Small, useful gift ideas for someone going on a trip to Costa Rica?
February 17, 2014 3:20 PM   Subscribe

A friend (read: guy I've been seeing for two months) is leaving to Costa Rica for a week. I'd like to give him a gift of something that's inexpensive, personal, and that he'd find useful on his trip.

He's renting a house with friends close to the capital, but also plans on doing some surfing. He's an experienced traveler.

We've been seeing each other for so short a time that I still don't know much of his tastes, etc., but I think he'd appreciate something useful. He's leaving in two weeks, so that's plenty of time for me to put something together/ buy online if necessary. If the 'personal' part is too much to ask for, so be it. I would just like to avoid giving him something mundane and boring.

Thanks for your help, Mefites :)
posted by Everydayville to Travel & Transportation around Costa Rica (11 answers total)
Maybe? Or same idea but less twee: 1, 2.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:54 PM on February 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Tom Bihn travel tray, REI multitowel, a few small notebooks if he likes to write or sketch.
posted by payoto at 4:48 PM on February 17, 2014

This? Sarong/towel/beach mat/sheet/carry-all. 1001 uses. Lightweight, folds up small, won't break.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:01 PM on February 17, 2014

Does he speak Spanish, and/or will he have a smartphone with him? If no and yes, you could get him some Spanish language apps on his phone.

Is he into photography? You could spring for an iPhone or Android zoom lens/other phone camera paraphernalia.

Does he sunburn easily? People can never have too many jaunty hats. :)
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 5:18 PM on February 17, 2014

Mr. Zog's Sex Wax
posted by BabeTheBlueOX at 6:46 PM on February 17, 2014

Honestly, there isn't much in the States, (that you would honestly NEED in CR) that you can't just but in CR. And if he's an extensive traveller, he probably has all the gadgets he needs.

I know it's only been 2 months, and I would be asking this same question in your position, but I would give him a little handwritten IOU note bulleting out the fun things that you'll do with/for him when he gets back. I don't mean OMG SEXY TIMES*, I mean nice/useful/silly/jokey/maybe sarcastic things like:

A ride home from the airport
A dinner that is not delicious fish tacos
The bends, but the Radiohead kind
A 20 gallon drum of aloe vera gel. Ok, maybe a bottle
A welcome lack of dance music that doesn't belong on a beach
A pet nurse shark, not really
More sand, if he misses it already
A movie night free of blinding sun
Your spit for jelly fish stings
Etc, whatever other dorky and funny thing you can think of, to taste

*Unless you're brave enough to put sexy times things in there, but I wouldn't be. Heh.
posted by ulfberht at 6:58 PM on February 17, 2014

Best answer: I was going to say a travel towel from REI but Payoto beat me to it.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 8:08 PM on February 17, 2014

Costa Rica isn't an impoverished third world country. Give him something that makes him think of you.
posted by kjs3 at 9:57 PM on February 17, 2014

I find this tiny flashlight incredibly useful when I travel. I attach it to my toiletry kit with a small strap that I can also use to tether my toiletries to a towel rack or something else handy if I'm in a bathroom without a large counter around the sink.
posted by OrangeDisk at 7:28 AM on February 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

I love these Stanley Flasks when traveling/doing outdoorsy things, great for the beach.

What about a small moleskine notebook/journal with a nice note from you on the first page?

Bananagrams! It's a really great game, if he and his friends are the type that might play a quick round with dinner or something.

A cool bandanna or handkerchief? Basic/classic version available at REI or Target in the men's section. This could also be a fun way to wrap a gift, which then becomes useful. If you sew at all, you could make one yourself out of cool fabric.

5 Great Books to Read on your Costa Rican Vacation These all sound good. Make sure to write a note/dedication in the front of the book.

SPF lip balm
posted by dahliachewswell at 12:47 PM on February 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you all for the lovely suggestions! I got him a travel towel and he said it came in super useful!
posted by Everydayville at 11:16 AM on March 25, 2014

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