Trying new foods and drinks (beers, wines, and liquors) is a great way to learn about the gastronomy of a culture. After 12 eventful days traveling through Guatemala, I have had the opportunity to try several popular local drinks- some alcoholic and some non-alcoholic.
The Guatemalans sure love their beers and liquors! They proudly produce several of their own in the capital, Guatemala City. After all the taste-testing, here are the nine best drinks in Guatemala:
You can basically find this beer in every bar, restaurant and home of the country; it is produced in Guatemala City. It’s advertised everywhere and it’s what Budweiser is to Americans. This is one of the best beers I have tried in Central America and would recommend it to anyone!
I tried this beer in Panajachel in Lake Atitlan. It’s a flavorful, dark beer produced by Cerveceria Centro Americana in Guatemala City. It has some sweet notes, which makes it a great medium-bodied beer for lunchtime.
This is the main beer found in Quetzaltenango (Xela.) I really liked this pale lager but it’s not that popular outside of Xela, and it’s quite hard to find if you are not at least in the area. Check out Bar Tecun and order Cabro, you will enjoy it!
Like the name suggests, this is a pink moonshine-style (agua ardiente) drink. I first tried it on my way to Huehuetenango. It cost me about $1 for a small container. It’s strong, sweet, and intense all at the same time.
This is a hot milk drink that I tried in the street market in Quetzaltenango (Xela). The vendors will always ask you what liquor you want mixed in the drink. I would recommend Piquete. You can also add Bacardi rum, but they have many other choices. This was a great after-dinner drink to warm up with in chilly Quetzaltenango.
This grapa-style drink will get you drunk fast if you’re not careful. It’s the type of drink that will make you breathe fire, if you know what I mean. Try it in Zunil or use it to clean rust off your car battery!
Another drink that can make you breath fire. I bought this drink in a small shop in San Andres de Xecul a small town near Quetzaltenango. This is what the Mayan people of this area drink during festival season. It is also what you will smell all over town if you happen to be there during this time. Extremely strong, so be careful not to over do it. The best part is it costs only 20 cents for a bag. Cusha is only for the bravest of drinkers.
This is Guatemala’s main rum. Try it on the rocks and you will love it. Order yourself this tropical beverage in Restaurant La Cueva de Panza Verde in Antigua. It is widely available throughout the country.
Sounds weird, but once you try it you might not want to drink a regular Bloody Mary again. Any beach restaurant or hotel in Monterrico and Puerto Quetzal will serve it, but you have to ask!
Special thanks to the Guatemala Toursim Organization.
97 Countries • 1400 Cities
was doing some writing and referring to cusha, saw your post on the net, 40+ years ago spent some time in the Cuchamatanes, best advice after drinking cusha up in the hills is keep dancing until you pass out and have good friends keep an eye on you until can get cleaned up and hold down a solid meal, hahaha.
Glad you liked Guatemala and I enjoyed your article. (However it’s spelled Quezalteca.)
Dr. Brian J. Rachmaciejsays:
Ron Zacapa Centenario is truly a great rum! On the rocks, I agree is the best way to enjoy it.
Just returned from Guatemala and bought both the Quetzalteca Tamarindo and Quetzalteca Rosa De Jamaica for the first time at the airport for $10 a bottle. Incredible flavor and great summer drinks when mixed with club soda or Seven up!
i lived in Guatemala for more than 5 years, and I think not only the local drinks but the local foods are truly remarkable.
However, the wonderful Guatemalan people who are so resilient in the face of so many challenges are uniquely special given their hospitality and warmth to foreigners who visit their country.
Guatemala is like a second home for me!
I am glad that you visited Guatemala. Whether you are a gringo or Mexican or of any other background makes no difference. Guatemalans have always been very hospitable and I hope you had a wonderful experience. Thank you for visiting my country. I hope you come again.
Thanks, Anna! I loved it and can’t wait to visit again one day.
I spent a few years in Guatemala and was proud to be a Gringo. I really liked the Cuba Libre’s with Ron Botran 12 annos. Some would say to just drink it on the rocks, and I did plenty of that. But we must always remember to stay hydrated. Botran is great rum (Botran makes Zacapa by the way). Botran is a corporation, but it is still mostly by the Botran family who live in Guatemala. I met a few of them and drank some Botran with the Botrans on occassion. My favorite beers in Guatemala were Cabro Reserva and Moza Bock. My most drank beer in Guatemala was Brava, because it is cheap and sold everywhere. I never drank the Maya stuff, but then I was a Gringo, not an aid worker.
I wouldn’t say a whole lot about being “a guest of INGUAT” with the political happenings going on in Guatemala right now.
Apparently you are not all that familiar with Guatemala, Brave is the second most popular beer in country. You should try some Brava Extra. The owner of Gallo and Brava are brothers. I really hate it when some gringos spend a little time in a country and immediately think they are experts on that country.
Hi Geff, thanks for stopping by. If you read the article correctly you’ll notice that it is an opinion piece that I wrote about my experience with the beers and drinks that I tried in Guatemala. I was there for 10 days as a guest of INGUAT. Not sure why you assume I’m a Gringo or that I think I’m an expert, but either way I respect your opinion. P.S. I did try Brava but I like Gallo better.
Actually, the owners of Brava are brazilian. Its the same thing as Brahma, but had its name changed due to its connotation in spanish. Gallo is guatemalan, and the owners of both are corporations, not persons (I don´t what he meant by that). I would recommend Montecarlo, not as famous as Gallo but in my opinion is way better. And wow! You tried cusha. That thing is disgusting haha. Anyway thanks for visiting. I hope you enjoyed your trip!