Nosara Artisans Market in Playa Guiones, Costa Rica

One of the best parts of being a travel blogger is stumbling upon a topic for a post that truly deserves to be recognized and rejoiced.

The Nosara Artisans Market falls into that category.

I learned about the Artisans Market early in our trip to Nosara, via an advertisement on a local community board. Being a traveller who loves exploring local markets, I was instantlyP1030251 intrigued.

Wanting to learn more, I connected with Kristen Brousseau, a local artisan and one of the coordinators of the event. She and fellow artist Emma Kinsey, have been organizing the Nosara Artisans Market since 2012. Kristen was kind enough to provide me with a little insight and history into how Nosara Artisans came to be:

“Nosara Artisans, started in October 2012, and was created to give Nosara artists a place to sell their wares during the holiday and summer season. It is a non-profit artist collective open to all artists living in the community. The first fair was held December 2012 at The Gilded Iguana Hotel and Restaurant located in Playa Guiones.
Since then, the group has grown with many artists participating from other countries and Costa Rica. They hand make accessories, clothing, ceramics, furniture, glass art, lamps, jewellery, mosaics, paintings, photos, up-cycled creations and carved wood art. A lot of the artwork is made using natural materials found in Nosara and its beaches.

In an effort to give back to Nosara, this season The Gilded Iguana and Nosara Artisans have teamed up collect a portion of the artist fees for fundraising. So far, they donated money to Nosara Animal Care, the Del Mar Academy’s scholarship fund and the education fund at the Nosara Recycle Center. Also new this year, is the addition of baked goods, organic garden products, artisans breads, coffee produced in Costa Rica, and local food products.”

Upon hearing that description, I felt I simply had to attend the event. In fact, I even altered my travel plans so I could stay for it. The day of the event arrived and let me tell you, I was not disappointed.

P1030254Immediately upon entering the market, you could sense the excitement in the air. Booths filled with jewellery, pottery, crafts and baked goods wound their way through the shaded grassy lawn of the Gilded Iguana. Groups mingled together laughing and marvelling at each others creations. I was struck with the diversity and uniqueness of the artwork. I found myself appreciating the fact that everything that was for sale truly was “one of a kind”
My husband and I explored the booths, sampled a few goodies and of course made some purchases.We chatted with several locals who welcomed us to the market with open arms. We left the market that day not feeling like a tourists, but more like honourary members of the Nosara community.

10245464_307950199357161_9069604458241027652_nThe Nosara Artisans Market is not just about selling wares, it’s about a community coming together. Not only do they celebrate the beauty of their handmade creations but also the feeling of togetherness that we found Nosara is known for.

If you are in the Nosara area, I would highly suggest you check out this market. Not only will you see some amazing one of kind creations, you’ll really get a feel for what Nosara is all about.

The next Nosara Artisan Art Market is on Saturday, April 19th at The Gilded Iguana from 12-3pm. Check out their Facebook page or website for more information.

Pura Vida!
Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

Feeling Artistically Inspired in Costa Rica

Being surrounded by all of Costa Rica’s natural beauty is a constant source of inspiration. I feel my creative juices flowing on a daily basis.

Throughout my life, writing has always been my consistent creative outlet. Outside of my daily blog posts, I find myself journalling and doing the occasional freelance article. So I’ve pretty much got the writing side of things covered.

Prior to our departure I had started dabbling in some more artistic outlets. A couple paintings here and there, but nothing to serious.  At the last minute I decided to pack a sketchbook and some markers, figuring they might come in handy if I was bored one day.

I am SO glad I did.

PicMonkey Collage Ever since we arrived I’ve been sketching my little heart out, in fact, I’ve gone through three packs of markers already.

Although I’m inspired by artist such as Yapes Paint and Marina Jenelle, I gain lots of my inspiration from local art. I think every town we’ve visited has some sort of art gallery. Whether it’s paint on driftwood, or giant metal sculptures, it is evident that EVERYONE’s creative juices are flowing here in Costa Rica.

photo 2 (1)

After spending the last several months with my markers glued to my side, I found I was getting restless with their limitations. I couldn’t blend colours, or get really fine details.

I started keeping my eyes out for paint but soon realized it was impossible to find. Whenever I would find a local artist, I would ask them where they get their paint from. The answer was always “San Jose.” I knew we wouldn’t be staying in the heart of San Jose, so figured I would be destined to be paintless till we got home.

photo 1 Then we went to Panama, and I connected with Christin at Random Art in Bocas del Toro. Not only did she have an amazing set of acrylics that I could travel with, but she hooked me up with paint brushes, and a great big sketchbook. Needless to say, I was stoked.

So now I’ve reached a turning point with my creativity in Costa Rica. Paints are a whole different ballgame, and to be quite honest, I’m sort of intimidated.P1020801

In fact, I’ve been lugging the paints around for over two weeks, moment to dive in.

I no longer have the security blanket of my markers and little sketchpad. I can’t just throw it in my purse, and whip it out when I’m bored. I know need to find a space, set up my supplies, and be solely focused on creating something. It’s actually pretty exciting.

