingredients or boiling the water you should also ask your waiter where the water used for it comes from. This will allow you to avoid getting sick during your vacation.
Edited by Marina K. Villatoro