Central Market (Mercado Central)

Central Market (Mercado Central)

Central Market (Mercado Central)
4
6:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Monday
5:30 AM - 5:45 PM
Tuesday
6:30 AM - 5:45 PM
Wednesday
6:30 AM - 6:45 PM
Thursday
6:30 AM - 6:45 PM
Friday
6:30 AM - 6:45 PM
Saturday
6:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
About
This collection of stalls and restaurants contains the country's first ice cream vendor.
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Tours & experiences
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See what travelers are saying
  • mvanroy
    Merelbeke, Belgium757 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Wander and experience local colors and smells
    You can stroll for a long time in this completely covered central market. Wander through the small alleys and enjoy the diverse smells and colors of the different fish, meat, flower, animal, souvenir and other shops! In-between the shops you will find local food restaurants with good and cheap food, including the special ice cream shop Lola Mora.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written June 29, 2023
  • The Wandering Reviewer
    Melbourne, Australia11,941 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Come and discover the heart of a city
    Market. One of my favourite words. It’s a place where you uncover the life blood of a community. And this one in San Jose rose to the challenge. The smell is what hits you first - fish! Then as you move further into the bowels of this what seems endless building, you come across meats, herbs, flowers (Australian gum tree leaves), fruit, vegetables, flowers, touristy trinkets, sweets, candles, ice cream and so much more. I encourage you to engage with the smallholders who are as curious about you, as much as you are about them. This is not a market where they will badger you to buy something. This is a “people’s market” where everyday San Jose residents purchase their food and other goods. With all due respect, once you’ve finished walking around, I recommend you sanitise your hands. So many touch points here for a westerner without a strong constitution could pick up.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written June 30, 2023
  • Thomas G
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands1,818 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great market
    For me this market was one of the best places to visit in San Jose. There are any shops and great local places to eat. It is nice to walk around for an hour, but it is not so big, so then an hour is sufficient. Do not forget to grab a bite.
    Visited February 2023
    Written July 5, 2023
  • Doug D
    Swindon, United Kingdom90 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Find the Sorbet Bar - its magic
    Busy indoor market. Lots of herbs and food. Nice vibe in there. Find La Sorbetera de Lolo Mora - magic sorbet bar. Great, busy staff in uniform and a popular venue. Try the original sorbet its yummy.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 20, 2023
  • Greenlakereener
    Vancouver, Canada714 contributions
    3.0 of 5 bubbles
    Crowded, Lots of Smells and Easy to Get Lost…
    This market is huge with lots of stalls selling everything from produce, groceries, fish, meat, clothes, souvenirs, and more. There are lots of little food stalls where you can get a meal. We found that in some areas the smells were a bit overwhelming and the walkways throughout are very narrow and it’s easy to juts keep going around in circles. There are several entrances and exits, so make sure you enter and leave at the same place or it’s easy to get disoriented once outside the market. It was okay for a quick visit but we didn’t buy anything, just wandered around and looked at the stalls. I don’t know that I would recommend it. It’s okay but not outstanding or that interesting, in my opinion.
    Visited January 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written February 26, 2024
  • Tazie
    Garden City, Kansas13 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Non touristy but cool
    This is definitely not a touristy spot, but if that's your vibe this is the place for you. The hustle and bustle of real Costa Rican people living their lives and trying to make a living. You will find souvenirs(cheap), home goods, fresh meat, bakeries and so much more. Enjoy!
    Visited April 2024
    Traveled solo
    Written April 29, 2024
  • Dodd D
    3 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Do your homework!
    I should have planned better. We had a great time simply due to luck. I woudn't recommend staying in downtown San Jose just because it is very busy and nothing really going on there unless you like walking from shop to shop that have nothing you want. Plant yourself near the airport and find some excursions. Day trips are great and we had everything set up for us. Even better, base yourself further west of the airport and discover small towns, markets, and other day trip excursions.
    Visited June 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written June 17, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles706 reviews
Excellent
221
Very good
303
Average
128
Poor
30
Terrible
24

Iqbal
Montreal, Canada51 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
This market reminds me of souks in Aleppo or in old Dammam. A vibrant place to visit. It is full of small shops on narrow alleys selling almost everything. You can buy fresh fruits, meat, fish, clothing, haberdashhery, spices and of course Costa Rican Coffee. We bought Tarazzu and Copacolillo coffee beans from Cafe Centrale, a large shop that sells all kinds of coffee beans and also has a coffee bar. It is closed on Sundays.
Written January 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

