San Jose Sights

Mercado Central (Central Market)

  • Bordered by Avdas. Central–1 and Cs. 6–8 Map It
  • San José
  • Market/Bazaar

Published 06/18/2015

Fodor's Review

This block-long melting pot is a warren of dark, narrow passages flanked by stalls packed with spices (some purported to have medicinal value), fish, fruit, flowers, pets, and wood and leather crafts. The 1880 structure is a kinder, gentler introduction to a Central American market; there are no pigs or chickens or their accompanying smells to be found here. A few stands selling tourist souvenirs congregate near the entrances, but this is primarily a place where the average Costa Rican comes to shop. There are dozens of cheap restaurants and snack stalls, including the country's first ice-cream vendor. Be warned: the concentration of shoppers makes this a hot spot for pickpockets, purse snatchers, and backpack slitters. Enter and exit at the southeast corner of the building (Avenida Central at Calle 6). The green-and-white "salida" signs direct you to other exits, but they spill onto slightly less-safe streets. Use the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the market's patron and protector, near the center of the building, as your guide; it faces that safer corner by which you should exit. (We doubt it was planned that way.)

Sight Information

Address:

Bordered by Avdas. Central–1 and Cs. 6–8, San José, San José, 10102, Costa Rica

Map It

Published 06/18/2015

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