Souvenir Shopping, San Jose (Self Guided)

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.
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Souvenir Shopping Map

Guide Name: Souvenir Shopping
Guide Location: Costa Rica » San Jose (See other walking tours in San Jose)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 km
Author: Daniel
Paragüería Rego

1) Paragüería Rego

What to buy here: Umbrellas -In a country where the annual rainfall measures 250 centimeters nationwide, an umbrella is a must-have accessory. Rego is a household name in Costa Rica that has been selling paraguas (for men) and colorful sombrillas (for women) for over sixty years. Close to the equator, it is also popular to carry a sun umbrella. If you are planning to spend several days at the beach, you can pick up a beach umbrella at Rego. Compact designs small enough to fit in a purse start at $8. Beach umbrellas range in price from $60 to $85. While many stores and supermarkets throughout Costa Rica sell the Rego brand, it’s fun to make a purchase from the tiny shop on the corner of Avenida 2 and Calle 1o, which tends to customers over the counter. Rego offers a similar intimate and customer-oriented environment in a slightly larger shop just up the street on Avenida 4, one of the capital’s pedestrian walkways ( or 506-2222-2163). Store hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays.
El Tostador

2) El Tostador

What to buy here: Coffee - Costa Rica refers to the coffee bean as a “grano de oro,” or gold nugget. Coffee has played a major role in the country’s development. Big name brands and boutique labels decorate supermarket shelves, and hand-weighed pounds pass straight from the roaster to the customer in coffee shops. One-pound bags selling for as little as $3 are sure to please even the most discriminating coffee palate. Auto Mercado supermarkets throughout the capital have a well-stocked coffee aisle displaying the popular 1820 and Café Britt brands, among others. But if you want to select fresh-roasted beans from a bin, try El Tostador, located on Avenida Central and Calle 10 (8 a.m. to 7 p.m.) and also on Avenida 4 behind the Merced Church (6 a.m. to 7 pm.).
Chíeton Morén

3) Chíeton Morén

What to buy here: Ceramic Art | Costa Rican Indigenous Art | Indigenous Textiles.

Indigenous Art - Costa Rica has tremendous biodiversity as well as ethnodiversity. Each of the country’s eight indigenous groups creates unique arts and crafts, including hand-carved and painted masks, hand-woven textiles and straw goods, intricately carved gourds, hand-sewn clothing and jewelry. Outside of purchasing goods on a visit to an indigenous community or at an artisan fair, the best place in the capital to buy indigenous arts and crafts is Chíeton Morén. With the help of the La Dolorosa Catholic Church and the La Flor Group in Boruca, San José now has a museum and gallery dedicated to Costa Rica’s indigenous people. The space is designed to educate visitors and provide an opportunity for all indigenous groups to sell their arts and crafts without an intermediary. Prices range from $5 for a hand-woven change purse to $20 for a small ceramic vase to $40 for a hand-woven straw hat. Chíeton Morén is located on Calle 1 between Avenida 10 and Avenida 12 (Look for a yellow façade with red triangles.). Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday ( or 506-8930-1371).
Libreria Lehmann

4) Libreria Lehmann

What to buy here: Books - The fact that Costa Rica is home to 4 % of the world’s biodiversity makes it a stunning place to photograph. It’s no surprise that stacks of coffee table books grace the shelves of bookstores. Magical Trees by Juan José Sergio and Giancarlo Pucci (2nd Edition), a soft-covered book about the trees of Costa Rica with text in English and Spanish ($38). (One of the writers is Jaime Gambo from Costa Rica’s famous band Malpais.) Among the large selection of creative bilingual children’s books, there is a story and coloring book called Magical Trees ($7) that talks about five of Costa Rica’s native trees. You can also find coffee table books highlighting the guaria morada (orchid), which is Costa Rica’s national flower, and birds. Costa Rica is home to 860 recorded bird species. (That’s more than the recorded number in the U.S.A. and Canada combined!) Along the city’s bustling Avenida Central are Libreria Lehmann, Universal and Libreria Internacional, all of which sell a great variety of books about Costa Rica