The Wandering Reviewer
Melbourne, Australia11,941 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Friends
Market. One of my favourite words. It’s a place where you uncover the life blood of a community. And this one in San Jose rose to the challenge.
The smell is what hits you first - fish! Then as you move further into the bowels of this what seems endless building, you come across meats, herbs, flowers (Australian gum tree leaves), fruit, vegetables, flowers, touristy trinkets, sweets, candles, ice cream and so much more.
I encourage you to engage with the smallholders who are as curious about you, as much as you are about them. This is not a market where they will badger you to buy something. This is a “people’s market” where everyday San Jose residents purchase their food and other goods.
With all due respect, once you’ve finished walking around, I recommend you sanitise your hands. So many touch points here for a westerner without a strong constitution could pick up.
Written July 1, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

mvanroy
Merelbeke, Belgium757 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Family
You can stroll for a long time in this completely covered central market. Wander through the small alleys and enjoy the diverse smells and colors of the different fish, meat, flower, animal, souvenir and other shops! In-between the shops you will find local food restaurants with good and cheap food, including the special ice cream shop Lola Mora.
Written June 29, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TravelingSoccerLoon
Saint Paul, MN5,221 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2022
This is an authentic experience. Indoor bustling market in the center of downtown San Jose with vendors selling all sorts of items including fruits and vegetables, flowers, clothing and electronics. This place is filled with locals and tourists like me are few, but I felt comfortable here. There are several places with a counter and seats to grab some food so make sure you take advantage of trying some local fare while here.
Written January 9, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ish B
2 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2022 • Couples
This is not a market place located under one street . It’s a maze in highly congested streets with small shop where English is spoken very little. Yours cost you a hefty price and you cannot take your rental car as parking is impossible. Take an Uber there and back is the best way . Prices are far from cheap .
Written September 23, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Shawn J
23 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2023
This market was an amazing experience if you want to see more of Costa Rica, but it was not the tourist friendly place we expected. Parking is impossible to find and we ended up in a bad area where multiple locals told us to get out of there as soon as possible. There were a few souvenir shops in this market but we didn't see any other tourists. It was primarily locals coming for local food and other items. I think there are probably better places to experience the culture and do some shopping.
Written February 19, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Emily T
Chicago, IL37 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2022 • Couples
We only had a few hours in San Jose, and the Mercado Central was the highlight. It was a pleasant and interesting mix of locals getting lunch or doing their shopping, and tourists like us soaking up the various food options, fresh meat, cheeses, spices being sold, and of course the numerous souvenir shops. Definitely plan to spend an hour here to eat and wander through the skinny aisles. Make a stop at El Sorbetero de Lolo Mora, to get the traditional ice cream. Counter seats allow a break from walking around and the ice cream is delicious!
Written June 29, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SFO45
Virginia732 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
Our city tour took us to the Central Market, and it's a wonder we did not lose anybody there. It was insanely crowded with all the procrastinating locals jamming the market for last minute Christmas shopping. The offerings are eclectic--of course a lot of cheap souvenir shops catering to tourists, but also butcher shops, flower stalls, shoe shops, etc. that cater to the locals. Definitely bargain here, or you will pay way too much. I enjoyed the colorful displays and the throngs of locals, not just tourists. It was more chaotic, but perhaps also more authentic than the comparable Central Market in Quito.
Written January 4, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Steve S
Frisco, TX10 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2022
The Central Market (Mercado Central) in San Jose needs to be explored to be enjoyed. The narrow corridors, the variety of vendors and the quaint setting combine to peek the senses. You'll find great bargains by themselves, but you can negotiate a little with sellers too. This is a nice stop that's all covered under one roof. A nice break from the museums, churches and other historic landmarks.
Written September 22, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dodd D
3 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2024 • Couples
I should have planned better. We had a great time simply due to luck. I woudn't recommend staying in downtown San Jose just because it is very busy and nothing really going on there unless you like walking from shop to shop that have nothing you want.
Plant yourself near the airport and find some excursions. Day trips are great and we had everything set up for us.
Even better, base yourself further west of the airport and discover small towns, markets, and other day trip excursions.
Written June 17, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Central Market (Mercado Central) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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