Shopping in Costa Rica has improved dramatically over the past ten years as gigantic malls, mini-malls, superstores and sophisticated boutiques have entered the marketplace.
You can find everything from designer clothing to latest-fashion shoes and accessories, everyday clothing and footwear to anything you could possibly need for your home. There are construction and “fix-up-your-home” superstores, stores for custom-made furniture of wood, iron, rattan, cloth, leather and even concrete. Supermarkets, from high-end boutique specialty shops to bulk discount stores, have multiplied “faster than sales tags after Christmas” in the metropolitan Central Valley and in principal cities along the Pacific Coast.
Main supermalls in the Central Valley include Multiplaza in Escazu, Mall San Pedro in San Jose, Paseo de los Flores in Heredia, Multiplaza Este in Zapote, Terra Mall in Tres Rios and Plaza Real Cariari near San Antonio de Belen.
In small towns and along the country’s main roadways, you can still find small regional markets and roadside stands with more “old-school” Tico (Costa Rican) flavor. In San Jose, traditional shopping comes in the form of the San Jose Central Market – bordered by Avenidas Central and 1, and Calles 6 and 8. There you can find everything from electronics to souvenirs, fresh fruits to fresh fish and meats, hammocks to medicinal herbs.
For Costa Rican and Central American souvenirs in San Jose, try:
- La Casona on Calle Central between Avenida Central and Avenida 1. Two-stories and warehouse-sized.
- Galeria Namu, at Avenida 7 and Calle 5, for excellent quality indigenous crafts and folk art – especially masks.
- Mercado Nacional de Artesanias, on Calle 11 behind the Soledad Church and just 1 block off Avenida 2, the “official” national arts and crafts gift shop in San Jose.
- The outdoor souvenir market at the Plaza de Democracia, bordered by Avenidas Central and 2, and Calles 13-15.
For your home away from home in San Jose, and a much-needed rest after shopping, try Hotel Ritzli. This comfortable and accessible hotel is conveniently close to most of the major shopping areas.