Monday-Friday: 8:00-18:30; Saturday: 9:00-17:00; Sunday: 11:00-16:00..
Pre-Columbian Gold Museum (Museum's Gift Shop)

5) Pre-Columbian Gold Museum (Museum's Gift Shop)

What to buy here: Costa Rican Indigenous Art | Indigenous Textiles | Pre-Colombian Jewelry |

Jewelry - Forming part of Costa Rica’s dynamic arts scene are jewelry designers working in gold, silver, glass, semi-precious stones, clay and recyclable materials. Boutique shops throughout San José sell a variety of unique designs. Prices range from $10 to the hundreds. The gift shop in the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum sells Pre-Columbian replicas and modern designs in gold (14K solid and 24K plated) and silver (950). The jewelry is designed and made by artists producing pieces exclusively for the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum ( or 506-2243-4214).
Rincón de la Havana Cigar Shop

6) Rincón de la Havana Cigar Shop

What to buy here: Cigars - Though Costa Rica is not widely known for its cigars, it is rolling and selling some of the best. Just a 2 1/2 hour flight from Cuba, Costa Rica imports some of the world’s finest tobacco. It is also growing tobacco in Santiago de Puriscal; however, the product doesn’t achieve the highest marks. Cigar rollers on the other hand are receiving a lot of praise. Don Benigno is one brand importing Cuban tobacco and rolling the cigars in Costa Rica. Prices run around $6 to $10. Costa Rica’s neighbor, Nicaragua, produces what Cigar Aficionado magazine ranks number one—Padrón. A good place to purchase cigars in San José is Rincón de la Havana Cigar Shop on Calle 7 and Avenida Central. Store hours are 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Sundays.
Seventh Street Books

7) Seventh Street Books

What to buy here: Books on Costa Rica | Costa Rican Music.

Music - Costa Rica’s diversity is best explored through its music. From calypso to folk music to rock, the geographically tiny country offers a surprising variety of music styles. Papaya music is a local label representing a variety of Costa Rican musicians. A music CD runs around $15. Seventh Street Books in downtown San José, just off Avenida Central on Calle 7, offers a small but representative selection of Papaya music.

Operation Hours: Friday - Saturday: 9 am - 6 pm; Sunday: 10 am - 6 pm;
Jacob Karpio Gallery

8) Jacob Karpio Gallery

What to buy here: Fine Art - Costa Rica has a vibrant and emerging contemporary arts scene. Art galleries are popping up around the capital showcasing talent from around Costa Rica and Latin America. Prices range as wide as $100 to $10,000. Surprisingly, a number of striking pieces are available in the hundreds and low thousands. Several notable art galleries spread throughout San José. Jacob Karpio Gallery highlights talent from Costa Rica and Latina America. The gallery is located in one of the capital’s old homes on Avenida 1 between Calle 11 and 15 on the south side of the Registro Civil.

Operation Hours: Monday - Friday: 8 am - 2 pm;
Galería Namu

9) Galería Namu (must see)

Galería Namu is a Fair Trade Art Gallery, representing local and indigenous artists of Central America. The name, namu, is the Bribri word for jaguar, the sacred animal to so many tribes of Central America. This name addresses one aspect of the gallery's mission – to respect and celebrate the permanence and legacy of the first people of this land.

Visitors of Galeria Namu will find an array of unique pieces such as Boruca tribe masks, handwoven baskets, carvings, jewelry, jade amulets, hand drums, ceramics, wood crafts, original paintings, tagua, carvings, figurines, pottery...

Namu Gallery is located on Avenida 7, between Calle 5 and 7, and it is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and on Sundays during tourist season from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays between January – April).

Why You Should Visit:
Not only is the artwork of outstanding quality, but the owners are passionate about their mission of educating anyone who comes into the gallery, whether tourists or local ticos.

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.
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
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
Children's Entertainment Tour in San Jose

Children's Entertainment Tour in San Jose

As many other cities in the world, San Jose has a lot to offer to its young tourists to keep them occupied and happy. Museum of Children, for instance, is full of fun, with plenty of educational activities and adventures. Take this tour for an unforgettable experience for you and your family.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.0 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.