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How to Easily Avoid the Alcohol Scandal in Costa Rica

This summer, 19 locals died of Methanol poisoning from counterfeit alcohol consumption. Certain local cheap brands of Guaro (the most inexpensive local alcohol that you can buy in Costa Rica) sold by small street vendors and mom and pop shops have been compromised, according to the Costa Rica’s Health Ministry.

 How to Easily Avoid the Alcohol Scandal in Costa Rica

Alcohol Scandal kills 19 in Costa Rica

Luckily this is avoidable. Compared to the horror stories we hear from the Dominican Republic, where bad alcohol was found in hotel minibars, Costa Rica’s risk is easily mitigated.

Easy tips to avoid this risk:

• Only buy known, familiar brands of liquor from the duty free or respectable larger stores.

• Try to avoid any special deals, because if it is too cheap to be true, it’s probably also too good to be true.

• Stay away from Guaro! This liquor is very cheap, can give you a headache, and honestly doesn’t taste good unless you’re used to it.

• Only buy liquor from respectable larger supermarkets, like Automercado, Supercompro, Walmart, or liquor stores that specialize in alcohol.

• Do NOT buy unknown clear liquor (especially Guaro) that is cheap from small vendors as the chances of compromised alcohol being introduced is greater.

• When you order mixed drinks with rum, whiskey, tequila, or vodka, make sure you ask to see the branded bottles, not original containers that could contain counterfeit or modified alcohol.

• Avoid mixed drinks in questionable bars. Counterfeit liquor has been a problem for people in more than a dozen countries.


Remember to make these commonsense choices, and you won’t be one of them.

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