7 Unique Drinks From Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, batidos are refreshing fruit smoothies
In Costa Rica, batidos are refreshing fruit smoothies | © JeffG / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Jenn Parker
13 February 2020

While drinking a lot of water is crucial when adventuring around Costa Rica, don’t forget to unwind and try some of the country’s delicious traditional beverages. From sweet and creamy to buzz-provoking, these seven drinks are a delightful way to wet your whistle.

Agua dulce

Though Costa Rica is famous for its coffee, agua dulce is the traditional breakfast drink of choice. This hot beverage is made by boiling water or heating milk and adding a piece of tapa de dulce, which is made from a liquid extracted from sugarcane that has been heated and placed in a mold to harden. It is similar to a hardened chunk of brown sugar.

Agua dulce is more common than coffee during breakfast in Costa Rica, made from unrefined whole cane sugar boiled in water | © Ildi.Food / Alamy Stock Photo

Agua de Sapo

Agua de Sapo (toad water) is a cold and refreshing sugarcane drink. This sweet beverage is made with tapa de dulce, lime or lemon juice and fresh ginger. Agua de Sapo is traditionally served on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.


Resbaladera is a cold and creamy drink that is traditionally made in the northern region of Costa Rica. Resbaladera is made with rice, barley, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, water, milk and nutmeg. There are several steps to creating this delicious drink, but the process is simple and worth trying. If not, at least order one to try it.


Batidos are smoothies. However, Costa Rica’s versions are unique, thanks to the extraordinary selection of exotic and locally grown fruit in the country. The tropical climate is conducive to year-round fruit production and extreme biodiversity, resulting in a wide range of rare varieties. Batidos are very popular concoctions made with either water or milk and your choice of one or more fruits, including pineapple, watermelon, papaya, guanabana, bananas, strawberries and passionfruit.

Batidos are smoothies made with more exotic fruit | © Luc Brousseau / Alamy Stock Photo

Jugo de tamarindo

This sweet and refreshing juice is made from tamarind, a tree that produces bean-like pods that are filled with seeds and encapsulated in a fibrous pulp. When the fruit is ripe, the juicy pulp takes on a paste-like consistency and a sweet-sour flavor. The paste is removed from the pods and boiled with water and sugar. The mixture is put through a strainer to remove the seeds and fibers, and the juice is chilled. Jugo de tamarindo is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties that are said to help prevent cancer and heart disease.


Chan is made from the seeds of a plant that is part of the mint family, which is mixed with rosemary, thyme and lavender. When the black seeds are submerged in water, they expand and form a gelatinous coating, similar to chia seeds. If you have an issue with drinking bubble tea or eating tapioca, this drink is probably not for you.

This super seed is beneficial to the digestive system and can help relieve symptoms of constipation, indigestion, gastritis and heartburn. Chan is usually sweetened with sugar or honey, but on its own, it has a light minty taste. It’s a very old traditional drink in Costa Rica and isn’t quite as common as it once was.

Chili guaro

Guaro, or Cacique, is the official liquor of Costa Rica. This sugarcane-derived alcohol is similar to rum but tastes a bit more like vodka on its own. A chili guaro is a famous shot in Costa Rica and one that you have to try at least once. It’s like a bloody mary shot. The base features tomato juice, lime, hot sauce and sometimes a little Lizano sauce. When made properly, it has a kick of spice but not a long-lasting heat. This shot is easy to drink, so be warned.

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