Guaro leads the list of traditional alcoholic drinks in Costa Rica. It’s a generic term for rum, and the taste and quality varies in different parts of Latin America. Some locals insist guaro was invented by the Guaro Indians, but they are so tiny that no one has been able to find them to confirm this. Many find it a potent, even crude spirit. But some tourists go home raving about the stuff. If you want to experience it safely, the main thing to know is to not t drink it straight like tequila: a couple of shots may numb various parts of your body you might have planned to use later in the day.
Guaro-based mixed drinks usually consist of pouring a shot or two into a glass of Fresca and ice. That's how most Costa Ricans prefer it (except those sleeping in cardboard boxes in downtown San Jose). It also mixes well with other tangy soft drinks, Coke (but not coke!) and fruit juices.
Until this year, all Costa Rican guaros were locally bottled by Cacique. Red label and black label are most common, both with an image of "Quatro Plumas," the four-feathered Indian Cacique (which means "chief"). Blue and orange labels are also available; one is a gin-type booze, but no one who has drank both blue and orange can recall which was which. But now other brands are imported from South America and Honduras, which produce higher quality hooch
The Local Rum
A state-run distiller makes Ron Centenario, which has a fine edge like cognac and a hint of vanilla, and the cheaper Ron Rico. But the best rum you can find down here is the twelve year-old Flor da Cana, a smoky, brandy-like drink imported from Nicaragua.
The local brewery makes Imperial, a slightly dark and sweet brew now exported to California; it's reminiscent of the Mexican dark beer, Dos Equis, though not as heavy. Pilsen has a more crisp taste comparable to Budweiser. Heineken is brewed locally and not up to part with the real thing
You'll discover practically every other kind of international spirits (and Mexican beers such as Tecate) in the supermarkets and many bars and clubs. But don't look for Wild Turkey or any other bourbon or whiskey except Jack Daniels, Jim Beam and Crown Royal. The Costa Ricans' favorite whiskey is Scotch, and many fine single malts are available in addition to the most popular, Johnny Walker.