The text of this page is copyrighted © by   Hunter Publishing Company. To order
the complete Travel Guide to Costa Rica Click here ( Photos by 1 Costa Rica Link )
HOME - Tour, Vacation & Hotel Guide to Costa Rica - Maps, Rental Cars, Accommodations Shopping in San Jose -
Costa Rica Crafts / Goods

English Home
Español Home
Deutsch Home
Nederlands Home
Français Home

23 Best Vacation Packages
Costa Rica Information
Provinces, Regions, Maps
Hotels by Regions, Towns
Costa Rica Car Rentals
Beaches of Costa Rica
National Parks, Reserves
Costa Rica Tours
Activities / Things to Do
Costa Rica Restaurants
Nightlife / Casinos
Immigration
Costa Rica Real Estate
Yellow Pages / Shopping
Photo Tours by Towns
About us / Comments
Climate / Weather
San Jose, Costa Rica
Costa Rica Surfing
Sportfishing / scuba Diving
Contact 1 Costa Rica Link 

Costa Rica offers high quality goods !!

If there were dreams to sell, what would you buy? ~ Dream-Pedlary, Thomas Lovell Beddoes, 1803-1849

Although never known for its indigenous crafts like those in Guatemala or Mexico, Costa Rica has generally high quality and reasonably priced goods. Coffee and coffee-related products – coffee liqueur (yum) – clothing, souvenirs and art abound. Artisans in Guanacaste have recreated the delicate and delightful pre-Columbian Chorotega pottery style and make some wonderful pieces. Don’t pass them by. Costa Rica’s great woodcrafts are centered around the town of Sarchí. Leather craft has its creative home in the San José suburb of Moravia. If you don’t make it to either place, local gift shops are full of leather items, belts, distinctive 138 . Shopping Costa Rican hats, woodcarvings, boxes, miniature furniture and even fullsize furniture.

Woodworks
Two notable North American artists have made an impact in wood design. Barry Biesanz works out of a new, open-to-the-public showroom and tourist attraction in Escazú (. 506/228-1811, www.biesanz.com) creating exquisite hardwood bowls, intricate boxes and furniture. Jay Morrison, another ex-pat, specializes in creative custom hardwood furniture. Upscale San José shops feature these and other fine artists and craftsman. Try Atmósfera (Calle 5, Av 1), La Galería (Calle 1 Av, Central), Magia (Calle 5, Av 7) and Suraska (Calle 5, Av 3).

Silver & Gold
Silver jewelry is ubiquitous in Central America, but Costa Rica’s unique contributions include reproductions of its pre-Columbian jewelry, often incorporating semi-precious stones and jade. Images of ancient deities, which resemble animals, are made into earrings, necklaces, pins, bracelets and pendants. They are called huacas, and the most famous is a frog-like image with flat feet. Our favorite, however, is a human-like figure that is anatomically correct. Great for people who rub their earrings. These figures are also available in gold, replicating those on show in the Gold Museum.

Shops You’ll Love
Choices for shopping around San José range from downtown department stores and traditional marketplaces, mercados, to North American suburban indoor malls and member superstores such as Price Club. San Pedro has an upscale outlet mall now, but retail shops like those that once anchored the disappearing downtown areas in the United States still offer their wares on the pedestrian walkway of San José. Downtown shops generally open around 9 amand don’t close until 7 pm. Here are some of the best places to get a bargain and find some worthwhile things to lug home.

Farmer’s Market.
By 6 am on Saturdays and Sundays, local farmers have set up tables at outdoor locations in the barrios of San José and small towns and villages throughout Costa Rica. An array of beat-up pick-up trucks and trailers haul fresh fruits and vegetables into town for sale. These markets, called ferias, are wonderful for wandering. You can taste free samples of exotic fruits and practice your Spanish. Besides fruit and veggies, you’ll find a cornucopia of cheeses, honey, colorful flowers and plants, aromatic herbs and spices, plus homemade breads and tamales. In San José, the best Saturday ferias are in Pavas, Tibas and Escazú. On Sunday, head to Hatillo.

