Holiday shoppers looking for authentic Costa Rican gifts need not look through your typical souvenir store. There are a variety of unique Costa Rican gifts and products that make shopping for your loved ones an easy and fun experience.
Casa 927 in San Jose’s Barrio Amon district has more than 30 local artesians that sell beautifully hand-crafted 100 percent Costa Rican-made products.
One of the store’s newest collections is Rainforest Oasis Costa Rica, a line of 100 percent Costa Rican lotions and perfumes. The majority of the products are made from the guaria morado orchid; which is Costa Rica’s national flower.
Another group of artisans, Galvez Bijoux, creates jewelry and belts made of Costa Rican leather and original photographs of the country covered with resin. The result is a collection of unique, colorful and modern pieces of wearable art that showcase Costa Rican images like butterfly wings, beautiful San José buildings and traditional oxcart designs.
Other interesting gift items at Casa 927 are lamps made by Rolo Design ($70-$90). The colorful lamps are made out of calabash gourds with tiny holes cut into them, filled with beads and crystals to create colored light. Every lamp is one of a kind, making them truly original gifts for your loved ones.
Casa 927 is at Calle 3, Avenida 11, in Barrio Amón. The store also has an excellent café to provide nourishment for hungry shoppers. For information, call 2221-2302, email firstname.lastname@example.org or find Casa 927 on Facebook.
For gift items with real Costa Rican sayings, check out Arteria. They have t-shirts, bags, umbrellas, stickers, mugs ,hats, pillows and even umbrellas flaunting designs of Costa Rican slang. Expressions like, “Pura Vida,” “Mae,” “Tuanis,” and “Tenga Paz” are shown along with the definition of the word in both Spanish and English. These items make for fun gifts with an educational flair. Arteria also carries traditonal Costa Rican masks or mascaradas, each hand made by local designers. Arteria has two locations, one in downtown San José on the south side of the Supreme Elections Tribunal (2257-1446), and another in Heredia, 50 meters east of the justice court (2267-0433). They hope to expand with a third location in downtown Quepos in the near future.
If you have chocolate lovers to buy for, then why not give them certified organic, delicious chocolate made in Costa Rica! Sibú Chocolate can provide you with crowd pleasing chocolate bonbons infused with exotic flavors such as, cardamom, nutmeg, chili pepper, caramel, ginger, coconut and mountain blackberry to name a few. The bonbons come in boxes of 1,9, and 16 ($2, $14 or $24 respectively). During the Christmas holidays, Sibú is offering a special on chocolate tamales. These delicious organic chocolate treats come in packs of two, wrapped in a banana leaf just like traditional Costa Rican holiday tamales. The packaging makes them a perfectly Costa Rican gift. For more information and to find out where to buy Sibú Chocolate, visit www.sibuchocolate.com.
Another great option for holiday gift shopping in Costa Rica is San José’s 7th Street Books, specializing in English-language books on Costa Rica-related subjects. The store offers a wide variety of coffee-table books full of beautiful photos of Costa Rican national parks, wildlife and craftsmanship. Books range in price from $9 to $50.
This store also has a number of Costa Rican cookbooks available. The most popular cook book is ” The Best Recipes in Costa Rica.” It is full of great traditional cooking ideas as well as beautiful photos. The store is on Calle 7, between Avenidas Central and 1, 50 meters north of Hotel Balmoral. For information, call 2256-8251.
For gifts of beauty and health the Raw Botanicals skin care line provides organic, natural products made in Costa Rica. They have products for everything from hair care to organic insect repellent. These wonderful products are made from a variety of natural ingredients such as, sea algae, coconut, papaya, hibiscus, ylang ylang, and much more! These products can be found for sale for numerous resorts and spas around the country, as well as purchased online. For a complete list of the products and participating vendors, go to www.rawbotanicals.com.
No matter who you are shopping for, you are sure to find a perfect, unique present hand-made in beautiful Costa Rica!