San Jose

Although it might seem more "authentic" to buy your souvenirs at their source, you can find everything in the city, a real bonus if you're pressed for time. If the capital has any real tourist shopping district, it's found loosely in the cluster of streets around Parque Morazán, just north of downtown, an area bounded roughly by Avenidas 1 and 7 and Calles 5 and 9. Stroll and search, because many other businesses congregate in the area as well.

The northeastern suburb of Moravia has a cluster of high-quality crafts and artisan shops—for good reason very popular with tour groups—in the three blocks heading north from the Colegio María Inmaculada high school. The street is two blocks behind the city's church.

Prices in shops are fixed and fair. You may be able to bargain at Mercado Central and the Calle Nacional de Artesania y Pintura, but bargaining isn’t the sport it is in other countries. Haggling, even if not ill-intended, will come off as rude. Your best bet for getting a deal is to simply suggest you’ll come back later and walk away. If the vendors really want to lower the price, they will.

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  • 1. Galería Namu

    Crafts

    Downtown San José's must-stop shop is Galería Namu, which sells the best indigenous crafts in town. Its inventory brims with colorful creations...Read More

  • 2. Congo

    Crafts

    Congo offers a good selection of wood carvings and ceramic bowls and vases made by local artisans. It's a small four-store chain. ...Read More

  • 3. Hotel Grano de Oro

    Paseo Colón | Crafts

    The small gift shop at the Hotel Grano de Oro has an impressive selection of carvings and jewelry on hand. ...Read More

  • 4. Kiosco SJO

    Barrio Escalante | Crafts

    Ensconced inside Barrio Escalante's trendy Kalú restaurant, equally trendy Kiosco SJO proffers a good selection of locally made woodwork, fabrics...Read More

  • 5. Mi Pueblo Verde

    Crafts

    This is a standout among the Moravia shops for its fine carvings made from native cocobolo and guápinol wood. The salad bowls are especially...Read More

  • 6. Kaltak Artesanías

    Crafts

    The staff and selection at Kaltak Artesanías make it a real standout from all the Moravia shops. Walk in with some unformulated "I'm not sure...Read More

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