El Pueblo
(in Barrio Tournón, just across the Río Torres). This imitation colonial village – complete with a warren of narrow walkways and small shops – has an engaging charm all its own. El Pueblo (which means “The Town”) is a complex that offers intimate dining in numerous restaurants and funky little bars, as well as shopping in art studios, craft shops, eclectic and gift stores. It even has a popular disco. We like it best in the evening when El Pueblo’s narrow cobblestone plazas fill with people and it really feels as if you are in an old colonial village. Plus, we love the intimate bars (see our review in Nightlife, the next section).

Mercado Central
(Calle 6 and Av Central). At the western end of the pedestrian walkway is the indoor warren of flea market-like stalls of the central market, a fixture here since 1880. Not large by Central American standards, it’s still a fun place to wander. Flower stalls, clothing and shoe stores, gift shops, fabric vendors, butchers, restaurants, and much, much more. Be wary of pickpockets in the narrow aisles. Outside on Calle 6 there is a coffee roasting and grinding shop. It’s one of our favorite places to buy – or just smell – the dark beans. Always buy the best, not the cheapest.

Hotel Don Carlos
(Calle 9 between Av 7 & 9, . 506/221-6063). Many of the better hotels have a modest gift shop, but people come to the Don Carlos Hotel just to buy things in the Annemarie Shop. It has a large selection (two floors) of jewelry, gifts, clothing, arts and crafts, and souvenirs. It’s always well stocked, clean and modestly priced. Abest shopping bet and well worth a visit.

Sol Maya
(on the Paseo Colon across from the San Juan de Dios Hospital) has been selling Central American arts and crafts since 1982. Roberto Güix, the manager, does a good job selecting unusual wares and the store offers a wide variety of quality goods at reasonable prices with no high pressure. Check out their silk-screened wall hangings. La Gloria (Av Central walkway, between Calles 4 & 6) is a department store right out of the 1950s or 1960s. Fabrics, clothes, household goods in an old-fashioned multi-level store.

Shopping

Guzman Guitars (Cinco Esquinas, Tibas). The Enrique Guzman family have been making acoustic guitars here since 1833, so if you are into music, a pilgrimage to the Guzman factory is a must. Spanish and classical guitars are their specialty and you can buy one – or order one custom made – in their small showroom. You can also ask permission to visit the factory in back and see guitars being made. Mercado de Artesanías Morazán (Calle 7, half-block north of the Balmoral).

A souvenir shop with lots of examples of one of Costa Rica’s most notable crafts – woodworking. Some very finely crafted boxes made of iron and rosewood, polished so highly that the grain is eye-popping. Mercado Nacional de Artesanías (Calle 11 behind the Soledad Church, . 506/221-5012, www.mercadoartesania.com). This large store is the “official” national arts and crafts gift shop in San José. It’s just one block off Av 2. They have many of the same handcrafted gifts and souvenirs that other downtown stores feature – which include beautiful woodworking and original paintings – but claim that because they are “more or less” related to the government, they pass on tax savings to you, making their prices lower.We’re not too sure about the price claim, but the selection is very good (masks, ceramics, T-shirts, etc.) and the prices reasonable. Other locations are in the National Museum and Puerto Caldera in Puntarenas.

La Casona (Av Central and Calle Central). Open daily from 9 to 7, La Casona is San José’s largest souvenir shop – warehouse-sized on two big floors, in the middle of downtown. A good place to do comparison shopping, so start your shopping day here.

