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|Bronze Card Talk Member|
I am on vacation this week with my wife in Costa Rica. She is here for about a month on business, but as a perk with her company, she was able to bring me as a tag-along for the first 10 days! For the first few days, she has been off work – so we’ve been on a volcano tour, visited the local markets, and this morning we are headed out on a crocodile excursion called the Mangrove Tour! Crikey!
Well, needless to say, I am keeping a lookout for collectibles, but I have run into an expected lack of them here. When I ask anyone about cards (soccer, football (to refer to soccer), baseball, Pokemon, etc – the common words to use to make the connection), I’m either told they don’t know, there are none, or go to the supermarket. By “supermarket”, they usually mean Wal-Mart. When I went there – nothing.
In fact, the only thing remotely collectible to find at Wal-Mart are 1) the usual selection of Kinder Surprise eggs, and various knock-offs, and 2) some unique items in the cereal brands (their version of Cookie Crisp is featuring three collectible rulers from Animal Planet, and their version of Frosted Flakes has a collectible Iron Man game CD). I love Kinder eggs, too, but they are much more expensive here than in Canada – approximately $1.70 each after the exchange (local price is 1690 Colones for two; 500 Colones is $1.00. Sheesh!!). I seem to remember that the eggs in Canada still average 70 to 90 cents each depending on where you shop.
Unlike Italy or Japan (in Italy it was the newsstands, in Japan it was any toy store or department store), cards are nowhere to be found. Unless….and this is where I hope one of YOU GUYS can help….unless….I’m not looking in the right places???
Does anyone know where I need to go – if anywhere – to find our usual brand of collectibles here in Central America?
P.S. I love it here, so I’m not complaining. Believe me, I’m grateful, just in case it seems otherwise.This message has been edited. Last edited by: geoffbovey,
|Bronze Card Talk Member|
Hello, again, everyone!
I am happy to report that my message above is not as correct as it would seem at first. There are indeed collectibles here, but just not in as great abundance as we are used to in the USA, Canada, UK, Italy, Japan, etc….. They are much harder to find.
However, it can be done and I am hoping this post will spare you all some unneeded searching if you ever decide to choose Costa Rica as a vacation or business stop. Everything I mention below can be found in one place: the supermarket. Supermarkets here consist of Wal-Mart and a few local versions. I have visited two here – the Wal-Mart and a local franchise in the mall. Word to the wise: avoid the mall version unless you are looking for something specific – it’s more expensive. The only thing I found in the mall version that I could not find in the Wal-Mart is the cereal containing the Star Wars cards. Other than that, everything below can be found in either supermarket.
Kinder Surprises (chocolate eggs with the toy inside)
Finding these should not come as any surprise to any of you here. These eggs are found in every country on the planet except the USA. This year, Ferrerro appears to be featuring several different collections at once: Hot Wheels, Barbie, sailboats, and the regular series. In the picture linked below are all the different series’ boxes, except the Barbie series – that’s the lone egg standing on the box.
The links below feature some of the Kinder knock-offs, which again can be found in every nation – it’s just that the knock-offs seem to differ from country to country. The knock-offs I haven’t purchased feature two separate Disney series: Cars 2 and Toy Story 3.
This link shows an image of two toys found in the oversized “Happy Santa” eggs. The toys are inside the chocolate without a plastic egg holder. The chocolate was so awful, I spat it out. Sorry, I couldn’t save the wrapper. Frankly, these toys are NOT worth it, even at the discounted rate (thank goodness) they are now being sold at:
This link features another Christmas season knock off. Notice that the plastic egg is designed like the OLD Kinder eggs from years ago. These toys are better quality, and the chocolate was still good months after the Christmas season has passed:
For those of you who like to collect post cards when you travel, don’t expect much variety in this department either. The picture features the collection I have picked up so far. They are OVER-PRICED at the supermarkets and souvenir shops because they are targeting foreign travelers – they range in price anywhere from 50 cents to $1.00. However, if you travel to the poor section of San Jose and visit the large city market, these same cards can be found priced at 25-40 cents each. One thing I have noticed that sets Costa Rica apart from every other country I have visited – the cards are exactly the SAME at EVERY shop, on every tour, and at the supermarkets. The collection I have in the picture is as diverse as it will ever get for standard-sized post cards. Still, it’s better than spending some ridiculous price for a trinket that sits on a mantelpiece or a book that asks for more than $50.
