Those who are repeat visitors to Costa Rica know how to enjoy their time in the country. They stay at locally owned eco-lodges instead of chain hotels, visit family restaurants, and patron local tour operators. Not only are they supporting the community they love so much, they get an even better and more authentic glimpse of the country. Costa Rica has become so developed in the last decades that anything you need you can find locally. In fact, the local businesses you patron have a better knowledge of the land, natural resources, and regional manners of conducting business. You’ll pay less, receive better quality, and feel proud of giving back to your host country.
When in Costa Rica, shopping locally won’t be difficult. Entrepreneurship is booming and you’ll find a small, local business for all your needs. But once you make it home, we expect that your passion for Costa Rica won’t die down quickly. It won’t be easy to continue to support small Costa Rican businesses once you’re back in your home country, but with some quick online searches, you’ll find more than one Tico business owner willing to ship products. To start off, check out these 7 successful Costa Rican start-ups. We know you won’t be able to resist a purchase or two.
In a land filled with cacao trees, it’s no surprise that small, artisan chocolate makers have set up shop throughout the country. Some of these chocolate makers have become so skilled at their art that their product is in high demand throughout the world. Nahua Chocolate is one such company. From their store, you can purchase chocolate bars made with totally natural, local ingredients, as well as a range of other chocolaty products. Crowd favorites include dark chocolate chips, unprocessed, pure cacao nibs, and fresh cacao powder, to put the Costa Rican punch in your favorite brownie recipe. After using Nahua products in your home kitchen, you’ll have a very hard time going back to US brand name chocolates.
J. Lang Clothing Line
Jennifer Lang is a San Jose based designer who has received her fair share of fame in the last few years. Her clothes are modern and sophisticated and have proven to be favorites among Costa Ricans and international buyers alike. J.Lang, her brand name, sells in a few stores, but Jennifer is working hard to sell her own products online through her new virtual store.
When shopping J.Lang, pay special attention to the mixture of leather with various fabrics. This unique fusion of textures, materials, and colors is what has earned her all this well-deserved attention. Make sure you check out her bags and accessories section before you check out, there’s a good change a purse has been designed especially for that top you’ve been lusting after.
Zaosalo’s Olive Oils
Zaosalo’s herbed and spiced olive oils are created by a local chef and natural-food nutritionist. These oils are made with the finest local ingredients and with the utmost respect and love for the final product. Zaosalo’s is manned almost entirely by a one-person team, but luckily, they’ve found partners to help sell the products internationally. Apetico Coffee Shop sells this olive oil, along with other local artisanal products, across borders. This will be the perfect salad dressing, bread dip, or cooking ingredient for anyone who enjoys cooking Latino food. Buy a couple bottles for your friends, your Taco Tuesday will never look the same again.
There are some things that you’ll need to buy one way or another, so why not support a sustainable Costa Rican business while you’re at it? For all of your soap, shampoo, facial, and sun protection needs, head to BioLand. This environmentally friendly company has vowed to maintain a positive footprint in their production facilities, and they deliver an end product that is clean, sustainable, and above all, good for your skin. Their products have become so popular in Costa Rica and internationally, that they recently expanded into healthy snacks as well. You can now buy granola bars, natural cookies, and other local snacks all through their online store.
Without a doubt, you enjoyed your time in Costa Rica. You enjoyed every trail, every beach, and every traditional meal, but what you’re probably missing most now that your back home is a strong cup of Costa Rican coffee. There’s no going back to weaker beans once you’ve tried a local brew, so it’s time to find your source. Britt Coffee, one of the first major coffee roasters in Costa Rica, now ships their products internationally. They take the finest care of their coffee plants, production methods, and shipping containers to ensure that your home brewed cup of coffee tastes exactly like it did when you toured their farms.
Better yet, Britt Coffee can also ship the traditional Costa Rican coffee brewing methods, including the wood chorreador and the more modernly used French press. Pair that with the chocolates, cookies, and mixed nuts also for sale, and you have a perfect Costa Rican Coffee Hour waiting to happen. Make sure this purchase arrives before your travel group re-convenes to look over vacation photos, this will make for the perfect afternoon of Costa Rican reminiscing.
Costa Rica has so many incredible natural resources it comes as no surprise that artisanal jewelry makers have started to take advantage. Noelia’s Collection uses black stones, turquoise, local leather, and countless other local stones to make stunning pieces of jewelry. They don’t yet have their own website, but sell these quality products through many other online stores. These pieces will be the perfect pair to any summery outfit, and they’ll keep you dreaming of Costa Rica in between your tropical vacations.
Nothing will bring back your Costa Rican memories like biting into a truly flavorful pineapple. Fortunately, you can now get dried Costa Rican pineapple rings delivered to your doorstep. Todo Natural is a San Jose based company that raises their own pineapples and utilizes state-of-the-art hot air-drying facilities to provide dried pineapple rings, chunks, and pineapple bulk. They recently expanded into mangos as well, offering the same high-quality products, even with chocolate coating options. This take-along treat will be the perfect hiking snack or addition to your office emergency kit. The sweet pineapples will be accompanied with the warm memories of your time in Costa Rica.