For residents of the greater San José area, a drive to the mountainous areas peripheral to the Central Valley is sure to produce sightings of Christmas tree stands and farms. Look for signs with a green triangle, and expect to find equally triangular trees about 1.5 to 2 meters in height, for about $7-20.
The Universidad Nacional in Heredia, north of San José, sells cypress trees before each Christmas; you can chop them off or dig them up and plant them at home (see separate story in Weekend section).
PriceSmart, with locations in the southeastern district of Zapote, the northern district of Tibás, the western suburb of Escazú, and Heredia, north of San José, has two styles of 2.3-meter artificial trees with 750 lights for about $150 and $175.
Aliss has a 2.1-meter, papery-needled tree for about $100 and a 2.7-meter tree for about $200.
Universal sells 28 styles of trees ranging from 1.2 to more than four meters. Among the display models, a 3.7-meter beauty is about $200, or $465 on the three-year plan, and a 450-branch, 1.8-meter, white-needled pine is about $23.
Cemaco is the San José plastic-tree king of The Tico Times’ recent survey: 29 models, including an 8,952-tipped, 4.6-meter beauty for just over $950. At the opposite end is a one-meter, dried-up plastic bush for about $14 (“Christmas tree – flame retardant – made in China”). At the Plaza Cemaco store in Zapote, shoppers walk into the artificial forest as soon as they’re in the door. Trees just over two meters run from about $100-200, depending on options such as pine cones and frosting. There are even one- and two-meter “palm” trees with branches of spruce (about $85 and $160). The trees are also available in payments, but the three-year plans put them at more than twice their original prices.