Here is where the collectibles – to me – are they most interesting. I saw more collectibles in cereal boxes at the Wal-Mart and mall supermarket than I have seen in the last 3 years back in the USA. And most of the collectibles seem to only appear in the local version of Frosted Flakes, known here as “Zucaritas”. The pictures feature Star Wars cards, Animal Planet rulers, and soccer cards. However, I also saw other brands advertising an Iron Man game CD (Zucaritas again!) and plastic Star Wars Episode 1 spoons that light up (just like the ones from the USA a few years ago that promoted Indian Jones 4 and Revenge of the Sith).
This image features a front & back look at the Frosted Flakes advertising the Star Wars cards:
And here are three of the cards I have so far. There are three in each box, one of which is a foil card. I can’t show the other three yet because I haven’t opened the box yet:
This image features a front & back look at the Frosted Flakes advertising the soccer cards:
Here are the soccer cards, front and back. Three are in each box, and one of the three is a lenticular card:
And here is a front and back image of the Cookie Crisp featuring the Animal Planet rulers. The second link is of the one ruler I got. It’s not worth getting the other cereals for the other rulers, but it’s still a nice find by itself.
Trading Cards / Stickers
Out of all the supermarkets, souvenir shops, open markets, and mom & pop shops I visited, I found trading cards in only one place: one small toy store in the mall. The mall had over a dozen toy stores (!), but only ONE had cards. And….it isn’t worth the trouble because the ONLY title was Yu Gi Oh. Sorry, I don’t mean to offend any possible collectors here, but I am NOT a fan of Yu Gi Oh because of the poor card stock and poor design. Just my opinion, though. Also, they are more expensive than the ones we get in the USA, so if you like Yu Gi Oh, it’s STILL not worth it.
However, I did find ONE Panini product being sold ONLY at the supermarkets. The image is below, but here is the odd part: they are sold with more security than you would expect at home. In order to buy the packs, I had to ask for them by name, purchase whatever amount I wanted at the register, then take my receipt to customer service where they keep them locked up – much like how our Wal-Marts operated many years ago when cards were all locked up at that time. In fact, the only reason I knew they sold the packs at all was because I stumbled upon the sticker book on a magazine stand. Otherwise, I never would have noticed.
One more thing which beats us: the packs were only 50 cents, which beats the $1.00 we have to pay in the USA.
This picture shows what I purchased:
I can’t be the only one who likes to collect newspaper comics and movie adverts, so this one is for others that are into these things as well.
Unlike Japan or Italy where their newspapers do NOT feature (rarely, anyways) a colored comics section, the newspapers here do. Here are some samples….. The first image is of one of the newspapers that feature both comics and movie adverts, but there are others that do the same thing - it’s just that La Nacion seems to have the best movie ads. The images afterwards are all pages from the La Nacion. The last image is of some clippings I took from other papers. Newspapers here are dirt cheap compared to USA papers. NONE of them exceeded $1.00, and most of them were 50 cents or less, including on Sunday.
Pages from La Nacion featuring movie ads:
Other clippings from other papers:
There you have it. A nice report on collectibles here in Costa Rica. Happy hunting everyone!
|Gold Card Talk Member|
Thanks for the report, too bad you didn't find more cards, but it looks like you did pretty well overall! Now I know to check out the grocery store the next time I'm traveling!
PS. I love Kinder eggs. . . ticks me off our government is so stupid about them.
yes, thank you for all the info
I am an avid collector of kinder eggs
and have a very large box of them
and try to pick them up when ever I am traveling
and honestly didn't notice they were not available in the US
- never really looked for them there, as I thought they would be the same as ours
I like the older ones from Europe
- as they used to have metal pieces
|Bronze Card Talk Member|
did you get any spare star wars cards or cereal boxes ?
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