Last Updated: November 21, 2023
Wondering what gifts to buy for that special person in your life who is obsessed with Costa Rica? You know, the one who always insists on vacationing in Costa Rica (and nowhere else) and proudly wears his or her Imperial T-shirt almost every day.
We can relate. Before moving here, we were always trying to come up with ways to bring Costa Rica into our everyday lives. We wanted things that would remind us of the amazing experiences we had on vacation or that would get us excited for our next trip.
With the holiday season fast approaching, here is a list of some Costa Rica-themed gifts that will surely get your loved ones in the pura vida spirit.
1. Gallo Pinto Kit
Translating to “speckled rooster,” this Costa Rican breakfast of rice and beans is served daily (usually with eggs) at homes and restaurants throughout the country. If you’ve traveled to Costa Rica, chances are you’ve had it at least once, if not every day, while you were here.
Recreate the Costa Rica breakfast experience in your own kitchen by gathering all of the necessary ingredients for this traditional meal. Everything you need should be available at your local grocery store, but make sure to order some Salsa Lizano and Chilero hot sauce to give it that special Tico flavor.
Here’s a recipe card that we made to earn you some extra points. To print it, just click on the photo and hit print.
2. Costa Rica’s Famous Coffee
To go along with the gallo pinto, pick up some of Costa Rica’s 100% Arabica coffee or get it shipped direct.
Pair a few varieties together with some Costa Rican coffee mugs or maybe even the traditional drip stand with cotton sock called a chorreador. Chorreadors might look a bit strange, but many people prefer them because, unlike paper coffee filters, they allow the coffee’s rich oils to come through.
3. Donation to Non-Profit
Non-profits in Costa Rica work on a variety of worthy causes and are always looking for support. A gift in someone’s name will really show that you care.
There are hundreds of great organizations out there. Some groups that are wildlife-based are the Titi Conservation Alliance, Kids Saving the Rainforest, and Macaw Recovery Network. One that focuses on helping local families is Cepia.
4. Expat Wannabe Book Bundle
Ideal for that person who won’t stop talking about moving to Costa Rica. Put together a book bundle with titles like Moon: Living Abroad in Costa Rica; Happier Than a Billionaire; The Costa Rica Escape Manual; Costa Rica Chica; Living in and Visiting Costa Rica: 100 Tips, Tricks, Traps, and Facts, and of course, our own Two Weeks in Costa Rica, a travelogue that we wrote about one of our vacations several years ago.
Wrap the paperbacks in a beach towel or load the e-books onto their e-reader for an extra surprise.
Though not about moving per se, another book worth checking out is Costa Rica from Above. This has gorgeous images of Costa Rica, from mountains to sea, that will light up any coffee table.
5. Outdoor Gear
To get them excited for their next trip, make sure they are well equipped. Think of what they might need to explore the jungle trails, waterfalls, and beaches of Costa Rica.
A backpack is, of course, essential and makes a great package to stuff other fun items in. We wrote a guide about our daypack, which includes ten essential items that we bring on hikes and outings here.
Other ideas include hiking clothes or trail footwear (especially Keens). These are practical things that are always appreciated.
More fun items that we have gotten really excited about were snorkel gear, binoculars, and our mirrorless digital camera. We love this camera because it is super lightweight and has a 250mm zoom lens to get close up shots of birds and animals on the trail. If you’d rather spring for the ultimate adventure camera, get them a GoPro.
6. For the Nature Enthusiast
As big nature enthusiasts ourselves, we have a fairly large collection of resources to help us identify the birds and animals we find in Costa Rica. We use these guides all the time and highly recommend them.
Our biggest standby is The Wildlife of Costa Rica. This book usually has the answer to our questions with a nice description and photo. It has a lot of birds too.
For serious birding, The Birds of Costa Rica is our go-to guide since it has more detail (including range maps) and a larger list.
Though not as comprehensive, we also love our fold-out pamphlets from Rainforest Publications when we are out on the trail because they are light, waterproof, and fit nicely in the backpack. We have the ones for butterflies, birds, marine life, mammals, and even the fruits of Costa Rica.
7. For the Kids
To get the littles in your life excited about their family trip, fill their stockings with Costa Rica-inspired books.
The Wildlife of Costa Rica: Coloring Book from Kids Saving the Rainforest in Manuel Antonio is a great find. This book teaches kids fun facts about rainforest animals like sloths and has nice prints for coloring.
Along the same lines is Animals of Costa Rica: Coloring Book. This was put together by the mom of one of our son’s classmates. It has 32 fun wildlife illustrations to color including sea turtles, sloths, and monkeys. The cool thing about this one is that you and your kids can learn the names of the animals in both English and Spanish!
Some other cute titles for kids are the Cat in the Hat’s If I Ran the Rain Forest: All About Tropical Rain Forests, Over in the Jungle: A Rainforest Rhyme, and for older kids, National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of the Rain Forest.
What better reminder of Costa Rica than its most popular beer? While Imperial isn’t too easy to find outside Costa Rica, it is distributed in the United States, and with a little legwork, you can find it in most cities.
Inquire at your local liquor store to see if they can order it or check out this site where you can search by map to find it in your area.
9. The Travel Essentials
For the practical gift giver, these are some of the things we have found useful when traveling around Costa Rica.
We’ve also found a money belt useful to keep some extra cash hidden when a restaurant doesn’t accept credit or we are taking public transportation. If you do get a money belt, fill it with some colones (local currency) for an extra touch.
10. Christmas Ornament
A great addition to the Costa Rican lover’s holiday decor is a hand-crafted ornament. These ornaments are not only hand painted but glass blown so each one is uniquely made, making it perfect for those who love this one-of-a-kind paradise. There are a few options to choose from that showcase some classic scenes from Costa Rica like a beach sunset and swimming sea turtles. If we didn’t live here, we’d probably have these hung up on our tree during the holiday season to remind of us the beauty that lives here.
We hope that this list helps give you some gift ideas for that Costa Rica-obsessed person in your life. We’d love to hear if you end up using any of them or if you have some ideas of your own. Leave us a comment below.
Last Updated: November 21, 2023
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