“Pura Vida es más que palabras, es una forma de vivir.”
Welcome to the vibrant and verdant land of Costa Rica, where the mantra “Pura Vida” isn’t just a phrase—it’s a lifestyle. Embedded in the heart of Central America, this country is a haven for nature enthusiasts, adventure seekers, and cultural explorers. Beyond its lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and abundant wildlife, this country offers a rich tapestry of cultural traditions and local crafts that are as diverse and colorful as its landscapes.
This article takes you on a journey through the unique world of Costa Rican souvenirs. Each item tells a tale of tradition and artistry, whether it’s the flavorful local coffee or the exquisitely handcrafted jewelry.
Whether you’re stepping into Costa Rica for the first time or coming back for more, our list of top 15 souvenirs will let you take home an authentic taste of the vibrant spirit and the laid-back Pura Vida lifestyle. Let us explore the list of the best things to buy in Costa Rica.
1 – Coffee
In Costa Rica, coffee is more than a drink; it’s a national treasure. The country’s volcanic soil and ideal climate contribute to producing some of the world’s finest coffee. Each region offers beans with unique flavor profiles, from the high altitudes of Tarrazú to the misty valleys of Monteverde. For a genuine, authentic cup of Costa Rica coffee, explore local plantations or specialty shops. Here you can sample and purchase beans that range from fruity, light roasts to robust dark roasts.
2 – Wooden Crafts
Costa Rican woodworking is a art passed down through generations. These handcrafted wooden items, ranging from functional kitchenware to decorative pieces, showcase the natural beauty of local woods like Guanacaste and Cenisaro. In markets such as the Central Market in San José or the artisan town of Sarchí, you can find unique Costa Rica souvenirs like the traditional coffee maker or intricately carved masks, each echoing the rich tropical cultural heritage.
3 – Artisanal Chocolates
The revival of traditional chocolate-making has put its artisanal chocolates on the map. Local chocolatiers use sustainably sourced cacao to create a range of rich, flavorful chocolates that capture the essence of the country’s diverse flora. These chocolates are not just treats but a representation of the country’s commitment to quality and sustainability. They are often infused with local flavors like tropical fruits or coffee. Visit chocolate shops or cacao farms for tastings and to select the perfect chocolate souvenir to bring home.
4 – Salsa Lizano
Salsa Lizano is slightly tangy flavor that transforms any dish. It is a staple in every kitchen. Originating in 1920, it’s a blend of vegetables and spices, perfect for adding a tropical twist to meals. You can find bottles of Salsa Lizano in supermarkets and souvenir shops across the country, making it an easy and flavorful souvenir to bring home. This flavorful gem will be a perfect gift for those who want to infuse their lifestyle with the practices Costa Rica Tica and Tico follows.
5 – Handcrafted Jewelry
Costa Rican artisans create stunning jewelry that reflects natural tropical beauty and artistic heritage. These pieces range from elegant to bohemian, crafted from local stones, woods, and seeds. Markets and boutique stores are the best places to find these unique accessories.
6 – Costa Rican Hammocks
Hammocks are a symbol of the laid-back Pura Vida lifestyle. Crafted from durable materials and vibrant colors, they are perfect for enjoying tropical days at home. Look for hammocks in local markets or specialty shops, where you can choose from assorted styles and sizes.
7 – Painted Oxcart Souvenirs
The brightly painted oxcart is a cherished symbol of Costa Rican culture. Originally used to transport coffee, these oxcarts are now ornately decorated with vibrant patterns. Most souvenir shops offer miniature replicas in diverse sizes and colors.
8 – Indigenous Pottery
Indigenous pottery demonstrates the rich pre-Columbian history of Costa Rica. Everything from cookware to decorative items are carefully crafted using natural dyes and traditional techniques, ensuring a totally unique and timeless addition to any space. Local markets or artisan cooperatives, particularly in Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula, are the best to purchase these special handcrafted items.
9 – Tropical Fruit Preserves
Costa Rican tropical fruit preserves from mango to guava are made with fresh, locally sourced fruits and minimal additives. Available in local markets and specialty food stores, these preserves are a delightful way to savor the tropical flavors long after your visit. The best thing about tropical fruit preserves is that you don’t need to wait for the best time to visit Costa Rica to enjoy these seasonal delicacies.
10 – Boruca Masks
Boruca masks are a vibrant expression of indigenous art and history. Hand-carved and painted, each mask tells a story of the Boruca people’s heritage and their famous “Danza de los Diablitos.” Artisan markets and cultural shops offer masks ranging from small decorative pieces to full-sized wearable art. These indigenous art pieces not only add beauty to your home but also purchasing them help preserve the Borucan cultural heritage.
11 – VIDA Blue Clay
VIDA Blue Clay, sourced from the mineral-rich volcanic soil, is celebrated for its healing properties. Skincare products like soaps, masks, and scrubs use this clay for a natural tropical self-care experience. Look for these products in wellness shops and eco-friendly markets across the country.
12 – Chorreador Coffee Maker
The Chorreador is a traditional Costa Rican coffee maker offering a simple yet effective way to brew coffee at home. Made of wood and a cloth filter, it’s a testament to the country’s longstanding coffee culture. Available in souvenir shops and local markets, it’s an ideal gift for coffee lovers wanting to recreate the authentic Costa Rican coffee experience at home.
13 – Bamboo Clothing
Bamboo clothing represents the country’s commitment to sustainability. Known for its softness and eco-friendly properties, bamboo fabric is used to make various Costa Rica clothing items. You can find these comfortable, stylish, and sustainable pieces in eco-stores and boutiques. They are perfect for those seeking environmentally responsible fashion options.
14 – Handcrafted Soaps
Handcrafted soaps blend natural ingredients like local herbs, fruits, and essential oils. These artisanal soaps offer a range of benefits and scents that reflect the country’s tropical diversity. Available in organic stores and local markets, they are a perfect way to bring the essence of natural tropical beauty into your daily routine.
15 – Hand Painted Magnets
Colorful, hand-painted magnets are a fun and affordable way to keep your vacation memories close. Featuring designs like tropical wildlife and scenic landscapes, they capture the vibrant spirit of the country. Grab some in any souvenir shops or craft markets. They’re a fantastic way to remember your trip and make for a convenient gift for loved ones back home. The magnets showcasing special festivals like New Year or Christmas in Costa Rica will be a wonderful gift for your loved ones and those near you.
Villa Firenze’s Signature Welcome Kit Reflecting Pura Vida Spirit
Embrace the true essence of Costa Rica from the moment you arrive at Villa Firenze, where our signature welcome kit awaits, meticulously crafted to echo the Pura Vida spirit.
Each kit is an ensemble of handpicked treasures, starting with Dota coffee sourced directly from local farms. The indulgence continues with artisanal chocolates and a bottle of Salsa Lizano, providing an authentic flavor twist to your culinary experiences. Our personalized rashguard combines style with practicality, offering a fashionable memento of your stay. Finally, a personalized card from the renowned local artist Holalola, featuring bespoke artwork and a warm message from our concierge, adds an intimate touch to your welcome.
Each element of this kit not only enhances the luxury and comfort of your stay at our all-inclusive villa in Costa Rica but also deeply connects you with the culture of Costa Rica, inviting you to take back the memories and spirit of Pura Vida long after your journey ends.
Weave Pura Vida into Your Life
Each of these 15 Costa Rica souvenirs is not just a memento; they are threads woven into the vibrant fabric of Costa Rica, capturing the essence of Pura Vida – a phrase that goes beyond words to embody a way of life.
In choosing these best Costa Rica souvenirs, we encourage you to explore, engage with local artisans, and purchase responsibly, ensuring that your keepsakes are not only beautiful but also support the local communities and the environment.