Souvenir Shopping in Costa Rica
Your Costa Rica vacation is everything you’d ever hoped for, but what about some keepsakes for friends and family back home…or a little token to remind yourself of the Pura Vida you enjoyed. You will find great Costa Rican souvenirs throughout your travels, and our advice is to snap them up as you go rather than waiting until your airport departure. Here’s a small sampling of our favorites!
Fresh roasted coffee
You don’t have to be a connoisseur to appreciate Costa Rica’s rich, award-winning coffee, which flourishes in the nutrient-rich volcanic soil. Doka’s Tres Generaciones and Café Britt offer both whole bean and ground coffee in several varieties, whether you prefer a light roast or deep espresso. You’ll find these premium brands on their coffee plantation tours, as well as select tourist shops. Other tasty options include Café Milagro and Café Monteverde, which are sold in local supermarkets. Your luggage will smell delicious and your friends will thank you!
From gorgeous ceramic pottery to colorful masks and delicate textiles, Costa Rica’s indigenous peoples – including the Boruca and Chorotega Indians – showcase their talent in myriad ways. Unique Guaitil pottery , hand-made in a wood burning kiln, makes a wonderful gift as do Boruca masks made of balsa wood. You can pick up authentic creations in San Jose-area galleries as well as other shops that promote artisan crafts and indigenous tourism.
Miniature ox-carts of Sarchi
Oxcarts, known as carretas in Costa Rica, were originally used to transport coffee from the Central Valley to the coast. They have since become a symbol of the culture of Costa Rica. Featuring vibrant blues, yellows, reds and greens, each oxcart is a piece of art, hand-painted by talented artisans in the town of Sarchi. These artisans also create mini-reproductions for souvenirs – a terrific gift for someone who enjoys table knick-knacks.
Handmade wood crafts
Fine woodworking is somewhat of a tradition in Costa Rica, where you’ll find exceptional bowls, jewelry boxes, salad spoons, cutting boards, vases and other items made from exotic timber. For the best selection of hand-crafted items, head to Biesanz Woodworking in Escazu. If the San Jose metro area isn’t a part of your itinerary, tourist gift shops usually stock these items in popular areas like Jaco, Arenal, Tamarindo and Manuel Antonio.
Remember that haggling over prices is not the norm in Costa Rica. If vendors are negotiable, they will immediately lower the asking price if they sense some real interest. And you’ll always do best when paying cash in the local currency.