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Sourcing Ethical Souvenirs for Friends and Family

Since the earliest people traveled a strange land and came home, the practice of collecting mementos from areas we visit has most likely existed. Food, equipment, or a one-of-a-kind and magnificent item like a diamond might have been among the initial keepsakes. Bringing mementos home is not only a time-honored tradition, but it can also enrich the lives of our friends and family by introducing them to a facet of a culture you were fortunate enough to see.

The fact that most souvenirs are mass made in companies that pay little attention to their employees or the nature of the materials they utilize is an issue that ethical tourists confront today. It’s necessary to avoid these mementos, but it’s even more crucial to seek alternatives with a more ethical grounding. 

While travelling the length and breadth of Costa Rica (or just your Costa Rica beach front resort) keep an eye out for handmade souvenirs.

Here are some recommendations for finding ethical mementos to take home, whether you’re taking a Costa Rica holiday package or a self-guided trip.


Costa Rica is known for its coffee, and most visitors return home with several bags to share with their friends and family. Although a typical mistake is purchasing the Britt brand, which has the largest marketing department and hence seems to unknowing travelers as the “best” brand. Instead, you should consider the following.

Tour of a Plantation

With so many coffee farms across Costa Rica, it’s difficult not to go on a tour to witness how this gorgeous bean makes its way to your cup. While embarking on one of these trips (or more) to learn more about coffee and purchase straight from the source may be more costly, we strongly suggest it. If you’re on a Costa Rica holiday package, you could discover that a plantation tour is already included.

Consult the locals

If you don’t want to go to a plantation or can’t afford it, a better alternative could be to ask any Ticos or ticas you encounter along the route what kind of coffee they like. You could also check for locally grown beans in the markets, as supporting families is a terrific way to buy ethical mementos.

Coffee corridor

If you want to go all out for that certain someone, try bringing home a Chorreador de Café, which is a Costa Rican coffee machine. These are simple drip filter coffee systems with a wooden frame, a sock, and a blue metal tin in most cases. To guarantee that it is morally sound, go for a locally manufactured one at the market rather than a mass-produced one from the store.

Sauces with a kick

Those who like spicy meals will enjoy the wide variety of hot sauces available at Costa Rican stores. While Costa Rica isn’t recognized for its fiery sauces, it does have a perfect environment for cultivating excellent peppers, and the country may one day become famed for its spice.

It’s Shade Time!

While there are several hot sauce makers in Costa Rica, like in any other country, not all of them are equally ethical. Shade Time is our favorite ethical hot sauce since it is made sustainably and donates 5% of its revenues to the La Fortuna Orphanage.

However, this isn’t the only ethical hot sauce out there; do your research and shop about it.


Alcohol is an age-old keepsake that never fails to impress certain folks. Guaro is Costa Rica’s hard spirit, and it’s a sugar cane liquor with a flavor comparable to vodka, albeit it’s normally only about 30% alcohol (60 proof). Because it’s a spirit, you may want to go with the generic Cacique brand Guaro, however, you can get it from a smaller provider for a more ethical buy.


Bring along a bottle of spicy sauce along with your bottle of Guaro to prepare Chilliguaro shots to truly surprise your friends or family back home. These are Guaro shots blended with tomato juice and spicy sauce and may be thought of as a less complicated Bloody Mary.

Carts for oxen

These are not only some of the most popular Costa Rican souvenirs, but they are also a representation of their significance in the country’s history. Carretas, as they’re called in Costa Rica, are typically painted in the same vibrant hues as their full-scale counterparts, displaying the flora and animals of the country. These ox carts are available in practically every shop in Costa Rica, but we suggest visiting markets to locate one built by hand and tipping the seller for their excellent craftsmanship.

Memories are the best souvenirs.

The most essential keepsakes for you will be the experiences and memories you build, whether you’re on a honeymoon or a Costa Rica holiday package. Keep in mind that you should aim to include ethical purchasing into your vacation.

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