I ran across this interesting video answering the question “what is the hardest thing about living in Costa Rica?”. You would expect the language, culture shock, or any number of other concerns but I never though about alcohol, and how easy it is to indulge too much.

Costa Rica is right next door and I’m sure a lot of things are similar for expats there and here. As Michael in the video says, your time isn’t structured with work and obligations. You don’t have to get up in the morning looking bright and ready to tackle the day. You aren’t responsible for children or other obligations. Alcohol is everywhere and it’s inexpensive so it’s way too easy to get carried away.

I have heard about excessive drinking here also. There are people who go to the bar every afternoon and stay until they are barely able to stumble home again. I have been to a party, at noon, and the main objective was clearly to drink. By the end of the afternoon some were embarrassingly drunk, and I was very concerned about the participants who all had to drive home. I’m sure there are many other people who drink at home and stay out of sight.

I don’t have much advice except to say if you find alcohol very seductive, you might factor this in when you build your new life in retirement. Find other interesting things to do, and get involved with people and activities that don’t involved drinking. Don’t spend your precious retirement years in an alcohol fog.



About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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13 Responses to Alcohol

  1. When I was in my twenties and early thirties I was a ferocious drinker. But after waking up twice in the same week with my head literally in the toilet where I’d passed out vomiting, with one exception I didn’t have a drink of alcohol for 10 years.

    I enjoy a beer or a glass of wine with a good meal now and then but not all the time. In fact, the other day I was digging around in the closet looking for something or other and came across a pint bottle of Seco that I must have bought over a year ago. It was unopened. There’s a small bottle of Ron Abuelo in my fridge that I probably brought at the same time as the Seco. It has, perhaps, two drinks-worth gone from it.


    • I think all of us have done things in our younger days, and hopefully most of us have managed to do better as we matured. Yeah, I think waking up in the toilet would make me rethink my level of drinking too! Good for you, for not doing that any more.


  2. peggyjoan42 says:

    Very good advice. Alcohol just robs a person of a good life. I have seen this on Indian reservations also and it is very sad.


  3. jim and nena says:

    Hola Kris,
    Long line of Irish history with alcohol here. Started drinking before I could drive. Continued the tradition until 30 years ago when I started a new habit of saying no to alcohol and smoking. The new habit requires more work but it is worth it. Addiction is a pesky creature.

    Making major life changes is too hard to cope with for some folks. Alcohol avoids having to cope, but then you miss so much good stuff.


  4. Rob says:

    I was in Boquete visiting, 1 1/2 years ago, considering a move to Panama. I thought that town would be very easy to assimilate in, since my Spanish needs lots of improvement. I must say there were drawbacks to consider. The weather is too cold for me. The expats appear to run the town, and I could see that there seem to be many, many who finish up every afternoon and evening having “drinks” with their pals.


    That’s when I got serious about moving to David, and really assimilating into the Panamanian culture.

    I enjoy every one of your blog entries and admire the life you have built for yourselves. I also worried about you last year on your bike trip from your kids’ homes to David.


    • We just got back from Boquete. Daytime can be wonderful but after the sun goes down, it’s chilly and we were very happy to come back to David. We like being close enough to participate in things when we want to, but enjoy living in David for a lot of reasons. I wish all of us had enough interesting things to do that drinking the afternoon away isn’t attractive, but unfortunately that isn’t always the case.

      Thanks, glad you enjoy the blog and thanks for worrying about me on my bike trip. I was fine but I only went to northern California, not all the way to David. I think I got what I needed from it and was ready to be back with my family and husband.


  5. ME BE in Panama says:

    You hit the nail on the head my friend. ETOH is one of the main parts of the Boquete culture. Coming from an alcoholic family I did not want to fall into that trap, easy to get in, hard to get out. We’re set to enjoy a life with the temperate climate we came for within a cultured city atmosphere.


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