My Favorite Shops
Here's a little hint on shopping for Costa Rican made items to bring home as gifts. There's a little market in front of the Museum de Costa Rica. There you will get good deals on many many Costa Rican made wooden items, jewelry, etc. At the airport the same exact items will cost two and three times as much as what you can get at this artisan's market.
Anyway, there is a man named Marco Salazar whose booth is located around the middle of the market which runs in a straight line with little booth/shops on either side, and he sits there all day making by hand chains of all kinds out of some sort of silver colored metal. Then he attaches all different kinds of cool stones like lapis or turquoise, etc. on the chains.
Some are built into the chain. It's hard to explain. I always go to see him when I go down to CR. I love his stuff because it's totally unique. He's the only guy who makes the actual chain himself. He works on these pieces all day sitting there with the radio blasting out 80's songs and he sings along. He said that's how he learned english.
Any driver knows exactly where it is. I think it's called the Artisans market (mercado artisanos). It is in downtown San Jose. If you're using a private driver from Casa Mercedes or Verdeza, you can even ask the driver to go in with you and he can help negotiate for you. But if you just mention my name, you will get an instant great deal. Like if you pay between $10 and $20 per piece you're doing great. I've paid up to $25 for one piece but I bought a really nice lapis stone in one of his really intricate chains.
When you're downtown you might also want to see the National Theater. It's a gorgeous old building and is worth a looksee. It's a functioning theater, used for concerts and shows of all kinds all the time. It's beautiful and all done in French design. I'm not sure how that came about, but still it's very beautiful.
And as long as you're downtown, if you don't mind a million different smells colliding in your nose (meats, herbs, fish, leather goods, vegetables, etc) go take a quick walk through the Central Market. And of course if you have time you can go in and check out one of the museums downtown. My limit for museums is 59 minutes. Their pre Colombian gold museum is nice as is their art museum.
Ok, that's all for now. Don't do anything I've mentioned above the first week after surgery. When you feel totally up to it in your second week, pick one thing and go do it. Don't do more than one thing in a day in the second week post op. Your brain will tell you, "sure, go ahead, see everything today because you're feeling up to it now!!!" But trust me, even if you feel up to it, after about an hour or so out on your feet doing something, you will get tired and need to sit or lie down. That's why I really recommend that you bring your driver in with you so you can hold on to him if necessary and he can lead you back to the car and take you right back to your recovery place.
Ok, so I lied. I had more to say. But I swear I'm done now. I just want you to go and have the best experience ever. But I want you to do it safely always keeping in mind that you just basically came out of major surgery. Don't forget that the whole time you're down there, ok?