Whenever you go away somewhere special it’s always nice to come home with some souvenirs and treats from your trip to remind you of how great it was and to give to your loved ones as a present. Some countries have better souvenirs than others though, and when it comes to souvenirs from Costa Rica, you have some of the best to choose from.
I have been to Costa Rica a lot as it’s one of my favorite countries in the world. So, believe me when I tell you that I have spent hours browsing the souvenirs on offer and here are the best souvenirs from Costa Rice to bring home, in my opinion.
One thing to bear in my when shopping for souvenirs in Costa Rica is that they are not cheap. Costa Rica is a well-functioning country where everyone earns enough and pays tax too, and this is thanks to the higher prices you’ll find there when compared to other Central American countries such as Nicaragua. So don’t be put off, you’re supporting a good thing by buying some souvenirs.
Costa Rica produces some of the highest quality coffee in the world and it’s unsurprisingly one of their main exports. Costa Rican coffee is absolutely delicious and it’s 100% worth taking a few bags it home for yourself and a few for your friends too, plus it’s by far the easiest souvenir from Costa Rica to get your hands on since you can find it everywhere from in a supermarket to the duty-free section at the airport.
Costa Rican coffee from Tarrazú is widely considered the best coffee Costa Rica produces so if you’re looking for a special gift for someone or treating a real coffee connoisseur to a present, grab a bag of Tarrazú to take home with you.
When you’re browsing in the coffee section of the airport or supermarket, you’re going to see a Costa Rican coffee brand called Britt. While Britt coffee is very good, their marketing is better and you will be easily lured into buying it over other brands.
Maybe 1 in 10 Costa Ricans buys Britt Coffee so don’t be pulled in too much a grab a few bags from different companies so you explore the range on offer. Even better, try all the different Costa Rican coffee brands while you’re there so you know your favorite before you leave.
If you really want to make sure you get the best coffee Costa Rica has to offer as a souvenir, then do a coffee plantation tour. Coffee plantations export their highest grade coffee and don’t sell it “in-country” except at the actual plantation.
If you love coffee and since going home with some Costa Rican coffee in your bag is a must, why not push the boat out a bit and take a traditional Costa Rican coffee maker home with you too?
Traditionally known as a Chorreador, Costa Rican coffee makers consist of a beautiful wooden carved base with a pole leading to a wooden platform above which has a coffee sock (filter) in it. To use a Chorreador, simply add coffee to the sock, put a mug or pot under it, and pour hot water into the sock and let it drip into the mug/pot.
Costa Rican coffee is said to taste best when brewed this way but that is up to whoever is tasting it. While the Chorreador isn’t the most convenient way to make coffee, it work’s well as an ornament as they are beautifully made especially when paired with wooden mugs.
If you love coffee or are looking for a souvenir from Costa Rica for a coffee fanatic, a Costa Rica coffee maker is an excellent choice.
When you’re traveling around Costa Rica, a term you are going to hear all the time is Pura Vida and it provides a huge representation of Costa Rica culture. Pura Vida actually means Pure Life when directly translated but it will be used to say bye, hello, or describe how someone is feeling, in fact, there are very few times when you can’t say Pura Vida in Costa Rica and it does not make sense.
But, Pura Vida represents another thing altogether, it encapsulates the Costa Rican way of life, as into to live a pure, happy, relaxed, stress-free life all the time. You will see exactly what I’m talking about when you’re in Costa Rica as nothing is ever truly a problem and if someone doesn’t get happiness from what they do, they will do something different to still be “Pura Vida” all the time.
With such an awesome saying and connection as Pura Vida, an awesome souvenir from Costa Rica has to be a piece of clothing with Pura Vida on it. It might not be a great fashion statement but even using it as your pajamas will remind you of Costa Rica and perhaps invite some Pura Vida vibes into your life as well.
Costa Rica doesn’t just grow amazing coffee they also grow amazing cacao which is turned into some of the most delicious dark chocolate you might ever eat. The flavor is rich and deep.
Some of the top cacao growing areas include places you are likely to go while visiting Costa Rica and include La Fortuna, Puerto Viejo, and the cloud forest area of Monteverde.
When in Monteverde, which is a must-see place thanks to the unique cloud-forest ecosystem, you can go on a chocolate-making tour where you learn how to process raw cacao into delicious chocolate. Not only is a chocolate tasting tour a lot of fun but it’s the best place to buy some amazing Costa Rican chocolate to take home a souvenir.
If you don’t go on a chocolate tasting tour, don’t worry, you can still find high-quality Costa Rican chocolate at the supermarkets and at the airport, so you can easily pick some up as a souvenir from Costa Rica before you board your flight.
