Top Costa Rican Souvenirs

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When I first traveled to Costa Rica for vacation due to a lot of cheap flights, shopping was the last thing on my mind. I was distracted by gorgeous beaches, erupting volcanoes, cute baby sloths, and class 5 rapids. Well, after traveling here for three years and living here for one+, I have had enough time to shop around and find the best things to buy in Costa Rica.

The following list is my top four favorite made in Costa Rica souvenirs:

costa rica coffee beans

1. Coffee

At first, I made the mistake of thinking that any coffee at the grocery store was good coffee, but little did I know that most of the good stuff is exported out of Costa Rica. The majority of the brands on the shelves in Costa Rica are not export quality and even contain additives such as sugar. However, there are two brands that can be picked up in the grocery store that are delicious: Café Britt and Volio. Volio is the least expensive, but can only be bought in Automercado, Megasuper, and sometimes AMPM. Café Britt can be found in all the grocery stores and offers a variety of roasts. My absolute #1 favorite brand is Doka Estate, specifically the peaberry. They have been growing and perfecting their coffee for three generations (tres generaciones), since 1940. This gem of a coffee can only be bought in certain souvenir shops or directly from Doka Estate.

2. Bio-Land beauty products

Inconspicuously hanging out on the lower shelves in the grocery stores, Bio-Land produces an array of organic body products such as soaps, lotions, masks, creams, balms and gels. The company is committed to respecting the health of human beings and their environment, so I can feel good about purchasing their product as well as using them! So far my favorite Bio-Land products are the Organic Fruits Anti-Free Radicals Hydrating Cream, the Volcanic Clay Purifying Mask, and the Organic Oatmeal Soap. Bio-Land personal products are a bargain between $3 – $13.

making chocolate in costa rica

3. Chocolate mmmmmmm

Sibu chocolatesBuy some freshly made chocolate on a chocolate tour, which will take you through the steps of making chocolate – from cultivating the cacao to tasting the final product. An experience not to be missed for fellow chocolate lovers! If you don’t have time for a tour and want to purchase a package of ready-made chocolates, pick up a box of neatly decorated Sibú. The chocolates are made from 100% organic cacao, the packaging is made from recycled materials, all the ingredients are produced locally, and they work with the Rainforest Alliance. Sibú says “Save the planet…it’s the only one that has chocolate.”

costa rican masks

4. Carved wooden masks

Costa Rican masks come in a variety of styles: Bright colorful masks depicting red-eyed tree frogs or leopards, devils sticking their tongues out, or naturally-colored wooden masks with turtles or landscapes. I love all of them and they make beautiful pieces of art for any home. You can find these masks in just about every souvenir shop around the country. Price and quality will vary depending on location ($25 – $400). My favorite place to pick these up is in Puerto Viejo as well as the souvenir workshop in Alajuela.

Those are my top four. What about you? Have you picked up or received any Costa Rican souvenirs that didn’t make it onto my list?

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32 Responses to “Top Costa Rican Souvenirs”

  1. September 5, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    How did I ever miss the chocolate in Costa Rica? It looks delish. I need to go back and get me some ;)

    • Erin Morris
      September 5, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

      Yeah you do! After writing this post, I had to run out and get me some, too!

  2. September 5, 2011 at 9:06 am #

    Just love your photos! Of course I came away with coffee and a few other things, but what I regret not buying was one of those large multi-colored ceramic lizards to hang on the wall in a bathroom (I’m thinking). I also loved the beautiful ceramic wash basins, but they don’t pack so easily in a suitcase ;) Would make a real show piece in a funky bathroom.

    • Erin Morris
      September 5, 2011 at 7:51 pm #

      Oh I LOVE the big lizards! I can totally imagine your funky bathroom and it’s awesome!

  3. September 5, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

    Costa Rica rocking chairs.

    Nancy loves 1820 coffee and is hard to convince to try other brands.

    Got any idea where one can buy the bird made out of an old tire that you hang outside? Saw one once and have not seen it again. Kitschy enough to be cool.

    • Erin Morris
      September 5, 2011 at 7:54 pm #

      Yes! Those rocking chairs rock!

      I use to think 1820 was the shizzy, too. And then I tried some others including Cafe Montaña, then I tried Volio. After Volio, I can’t go back. (these are all the cheaper store brands. If I could afford it, I would drink Doka everyday mmmmmm)

      Not sure about the tire bird, I’ll keep my eye out for you!