So, I guess this will be a two part post. The calm before the creative storm. You’ll just have to wait and see what comes out of this brain…You could be in for some very colourful finger painting!!

Wish me luck!

Question for the day…what should I paint??

Pura Vida!


Follow me on Twitter: @caketress

Our Favourite Places in Bocas Town, Panama

After bouncing around from place to place the last several weeks, having five days in Panama felt beyond luxurious.

Not only were we able to fully unpack, but we were able to explore lots of awesome local businesses in Bocas Town.

So, without further ado, I present the next instalment in our series of favourite places, check out “Our Favourite Places in Bocas Town”

If you see this door in Bocas Town, go won't be disappointed!

If you see this door in Bocas Town, go inside…you won’t be disappointed!

Random Art: I can safely say, without a doubt, this is the coolest place I’ve visited throughout our entire adventure. Random art is a tiny art studio nestled amongst the restaurants, and tour companies on the main street of Bocas Town.

The owner, Christin, welcomed me to her studio with open arms and showed me around. I was overwhelmed with how amazing this place is. The studio is small but covered in art, and art supplies. The atmosphere feels like it would spawn creativity.

Christin offers a variety of classes for people of all ages. I had the opportunity to pop into one of her children’s art classes on our last day. I was amazed by the art work that these kids were producing.

The studio

The studio

Each class they focus on a different technique, artist, or style. She is passionate about helping children learn to look at the world through a different lense, and embrace their artistic abilities at an early age. On Friday nights, Christin also runs a free art class for the local kids of Bocas. These are the kids whose parents wouldn’t be able to afford such a luxury for them. I was disappointed that we left Friday morning as I would have loved to watch the magic of that class unfold.

Working on the skill of "perspective" note the boat in the background of this amazing masterpiece.

Working on the skill of “perspective” note the boat in the background of this amazing masterpiece.

Christin also offers a variety of classes for adults, including some that involve wine tasting. I don’t know about you, but nothing gets my creative juices flowing like a little bit of vino!

One of the primary reasons I am so thankful to have stumbled upon Random Art, is the fact that I am now decked out with all the art supplies I need for the rest of the trip. I’ve been sketching like mad since I got to Costa Rica, and have been dying to get my hands on some paint.

The artists hard at work

The artists hard at work

Thanks to Christin, I now have a set of acrylics, a large sketch pad, and some brushes. I can’t wait to set myself up on the beach, and get started.

Random Art is truly a must visit location in Bocas Town. Whether you are artistic, or have never picked up a paint brush in your life, Christin has artistic wisdom to pass on to you.

The store front

The store front

Super Gourmet Bocas del Toro: If you’ve read any of my previous favourite place posts, you know I’m a sucker for a health food store. And, although Super Gourmet has a wide variety of products, the amount of unique, and healthy food caught my eye.

Not only do they have natural peanut butter, but they carry almond butter as well. I certainly haven’t seen any of that during my travels through Central America!

An amazing selection

An amazing selection

In addition to nut butters, they have a variety of organic, gluten free, and kosher items, as well as imported items that simply can’t be found anywhere else.

Local chocolate-delicious!

Local chocolate-delicious!

Super Gourmet also stocks the famous Island Cacao chocolate, as well as many other varieties of locally produced chocolates. If you have a sweet tooth, and want to indulge in these local delicacies, I highly recommend taking a tour of their selection.

Nestled in the back of the store is a deli that offers a variety of fresh goodies that you can take to go.

I probably visited Super Gourmet Bocas del Toro, three times during our five day stay, and still feel like I didn’t see it all. I highly recommend stopping by, and checking it out.

It's pretty unassuming from the front

It’s pretty unassuming from the front

Frozen & Creamy– What would a favourite places post be without an ice cream shop! We stumbled upon this place one night completely by accident. We had finished dinner, and were trying to decide whether to go for a night cap, or grab a treat. We opted for dessert, and started poking around the grocery stores trying to find something involving ice cream.  Everything was looking pretty lacklustre, until I glanced up at a sign hanging over an alley. “Frozen & Creamy”, it was like it was destined to be.

A multitude of delicious treats to choose from.

A multitude of delicious treats to choose from.

We creeped down a little back road, and found Bocas del Toro’s only Ice Cream Parlour. It was fairly late in the evening, so their selection was limited. Luckily, their cookies n cream was in full stock. Normally in these situations, Shaun and I would share a cup of ice cream, but after a lacklustre dinner choice, we were looking for some indulgence. We each got a scoop in a waffle cone. I seriously thought I had died, and gone to heaven. This homemade ice cream was so creamy, and full of huge cookie chunks. Needless to say we both buzzed home on a sugar high.

If you are looking for an amazing ice cream treat, check out Frozen & Creamy. It’s pretty fabulous!

Want more of “Our Favourite Places?” Check out the rest of our posts. And as always, if you are visiting any of these areas, and have questions, or are looking for recommendations, feel free to leave us a comment or come visit us on our Facebook page.

Pura Vida!


Follow me on Twitter: @caketress