Costa Rica amazes, enthrals, entices and mesmerises travellers from the world over who visit this tiny Central American country in pursuit of a wealth of travel experiences. While nature lovers can admire its unique landscapes and steal some serene moments on this bountiful paradise, adventure junkies can test their limits while riding class four rapids, zip-lining across forest canopies and scaling tropical waterfalls. Costa Rica is a nothing short of an enticing smorgasbord of unforgettable experiences that make for a fulfilling and rejuvenating holiday.
While you live the quintessentially Costa Rican pura vida (pure simple life) and gather memories for a lifetime, it is also a good idea to pick some unique souvenirs and gifts to take back home. Shopping in Costa Rica promises to be just as exciting as the country itself, with plenty of options. From quirky boutiques to shopping malls and luxury shopping in Costa Rica, here’s our lowdown on the best places to indulge in retail therapy.
Shopping In Costa Rica: Top 10 Places To Shop
Take a look at the best places to shop in Costa Rica for a soul-satisfying shopping experience whether you are visiting with your friends or family!
1. Mercado Central
One of the best places for shopping in Costa Rica, the Central Market in San Jose with its numerous small stalls and narrow alleyways is a fun place to feel the local vibes. From clothes, souvenirs and grocery shopping in Costa Rica, this bustling market is the go-to place for good deals and interesting variety of wares. Fresh flowers, local produce, knick-knacks, clothes, hats, and cigars and much more can be found in the winding lanes. Visiting Cafe Central for some great coffee and an enviable range of beans to take back home is highly recommended. Small cafes called sodas serve delicious local food which you can savour while you stroll through the market.
2. Mercado Nacional de Artesania (National Craft Market)
Right in the heart of San Jose is this one-stop-shop for souvenir shopping in Costa Rica and picking up handcrafted items made by local artisans. You can shop for paintings, sculptures, ceramics, textiles, beads, jewellery as well as wood & leather products right here. Most merchants speak English & are ready to negotiate prices. There are beautiful products created by local craftsmen and you must check out the hammocks available in a range of colours along with other interesting items. The iron wood statues of sea creatures also make for unique gift items.
Location: San José, Costa Rica, calle 5, avenida 6, costado Sur de la Plaza de las Garantías, San José, Costa Rica
Timings: Daily, 8AM-8PM
3. Avenida Escazu
For a relaxed outing with family coupled with good shopping in Costa Rica, head to one of the classiest malls in the region and you won’t be disappointed. While the beautifully landscaped grounds, mountain backdrop and interesting sculpture welcome you to the area, plenty of trendy stores allow you to shop to your heart’s content. There are many upscale restaurants and food chains to satiate your hunger pangs and interesting events during the weekends to keep the kids entertained. The Lego store, Barbie store and jumping water fountain are sure to hold the children’s interest.
Location: Avenida 2, San José Province, San Rafael, Costa Rica
Timings: Open 24 hours
4. City Mall
This shiny new destination for luxury shopping in Costa Rica is the perfect spot for some cool shopping and wholesome entertainment for the entire family. The City Mall is home to numerous floors lined with big brands and high fashion stores where you can pick up the trendiest clothes, bags and footwear. There are some interesting stores selling unique Costa Rican items as well as plenty of food outlets to keep hunger at bay as you indulge in retail therapy. Cinemas and fun rides for kids make this a wonderful place for a family outing. Check out the wood craft store selling beautiful souvenirs and jewellery.
Location: Radial Francisco J. Orlich, Alajuela Province, Alajuela, Costa Rica
Timings: 10AM-9PM (Mon-Sat); 10AM-8:30PM (Sun)
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5. Avenida Central
This bustling street in the heart of the capital city is not just a great place to stroll along and savour the sights and sounds but also lined with some wonderful possibilities for shopping in Costa Rica. One of the busiest avenues in San Jose, Avenida Central has stores and boutiques selling indigenous products and souvenirs. The beautiful pedestrian street also showcases sculptures & murals as well as many wonderful restaurants to grab a bite and rest your weary feet. Yu can also witness live music performances, shop souvenirs at charming stores and check out departmental stores like Universal and La Gloria.
6. Multiplaza Mall
Whether you’re looking for some high-end clothes shopping in Costa Rica or splurging on trendy footwear, Multiplaza Mall is the place to be. One of the largest and most well-organised malls in the country, this one is home to your favourite designer stores like Lacoste, Kenneth Cole, Diesel, Calvin Klein and many more. You can stroll through the huge department stores, stop by for refreshments at the umpteen food outlets or even catch a movie at the lovely theatre. There are many interesting events in the evenings to keep everyone entertained and engaged.
