Blue Zones Airport Store in Costa Rica Showcases Unique Local Products — Profits Help Centenarians
By Aislinn Kotifani, Blue Zones Business Coordinator
Costa Rica’s lush rainforests, pristine, untouched beaches, and friendly, welcoming residents leave tourists with an unforgettable experience and a lust for the pura vida. Just like any vacation, they hope to pack their bags and return home with a memento of their travels, souvenirs from a place where they’ve left a piece of themselves.
Diversifying airport shopping
Until recently, travelers passing through the Daniel Oduber airport in Liberia, Costa Rica, only had access to the standard airport shops full of imported goods and paperback books. In 2018, airport administrators approached Arnaldo Cruz and Jimena Garnier Cruz, co-founders of Blue Zones Nicoya, with a proposition to open a store in the airport terminal to feature their innovative products and mission to help Guanacaste—from centenarians to the environment to endangered species. Many tourists visit Costa Rica because of its status as one of the original blue zones and the happiest place in the world, so what began as a natural partnership to promote Costa Rica’s unique tourist experience has successfully launched a Blue Zones airport store featuring 100% Guanacaste products.
Blue Zones Nicoya
Costa Rica and, in particular, the Nicoya peninsula, are characterized by unique cuisine and the joy of its inhabitants. Blue Zones Nicoya is proud to use all local ingredients in their specialty items and supports local producers, artists, and farmers. “We seek to offer a gastronomic and lifestyle experience to visitors,” Garnier said.
“We seek to offer a gastronomic and lifestyle experience to visitors.”
It is an authentic experience focused on celebrating Costa Rican culture, values, and traditions while preserving and protecting the land, resources, and endangered species in the region.
Working with local farmers, Garnier discovered that some of Guanacaste’s indigenous plants could be harvested into superfood powders, dried into teas, or highlighted in hot sauces. One of their best-selling products, called Nutri-Maximum, is a whole food supplement made from the nut of the brosimum alicastrum tree, sometimes known as the Maya nut. This superfood powdered drink mix is a caffeine-free coffee substitute that has hints of mocha. It contains protein, fiber, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, iron, selenium, vitamins A, B, C, and E, amino acids, antioxidants, and tryptophan. Along with the coffee substitute, Garnier is experimenting with Maya nut dark roast blends including variations with turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger for morning brews.
Blue Zones Nicoya prides itself on offering 100% natural products that are free of preservatives, added sugars, artificial colors, and flavors. Their products are available at the Blue Zone airport terminal store, The Blue Zones Store online, Amazon, and in grocery stores and health stores in Costa Rica. A portion of their profits goes directly to support centenarians in the Nicoya peninsula. You can feel good about purchasing these products because of their nutritional value but also because of the impact they will have on farmers and centenarians in Nicoya.