Heading towards the heart of San Jose for a discovery of the central market.
Strolling through this labyrinth of stalls and local eateries is an experience in its own right, not to be missed under any circumstances during your visit to San Jose.
Built in 1860, the “mercado central” occupies an entire city block between Avenida Central and 8th and 9th streets. To get there, you’ll pass through the bustling “Avenida Central,” lined with shops, and the Plaza de la Cultura, which houses the Gold Museum and the National Theater. The tourist boom of the 1990s almost led to the closure of this iconic place, which was supposed to be replaced by a shopping center. Fortunately, voices rose to prevent the unthinkable!
This authentic place isn’t just a tourist attraction but a true Costa Rican living space: beef, fish, and seafood merchants; tropical fruits and colorful vegetables; spices, flowers, and all sorts of medicinal plants believed to cure all ailments! You can also find leather boots or the famous machete. This market, reminiscent of a souk, can sometimes feel a bit intense: the smells, narrow aisles, vendors calling out to passersby… a 100% local experience! It’s a real maze!
The central market is open from 6:30 AM to 6:30 PM from Monday to Saturday. During your visit, take the opportunity to eat in one of the many “sodas” offering typical dishes at very good prices, and don’t leave without trying the artisanal ice creams from Sorbetera Lolo Mora!