Costa Rica is famous for its extraordinary coffee. With multiple coffee growing regions, including but not limited to San José, Heredia, Cartago, Turrialba, Puerto Viejo, La Fortuna, and Monteverde, Costa Rica produces around 1.5 millions bags of coffee beans a year. There are fascinating coffee tours throughout the country and quite a few environmentally-conscious and family-run coffee operations that welcome guests and encourage you to take their coffee home with you. Buying coffee from these green coffee growers is an amazing way to support the local farmers and families of Costa Rica.
The history of chocolate in Costa Rica is rather fascinating. There are several cacao farms and chocolate companies in Costa Rica that are creating some exceptional chocolate treats. Cacao, the fruit that chocolate is made from, has a long list of health benefits, including being excellent for immune system support. The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica is especially famous for its cacao and chocolate. There are delicious tours you can take to learn all about how chocolate is made in Costa Rica. Taking one of these tours is also a great opportunity to buy some chocolate directly from the source to bring back and share with your friends and family. Who wouldn’t want artisanal chocolate from Costa Rica?
Salsa Lizano is the taste of Costa Rica. While not everyone immediately loves salsa Lizano, it is a gift that really conveys the flavor of Costa Rica. This national sauce is sold in all different sizes and can be purchased at any food store or souvenir shop throughout the country. Sharing traditional foods and flavors from your travels is a unique way to share your experience abroad with others back home.
Guaro, or Cacique, is Costa Rica’s national liquor. This clear sugarcane derived liquor is similar to rum but seamlessly blends into cocktails like vodka. The best way to drink this infamous liquor is via a chili guaro or Miguelito shot, or mixed with fresh fruit juice, club soda and lime, or in a cold coconut. Like salsa Lizano, you can purchase differently sized bottles of guaro to take back with you to your home country. The drinkers in your bunch will appreciate this great gift from Costa Rica, especially if you share some of the traditional drink recipes with them.
There is some real talent in Costa Rica in the arts and jewelry scene. Many artisans use locally sourced materials or draw their inspiration from the culture, traditions, landscapes, and wildlife of Costa Rica. Many towns have their own unique styles and wares to offer visitors interested in purchasing a special keepsake from Costa Rica. You can find one of a kind gifts just by walking around and exploring the town that you are staying in or passing through for the day. You can find anything from sea glass and shell jewelry to murals, dreamcatchers, and hand stitched bags.
There are many incredibly talented wood crafting masters in Costa Rica. The woodwork found throughout the country is exquisite. Popular woods that are used are bamboo, teak, balsa wood, rosewood, and cedar, among many other different types that are found in the forests here. Artisans make everything from kitchen items like placemats, coffee cups, wine bottle holders, serving platters, and bowls to beautiful furniture, small trinkets, and masks. The Boruca tribe is famous for their balsa wood masks that are worn during the Fiesta de los Diablitos.
With two coastlines and a world-class surfing scene, it’s no surprise that some very talented and creative individuals are making amazing bathing suits. There are at least a dozen Costa Rican bikini companies that are hand making high quality and beautifully patterned color bikinis that actually stay on for active women. While bikinis of this caliber would cost at least $100 (€80) elsewhere, most are around $50 (€40) in Costa Rica. These local entrepreneurs are mostly young females from small towns up and down the coasts. On top of bikinis, many of them are also making one piece suits, fashion suits, sarongs, dresses, coverups, and bags. Del Toro, Salvaje Swimwear, Morena Beachwear, Maracao Beachwear, Tica Surf, and Slothly Summer Wear are a few of the most well known local brands.