Cost of Alcohol In Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, the cost of alcohol varies depending on the type (Beer, wine, imported, or local) and the place you buy it (grocery, bar, or restaurant). A regular local beer usually costs between $2 and $4. A liter of Old Par or Black Label typically costs $45, more in tourist spots but cheaper at duty-free shops.

If you’re a frugal shopper like me, you might be shocked by how expensive it is to live in many towns in Costa Rica. Finding cheap liquor was a big problem for me when I was in Manuel Antonio, Monteverde, and Tamarindo.

People often say that the best place to buy liquor is at the duty-free shop in the airport when you arrive. But if you missed that chance, what can you do?

In this article, you’ll find out how much common types of alcohol cost in Costa Rica, how much beer usually costs in restaurants, bars, and hotels, and some tips for saving money when shopping in Costa Rica, especially for drinks.

Key Takeaways

Don’t have all the time to read our review of the current price of alcohol in Costa Rica? Here are the key take home from this article:  

  • In Costa Rica, a regular domestic beer usually costs between $2 and $4, similar to prices in other countries. 
  • Cocktails at bars or restaurants typically range from $7 to $12. 
  • Prices might be higher in touristy spots, so it’s wise to check menus first. 
  • Airports in San Jose and Liberia offer duty-free stores with popular liquors, saving you 20-30%. 
  • Local alcohol is often sugarcane-based, best enjoyed straight.

Average Cost of Alcohol in Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, the average cost of a regular local beer is between $2 and $4. That’s similar to what you’d pay in other places.  If you prefer cocktails, they usually range from $7 to $12 in bars or restaurants. 

PRO TIP: 

  • Prices might be higher in popular tourist spots like resorts and landmarks. It’s wise to check menus or ask about prices before ordering.

According to Numbeo, a Global provider of information about the cost of living, domestic beer (0.5-liter draught) at Costa Rican restaurants costs an average of $1,500.00 ₡ ($3). In comparison, Imported Beer (0.33-liter bottle) costs an average of $2,500.00 ₡ ($4.88).

The Common Alcohol Options in Costa Rica 

There’s a wide variety of booze in Costa Rica, depending on where you look. It ranges from beer to hard bars and wines. While you consider the average cost of this alcohol, it’s also better to know the options before you. 

BEERWINESHARD BAR
Imperial Chicha (made of corn)Centenario 
Imperial Silver All of the Casillero del Diablo varieties Flor de Caña 
Imperial LightHavana Club
PilsenAquardiente Antioqueño
Pilsen FrostZacapa
BavariaCafe Rica (Coffee Liquior)
Rock IceCacique
Tona

Where to Buy Affordable Alcohol in Costa Rica

Duty-free stores are the best place to buy alcohol in Costa Rica at the cheapest price. Strangely, these stores are located in airports upon arrival.

I recommend these duty-free shops for three main reasons: 

  1. They get their products directly from authorized alcohol suppliers, so you can be sure you’re buying authentic, high-quality beverages. 
  2. When you shop for Beer at duty-free shops at the airport, you use that opportunity to wait for your luggage to come off the belt. It’s better than spending that time in your destination where you should enjoy yourself.
  3. Due to the nature of duty-free shops, you will be given allowances that permit you to purchase five liters of alcohol (per person) without paying any additional taxes. 

The Duty-free shops at San Jose Costa Rica Airport, the ones in Golfito or at Paso Canoa’s southern border, are cheap when it comes to alcohol sales. 

Pro Tip: 

  • Avoid the wines at Paso Canoas and some other duty-free places where they seem to have been “left out in the sun.

Tips for Saving on Alcohol in Costa Rica 

There’s no other way to avoid it. Once you’re in Costa Rica, regardless of the town, just budget to spend around $1.25 (720 Colones) on one Beer from the grocery store. 

If you take that same money to a bar or restaurant, you must add an extra 1,300 Colones to afford Imperial Beer.  Learn about money exchange in Costa Rica here prior to your trip.

The Costa Rica light beer costs between $1.75 to $3.50 in most bars. 

If you don’t want to run out of options, stick with the basic beer options: Bavaria and Pilsen. These types are easy to find around town. 

Meanwhile, Costa Rica also has some nice craft beer, and I had the best one in a few bars in San Jose. 

If you are in Puerto Viejo, you can also find these craft beers. 

Expect to spend between $2 to $4 per bottle for these craft beers at grocery stores. Don’t take them to clubs or bars, where they can cost up to $7 per pint. 

That is ridiculous, in my opinion. 

Final Thoughts

I often check the prices of wine and whiskey in Costa Rica just to see how much more they cost when imported.

I think it’s better to explore Argentine and Chilean wines here. They’re reasonably priced and offer more options compared to what you’d find in the States, which is my only point of comparison right now.

Costa Rica is unique in that most of the alcohol available is made from sugarcane. This means it’s high in sugar, which isn’t always ideal for wine and whiskey unless you’re making mixed drinks. 

The better local options, like Guaro and rum, are best enjoyed on their own.

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About 

Born in California, Michelle traveled extensively through the USA and Europe before moving to South Florida during the pandemic. Her career in Marketing has taken her all across the world. Her favorite country is France but she'll never turn down a beach vacation!

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