Galería Namu (Av 7 & Calle 5, . 506/256-3412, www.galerianamu. com). The word “Namu” signifies jaguar, a sacred animal, in the language of the Bribri, an indigenous Indian people. This gallery presents a unique collection of art and crafts from the six surviving communities of Costa Rica’s indigenous people. Owner Aisling French (who is Irish) searches out some of the best works from all over Costa Rica, including art produced by a San José outreach program that benefits local street children and orphans. Though her prices are a little higher than you may find in San José souvenir shops, you won’t find these things elsewhere. Her masks are from the Huetar, Chorotega and Boruca cultures. Next door is Arte Latino, a gallery with paintings by local artists. E-mail the gallery at aislingmahon@hotmail.com.

Books, maps and nature guides can be found at 7th Street Books (Calle 7, Av Central & Av 1, . 506/256-8251), the largest English-language bookstore in town. It has a fair selection of travel guides, Latin American studies, literature, science and nature, reference books and posters. If they’re not carrying our guide, please ask them to. The same goes for the other big bookstore in town that sells a wide assortment of English-language books, as well as used titles. Mora Books is in the Omni Building (Av 1 and Calles 3 & 5).

Flea markets spring up in two main locations: on the small street in front of the National Museum (Av 2, Calle 15), daily rain or shine, and on weekends along the eastern end of the pedestrian walk, downtown.

In the rising foothills of the valley, Escazú can be said to look down on San José in more ways than one. Upscale shops and restaurants, a car wash, English-language movie theater, private schools, health food stores, art galleries, jewelry shops, B&Bs, a country club, bowling alley, and the home of the American Ambassador are all in this San José suburb, a few kilometers southwest of La Sabana Park off the autopista. Escazú is actually two towns in one, San Rafael de Escazú and San Antonio de Escazú. The main intersection in town has a right turn for the San Rafael section and the town of Santa Ana (six km/four miles more), or you can go straight uphill for the San Antonio district. On the old road toward Santa Ana is Cerámica Tierra Rica, where you can watch potters make ceramics available for sale in their showroom. Santa Ana is more of a country village with roadside veggie stands.

Sarchí is the hometown of Costa Rica’s craft industry. A pleasant daytrip from San José, this Central Valley village features woodworking, furniture and traditional hand-painted oxcarts (ask for Joaquín Chaverri’s oxcart factory) as well as a wide selection of pottery, fine art, arts and crafts, gifts and souvenirs. A drive through the town reveals a number of different storefronts – pick one that takes your fancy and pull over. and the home of the American Ambassador are all in this San José suburb, a few kilometers southwest of La Sabana Park off the autopista. Escazú is actually two towns in one, San Rafael de Escazú and San Antonio de Escazú. The main intersection in town has a right turn for the San Rafael section and the town of Santa Ana (six km/four miles more), or you can go straight uphill for the San Antonio district. On the old road toward Santa Ana is Cerámica Tierra Rica, where you can watch potters make ceramics available for sale in their showroom. Santa Ana is more of a country village with roadside veggie stands.

Sarchí is the hometown of Costa Rica’s craft industry. A pleasant daytrip from San José, this Central Valley village features woodworking, furniture and traditional hand-painted oxcarts (ask for Joaquín Chaverri’s oxcart factory) as well as a wide selection of pottery, fine art, arts and crafts, gifts and souvenirs. A drive through the town reveals a number of different storefronts – pick one that takes your fancy and pull over.

Return to San Jose, Costa Rica Information Page

International Furniture / Jewelry Stores


Live, Retire, Relocate to Costa Rica Book by Christopher Howard

Back to Travel Guide to Costa Rica Index Page

More Information on Costa Rica Living, Relocation, Retirement


Costa Rica Information   Costa Rica Car Rentals   Costa Rica Restaurants   Regions, Provinces, Maps  
Beaches of Costa Rica   Nightlife / Casinos   Tours & Tour Operators   Parks / Zoos / Reserves   Immigration
Businesses / Retail Stores   Contact 1 Costa Rica Link   Hotels / Resorts   Costa Rica Real Estate   Photo Tour by Towns
Vacation Recreation   About us / Comments<
HOME to 1 Costa Rica Link for Hotels, Resorts, Tours, Travel & Vacation Information

Copyright © 1998 - 2005