Top Costa Rican Souvenirs

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?

Comments

  1. says

    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.

  2. says

    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 says

      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!

  3. says

    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 says

      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

    • Erin Morris says

      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! :]

  4. says

    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:)

  5. says

    MMM…the cacao chocolate looks sooo good!

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

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

  6. Dana says

    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 says

      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!

  7. wolfie_cr says

    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 😛

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