The Ultimate Guide to Costa Rica’s Top 10 Shopping Destinations

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Costa Rica astounds, captivates, lures, and enchants travelers from around the globe who visit this petite Central American country in search of a plethora of travel experiences. While aficionados of nature can admire its distinct landscapes and steal some tranquil moments in this abundant paradise, thrill-seekers can push their limits while conquering class four rapids, soaring through forest canopies on a zip line, and ascending tropical waterfalls. Costa Rica is nothing short of a captivating variety of unforgettable encounters that contribute to a fulfilling and revitalizing vacation.

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As you embrace the quintessentially Costa Rican pura vida (pure simple life) and gather everlasting memories, it is also advisable to acquire some exclusive souvenirs and gifts to bring back home. Engaging in retail therapy in Costa Rica is just as exhilarating as the country itself, with a multitude of options. From idiosyncratic boutiques to shopping malls and opulent shopping in Costa Rica, here’s our rundown of the top places to indulge in this activity.

Engaging in Retail Therapy in Costa Rica: Top 10 Shopping Destinations

Discover the finest places to shop in Costa Rica for a soul-satisfying shopping experience, whether you are visiting with your friends or family!

1. Central Market

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Mercado Central

One of the premier destinations for shopping in Costa Rica, the Central Market in San Jose, with its multitude of small stalls and narrow passageways, is a delightful place to immerse yourself in the local ambiance. From apparel, souvenirs, to grocery shopping in Costa Rica, this bustling market is the ideal spot for great bargains and an intriguing array of merchandise. Fresh blooms, local produce, trinkets, clothing, hats, cigars, and much more can be discovered while wandering through the labyrinthine lanes. It is highly recommended to visit Cafe Central for outstanding coffee and a remarkable selection of beans to bring home. Small cafes known as sodas serve delectable local cuisine that you can relish while leisurely strolling through the market.

Must Read: Costa Rica With Kids: An Ultimate Guide To Plan A Funtastic Trip With Your Little Ones!

Mercado Nacional de Artesania

2. National Craft Market

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Right in the center of San Jose is this all-in-one store for souvenir shopping in Costa Rica and picking up handmade items crafted by local artists. You can shop for paintings, sculptures, ceramics, textiles, beads, jewelry as well as wooden and leather products right here. Most vendors speak English and are prepared to negotiate prices. There are exquisite products created by local craftsmen and you must explore the variety of hammocks available in a range of colors along with other fascinating items. The ironwood statues of marine creatures also serve as distinctive gift items.

Location: San José, Costa Rica, calle 5, avenida 6, costado Sur de la Plaza de las Garantías, San José, Costa RicaHours: Daily, 8AM-8PM

Avenida Escazu

3. Avenida Escazu

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For a relaxed outing with family combined with excellent shopping in Costa Rica, head to one of the most elegant malls in the region and you will not be disappointed. While the beautifully landscaped grounds, mountain backdrop, and intriguing sculpture welcome you to the area, plenty of fashionable stores allow you to shop to your heart’s content. There are many high-end restaurants and food chains to satisfy your hunger and interesting events during the weekends to keep the kids entertained. The Lego store, Barbie store, and jumping water fountain are sure to capture the children’s attention.Location: Avenida 2, San José Province, San Rafael, Costa RicaHours: Open 24 hours

Suggested Read: 10 Airports In Costa Rica To Begin Your Vacation The Right Way!

City Mall

4. City Mall

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This gleaming new destination for luxurious shopping in Costa Rica is the perfect place for some trendy shopping and enjoyable entertainment for the entire family. The City Mall is home to multiple floors filled with prominent brands and high-fashion stores where you can acquire the latest clothes, bags, and footwear. There are also fascinating stores selling unique Costa Rican items as well as plenty of food establishments to satisfy your hunger while you indulge in retail therapy. Cinemas and amusement rides for kids make this an ideal location for a family outing. Make sure to visit the wooden craft store selling beautiful mementos and jewelry.Location: Radial Francisco J. Orlich, Alajuela Province, Alajuela, Costa RicaHours: 10AM-9PM (Mon-Sat); 10AM-8:30PM (Sun)

Suggested Read: 10 Day Trips From Costa Rica To Experience The Endless Beauty Of The City!

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Genuine travel anecdotes. Genuine accommodations. Practical suggestions to aid you in making the correct decision.

5. Central Avenue

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This lively street in the center of the capital city is not only a fantastic location to leisurely walk and enjoy the sights and sounds, but it is also lined with numerous fantastic possibilities for shopping in Costa Rica. One of the most bustling avenues in San Jose, Central Avenue has stores and boutiques selling native items and mementos. The beautiful pedestrian street also showcases sculptures and murals and is home to many excellent restaurants where you can grab a bite and give your tired feet a rest. You can also witness live music performances, shop for souvenirs at charming stores, and explore department stores like Universal and La Gloria.

