Costa Rica

In the land of surf and and fresh fruit smoothies, not only lies picturesque panoramas, but a shoppers sanctuary. “Pura Vida”, the Costa Ricans say! The pure life is what it means, and what is more pure than supporting the local economy? In all seriousness, bringing home a sarong or serving piece is a daily reminder of the beauty experienced while travelling. I love nothing more than sharing stories from a trip when complimented on a piece I’m wearing or have displayed in our home.

After spending time in the surf town, Santa Teresa, sarongs were the only thing that I wanted to wear. Every shop had them displayed hanging out front, the vibrant colors and tropical patterns drew me in. The best part of a sarong is the vast versatility, swim cover up, beach blanket, wrapped around your shoulders or as a scarf, a true guilt free purchase. Personally, I left South America with only 2 sarongs, after having major non-buyer’s remorse, my teenage neighbor wanted the one off my body. Normally, I would have happily gifted it to her, but didn’t not knowing when I would be back to stock up. A blog for later, but I bought her one from Bali, plus one for her mom and sister too, so the guilt didn’t consume me.

Also, while in Santa Teresa I stumbled upon an amazing boutique, Holly. The owner is a lovely girl, named Holly. I found a few gifts to bring home and a couple of gifts for myself too! Holly mentioned that she, her mom, and a friend handmade a few things in her store. Fingers crossed we can partner in the super near future. Check out her facebook page

Little did I know that 6 months later a Family Girls trip would take me back to the beaches of Costa Rica, this time staying further north in the Peninsula Papagayo. It was a nice long weekend, spending time on the beach with my family was the purpose of this trip. However, I did squeeze in one day to go on a pottery seeking excursion. My tour guide for the day was from the area, we even passed his father on horseback heading to the farm where he worked all his life. We took a lush scenic route to the town of Guaitil, in the Guanacaste Province. The village consists of approximately 85% of the population, or about 50 families carrying on the traditions their ancestors for nearly 200 years, making pottery. I spent the morning with Willy. He and his family have been potters for six generations. He took me through the entire process, start to finish, using the same methods and tools of those hundreds of years before him. They collect the clay from the Rincon St. Vincent, and then to another spot along the river where collect the iguana sand, sand where the iguanas lay their eggs. They sift the sand together with the clay, then add water until their desired texture, making the pottery clay. Willy began with a hunk of clay and on his self make potter’s wheel and quickly a vase came to life. The tools he used are super simple too, a corn cob, piece of shell from a gourd, scrap of rubber, knife edge, a few wooden sticks, and a wire for cutting the piece off his wheel. Then, off to the kiln for cooking! Willy then began to show me what goes into creating the design on each piece. They hand etch each line, all by sight, line by line and swirl by swirl. Turning each piece into a small work of art. Needless to say, I had to buy a number of pieces for site, but no gifts for myself...there is always next time!