Location: Boulevard Camino Real | Off Autopista Prospero Fernandez Hwy, Escazu 10201, Costa Rica
Timings: 10AM-9PM (Mon-Sat); 10AM-8PM (Sun)
7. Galeria Namu
Galeria Namu is one of those authentic, fair-trade places for shopping in Costa Rica that bring to you a unique & eclectic collection of artwork and handicrafts from the far reaches of Costa Rica and Central America. While you can pick some outstanding collectibles like the Brunka masks, intricately woven Wounaan baskets, Guaymi dolls, reed mats, pre-Columbian pottery, Wounaan carved tagua and folk art pieces, your purchase goes a long way in supporting indigenous artists.
Location: 7th Avenue | Between 5th And 7th Streets, San Jose, Costa Rica
Timings: Monday to Saturday – 9AM to 6:30PM; Sunday – 1 to 5 PM
8. Central Farmer’s Market Escazu
While you’re wondering ‘is there good shopping in Costa Rica?’ we have a very special recommendation that’s not just about buying stuff but experiencing the local way of life. There’s no better place than a farmer’s market to shop like a local and walk away with some truly cool & healthy picks. Located in the heart of Escazu, the market is packed with farmers selling everything from exotic fruits, fresh seafood, artisanal cheese and hand crafted goods. Don’t forget to pick & taste some delicious Costa Rican empanadas, corn tortillas, patacones and fresh pipas (coconuts).
Location: South of San Miguel Church in the centre of Escazu
Timings: Saturday – 7AM to 1PM
9. Mall Real Cariari
This 3-storey modern shopping mall offers more than 100 stores to satiate your urge for some last-minute shopping in Costa Rica, as it is conveniently located just 10 minutes away from the international airport. You can pick up clothes, sports gear & books or catch a movie at the multi-theatre if you have time on hand. The mall also has a decent selection of food outlets to take away or enjoy a hearty meal enroute the airport.
Location: 111, Heredia, Costa Rica
Timings: 11AM-10PM (Mon-Sat); 11AM-7PM (Sun)
10. Souvenir Museum
This is a very special store and one that would stand out from your entire shopping in Costa Rica due to the cause it supports. With an aim to promote local artisans and indigenous crafts, this place doubles up as a museum showcasing the various indigenous cultures, their customs and artistic traditions. All the handcrafted collectibles at this unique store are beautiful and the owners ensure that the artisans receive fair price for their labour. Take our word and visit this heart-warming store when in the vicinity.
Location: km al Norte de los Tribunales de Justicia, 712, Provincia de Alajuela, Alajuela, Costa Rica
Timings: 10AM-6PM (Mon-Sat)
Tips For Shopping In Costa Rica
- In bustling markets like the Central Market in San Jose, be vary of pickpockets and thieves who may take advantage of the huge crowds.
- It is advisable not to carry valuables and important documents in your handbag when you head out for shopping in Costa Rica.
- The movable stalls in front of the National Museum in San Jose are also great to pick bargain stuff and knick-knacks, but be prepared to haggle and offer just 20/30% of the quoted price.
- Sarchi, the main town in Alajuela is one of the best places for handicraft shopping in Costa Rica. You must pick up the famous and unique miniature ox-cart to take back home.
You can save you liquor purchase for duty free shopping in Costa Rica airport to ensure authentic brands and best prices. So, now you know how to spend a beautiful vacay in Costa Rica. Don’t wait and plan a trip to USA before it’s all gone!
Frequently Asked Questions About Shopping In Costa Rica
A. Mercado Central is one of the most recommended places for shopping in Costa Rica. The place is at the center of the city and it has a variety available for shopping. So you can always access the place at any hour.
A. Paintings, sculptures, ceramics, textiles, beads, jewelry, wood & leather products are popular here. These arts are so popular in the city and are appreciated worldwide. Hence the similar items are shopped so much by the people from all around the world.
A. There are a lot of malls. But to mention the visit-worthy – Avenida Escazu, City Mall, Avenida Central, Multiplaza Mall. Besides these mentioned, you can always the visit the malls that are near your tour destination. Each mall is equally amusing.
A. Mercado Nacional de Artesania (National Craft Market) is an apt place. The city where art is seen everywhere. This is the place from where you can actually purchase it. The place is very good to explore.
A. At Galeria Namu you can find the range of unique products in Costa Rica. Here you can get very unique products that are only seen in Costa Rica. You can carry it as a keepsake or for gifting.
A. At Central Farmer’s Market Escazu, you can experience the local life of the place. At this place, the original tradition and culture of the city is seen. Local people come for their routine shopping and the nice scenario is formed. You must visit the place to see the local culture live.
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