One of the unexpected surprises I had when traveling in Nicaragua was the Coca-Cola. In a country where drinking the water was somewhat hazardous, bottled water and drinks were a good option. Not that this was much of a problem, Coca-Cola was sold everywhere, little street vendors always had a cooler of sodas. As anyone who knows me will tell you, my one dietary vice is Coke.
The standard price was about 20 cordoba, about 70 cents in US dollars. In the little streetside shops I paid C$15 for a bottle, in tourist areas the price jumped to C$20, while the hotel in Managua wanted C$40. If you bought the glass bottles be sure to get the bottle back to the vendor, there is a deposit.
The reason the coke tasted better in Nicaragua was simple… The formula is mixed with cane sugar in place of the corn syrup used in the United States. The taste difference is remarkable and to my palate much improved by the difference. While traveling I found myself buying a bottle or two each day. Eventually it would be back to the US and back to corn syrup.
I did miss the coke I had found in Central America. In response to my frustrated complaint about Coca-Cola one day my wife informed me that you can buy the real stuff here on the island. What? She let me know that imported Coca-Cola was available at Costco. What?
To prove the point she brought some home. Sure enough… Coca-Cola bottled in the classic glass bottles and imported from Mexico. Reading the ingredients quickly reveals that the soda is made with cane sugar, not corn syrup. Even better, it tastes the same as the cola I bought in Nicaragua.