We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
New! Find and book your ideal hotel on TripAdvisor — and get the lowest prices

Central Market (Mercado Central)

Map
Satellite
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Get directions
Address: Bordered by Avdas. Central and 1 and Cs. 6 and 8 | Barrio La Merced, San Jose, Costa Rica
Website
Description:

This collection of stalls and restaurants contains the country's first ice...

This collection of stalls and restaurants contains the country's first ice cream vendor.

read more
Book In Advance
More Info
USD 67.98*
and up
San Jose Beer Tasting Tour
More Info
USD 32.99*
and up
San Jose Walking Tour: Food, History and Architecture
More Info
USD 52.00*
and up
San Jose Walking and Bus City Tour

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 332 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 78
    Excellent
  • 93
    Very good
  • 46
    Average
  • 9
    Poor
  • 8
    Terrible
Assault on your senses

This was a fun place to visit with hundreds of small stalls and places to eat. It is crowded and active with bustling activities, conversations, aromas, and transactions. You will... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 11 May 2016
Tom D
,
Ambler, Pennsylvania
Add Photo Write a Review

332 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language
  • More
Showing 234: English reviews
Kona, Hawaii
Level Contributor
121 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 June 2016

We walked through on a Saturday afternoon and it is crowded and pretty intense. Lots of food items and some handicrafts although the crowds made it tough to hang out very much. I took one photo on my cell phone and was yelled at, so maybe you should not do that. It was of a display sign, not a person,... More 

Helpful?
Thank Alohamary
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 June 2016

Full of little shops and food. We found a place that sold freshly made potato chips by the kilo. There were so many interesting restaurants that served snacks and food you can't find in the more touristy areas of Costa Rica. Plus the cost was so much cheaper.

Helpful?
Thank Aitch M
echt
Level Contributor
23 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 May 2016

We were amazed by the nice items that were for sale here. Please note; most shop-owners own more than one stall. It might give you a better position for bargaining if you buy more from one shop-owner. They will do free inscriptions on wooden items. Make sure however that you have it done by a person with a nice handwriting.... More 

Helpful?
3 Thank s p
Ambler, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
91 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 May 2016

This was a fun place to visit with hundreds of small stalls and places to eat. It is crowded and active with bustling activities, conversations, aromas, and transactions. You will be better served if you know how to calculate the currency exchange. The price in US dollars initially quoted to me had to be adjusted once I questioned the vendor... More 

Helpful?
3 Thank Tom D
Miami, Florida
Level Contributor
55 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 May 2016 via mobile

Short, easy walk from Balmoral Hotel. This market has been in business since the late 1800's, and was very busy on a Saturday afternoon. You could basically hey anything you would ever want or need here, from fresh meat, to souvenirs. Live chickens, puppies, ice cream, flowers, clothes, you name it. People have mentioned that there is a risk of... More 

Helpful?
2 Thank LISA L
Rockledge, Florida
Level Contributor
59 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 May 2016 via mobile

Walked from Hotel Balmoral, wandered the market, literally anything from flowers, puppies, live chicken, meat, poultry or touristy souvenirs available. Prices negotiable at most stands. Very reasonable everywhere we noticed. Gets pretty warm and very close quarters in places. Had been told to watch jewelry/wallets. Just used common sense and never felt at all uncomfortable or unsafe. Nice walking area... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank angelndskys12
New Minas, Canada
Level Contributor
98 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 May 2016

Great place to buy or try traditional food of the place that you are visiting and eat it while on the streets with the locals that have come to the market. Shop for local arts or more traditional items.

Helpful?
1 Thank Belinda G
Orlando, Florida
Level Contributor
963 reviews
781 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,724 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 May 2016

Most cities have an equivalent of Mercado Central, such as Seattle’s Pike Place Market and Vancouver’s Granville Island Public Market. Like those, Mercado Central is crowded and aromas (and odors) permeate. Stalls lining alleys hawk traditional farmers market staples, and some prepare fast food. Take care, however, when purchasing food from these kiosks. Many have only one worker, who prepares... More 

Helpful?
4 Thank DeanMurphy2020
FL
Level Contributor
27 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 April 2016 via mobile

If you happen to be fortunate enough to visit the Mercado Central make your way to the Cafe Central where you can invite your tastebuds to sample the world's best coffee! Grab a kilo or two to take home and you will be eternally grateful!!

Helpful?
1 Thank Susanne L
Reigate, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
17 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 April 2016

A very bustling, lively, varied place. A big indoor market with all sorts of shops, butchers, fishmongers, grocers, herbalists. Plenty of restaurants with delicious food. We ate in one of them, had great laughs with the waitresses as we don't speak any Spanish and they didn't understand English! But we managed to eat a lovely meal! From there we walked... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank Frogandco

Travellers who viewed Central Market (Mercado Central) also viewed

 
San Jose, San Jose Metro
 

Been to Central Market (Mercado Central)? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of Central Market (Mercado Central) and other visitors
13 questions
Ask a question
Columbia, Maryland
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
over a year ago
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
over a year ago

See all questions (13)

Questions? Get answers from Central Market (Mercado Central) staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?