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Our family of 4 (including two teens) stayed at Pura Vida during the green season and we all agreed that it was the single best vacation we've ever taken as a family. What we loved about this villa: The location (Dominical isn't touristy at all...yet the restaurants and attractions were top-rate.) The pool (and having it partly covered meant that we could swim even at mid-day). The wildlife (we saw more monkeys and toucans in our yard than we did on our tour of the national parks :) The price (we looked at many choices and I'm convinced this is the best-value villa on the southern pacific coast.) Couple this with the smart & considerate British owner (who's available to help but also allows his guests complete privacy) and we are ready to return.

Southern Hope (United States)

Property: Casa Pura Vida

Date of Stay Jun 30 2012

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Southern Hope

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Costa Rican beer


Unlike the United States and Europe, Costa Rica isn’t chock-full of microbreweries serving up dozens of brands of delicious suds on tap.

Nevertheless, sipping an ice-cold beer in this stunning Central American nation still hits the spot, especially when the sun is out, your feet are up and your schedule is completely clear.

The following is a list of the most popular beers in Costa Rica, the majority of which are sold at local supermarkets and small bars that dot the Pan-American Highway from Jaco to our vacation rentals in Dominical.

Bavaria: Pound for pound Bavaria is, in our opinion, the finest non-microbrewed beer in the country. There are three types of Bavaria available at most restaurants, bars and stores—Bavaria Light, Bavaria Gold and Bavaria Dark. Gold is a firm-bodied pale ale with a hoppy finish. Dark is similar to Mexico’s Negro Modelo, a deep-styled amber with sweet hops. Light is low on calories but doesn’t quite have the same finishing kick as Gold or Dark.

Imperial: Everywhere you go in Costa Rica, you’ll see signs for Imperial. It is the most popular beer in the country, and every third tourist seems to have the mandatory Imperial tank-top on. Taste wise, it’s decent, but not spectacular. Imperial compares to many American-style lagers, probably better than Budweiser but not quite at a microbrew level of flavor. There’s also an Imperial Silver flavor available at most stores.

Pilsen: The second-most popular beer in the nation, Pilsen can be somewhat underrated at times. It’s a little bit lighter than Imperial with a similar alcohol content. It’s been compared to Keystone in America, but that’s a slap in the face to Pilsen, which is far superior to cheap, fourth-rate brews like Keystone and Milwaukee’s Best. If we were forced by local authorities to choose between Imperial and Pilsen—and what a terrible day that would be!—we’d go with the latter over the former, and then we’d buy everyone a round.

Rock Ice: Similar to Smirnoff Ice, this is kind of a girlie drink (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Rock Ice is prepared with an ice-brewing process, which chills the beer to form fine crystals that are removed from the liquid without compromising the flavor. The process gives the beer a more full-bodied taste and aroma. Rock Ice isn’t for everyone, but it might be for you.

Heineken: We know what you’re thinking, “Why is Heineken on this list? It’s brewed in Holland.” Yes and no. Heineken has actually been brewed in Costa Rica since 1986, under a license from the Dutch—and what great people they are! This is a 100-percent malt beer, and since it’s made right here in Costa Rica, it seems to be less skunky on the nose than in other parts of the world where it has been imported.

Bohemia: It’s actually pretty rare to be sitting at a Costa Rican bar and hear someone yell out, “Give me a Bohemia! No, make it two!” Why don’t you hear that often in these parts? Honestly, because it’s the low beer on the totem pole. Bottom line: you have several choices in beer and buying a bunch of Bohemia might not be the best decision you make.

Segua: Ah, Segua. Costa Rica’s Craft Brewing Company puts out a delicious Segua Red Ale. The problem is that unless you’re in a big city like San Jose or Escazu, it’s really tough to track down. If you find it snatch it up, call us, and we’ll come over and enjoy it with you.

Libertas: Another fine product of Costa Rica’s Craft Brewing Company, Libertas Tropical Golden Ale is mouthwatering but difficult to find in the southern zone. Rumor has it you can purchase Libertas at the Roadshack restaurant in Uvita on occasion.

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