Mercado Central

Top choice in San José

Though josefinos mainly do their shopping at chain supermarkets, San José’s crowded indoor markets retain an old-world, authentic feel. This main market, lined with vendors hawking everything from spices and coffee beans to pura vida souvenir T-shirts. It's all super cheap, and likely made in China or Nicaragua (not the coffee beans, though).

In December Mercado Central sometimes has extended hours and is open on Sundays. While browsing, try an ice cream cone, or a quick ceviche at Poseidon.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby San José attractions

1. Mercado Borbón

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3. Teatro Melico Salazar


On the north side of Parque Central is this theatre, which was built in 1928 in a beaux-arts style. It is named after the well-known Costa Rican tenor…

4. Parque Central

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The city’s central park is more of a run-down plaza than a park. At its center is a grandiose bandstand that looks as if it was designed by Mussolini:…

5. Catedral Metropolitana

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East of Parque Central, the Renaissance-style Catedral Metropolitana was built in 1871 after the previous cathedral was destroyed in an earthquake. The…

6. Plaza de la Cultura

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7. Teatro Nacional

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On the southern side of the Plaza de la Cultura resides the Teatro Nacional, San José’s most revered building. Constructed in 1897, it features a columned…