4.5 star rating: Recommended 116 Reviews

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  • Address: Avenida Central, San Jose 10101, Costa Rica
  • Admission: Free

San Jose ATTRACTIONS See all

San Jose Central Market (Mercado Central) Tours

Bountiful produce stalls, local-approved cafeterias, and vendor stalls selling everything from coffee beans to cowboy boots give visitors to San Jose’s Central Market (Mercado Central) a taste of real Costa Rican culture. Visit as part of an epic errand run or for a chance to look behind-the-scenes at everyday life in Costa Rica. 

The Basics
Whether you’re looking for free entertainment or you just forgot to pack your floss, most San Jose visitors will find themselves in the Central Market at some point during their stay in Costa Rica’s capital city. As the largest market in the city, the Central Market usually offers the lowest prices around town on every good imaginable, but with the highest hustle and bustle. Be prepared for sensory overload, and take your time browsing the maze of more than 200 stalls and eateries. 

To learn about the many goods on offer, including products unique to Costa Rica, visit the market as part of a guided tour. San Jose walking tours and sightseeing tours sometimes include the market for a look at local culture, while niche local experiences such as food tours and art tours will help you explore the market from a distinct lens. 

Things to Know Before You Go
  • Vendors are typically open to bargaining.
  • Ask permission before taking photos. 
  • Avoid overwhelm by taking your time or visiting with a tour.
  • The Central Market is suitable for visitors of all ages.
  • The market is close to other attractions such as Mercado Borbón.

How to Get There
The San Jose Central Market is located in downtown San Jose just four blocks northwest of Central Park and bordered by Avenida Central and 1 and Calles 6 and 8. The market is most easily accessed in one of San Jose’s many taxis, and a handful of bus stops, including Leon XIII and Quesada Duran, are also within walking distance.

When to Get There
The Central Market is roughly open from sunup to sundown. Plan your visit for early in the day to avoid large crowds and fill up on a hearty breakfast with a sweet cup of coffee, or head over around midday for the full effect and plentiful lunch options. The market is closed on Sundays.

Old Money
Though it may seem like a chaotic flea market, the Central Market unassumingly combines history and modern commerce, having served as a marketplace since 1880, though it was probably quieter back in the day.

Tours & Tickets

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San Jose Walking Tour: Food, History and Architecture, San Jose, null
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

San Jose Walking Tour: Food, History and Architecture

4.5 star rating: Recommended 23 Reviews

Learn about local life in San Jose through its architecture, history and food. This 3-hour walking tour shows you the typical lifestyle of the capital as you ...  Read more

Location: San Jose, Costa Rica
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $34.00
San Jose Beer Tasting Tour, San Jose, Cultural Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

San Jose Beer Tasting Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 21 Reviews

Explore San Jose’s Barrio Escalante and its assortment of microbreweries on a 3-hour beer tasting tour. Your informative local guide shares knowledge of Costa ...  Read more

Location: San Jose, Costa Rica
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $71.00
San Jose Walking and Bus City Tour, San Jose, Beer & Brewery Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

San Jose Walking and Bus City Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 12 Reviews

This city tour provides a bird’s eye view of San Jose enhanced with an authentic cultural experience with on-board folkloric music. The tour includes guided ...  Read more

Location: San Jose, Costa Rica
Duration: 6 hours (approx.)

From USD $52.00
Cartago Day Trip by Rail from San Jose: Bike Ride and Market Tour, San Jose, City Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Cartago Day Trip by Rail from San Jose: Bike Ride and Market Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 26 Reviews

Ready for a change of scenery from the hustle and bustle of San Jose? Ride the rails to nearby Cartago and enjoy a bike tour of the historical town! After a ...  Read more

Location: San Jose, Costa Rica
Duration: 5 hours (approx.)

From USD $62.00
San Jose by Night with 3-course Dinner and Wine at a favorite local restaurant, San Jose, Rail Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

San Jose by Night with 3-course Dinner and Wine at a favorite local restaurant

4.5 star rating: Recommended 39 Reviews

Walk in the shoes of a typical ‘tico,’ or native Costa Rican, on this 4-hour evening tour of San Jose and dinner in Guachipelin. Meander through San Jose’s ...  Read more

Location: San Jose, Costa Rica
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $53.90
$77.00 Save $23.10
San Jose: Pura Vida Experience Tour: Tapas, Traditional Masks and Escazu Visit, San Jose, Night ... 
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

San Jose: Pura Vida Experience Tour: Tapas, Traditional Masks and Escazu Visit

4.5 star rating: Recommended 42 Reviews

Delve beneath the surface of San Jose on an in-depth walking tour of the city. Experience local life in Costa Rica, visit a popular park and meet an artisan ...  Read more

Location: San Jose, Costa Rica
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $64.00
Half-Day San Jose Evening Bus Tour with Dinner and Pickup, San Jose, Walking Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

Half-Day San Jose Evening Bus Tour with Dinner and Pickup

This 5-hour evening tour will begin with pick you up at your hotel, our personalized city tour provides a bird’s eye view of San Jose enhanced with luxury, VIP ...  Read more

Location: San José, Costa Rica
Duration: 5 hours (approx.)

From USD $69.00

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