Ceramics shop in Santa Ana
Ceramics shop in Santa Ana

San Jose is the capital and largest city in Costa Rica, so it should come as no surprise that this metro area features plenty of things to do. In fact, San Jose is one of my favorite places to go shopping in the entire country! Not only does the city have Costa Rica artifacts and goods, there are several places to buy imported items from other Central American countries like Panama, Ecuador and Guatemala. Whether you're in the market for handcrafted items, clothes, jewelry or Costa Rica's famous coffee, you'll find that you can shop 'til you drop without a problem in San Jose.

Hotels in San Jose will put you right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of modern city life with museums, art galleries, bars, restaurants and shops right at your finger tips. Most people traveling to Costa Rica are looking for a tropical getaway or adventure in nature, but cosmopolitan amenities are just as exciting. I'll share with you my favorite places to hop around!

Amazing handcraft store Las Palomas, Santa Ana
Amazing handcraft store Las Palomas, Santa Ana

The Markets

Mercado Central is the largest market in downtown San Jose, which opened to the public in 1880. You can find virtually anything you could want here, as there are more than 200 vendors that sell herbal remedies, handmade goods and food. Here, you'll get an inside look at the local culture, and can munch on some seasonal cuisine at very reasonable prices. It's a wonderful way to spend the afternoon!

Another great market is the Plaza de la Democracia, although it is much smaller. You can find souvenirs, like T-shirts, ceramics, jewelry and more. The atmosphere here is a little more laid-back as well, making it a perfect place to take a leisurely stroll.

Hammocks for sale in a typical market in Santa Ana
Hammocks for sale in a typical market in Santa Ana

Handmade items

Although there are modern malls throughout San Jose, the local stores with handcrafted items are much more appealing. Galeria Namu is a fair-trade gallery that sells everything from art to Boruca masks, woven baskets and Afro-Caribbean crafts. But if you like handmade arts and crafts, you must make a stop at Kiosco SJO. This shop is centered on sustainable design, and it sells modern home decor, clothes, jewelry, artisanal chocolates, photography and much more. Similarly, eNe attracts the hip and trendy to its zines, graphic art, picture frames, handbags and more. Trust me, there are so many places to pick up unique finds during your travel here.

Do you have any other favorite places to go shopping in San Jose? Don't hesitate to share them with me and other Costa Rica travelers!


Javi the Frog shopping Britt Coffee bags
Javi the Frog shopping Britt Coffee bags