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Top Tours

 
San Jose Beer Tasting Tour
"Meet your friendly guide at the National Theater and make a brief stop at Artesanos Market — the best place to find authentic local souvenirs — en route to Barrio Escalanate. Most of the city’s beer-obsessed venues are based in this neighborhood located in the eastern part of San Jose. Your pub tour kicks into full gear at a local brewery that crafts its own beer. Get a full introduction with a brief history of the craft beer movement in Costa Rica followed by a beer tasting. You’ll savor some of the finest brews among three small samples featuring different styles from stouts to IPAs.Continue walking through the neighborhood and pop into some of the area’s most popular watering holes where you’ll rub elbows with the locals and discover why these spots are so beloved. At each pub or microbrewery you’ll either sample the in-house beer or a local craft beer paired with some Costa Rican tapas to indulge your appetite.Finish your beer-tasting tour of San Jose at Stiefel Pub a great location to continue your evening. Your guide will provide further recommendations of places to grab a bite to eat or keep sampling the best craft beers around."
From $68.00
 
"San Jose Walking Tour: Food
"San Jose Walking Tour: Food History and Architecture""Start your San Jose walking tour at a café in Mercado Borbón (Borbón Market) where you’ll meet your guide and relax with a rich cup of morning coffee. Then take a stroll through the market tasting fresh fruit and learning more about the agricultural history of the area. You’ll visit a number of stands from a coffee stand where you'll learn about the Costa Rican chorrado brewing method to a local folk medicine stand. Your guide shares insight about the market and coffee and their impact on the history of San Jose’s citizens.Discover more local history when you continue to the Central Market
From $33.00
 
San Jose Walking and Bus City Tour
"An unique sightseeing double decker bus will take you to downtown San Jose from your hotel to witness the city's main historical landmarks for an immersive and panoramic cultural experience and a better understanding of Costa Rica's evolution. Art Museum Metropolitan Cathedral the old and authentic Central Market the new and impressive National Stadium an in-depth description of the National Monument and the influential historical episode that took place at the Democracy Plaza. The bus tour will take you comfortably and safely through San Jose's narrow and busy streets driving by beautiful outdoor city attractions. The living city is your museum
From $52.00

Mercados - Markets Tips (8)

Central Market

On our first day in San Jose, we walked through some of the Central Market but did not see anything worth buying.

Friday morning March 1st we went to the Mercado Artesania. We did our last souvenir shopping here. I was trying to buy a creche but couldn't figure out the Spanish for that. I didn't want a ceramic one because I figured (correctly) that they wouldn't ship well. I did get a wooden puzzle box and I did eventually find a creche.

Then we took the bus back to the hotel, and flew out that afternoon.

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grandmaR
Jun 09, 2012

Busy, big, Market

Consists of about 3 blocks and storefronts of market things, fruits, t-shirts, veggies, bakery, etc…. Supposed to be many pick-pockets working the area, but it wasn’t all that crowded and didn’t seem that way to me. Near the Coca-Cola train station, which is supposed to be a bit dangerous too—especially at night.

Tom_In_Madison's Profile Photo
Tom_In_Madison
Nov 20, 2008

Mercado Central (central market)

The central market in the city center is more of my type of market than the craft one. This one is a huge indoor market where vendors sell items catered more towards locals. Buy fresh meats, vegetables, drinks, or meals here. Get cheap clothes, shoes, jewelry, luggage, whatever. Try some olla de carne; apparently it's a special here. The labyrinth market is not as daunting as some I have seen in other countries. It is actually quite manageable. Once again, try your luck with bargaining. It always helps if you know a little bit of Spanish.

arasnosliw
Jul 12, 2005

craft (artisan) market

The craft market is full of vendors selling anything from earrings to hammocks. Most of the stuff they sell here caters to tourists. These are souvenir-type items. The types of things I buy for others because they want them, but the type of stuff I hate to buy for myself because I find a lot of it tacky. Jewelry, clothing, pottery, woodcarvings, you name it. Be wary that the prices they charge here are a little exorbitant, but would you expect them to do otherwise? They actually put price tags on their items expecting tourists to pay those prices, and many usually do. However, you can bargain with them and they will drastically reduce the costs, especially if you tell them you know you can get it for a lot cheaper elsewhere. I don’t have fantastic bargaining skills, but I got by just fine. I didn’t really have time to run around the city to find cheaper prices, and with this market at such a central location (along Avenida Central), it’s super convenient. I'll be honest - it's rather difficult to find these souvenier things around the country, so you may just end up here.

arasnosliw
Jul 12, 2005
 
 
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Mercado Central

Mercado Central is located at the end of the pedestrian mall in downtown San Jose. It's a truly eclectic experience. You can find knick-knacks, pack-packs, t-shirts, crafts, flowers, and whatever else you never knew you needed.

There are "sodas" if you want cheap eats and there is the most amazing sorbet/ice cream place nestled somewhere in there. I just kept asking for "los helados" until I was directed to the correct place.

Mercado Central could probably also go under tourist trap or warnings. Just be smart and watch your back and pockets. Definitely worth the trip!

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TempNomad
May 29, 2003

Mercado Central

This is San Jose's main market in a colorful building of Av Central. It ranges from souvenirs to fresh meat and fish.

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Jim_Eliason
Nov 22, 2008

Bon Bon Markets

Similar to central markets, but more authentic, this is where the locals go to get their fresh meat, vegetables and produce.

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Josilver
Jun 11, 2007

Mercado Central

Listing in the guide books as a 'must see', I disagree.

A run down market that sells fruit, cheap and tacky tourist goods, and smelly meat. Have a look, but nothing great here to see.

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boltonian
Jun 02, 2007

Top 5 San José Writers

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penumbra

"San Jose, Costa Rica"
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besbel's Profile Photo

besbel

"Three (Green) Weeks in San José"
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Stephen-KarenConn

"San Jose, Capital City of Costa Rica"
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Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo

Jim_Eliason

"San Jose"
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zrim

"Pleasant, but don't dawdle here"
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Things to Do Near San José

Things to Do

National Theater

On Monday, one of the things we did was a tour of the National Theatre (which was being renovated, so it wasn’t really a tour, and we didn’t pay for it because the guard at the entrance wasn’t there)...
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Things to Do

Museo de los Niños

They drove us past the Children's Museum on the city tour. It wasn't one of the places that we went into. It looks a little like a castle and apparently it was originally a jail. Now the are 40 rooms...
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Getting to San José

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