Costa Rica Drinking Age – Driving and Fines

Someone sent me this video, and I know it is not of Costa Rica, but still pretty unreal of how drinking a tad to much can make you look like an idiot. Real or Fake, make a comment!

I can not tell you how many times in Yahoo Answers, those under 18  ask, “What’s the drinking age is in Costa Rica? adding, “Do they check IDs?”

To answer both, the official drinking age in Costa Rica is 18, however you’ll be hard pressed to find a bartender or store keeper who isn’t willing to serve or sell to you.

The joke (more like reality) as long as you can see over the counter and have a few bucks, you’re old enough to buy alcohol.

In reality, there is no drinking age

In reality, there is no drinking age as these 14-year olds are showing

The last time I was in Santa Ana, I went into a small grocery store and watched the sale of a 6-pack of Imperial to  a 10 year old girl. No doubt it was probably the dad telling his daughter to run down and get a 6-pack, but still, a 10 year old!

If you look over 18, San Jose, Jaco, Tamarindo, Dominical, and just about all beach towns you will get served. The Blogs and chat rooms are filled with 14-18 year olds who will tell you, drinking is no problemrarely will you may find a nightclub that cards at the door. Or you are one those people who looks ten years younger than they really are, you MAY get carded. And even so, a  fake ID from the US and you are good to go.

Approximate 90% of all traffic deaths (quite high) in Costa Rica are suspected drinking related, especially during the long rainy season with its, slick, congested, and winding roads that generate catastrophic results.

One of the major problems experts claim that Costa Ricans simply ignore driving under the influence of alcohol laws because the fines are so small that if they do get caught, it really isn’t going to bother them too much.

Back in 2007, the fine was nothing, 20,000 colons (or about $45), since, it has been bumped up to 300,000 colons ($550), which is STILL a drop in the bucket compared to US. A drunk driving in the US can cost you over $10,000 in attorney and court cost, increase insurance rates and/or restricted driving or just plain lost of license. Costa Rica as none of that!

However, a drinking  foreigner thats involved in a accident, they will throw the book at you. A friend who only had a few drinks and who got into a minor traffic accident (that was not his fault) spent 5 months in jail and it cost him about $3000 US.

As in most Latin American countries, social gatherings (funerals, births and baptisms) and Holidays alcohol is the prime ice-breaker and a way of life.  And just about all homes keep a few Imperials for those unexpected social gatherings. It is very common to see groups of men after a hard day of work popping a few cold ones and then head home in their vehicle during rush hours.

If you have ever driven in San Jose, it is hard enough being sober driving, let alone after having a few drinks and that is when taxis are worth their weight in gold …

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  1. ticoman says:

    I disagree with Douger the video may be BS, but going to jail for a long time because of a accident DUI is reality. Costa Rica is Napoleonic law … guilty until proven innocent! unless you got a lot of money to bribe your way out…

  2. Douger says:

    Stunt man. German.
    Now in CR they take your car for DUI and no way to get it back.25 points on your license with a max of 50 points in a lifetime or adios driving permit.
    The good ole days are gone for the Ticos and the tourists.

    Your “friend’ who supposedly got five months and 3 grand must be a complete idiot or that wouldn’t happen. Never heard of such a thing and been here 24 years.

  3. Barbara says:

    OMG – i thought the video was staged until I saw the end – just to real looking…

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