Holiday Shopping Guide- DEC 06, 2017
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The season of shopping and entertaining is upon us. With a bit of knowledge and a vehicle, you can likely fulfill all your holiday needs in Costa Rica without going too far out of your way.
Generally, holiday shopping options diminish in relation to how small a community is and how far away from San José. That is not to say Guanacaste falls short when it comes to checkmarks on your seasonal shopping list. If anything, you might cover just as much ground at a more relaxed pace, in places less crowded. Day trips are a good way to have that kind of shopping experience with an adventurous twist.
From Liberia’s larger urban retailers to small boutiques in Playas del Coco, our Day Tripper’s Guide to Guanacaste (preceding pages) includes shopping spots for many of the destinations highlighted.
Otherwise, the Gold Coast vicinity has shoppers well covered for the season of decking the halls, celebrating and gift giving.
Christmas trees and decorations
Pine trees are not native to Costa Rica, though they are grown in places to be sold as Christmas trees. You may be better off with an artificial tree, which can be found — along with ornaments — at El Bazaar, a variety store right next to the Mega Super in Villarreal.
To find just the right supplies for indulging your creativity, there is no better place than Alkimia, a short distance from the Villarreal intersection on the road to Tamarindo. This gem of a store has all your stationery and photocopying needs, in addition to handmade piñatas and party supplies, seasonal decorations and gifts.
Festive feast fixings
Finding the right ingredients for traditional holiday meals can take a bit of searching, some extra cash and a lot of creativity.
The Super 2001 in Tamarindo has many gourmet ingredients, with a large selection of Italian and Asian goods. Auto Mercado sells seasonal items like turkey, pumpkins and American products.
La Oliva in Playa Conchal offers exotic spices, high-end frozen goods and many alternative baking ingredients. Super Massai in Playa Flamingo also has many ready-made frozen food options as well as international ingredients. Fish & Cheeses in Playa Langosta has a good selection of fine cheeses, wine, seafood and other ingredients.
Cooking traditional festive fare can be expensive, but finding local alternatives can make all the difference. For example, the locally grown calabash is a perfect alternative to the traditional orange pumpkin. In fact, my research revealed that most canned pumpkin products are made from locally available gourds rather than the familiar orange ones that are normally saved for decoration.