Central Market (Mercado Central)

Central Market (Mercado Central)

Central Market (Mercado Central)
4
9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Monday
5:30 AM - 5:45 PM
Tuesday
6:30 AM - 5:45 PM
Wednesday
6:30 AM - 6:45 PM
Thursday
6:30 AM - 6:45 PM
Friday
6:30 AM - 6:45 PM
Saturday
6:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
About
This collection of stalls and restaurants contains the country's first ice cream vendor.
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Tours & experiences
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See what travellers are saying
  • mvanroy
    Merelbeke, Belgium757 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Wander and experience local colors and smells
    You can stroll for a long time in this completely covered central market. Wander through the small alleys and enjoy the diverse smells and colors of the different fish, meat, flower, animal, souvenir and other shops! In-between the shops you will find local food restaurants with good and cheap food, including the special ice cream shop Lola Mora.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 29 June 2023
  • The Wandering Reviewer
    Melbourne, Australia11,941 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Come and discover the heart of a city
    Market. One of my favourite words. It’s a place where you uncover the life blood of a community. And this one in San Jose rose to the challenge. The smell is what hits you first - fish! Then as you move further into the bowels of this what seems endless building, you come across meats, herbs, flowers (Australian gum tree leaves), fruit, vegetables, flowers, touristy trinkets, sweets, candles, ice cream and so much more. I encourage you to engage with the smallholders who are as curious about you, as much as you are about them. This is not a market where they will badger you to buy something. This is a “people’s market” where everyday San Jose residents purchase their food and other goods. With all due respect, once you’ve finished walking around, I recommend you sanitise your hands. So many touch points here for a westerner without a strong constitution could pick up.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 30 June 2023
  • Thomas G
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands1,818 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great market
    For me this market was one of the best places to visit in San Jose. There are any shops and great local places to eat. It is nice to walk around for an hour, but it is not so big, so then an hour is sufficient. Do not forget to grab a bite.
    Visited February 2023
    Written 5 July 2023
  • Doug D
    Swindon, United Kingdom90 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Find the Sorbet Bar - its magic
    Busy indoor market. Lots of herbs and food. Nice vibe in there. Find La Sorbetera de Lolo Mora - magic sorbet bar. Great, busy staff in uniform and a popular venue. Try the original sorbet its yummy.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 20 October 2023
  • Greenlakereener
    Vancouver, Canada714 contributions
    3.0 of 5 bubbles
    Crowded, Lots of Smells and Easy to Get Lost…
    This market is huge with lots of stalls selling everything from produce, groceries, fish, meat, clothes, souvenirs, and more. There are lots of little food stalls where you can get a meal. We found that in some areas the smells were a bit overwhelming and the walkways throughout are very narrow and it’s easy to juts keep going around in circles. There are several entrances and exits, so make sure you enter and leave at the same place or it’s easy to get disoriented once outside the market. It was okay for a quick visit but we didn’t buy anything, just wandered around and looked at the stalls. I don’t know that I would recommend it. It’s okay but not outstanding or that interesting, in my opinion.
    Visited January 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 26 February 2024
  • Tazie
    Garden City, Kansas13 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Non touristy but cool
    This is definitely not a touristy spot, but if that's your vibe this is the place for you. The hustle and bustle of real Costa Rican people living their lives and trying to make a living. You will find souvenirs(cheap), home goods, fresh meat, bakeries and so much more. Enjoy!
    Visited April 2024
    Travelled solo
    Written 29 April 2024
  • Dodd D
    3 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Do your homework!
    I should have planned better. We had a great time simply due to luck. I woudn't recommend staying in downtown San Jose just because it is very busy and nothing really going on there unless you like walking from shop to shop that have nothing you want. Plant yourself near the airport and find some excursions. Day trips are great and we had everything set up for us. Even better, base yourself further west of the airport and discover small towns, markets, and other day trip excursions.
    Visited June 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 17 June 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles706 reviews
Excellent
221
Very good
303
Average
128
Poor
30
Terrible
24

4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2024 • Couples
I should have planned better. We had a great time simply due to luck. I woudn't recommend staying in downtown San Jose just because it is very busy and nothing really going on there unless you like walking from shop to shop that have nothing you want.
Plant yourself near the airport and find some excursions. Day trips are great and we had everything set up for us.
Even better, base yourself further west of the airport and discover small towns, markets, and other day trip excursions.
Written 17 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tazie
Garden City, KS
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Solo
This is definitely not a touristy spot, but if that's your vibe this is the place for you. The hustle and bustle of real Costa Rican people living their lives and trying to make a living. You will find souvenirs(cheap), home goods, fresh meat, bakeries and so much more. Enjoy!
Written 29 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Greenlakereener
Vancouver, Canada
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Couples
This market is huge with lots of stalls selling everything from produce, groceries, fish, meat, clothes, souvenirs, and more. There are lots of little food stalls where you can get a meal.

We found that in some areas the smells were a bit overwhelming and the walkways throughout are very narrow and it’s easy to juts keep going around in circles. There are several entrances and exits, so make sure you enter and leave at the same place or it’s easy to get disoriented once outside the market.

It was okay for a quick visit but we didn’t buy anything, just wandered around and looked at the stalls. I don’t know that I would recommend it. It’s okay but not outstanding or that interesting, in my opinion.
Written 26 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Couples
Souvenirs are cheaper here, and there are unique finds. The food is to die for! Make sure to try the oldest ice cream in Costa Rica as well!
Written 27 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Quinten Jiskoot
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Solo
Colourful place, ideal for people watching, grabbing some snack, have lunch, or just enjoying this busy highlight in the center of San José.
Written 2 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Doug D
Swindon, UK
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Couples
Busy indoor market. Lots of herbs and food. Nice vibe in there.
Find La Sorbetera de Lolo Mora - magic sorbet bar. Great, busy staff in uniform and a popular venue. Try the original sorbet its yummy.
Written 20 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dana P
Lynnwood, WA
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Friends
This place was not for the faint at heart and definitely not for tourist. My friend booked a walking tour and dinner excursion for someplace in the market, they were no clear identification for the location, the market was seedy to put it lightly. Some boys were following us around, uncertain what their aim was.
Written 20 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Family
Nice authentic market, definitely worth a visit while being in San Jose
Nice and good priced lunches
Written 22 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Family
Beware!
This store charged my credit card twice! Obviously, I didn’t notice until I was out of San Jose!
Shame!
Written 15 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Thomas G
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2023
For me this market was one of the best places to visit in San Jose. There are any shops and great local places to eat. It is nice to walk around for an hour, but it is not so big, so then an hour is sufficient. Do not forget to grab a bite.
Written 5 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Central Market (Mercado Central) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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