When it comes to to Costa Rica shopping there are many more options and possibilities than you would imagine from such a small country. Besides the popular tourist items like coffee, colorful oxcarts, crafts and handmade clothing; Costa Rica also offers imported goods from Panama, Ecuador and Guatemala. You will find plenty of Costa Rican souvenirs to take back home, as souvenir shops are common especially in areas with heavy tourism.
But don’t think that that’s where it ends. Clothing, electronics, furniture, books, novelty items, and anything else you might need can be found in this tiny paradise if you just know where to look! ! We hope you enjoy shopping in Costa Rica.
If your blood type is “coffee” then you’ve come to the right place! Many tourists have been known to pack their suitcases with coffee bags instead mementos. Costa Rica´s elite coffee is exported to North America and Europe, however, the beans that remain in the country are still the best quality coffee you will every lay your taste buds on. And since it’s a local product it makes a great gift to take back home to your loved ones! You might have heard of Café Britt, they are the top export company in Costa Rica. Their coffee blends are a true taste of paradise and are available in souvenir stands and airports. We highly recommend Britt to anyone looking to take something special back home. When shopping for coffee make sure to buy the whole coffee beans as the grinded coffee is sometimes too fine for standard filters. Costa Rican coffee: do not go back home without it!
Downtown San Jose is where one can find the popular markets such as the Central Market and Plaza de la Democracia. The latter is composed of many outdoor stands, all placed next to each other. This quaint market is the perfect place for finding clothing, typical handicrafts from Costa Rica and all over Central America, jewelry, furniture, decorations, and much more. On Saturdays the Feria Verde Of Aranjuez brings together organic farmers from all over the country to sell their crops.
El Pueblo shopping mall is basically a model of a classic Costa Rican village located in San Jose made up of souvenir shops, restaurants, and bars. This is a great spot for anyone looking for gifts to bring back home. Another good spot for souvenirs is the Mercado Artesania, located on Avenida 2 next to the National Musuem. If you’re looking for reading material to keep you entertained or guide books of any kind try Mora Books on First Avenue and 3rd street, this eccentric shop is an urban landmark and a great place for finding unexpected treasures.
The biggest shopping section of the country is the Central Avenue, which extends from one end of the city to the other. Here you walk by hundreds of stores where you will find anything you could think of looking for in a big city at affordable prices. Street vendors are also a common sight in the area and (depending on the amount of police presence) will crowd the sidewalks with their goods every day. If you are thinking about shopping in Costa Rica, the normal schedule for these shops in downtown San Jose is Monday through Saturday from 8am to 6pm. But shops more related to the tourism industry are likely to be open on Sundays too.
While you won’t find sprawling malls outside of the metropolitan area, you should be able to find anything you might need in more rural areas. In every region there is usually a town that is bigger than the others and that serves as a hub for shopping in the area. A good example of this is Quepos, the capital of the Aguirre canton in Puntarenas. This town is a great place to find groceries, drug stores, clothing, woodcraft, hardware, music, jewelry, postcards souvenirs, etc. The bustling town of Jaco is also a safe bet for shopping on the coast. For folks visiting the Caribbean we recommend checking out the wide variety of stores in Puerto Viejo. For anyone visiting around the Arenal area La Fortuna is your best option for finding anything you might need. If you’re going to the province of Guanacaste we recommend Tamarindo and Liberia are good spots for finding all sorts of goods.
Second to last on your Costa Rica shopping adventure are the modern malls. Filled with designer and brand name stores, food courts, movie theaters and more; megamalls like Multiplaza, Terra Mall, and Mall San Pedro are more than likely to have anything you might need if some emergency shopping is called for.
Last but definitely not least, if you are thinking of following Loco Jim’s footsteps and move to this amazing little paradise, you will need to do some furniture shopping. There are many places you can buy good and durable furniture at, but our advice to you is do your research first. Take the time to look around for the furniture you need because prices from store to store will vary a lot. And while you might be more interested in furniture shopping in San Jose, we would also recommend the world-famous town of Sarchi as a second option. Located in Alajuela, Sarchi is well known for their furniture workshops making beautiful creations with the best woods of Costa Rica. While the trip may be a bit longer you just might find some great findings at a fraction of the price.
Here you can find more details about where to eat in some of Costa Rica´s most popular destinations: