Colorful traditional market street with handicrafts and pottery.

The Art of Costa Rican Craftsmanship

Costa Rican craftsmanship is a vibrant tapestry of indigenous techniques, Spanish influences, and a modern zest for life that can’t be bottled up but can be bought. A souvenir from this place is not just a trinket; it’s a story in tangible form, a piece of pura vida to bring back home.

Traditional Costa Rican Handcrafts

Costa Rican Pottery

The pottery scene in Costa Rica is as rich as the coffee grown in its highlands. Chorotega pottery, hailing from Guanacaste, is a must-have with its pre-Columbian designs and earthy tones. The town of Guaitil should be your go-to, where pottery is more than a craft; it’s a way of life.

Woodwork and Carvings

Those wooden bowls and figurines aren’t just carved; they’re chiseled with the essence of the cloud forest. Look for canopy-inspired carvings and the iconic ox carts (or their mini versions) if you don’t fancy towing the real deal through customs.

Textiles and Woven Goods

Wrap yourself in the warmth of Costa Rican culture with borucas masks woven with the vibrancy of a tropical sunset, or bag some hand-loomed textiles that have more stories woven into them than a seasoned traveler’s passport.

Costa Rican Art and Paintings

Indigenous Art

The ancient indigenous groups might not have left tweets, but they’ve got some serious art cred. From Boruca masks to intricately painted jicaras, these pieces will have your walls murmuring epic tales.

Modern Costa Rican Artists

Contemporary art more your style? Local galleries are dripping with talent. Snag a Fabio Herrera or a Rafa Fernández and watch your friends turn a new shade of avocado toast green with envy.

Jewelry and Accessories

Pre-Columbian Inspired Pieces

Gold may have been the Spaniard’s undoing, but today it’s your gain. Reproductions of indigenous gold jewelry are striking enough to make even the most stoic of museum statues nod in approval.

Contemporary Costa Rican Jewelry

Today’s bling scene is all about sustainability and style. Eco-friendly accessories made from recycled materials or local seeds are not just jewelry; they’re conversation starters.

Souvenirs with Cultural Significance

Coffee and Coffee-Related Products

Bringing back Costa Rican coffee is a no-brainer. Those beans are to coffee lovers what oxygen is to breathing; indispensable. And while you’re at it, a chorreador (traditional coffee maker) might just make you a morning person.

Salsa Lizano and Local Foodstuffs

Salsa Lizano is the not-so-secret ingredient in Costa Rican kitchens. It’s like capturing the country’s flavor in a bottle—literally. Other local goodies like guava jam or chocolate-covered coffee beans are also tantalizingly transportable.

Shopping for Handcrafts in Costa Rica

Local Markets and Their Offerings

Mercado Nacional de Artesanías is your go-to for a one-stop-shop, but don’t miss the street-side stalls for that spontaneous find. Bartering is part of the fun, but remember, a smile goes further than a stern face.

Artisan Shops and Galleries

For those with a keen eye for the unique, artisan shops are your treasure chest. Galleries in San José or Sarchí will have you walking out with more than just memories.

Tips for Ethical Shopping

Supporting local artisans is like giving Mother Nature a high five. Buy direct when you can, and always check for the Fair Trade seal to ensure your souvenirs aren’t just beautiful but also beautifully made.

Bringing Costa Rican Souvenirs Home

Customs Regulations to Consider

Before you get too carried away, remember: customs agents aren’t big on surprises. Check the regulations to avoid the heartbreak of a confiscated treasure.

Packing Tips for Fragile Items

Those fragile pieces need to be cuddled as tenderly as a baby sloth. Wrap them in your clothes, nestle them in your luggage, and pray to the patron saint of baggage handlers.


Remember, your souvenirs are more than just objects; they’re carriers of the Costa Rican spirit. Buy responsibly, pack smartly, and your trinkets will narrate tales of your travels long after the tan lines have faded.