This is a topic to read if you’re curious about Costa Rica drinking age and the country’s rules and regulations regarding alcohol. Costa Rica is a Spanish-speaking country located in Central America. Aside from its amazing wildlife and nature parks, it is also known for having a pretty good nightlife and drinking culture.
Costa Rica has a very vibrant culture, and its residents love to eat delicious food, drink alcohol, and party all the time. The lifestyle that the country lives in is very carefree, and this translates into their drinking laws as well. So, if you’re planning to go on a trip to this beautiful country, whether for work or fun, then feel free to continue reading.
What is the Legal Drinking Age in Costa Rica?
The official law states that the legal drinking age in Costa Rica is 18 years old. But unlike most other countries, Costa Rica is actually very lax in regard to giving out alcohol to minors. This is particularly applicable in tourist destinations, where the alcohol is free-flowing, and anyone can try it out if they wish.
What is the Legal Drinking Age in Costa Rica for Tourists and Foreigners?
The same drinking age rules apply to every person who stays in Costa Rica, whether it be foreigners, tourists, or natives who grew up there. To be able to visit the country, you must be able to have a passport together with the purpose of visiting the country. You must also be able to exit the country before your stamp or visa expires, which is around 90 days after your arrival.
Do You Need an ID to Drink in Costa Rica?
Yes, but as mentioned earlier, the rules here in the country in regard to alcohol and underage drinking are not strict at all. You’d actually be hard-pressed to find a bartender who isn’t willing to sell or give you a shot of your favorite liquor or a can of beer, no matter how old you may look. They don’t really care about the person to who they sell alcohol, whether they look mature enough or even way too young, and that’s the grim reality found in this country.
Legal Drinking Age in Costa Rica with Parents
The legal drinking age in Costa Rica is 18, whether you are accompanied by your parents or not. However, it’s easy to purchase alcohol there even if you’re only 17 or 16, as the alcohol laws in the country aren’t as strict as expected. There are still some establishments that follow the law, but these are high-end bars or restaurants in some of the country’s posher areas.
Legal Drinking Age in Costa Rica by Region
San Jose, the country’s capital, isn’t exempted when it comes to giving out alcohol to anyone below 18. But the interesting thing about Costa Rica as a whole is that you can purchase alcohol in practically every big or small grocery store in the country.
If you look 18 and visit any of Costa Rica’s famous beach towns, then there’s a chance that you’ll get served alcohol easily, even if you’re technically underage.
Can Minors Drink in Costa Rica with Their Parents?
Since bartenders or alcohol vendors don’t care if they sell liquor to children, then it’s pretty much a given that they don’t care if these minors end up drinking their alcohol either. It’s not rare that you can find alcohol stores selling liquor to children as young as ten years old, whether these kids were only asked by a relative to get them alcohol or if it’s for their own consumption.
Consequences of Breaking the Drinking Age Law in Costa Rica
For obvious reasons, it is illegal to consume alcohol before driving in Costa Rica. The legal blood alcohol limit in the country is around 0.75%, which is actually slightly low than the average amount, at around 0.08%. If you do have plans to party and drink around the country, make sure that you have a companion with you who can act as a designated driver. There’s also the option to ride public transport, which is pretty much allowed depending on the location.
Failing to comply with the alcohol laws in Costa Rica will result in up to 3 years of jail time and paying a fee of 327,713 CRC. Technically, drinking alcohol in public spaces is also prohibited, but locals tend to ignore those as well.
A Roundup of the Costa Rica Drinking Age
As you can tell, the drinking laws around Costa Rica are practically useless unless you are a real law-abiding citizen who doesn’t want to get punished. Hopefully, you can obey these rules as well if you do end up coming to this country, so you won’t risk shame and embarrassment and pay a huge sum of money while you’re at it.
I am a passionate beer connoisseur with a deep appreciation for the art and science of brewing. With years of experience tasting and evaluating various beers, I love to share my opinions and insights with others and I am always eager to engage in lively discussions about my favorite beverage.