Of course we had to buy the obligitory Pura Vida and Imperial Beer t-shirts. They range from $5.00 to $8.00 at the stands around Manuel Antonio (depending how much you want to haggle). The only reason I'm pointing this out is the exact same shirts were $24.00 at the airport.
A great choice of gifts can be found in Manuel Antonio. There are several gift shops along the road leading to the national park. Also several gift stands can be found in front of Playa Espadilla Norte.
What to buy: Pareos, figures made of tropical wood, ceramics, t-shirts and more.
This little paradisiac city seems to exists only to enriched the visit to the national park. Little restaurants and cafe, street vendors, colors and sounds of the pacific coast.
What to buy: Aside from getting water bottles, juices and fruits from street vendors, you can also get (and for a really good price) nice handcrafts, arts, souvenirs and pareo. if you see something you like, get it.
Over in Quepos, gift shops are everywhere. Well organised, well furnished, they proposed a great variety of quality and prices over a good choices of items. Woodcraft, papers, music, kitchen utensiles, jewelry, postcards, sculptures...
The city size allows a great deal of various shops too, from library and hardware store to fishing supply and pharmacy.
What to buy: With some stores, you get real good price over souvenirs and craft. Others specialized in quality and rareness.
Upstairs Cafe Del Mar, Amy welcome us in her workshop. She's very friendly and takes the time to chat (she wanted to know how we say "hand painted" in french"!) and explain her work.
She has beautiful done t-shirts and she can make you one on demand in one afternoon if you find a design in her portfolio you like better. It took me a long time to choose the one I liked best and decided to ask her to paint it on a canvas (so I could frame it back home).
Since it's a bit bigger than a t-shirt, she wanted a longer delay, which I couldn't afford, leaving next morning. She offered to drop it at the front desk of my hotel the next morning and she did! It was a leap of fait, even tho she left me her name, phone number and the fact that her husband is the owner of the Cafe downstairs... But she kept her word! If you pass by, salute her form will you?
PS: I had the best salad of my trip at the Cafe Del Mar downstairs...!
What to buy: Hand painted t-shirt, beach bag or canvas
What to pay: I think the t-shirt were around 15$
I paid 25$ form my canvas ( a little bigger than 2'x2')
We found this little shop almost by accident, walking around in Quepos. Around all those touristic gift shops, this one was somewhat special, offering higher quality goods (without being a real sophisticated art gallery).
They ship all over the world.
What to buy: They have beautiful woods, all kind of color. Really! Yellows, reds, greens, blacks and purples. So when you find a nice piece of these wood, it's pretty special.
We had a special place in our backpack for the little animals sculptures (turtles, hummingbirds, fishes, pelicans, toucans, ...), often in two tones (red and yellow) and the kitchen accessories and boxes made out of numerous kinds of wood, creating a pattern (cutting board, coasters, place mats...). The best we have seen (because you'll find them everywhere!) are here! Althought I think this was one of the more expensive place for them.
What to pay: Around 10$ each, but found them cheaper in other stores (but of lesser quality or a bit damaged)