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La Ranita: Traditional Costa Rican Souvenirs
When you're in Ciudad Quesada, I recommend you take a look at La Ranita, a store that has typical Costa Rican souvenirs of the Northern Zone. The souvenir shop, which is also a talabartería—or cowboy saddle shop—has a number of fine artisanal crafts from all parts of the Costa Rica's Northern Zone. Here you can find all sorts of cowboy gear and apparel that is very typical of the Northern Zone, which is known for its cattle farming and rodeo shows. My personal favorite is the cowboy belt that can feature your name imprinted on the back and fashioned with one of a great variety of fun cowboy belt buckles. Besides being thrilled for having a Costa Rican cowboy belt, you will also be impressed by the speed with which they can put your name on the belt for no extra charge. You can choose from a number of ready-made belts from the rack and have your name pounded into it within fifteen minutes. The belts can be as inexpensive as $15 USD or upwards of $40 (2006 prices), depending on the detail of the belt and the quality and size of the belt buckle. Even if you don't want a belt, Verny, the store's owner, can fashion a number different things from leather. He can make wallets, decorative leather straps, and elegant plaques that can carry whatever message you choose. One of these plaques was probably the best gift I ever received. It was extra special because these plaques are a very formal way of showing appreciation in the Northern Zone of Costa Rica. As a traveler, however, you can just write something goofy on it to take back home to commemorate your wonderful trip to Costa Rica.
How to get there
The store is located two blocks from the Catholic church in the very center of town. When in front of the church, turn so that the church is on your left side. Go straight for two blocks and the store is right there on the left side of the street.