Shopping in Costa Rica
If you are looking for souvenirs from Costa Rica you should read this.
Costa Rica is a good destination to buy authentic crafts. Many of the products that can be found in the markets of large cities and small coastal towns stand out for being handmade and for their good taste. Typical products include masks, tapestries, paintings and sculptures.
The most common material utilized to create these pieces is usually wood, although you can also see collections of jewellery made in gold or silver. The ideal place to go shopping in Costa Rica is San José, its capital. There, in addition to locations such as the Central Market, there are also very popular handicraft shops such as the Namu gallery, Chietón Moren or the Aranjuez green fair. If you are interested in Costa Rican ceramics, then do not miss the Ecomuseum of the Chorotega pottery of San Vicente.
Due to its rich cuisine, Costa Rica is also a good country to buy coffee, liqueur and other delicacies. Although bargaining is possible in some street stalls, in many of the establishments the prices are fixed and there is not much room to negotiate.
The clothes made by the native communities and huetar hats are some of the most sought-after products by travellers to Costa Rica. Many of the garments are made by hand in the villages of the interior, or in the markets on the coast. Also, leather is another popular material. In San José, there are several stores where you can find good quality leather goods such as handbags, jackets and leather shoes in traditional Costa Rican designs.
One of the main variety of products in the country are pieces of wood made by hand with the typical motifs of Costa Rica. There is also an abundance of ceramics, tapestries and colorful paintings. Most of the Costa Rican handicrafts are on sale in many of the markets of cities such as San José, where in addition to the Central Market there are also specialized stores such as the Namu Gallery or the Aranjuez Green Fair, open on Saturdays in the morning. Also in the coastal regions such as Guanacaste or in the interior of the country, such as in the area around the Arenal Volcano. One of the most typical products of the country are the painted carts in the original Sarchi colors, although they can be found in almost all the markets of the country. Bribrí and Cabécar crafts are very prevalent in Puerto Viejo and its surroundings.
This brandy made with sugar cane is one of the most consumed liquors in Costa Rica. It can be found in most bars in the city, and you can buy bottles in the country's supermarkets or in shopping centres such as Terra Mall or Multiplaza, in San Jose. This type of products, which usually attract the attention of travellers, will always be much cheaper in the capital or in the grocery stores of small towns than in more touristy places such as Monteverde, Arenal or Guanacaste, where prices are sometimes somewhat higher.
Costa Rica has a great variety of souvenir items: figures, paintings, keychains, hats, and hammocks among others. Many of them have Costa Rican motifs such as the toucan and the Arenal volcano. In San José, one of the places where you can find more diverse products at good prices is in La Casona, on Central Street. The most touristic places such as Tortuguero, La Fortuna or Monteverde also have markets and stores specializing in souvenirs, although due to the influx of visitors the prices tend to be higher.