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

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: 6
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 km
Author: john
1
Mercado Nacional de Artesanía

1) Mercado Nacional de Artesanía

The Mercado Nacional de Artesanía (The National 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.
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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.
3
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.
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Malety

4) Malety

The Malety is the shop to stop by, if you are looking to purchase leather goods in San Jose. All of the goods are locally made leather products including purses, bags, wallets, etc. The quality of the leather is very good and there is a large selection of some unique designs.

Operation Hours: Monday - Friday: 9 am - 6 pm; Saturday: 9 am - 5 pm;
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Mercado Central

5) 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.

Tip:
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
6
Mercado Borbón

6) Mercado Borbón (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.
Places of Worship Tour in San Jose

Places of Worship Tour in San Jose

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
Barrio Amon Tour in San Jose

Barrio Amon Tour in San Jose

The Bario Amon represents one the oldest neighborhoods in San Jose. Designed by a Frenchman, Amon Fasileau, it grew to be a beautiful area with a rich architectural history. Take this walking tour to appreciate the splendor of this neighborhood.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.9 km
Museum Walk in San Jose

Museum Walk in San Jose

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: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.7 km
Historic Architecture Tour in San Jose

Historic Architecture Tour in San Jose

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: 2.4 km
City Orientation Walk

City Orientation 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: 3.8 km
Paseo Colon Tour in San Jose

Paseo Colon Tour in San Jose

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: 5.1 km

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...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in San Jose for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best San Jose has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as San Jose, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.