Shopping Tour in San Jose (Self Guided), San Jose

Shopping in San Jose is undeniably a fun experience, with a large selection of downtown department stores, traditional marketplaces and souvenir shops selling handicrafts. So if you are looking for something authentic, original and made in Costa Rica, then take this tour to visit some of the acclaimed shopping venues of San Jose.
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Shopping Tour in San Jose Map

Guide Name: Shopping Tour in San Jose
Guide Location: Costa Rica » San Jose (See other walking tours in San Jose)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
Author: john
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Mercado Municipal de Artesania
  • Avenida Central
  • La Casona
  • Mercado Central
  • Mercado Borbon
Mercado Municipal de Artesania

1) Mercado Municipal de Artesania

The Mercado Municipal de Artesanía (The Municipal Market of Handcrafts) is a trendy market for cottage industry products in San Jose. This market has a fantastic display of local handicrafts and artwork at bargain prices. It also exhibits and sells paintings, sculptures, wood works, ceramics, textiles and other articles.
Avenida Central

2) Avenida Central

The Avenida Central is a pedestrian mall where all sorts of interesting shopping can be found. Even if you are not a huge shopping fan, the walk alone down the avenue, without the hustle and bustle of traffic all around, is a nice change. For those who do like to shop, this area is full of rather inexpensive clothing and souvenirs to take home. Depending on a day, there may also be street vendors and folks selling non-local items. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so just enjoy the outing.

A word of caution however, there may be products for sale that are not friendly to the planet. Please be sensitive to the fact that endangered species may be used in products that are for sale here. While international laws are very specific, enforcement in the shops can be very lenient. Enough said, however, do be sure to bring a camera with you, as along the route, there are several colorful sculptures of cows which do make great Earth friendly photos.

The market is open from approximately 8 am to 6 pm every day except Sunday. Some stores are closed for the lunch hour, others are not, so the best advice is to go early and thus have the opportunity to explore the shops that you want to before they close for lunch.
La Casona

3) La Casona

La Casona is considered to be the biggest souvenir shop of San Jose. This three storeyed souvenir shop is an ideal place for artistic items and things you want to give to your family and friends. There is always some sale or the other going on in this shop.
Mercado Central

4) Mercado Central (must see)

The Mercado Central is a fun market spot in the center of San José. The market encompasses one entire block and is a long time fixture of the area having been started in 1880. You will find stall after stall of almost anything you can think of purchasing.

The isles are narrow and can become very crowded at times, but the atmosphere is still delightful. If you are staying in San José and have cooking facilities, a trip here is a must. There are fresh fish, fresh flowers, and delicious freshly ground coffee to purchase along with local bread, fruits and vegetables. Add a nice beer, and you have prepared an incredible meal from local products. If you need a great souvenir to take home, how about some coffee beans? Be sure to take some of the coffee home for yourself as well as any coffee aficionados on your list. The best advice is to buy whole beans and grind them yourself as the local grind is too fine for most coffee pots. There are also freshly prepared meals here for those who would rather sightsee and shop than cook.

The market is open from dawn to dusk daily. Make sure to have a map of the surrounding area with you in the market, as it is very congested and it is easy to get lost while wandering and exit from a totally different spot from where you entered the marketplace. Remember to keep track of your valuables, too.

Give the traditional ice cream flavor a try at the Lolo Mora shop!
Otherwise, eat where you see the most locals, as they know where the best foods are.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 6:30am-5:45pm
Mercado Borbon

5) Mercado Borbon (must see)

The Mercado Borbón is yet another interesting market worth visiting while roaming on the streets of San Jose. It’s an all-in-one place; you can have a traditional meal, buy some crafts, clothes, etc. Very good place to try many fruits and vegetables you're probably unfamiliar with (e.g. caimito, jocote, granadilla, guanábana, cashew fruit), as well as delicious tamales, empanadas, and helado (ice cream). You can find a bargain on everything here, as long as you know how to haggle.

Operation Hours:
Mon-Sat: 5am-5pm

Walking Tours in San Jose, Costa Rica

Create Your Own Walk in San Jose

Create Your Own Walk in San Jose

Creating your own self-guided walk in San Jose is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
San Jose's Historical Churches

San Jose's Historical Churches

San Jose's churches are vivid examples of historical and architectural value. Whether you are a keen church goer or simply interested in places of spirituality from either architectural or historical standpoints, this tour will take you to the most important religious sites of the city.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.9 Km or 3 Miles
Paseo Colon Tour

Paseo Colon Tour

The Paseo Colon is a modern area in San Jose where you will find most of the business centers and foreign embassies, as well as other architectural highlights and tourist attractions. At the end of Paseo Colon is Sabana Park, which stands out among the local metropolitan communities because of its proximity to the business district and its large area dedicated to recreation. Take this tour to...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.7 Km or 3.5 Miles
Museums Tour

Museums Tour

Although San José is one of the youngest capital cities in Latin America, its museums display a huge collection of traditional and pre-Columbian art. This walking tour should give you the perfect opportunity to explore the museums in the city and to familiarize yourself with its culture.

Tour Duration: 4 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 8.5 Km or 5.3 Miles
Historical Architecture Tour

Historical Architecture Tour

From a small village of little significance during the Spanish invasion, San Jose grew to become a densely populated cosmopolitan city. The city of San Jose was mostly built from the profits of the coffee-export business, and that is why its architecture represents a mix of European and Latin American features. Take this tour to discover some of the best historical architecture in San Jose.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
San Jose Introduction Walk

San Jose Introduction Walk

San Jose enjoys secluded location in the Central Valley of Costa Rica with its skyline dominated by the majestic Talamanca Mountains, hugging the city to the south, and a volcano ridge to the north. Local architecture reflects strong Spanish colonial influence manifested in places like Catedral Metropolitana in Calle Central, and the ornate, neoclassical National Theater presiding over...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.3 Km or 2.7 Miles
Souvenir Shopping

Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave San Jose without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to San Jose, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

17 Uniquely Costa Rican Things to Buy in San Jose

17 Uniquely Costa Rican Things to Buy in San Jose

Not to be confused with San Jose, the sunny California, San Jose, Costa Rica is the capital city of a wet (250 centimeters of rainfall per year) and colorful Latin American country renowned for its diverse craftsmanship (courtesy of the numerous indigenous tribes), splendid coffee and rich cultural...