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  • Jared Watson

Hitchhiker's Guide to Costa Rican Energy Drinks


Photo courtesy of friends :)


This blog is going to be for a real niche audience, but that's the kind of dedication that we put into pleasing our readers here at Caffeine Shark. Hopefully, even if you're not planning on taking a trip to Costa Rica in your lifetime, you'll still find my trials and tribulations finding new (and old) energy drinks outside the United States at least mildly interesting.


To give some quick background, me, Matt, and 12 other people went on a week long trip to Costa Rica where we had Airbnbs sequentially in Tamarindo, Fortuna, and San Jose. I like to think that over the course of that week, we had a sampler platter of everything that Costa Rica has to offer.


Volcanoes, rainforests, waterfalls, hot springs, swim-up bars, sloths, frogs, amazing food, and (of course) energy drinks.

Photo courtesy of friends :)


I didn't do any research into the energy drink scene in Costa Rica before going, so everything that I did find there - even drinks that are popular here in the United States - was a surprise.


Overall, I'd say that the energy drink scene is alive and well in Costa Rica. Every convenience and grocery store that I went to across the country had at least some semblance of an energy drink selection.


Red Bull was everywhere, as well as a Costa Rican energy drink that isn't sold in the United States called Maxxx (yes, 3 Xs) Energy.

Photo courtesy of the Maxxx Energy Facebook page.


Yep, that's it. The one with the cute lil face on the can. I can see on their Facebook page they have more than just two flavors, but I only saw two flavors across ~10-15 stores between Tamarindo and Fortuna. The blue is the Sugar-Free version, but also has a completely different flavor profile than the red, which I'm calling Original.


Here are my quick thoughts on the two.


Original (Red)

This one was delicious. No idea how much caffeine it has, but it gave me a nice boost the couple of times I drank it. The taste was a juicy red-berry flavor. Sweet but not too sweet just like I like it. I give it a 8/10.


Sugar-Free (Blue)

Hopes and expectations were high after having the Original a few times already. Towards the end of the trip our group was at a restaurant together and I saw this energy drink on the beverage menu! I had to take advantage of ordering an energy drink with my meal out - something I don't think I've ever done before.


Unfortunately, it didn't even get close to my lofty expectations. The taste profile had a blue-berry flavor, but it was mostly bitter with a grossly sweet aftertaste. Not sure if it's relatable, but some artificially sweetened energy drinks have a gross aftertaste to me, and the shoe fits for this drink.


I give it a 4.5/10.


The other energy drink I saw in Costa Rica, that I've never seen in the US, is Linx.

Photo courtesy of the Linx website.


The flavors that I had were Watermelon and Apple & Melon. Watermelon I had a full one, while I only had a sip of Apple & Watermelon. It was too long ago to do a full review of the pair, but both were very decent. Around a 7/10.


Linx reminded me of Red Bull seasonal flavors, in that they were really drinkable, had a slight level of bitterness, and were complemented by nice fruit combinations.


Wrap-Up

If you're going to Costa Rica and want to drink energy drinks, prepare your mind, body, and soul for Red Bull and Maxxx Energy. All things considered, not bad options for your palette or your wallet. Anecdotally, it seems like San Jose (or maybe other major cities) in Costa Rica is your best bet for a better selection.


Since this is Caffeine Shark, not just Energy Drink Shark, I'd be remiss to not mention that the coffee in Costa Rica was amazing. Even your typical black coffee or americano was delicious. So I would definitely recommend diversifying your caffeine intake and taking advantage of the local culture.


And last but not least, have fun! Costa Rica was an amazing experience, and I truly believe as long as you enjoy being outdoors, it has something for everyone.


Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about the trip, what I recommend as far as excursions, or feedback about the energy drink selection!


I'll leave you you with this picture of me, Matt, and Caffeine Shark collaborators Maddie & Fern.

Photo courtesy of friends :)


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