  4. September 5, 2011 at 6:47 pm #

    The chocolate is my favorite, for sure. Our tour of a cacao farm near Puerto Jimenez was the highlight of our trip & the chocolate was the best I’ve ever tasted!

    • Erin Morris
      September 5, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

      A chocolate tour is definitely a highlight. Especially after you taste the finished product, like you said :)

  5. September 6, 2011 at 7:47 am #

    I really need to get to Costra Rica, if for no other reason than to buy souvenirs (particularly the chocolate).

    PS – today a Spaniard spelled our name right on their first try!!! So exciting.

    • Erin Morris
      September 7, 2011 at 7:45 pm #

      Bring an extra suitcase for chocolate heehee :)
      re our name – that IS exciting! Increible!

  6. September 7, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    The only other thing for sale in my town was hammocks. But who has room for those?!

    • Erin Morris
      September 7, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

      The hammocks are soooo nice, maybe I’ll have to make room… :)

  7. September 7, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

    Mmmm – coffee and chocolate! I’ll keep an eye out for imports =)

    • Erin Morris
      September 7, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

      Let me know if you find and try any!

  8. September 26, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

    Cafe Britt was probably one of the best coffees I’ve ever had!! Mmm. Definitely wish I bought more. Can I find it in Puerto Limon? I’ll be there in November…

    • Erin Morris
      September 28, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

      You can definitely find Cafe Britt in Puerto Limon. Save money and buy it from a grocery store, not a souvenir store.
      I’m surprised your ship is docking in Limon – it’s so dangerous! No one goes to Limon. I can’t wait to read your post about it, hopefully you have fun and make me a liar. I would tell you to head to Puerto Viejo if you have time, but it’s super rainy there in November. Good news: the food on the Caribbean side is delicious, especially in Puerto Viejo! It’s like the other Costa Rican food but cooked with ginger, curries, and coconut milk mmmmm

  9. Lily
    October 13, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

    Please bring me some more coffee! Folgers just doesn’t cut it:(

    • Erin Morris
      October 14, 2011 at 12:15 am #

      ahh I see you are hooked now, too! I’m sooooooo glad you left this comment BEFORE I boarded the plane! I’ll go to the grocery store tomorrow to stock up. Can’t wait to see you! :]

  10. October 17, 2011 at 8:27 am #

    I think I will take all of them! But coffee and chocolates would be absolute favorites. They look delicious… I can gorge on them for days:)
    Have a fabulous week ahead Erin:)

    • Erin Morris
      October 21, 2011 at 11:12 am #

      :) thanks and back at ya!

  11. November 21, 2011 at 3:43 am #

    I love souvenir shopping, particularly of the foodie variety so I’d probably opt for the coffee.
    Julia

  12. February 18, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

    MMM…the cacao chocolate looks sooo good!

    Have you ever seen the movie, ‘Chocolat’? Looks like it came straight outta the movie :D

    Great post & blog! Costa Rica seems magical!
    -Molly

    • Erin Morris
      February 19, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

      Thanks!

  13. Spencer
    March 1, 2012 at 12:03 am #

    I hear alot of good things about Costa Rica. I might have to put it on my travel wishlist.

    • Erin Morris
      March 1, 2012 at 10:13 am #

      You should put it on your travel DO list :)

  14. August 4, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

    Love the photo of the masks, those are brilliant!

  15. Dana
    August 13, 2012 at 8:15 am #

    I like the Volio Founders blend too, but it can be found more places, such as MegaSuper, Pali, etc.
    There is also the Triangulo de Oro oscuro (dark).
    Here in Atenas we can also buy some locally grown coffees as well, such as Ateneo & La Villa.
    You just have to look around.

    Dana

    • Erin Morris
      August 13, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

      ooo I haven’t tried Triangulo de Oro – thanks for the tip. I just moved to the mountains, so I can’t wait to try some of the local coffees around my new town. I’m sure they are great in Atenas!

  16. Guido
    February 12, 2013 at 10:59 pm #

    I personally LOVE Britt and also Café Rey.

    • Erin Morris
      February 13, 2013 at 8:35 am #

      Cafe Britt is a good one :)

  17. wolfie_cr
    February 15, 2013 at 6:33 am #

    how come you didnt mention the wooded oxcarts (mini-bars inside) , I have to go through airports with a few of those @#$!@#$@ things that in the end I had to get one for myself even though I am a Tico.

    if you want one second hand, ‘barato’ let me know :P

    • Erin Morris
      February 15, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

      Only if the mini bottles are still intact :)

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