Every time you visit a new country or a new location, you want to shop for souvenirs. We have lots of that in Tamarindo, there are all kinds of things to bring back home as cool hardwood kitchenware, t-shirts etc .The difference is when you actually decide to live here, your needs change from souvenirs to clothing, shoes, groceries, electronic devices, tools, toys, baby stuff like cribs, carseats, sheets, zippy cups, special bottles, etc. The first place you decide to go is to Automercado or the hardware stores, because they bring a lot of cool stuff from the US or other parts of the world. But lets get real, it isn’t Target!
My wife learned how to shop online, because sometimes we could not find what we need, either we have to look in Liberia or even make a trip to San José to find it and it would take hours of our valuable time. One time she was at the Post Office in Villareal and she asked about online shopping and they explained how to make a free account at http://www.boxcorreos.com and bring your purchases at that Post Office. You would spend maximum 20 minutes getting your goods compared to 10 hours round trip to San José or 3 hours round trip to Liberia without knowing if you will find what you need. Once you have your account at boxcorreos you will have an address to make your online shopping. On Box Correos website, you can find a list of rates so you can have an idea how much you are going to pay to bring your package to Tamarindo´s Post Office.
We bought a convertible carseat for our little one about a year ago, weighting 28 pounds, this is the biggest item we have bought online. We paid close to $80 or ¢40,000 to ship it, total cost $410. I have to say that if we have bought it in San José, we would have paid close to $700, plus the trip expenses.
At this point, you can be thinking: “Ok, so I don’t need local stores, I can shop everything online”! That is correct BUT don´t forget that you when you live in an International community with lots of small business owners from around the world (you could be one), you have to encourage your community. They have their kids in the local schools, eat at restaurants, shop in the local supermarket and makes
this community part of our daily lives. My advice is to support the local businesses as much as you can and if you cannot get something here in Tamarindo and have to go to San Jose to a big corporation to get it, only then consider to buy it online and ship it down here if you cannot find it in the country or if it's too expensive.
If you have any questions contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I'll be happy to give you a list of local shops that I love to encourage!