If you’re British, then the chances of you leaving home without some marmite are pretty slim and the same goes for Costa Ricans and Salsa Lizano. Salsa Lizano is probably one of the most authentic souvenirs from Costa Rica as you’re likely to find it on every table you sit to eat at while you’re there.
Salsa Lizano is made from a family recipe as was first bottled for sale in the 1920s. It tastes a bit like Worcester Sauce or Lea & Perrins (English sauce) and is the perfect compliment to Casado, gallo pinto, and other Tico cuisines.
Make sure to pick up some Salsa Linzano to take home as a souvenir from Costa Rica so you can let the taste remind you of your amazing time there. It’s very easy to find and will be in every supermarket you go into.
Costa Rica is home to some amazing hot sauces and they come in loads of different flavors and you’ll find a few different rows of hot sauces in the local supermarkets. One of the major and best brands of Costa Rican hot sauce is called Shade. You can find hot sauces with mango, lime, papaya, passion, and lots more.
Costa Rica has some of the coolest printed towels you are likely to find and they make the perfect beach towel for while you’re there and they are a great souvenir from Costa Rica to take home with you too.
The towels are printed with anything and everything that Costa Rica is famous or known for. You can buy currency towels that have the Costa Rican currency notes, Colones, printed on them which is pretty cool.
You’ll also find Costa Rican towels with pictures of the rainforest saying “Pura Vida” and “Save the Planet” on them as well as towels with all their amazing wildlife including frogs, toucans, butterflies, macaws, howler monkeys, and turtles. Or, you can go more traditional and find towels with ox-drawn charts of them.
Anyway, the list is long when it comes to the types of printed towels you can find and they make an awesome present for kids or anyone who likes the environment.
If you like to have a little digestive drink of alcohol after dinner then perhaps Cacique aka Guaro is a good choice for a souvenir from Costa Rica for you, and if you ask a local which souvenir is best to grab, the likelihood is that Cacique will be high on their list.
Cacique is considered Costa Rica’s national liquor and it is made from sugar cane and you can not buy it outside Costa Rica which makes it quite a unique souvenir to take home.
Like any liquor, it’s pretty sharp to taste unmixed and one of the best ways to drink it is by swapping out the vodka in a bloody mary and replacing it with Cacique. You should also use some Salsa Lizano in there too instead of Worcestershire Sauce.
While you’re in Costa Rica, you’re going to notice how strongly they love and look after their natural environments and the species that live inside them too. I have no doubt you’ll spend some time walking around the rainforest while you’re there to see some of the amazing animals so why not bring a stuffed teddy version of your favorite sighting home as a souvenir from Costa Rica?
At the airport and in souvenir shops you’ll find almost every species of Costa Rican wildlife in teddy form including toucans, turtles, monkeys, sloths, frogs, and lots more. These make the perfect gift to take home for kids, nephews, and nieces so be sure to pick one or two up before heading back.
Whenever you’re in a touristy zone in Costa Rica you are likely to see some wooden carvings which will make a great souvenir from Costa Rica to take home.
The carvings are excellently done and are usually of a Costa Rican animal such as a toucan and painted with beautiful colors. The wooden carvings can also come in the form of small wooden bowls, napkin holders, coasters, and lots more.
The most traditional wooden carving souvenir you can pick up in Costa Rica is one of an Ox Cart or Carreta. The carreta is an important symbol of Costa Rican history as in the 19th century it was all that was used to move their exports such as coffee and pineapples to the ports, as there was no other transportation available.
In the early 1900s, ox-carts began to be painted by their owners to signify their home. Nowadays, ox carts are, of course, not needed anymore but they are still made in smaller wooden carvings and are a great souvenir to take home as they are beautifully painted and will always remind you of your amazing trip to Costa Rica.
A souvenir from Costa Rica that you’re not likely to find in many other countries is clothes made from bamboo or banana leaves. While bamboo and banana clothing items are quite expensive at around $50 USD a shirt it is 100% organic, soft, fits great, and lasts a long time.
You can find bamboo and banana clothes at the airport or at a local Costa Rican store called Bam Bam Boo. There are a few stores dotted around the country and you’ll find them in Marina Pez Vela, Manuel Antonio, Tamarindo, Jaco, and La Fortuna.
They sell everything from shirts for adults, kids, and babies as well as more stylish items like dresses and trousers. In addition to organic bamboo clothes, you can also find some organic cotton clothes in these stores too.
The Chonete Hat is the traditional hat of the farmers of Costa Rica and is known as the hat that was worn by those who built Costa Rica into what it is today. You can find the tourist versions anywhere you look for souvenirs from Costa Rica but you should go to the local agricultural store if you want an authentic one the actual farmers wear.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!