Walking through San José, Costa Rica is a great way to experience the culture of the capital city. While shopping, you can visit several enchantingly green public parks, see an astounding amount of street art, and get a taste of life as a Josefino. The best souvenir shopping can be found in several open-air markets such as the vintage original Mercado Central, bursting at the seams with emblazoned gear and all sorts of kitsch, but also a trove of unusual finds like herbs from a Chinese apothecary and a colorful selection of chorreadors, traditional Costa Rican coffee makers. Just outside the Mercado is the pedestrian only Avenida Central, which stretches for several blocks and is home to multiple modern clothing stores, an array of eating establishments, and so many public art displays along the way, from wall murals to bronze statues.
If it’s original Costa Rican art you’re shopping for, find Galeria Namu near the Jade Museum for its collection of pre-Colombian pottery, colorful Boruca masks, intricate woven baskets, and carved tagua figurines, sourced directly from the Costa Rican artists and artisans. The Souvenir Museum makes sustainable shopping fun and educational with its evolving assortment of local handmade goods.