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I'm going to Germany next week for 3 weeks. I'm going to be mostly staying with friends and family who I have never met before. I'd really love to bring them all a little present from Costa Rica. I plan on only packing one carry on bag (don't want to check bags!). I also don't know anything about my family, but have heard they like to drink. Before, I've bought those little toucans that say "Costa Rica" on the side from the tourist alley in SJ centro. Any suggestions on gifts that are small, cheap and representative of CR?

 

I was going to bring some of those little plastic bottles of guaro, but I'm really trying to avoid checking a bag.

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Small wooden boxes, refrigerator magnets, notecards of banana paper, key chains, jewelry, tote bags - and - of course - COFFEE.

 

Actually, there's a pretty good selection at SJO so I wouldn't worry too much about it. Other than my local crafts co-op, it's where I do most of my souvenir shopping. I don't know if he's still there - but the last few times I flew out of SJO, there was a guy there selling really inexpensive and really nice watercolors. I have bought several for my son -- usually the 5" x 7" size

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I like the water color idea! I'd like something that is share-able. I don't know how many people in the family I'm going to meet, just how many homes I'll be staying at. So it'd be nice if I could buy just one thing per household. Magnets are a good idea too.

 

I'll have to make a trip to centro to get some stuff. I like going with my boyfriend because usually the vendors give him much better prices than me. Even when I haggle! :rolleyes:

 

I think coffee is too expensive (if you get the cafe brit stuff) and it's pretty big to bring 3 or 4 bags of it.

 

Thanks!

Edited by lucybelle

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Hi Lucy,

 

Why not consider some bottles of Lizano Salsa Tabasco? They're available at Mas X Menos, etc. and are very small bottles for around US$1.25 ea. It's my favorite Tabasco sauce of all. I always bring some home with me because it is not available anywhere in the US.

 

BTW, if your relatives like to drink, the Lizano Tabasco goes very well in a Bloody Mary!

 

Another thing to consider would be Galliticos brand candies. There are some in little bags that are guava-filled chocolate candies labeled Guayabitos. These are quite tasty and no one I have brought them back to has ever complained about them.

 

Both of those items are très tico and are unlikely to be found int Germany!

 

But consider getting them at the grocery store somewhere in town rather than at the airport and you will save a wad of money!

 

HTH

 

Paul M.

==

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Smaller bags of coffee from the grocery store instead of buying at the airport. A friend who goes back and forth from the U.S. does this and saves a lot of money. Also those sock-like and wooden coffee makers, which I think are really cheap. Little miniature ox carts.

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Also those sock-like and wooden coffee makers, which I think are really cheap.

 

Great idea, Shea. Lucy... If your folks in Germany are into coffee then Shea's suggestion is a really good one. Ask for a 'chorreador'. I have seen inexpensive wooden ones (without the tacky tourist words [Costa Rica] painted all over them) and the cotton replacement 'socks' that are the filters both available at Mas X Menos for around $3.00 for the plain wooden chorreador with wire top and $1.50 for the filters.

 

These wooden utilitarian chorreadores are virtually indestructible and the cotton filters with a wire in the lip, last a long time and can be washed out many, many times.

 

A chorreador is also très tico!

 

HTH

 

Paul M.

==

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SJO charges at least double what you would pay anywhere else.

M

Absolutely!

Try to buy your gifts to take home before you reach the airport!

 

If you are visiting a touristy area there are always lots of places to buy souvenirs. Even the supermarket or department store can have some reasonably priced items that are unique to CR that can make good gifts.

 

As far as coffee goes, I have not found a brand in the supermarket that I really enjoy except for the overpriced Cafe Brit. And I will drink anything if I have to. For proof, I have even asked for a refill at breakfast in the former Soviet Union. I currently buy a coffee grown in Terrazu from a vendor at my feria. Before that I always stopped by Cafe Central in the Mercardo Central in San Jose. They sell a Tres Rios blend, from Hacienda Bella Vista in Tres Rios that I really like. You can buy their coffees in whole bean (grano) of they will grind it for you on the spot. I still prefer the Tres Rios coffee and will make a point to buy some if I am in SJ centro. Besides, there is a girl that works there that has the nicest smile. When she asks "Algo mas?" I always answer "Una sonrisa para llevar, por favor!"

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It's not always convenient to do some shopping for gifts before you travel, especially if there isn't a good selection where you live. I have always bought a few things at SJO (never coffee!) including keychains, small watercolor paintings, banana paper notecards, playing cards (with a toucan or sloth) etc. Basically, if you visit most tourist souvenir shops, you will pay about the same.

 

For those of us not living in the Central Valley, the shop(s) at SJO are very convenient and there's lots there under $10. If you are a good planner and can think ahead and buy a few gifts as you are shopping, and not make special trips here, there and everywhere-- then it works out better. But if you have to make a special trip here, there and everywhere to find your little gifts, then maybe not.

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Well since we live quite near centro it's not a big deal to go to that main tourist strip with all the souvenirs. I'd never buy anything at the airport! Well okay, I did once. I was going home and forgot to get something for my dad's new wife, so I bought her some chocolate covered pina from Cafe Brit. 5000 colones!!! I vowed to never forget again. Can definitely get those exact same things at Mas x Menos for 2500c or so.

 

We're heading into centro today to see what we can find! I'll let you know what we pick up :)

 

Thanks for all the suggestions!

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Since so many of these things are generic, it would be easy enough to pick up a few things here and there as you see them, and put them away for when you need them. Saves the last minute rush.

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I ended up buying 5 of those wine bottle holders. They're all painted and nice. Got all five for $20. Not a bad price, not too heavy, not too big, and it's sort of useful as well as pretty. Hope they like them!

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I noticed you said you were only taking a carry on. I know when travelling from Canada to any international destination they will only allow you 100ml of liquid. You might want to check into that before you pack and end up having to get rid of what you bought.

 

Enjoy your vacation!

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