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6. Multiplaza Mall

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Whether you’re searching for upscale clothing shopping in Costa Rica or indulging in trendy footwear, Multiplaza Mall is the place to be. One of the largest and most well-organized malls in the country, this establishment is home to your favorite designer stores such as Lacoste, Kenneth Cole, Diesel, Calvin Klein, and many others. You can leisurely stroll through the expansive department stores, take a break at one of the numerous food outlets, or even catch a movie at the lovely theater. There are many captivating events in the evenings to keep everyone entertained and engaged.Location: Boulevard Camino Real | Off Autopista Prospero Fernandez Hwy, Escazu 10201, Costa RicaTimings: 10AM-9PM (Mon-Sat); 10AM-8PM (Sun)

Multiplaza Mall

Recommended Reading: 10 Animal Parks In Costa Rica & Other Wildlife Sites That You Should Visit To Unleash The Child In You

7. Galeria Namu

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Galeria Namu is one of those genuine, fair-trade establishments for shopping in Costa Rica that offer you a distinctive and diverse assortment of art and handicrafts from the distant regions of Costa Rica and Central America. While you can obtain some extraordinary collections such as the Brunka masks, intricately woven Wounaan baskets, Guaymi dolls, reed mats, pre-Columbian pottery, Wounaan carved tagua and folk art pieces, your purchase contributes significantly in supporting indigenous artists.Location: 7th Avenue | Between 5th And 7th Streets, San Jose, Costa RicaOperating Hours: Monday to Saturday – 9AM to 6:30PM; Sunday – 1 to 5 PM

Galeria Namu

8. Central Farmer’s Market Escazu

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While you’re pondering ‘is there good shopping in Costa Rica?’ we have a very distinctive suggestion that’s not just about purchasing items but experiencing the local way of life. There’s no better place than a farmer’s market to shop like a local and walk away with some genuinely great and healthy choices. Located in the heart of Escazu, the market is brimming with farmers vending everything from exotic fruits, fresh seafood, artisanal cheese and hand crafted goods. Don’t forget to acquire and savor some delicious Costa Rican empanadas, corn tortillas, patacones and fresh pipas (coconuts).Location: South of San Miguel Church in the centre of EscazuOperating Hours: Saturday – 7AM to 1PM

Recommended Reading: An Ultimate Costa Rica Travel Guide To Explore The Best Of This Paradise Destination!

9. Mall Real Cariari

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This 3-level contemporary shopping center provides over 100 stores to fulfill your desire for some last-minute shopping in Costa Rica, as it is conveniently situated just 10 minutes away from the international airport. You can acquire apparel, sports equipment & books or watch a film at the multi-theater if you have spare time. The mall also has a decent variety of food establishments to take away or enjoy a hearty meal on the way to the airport.Location: 111, Heredia, Costa RicaHours: 11AM-10PM (Mon-Sat); 11AM-7PM (Sun)

Mall Real Cariari

10. Souvenir Museum

This is an extremely unique store and one that would set itself apart from your entire shopping experience in Costa Rica due to the cause it supports. With the aim of promoting local artisans and indigenous crafts, this place doubles as a museum showcasing the various indigenous cultures, their traditions, and artistic customs. All the handmade collectibles at this exceptional store are exquisite, and the owners ensure that the artisans receive a fair price for their work. Trust us and visit this heartwarming store when in the vicinity.Location: km al Norte de los Tribunales de Justicia, 712, Provincia de Alajuela, Alajuela, Costa RicaHours: 10AM-6PM (Mon-Sat)

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Pointers For Shopping In Costa Rica

  • In bustling markets like the Central Market in San Jose, be cautious of pickpockets and thieves who may take advantage of the large crowds.
  • It is advisable not to carry valuable items and important documents in your purse when you go shopping in Costa Rica.
  • The movable stalls in front of the National Museum in San Jose are also excellent for finding bargain items and trinkets, but be prepared to negotiate and offer only 20/30% of the quoted price.
  • Sarchi, the main town in Alajuela, is one of the finest places for purchasing handicrafts in Costa Rica. You must purchase the famous and unique miniature ox-cart to bring home.

More Information: An Extraordinary Guide To An Enticing Family Trip To Costa Rica!

You can save your alcohol purchase for duty-free shopping in Costa Rica airport to ensure genuine brands and the best prices. So, now you know how to spend a wonderful vacation in Costa Rica. Don’t wait and plan a trip to the USA before it’s all gone!

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Frequently Asked Questions About Shopping In Costa Rica

What is the recommended location for shopping in Costa Rica?

One of the most highly recommended places for shopping in Costa Rica is Mercado Central. This establishment is situated in the heart of the city and offers a wide variety of shopping options. You can visit this location at any time of the day.

What makes Costa Rica unique?

Costa Rica is known for its distinctive artworks such as paintings, sculptures, ceramics, textiles, beads, jewelry, wood products, and leather goods. These artistic creations are highly regarded in the city and are admired worldwide. As a result, many people from all around the globe purchase similar items.

Which malls are famous in Costa Rica for shopping and window shopping?

There is a multitude of malls to choose from, but some of the noteworthy ones include Avenida Escazu, City Mall, Avenida Central, and Multiplaza Mall. Additionally, you can also explore malls that are in close proximity to your tour destination. Each of these malls is equally captivating.

Where can I find handcrafted and one-of-a-kind products?

An ideal location for finding handcrafted and unique products is Mercado Nacional de Artesania (National Craft Market). This city is teeming with artistic expression, and this market is the epitome of that. Here, you can purchase authentic artworks and explore the rich culture.

Where can I find exclusive products in Costa Rica?

For a range of exclusive products found only in Costa Rica, Galeria Namu is the place to go. This establishment offers a diverse selection of unique items that represent the essence of Costa Rica. You can either keep these products as mementos or give them as gifts.

Where can I immerse myself in the local traditions of Costa Rica?

To experience the vibrant local life and customs of Costa Rica, visit Central Farmer’s Market Escazu. This bustling marketplace embodies the authentic traditions and culture of the city. Local residents frequent this market for their daily shopping needs, providing a delightful glimpse into the local way of life.

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