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Central Market (Mercado Central)

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Address: Bordered by Avdas. Central and 1 and Cs. 6 and 8 | Barrio La Merced, San Jose, Costa Rica

This collection of stalls and restaurants contains the country's first ice...

This collection of stalls and restaurants contains the country's first ice cream vendor.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 393 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 90
  • 107
    Very good
  • 51
  • 9
  • 8
Good market for souvenirs

Central Market is great for souvenirs. A lot of the stalls sell similar products so make sure you look around in all and haggle for the best price.

Reviewed 3 weeks ago
Ama O
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393 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 265: English reviews
Level Contributor
105 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Whatever you want, someone is selling. Many Soda's for great local food. Herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables, meats, clothing, souvenirs. Lots to see and buy if you like. No hard sells either.

Thank Frank B
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Central Market is great for souvenirs. A lot of the stalls sell similar products so make sure you look around in all and haggle for the best price.

1 Thank Ama O
Jacksonville, Florida
Level Contributor
62 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

We were staying in San Jose and decided to visit the market. Took Uber as it was much cheaper than taxis and we did not know the city transportation well enough to use it. When we got to the market we found everything and anything we could want. Souvenirs were not expensive and could find something for everyone. Sat down... More 

Thank Jamie B
Level Contributor
87 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed March 21, 2017 via mobile

This time I went to buy seafood, chicken and pork. Was the actual visit to the market not tourism. The variety is very good 2-3 little stores of whatever you need. Everything fresh and probably cheaper than anywhere else. Went on a Saturday 7am and were very few people and perfect to shop. Most of the sodas were close if... More 

Thank Gilberto V
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 8, 2017 via mobile

So far Café Central and Marisquería La Ribera are excellent establishments with high quality sourced ingredients. Try the seafood soup with the "viagra" (a separate condiment that enhances the flavor) boiled bananas, white rice is crack addictive.

1 Thank Pedro D
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviewed February 23, 2017

From shoes to flowers to supplies for tonight's dinner - it's all here. This is a place for the locals and shows it in it's character. A great place to pick up souvenirs or to people watch. Bring you camera!

Thank Melissa B
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
59 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed February 22, 2017

Based on some reviews here and comments of other guests in the hotel I was expecting more. This said, I am not a big shopper, so perhaps people looking for some bargains may find more interesting things than me. For sure, you will find some cheap forgeries and there are also stalls selling cooked and raw food that add welcome... More 

Thank celge
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
429 reviews
334 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 158 helpful votes
Reviewed February 15, 2017

Unlike the big supermarkets that sell imported goods, here local produce is dominant. Actually the market consists of a number of different blocks. One of these is called Mercado Central 1880, but locals refer to the whole area as mercado. Most tourists visit the central block only. Here prices are slightly (10 to 20%) higher than in the surroundings. Costa... More 

2 Thank Robert937
Sherwood Park, Canada
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed February 14, 2017 via mobile

For a real cultural experience, go here. There's all kinds of shopping from the usual souvenirs to groceries and birds! Vendors also sell their wares on the street. It's crowded but cool to experience!

Thank Cathy S
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Level Contributor
11 reviews
Reviewed February 9, 2017

For an informal experience on local culture, give this place a try. . If you are into cooking the wide assortment of seasonings and spices and local fruits and veggies will amaze you.


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Tamarindo, Costa Rica
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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?