Central Valley

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Central Valley - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Biesanz Woodworks

    Expat artist Barry Biesanz creates unique, world-class items from Costa Rican hardwoods, which are turned (a form of woodworking) on-site. Local artisans also ply their...

    Expat artist Barry Biesanz creates unique, world-class items from Costa Rican hardwoods, which are turned (a form of woodworking) on-site. Local artisans also ply their trade here. It's difficult to find, so take a taxi or call for directions from your hotel.

    Bello Horizonte, 800 meters (2,624 feet) south of Escuela Bello Horizonte, Escazú, San José, 10203, Costa Rica
    2289–4337
  • 2. Casa del Soñador

    Stop in at this unique artisan shop, a picturesque wood cottage embellished with monumental carvings by local wood sculptor Macedonio Quesada, the creator of the...

    Stop in at this unique artisan shop, a picturesque wood cottage embellished with monumental carvings by local wood sculptor Macedonio Quesada, the creator of the House of the Dreamer. Though Macedonio died years ago, his sons Miguel and Hermes continue the tradition, carving interesting, often comical little statues out of coffee roots, which they sell for only $10 to $25.

    2 km (1 mile) south of Cachí Dam, Orosi, Cartago, 30204, Costa Rica
    2577–1812
  • 3. Chaverrí Oxcart Factory

    In the nicest of the many stores south of town, you can wander through the workshops and see the artisans in action. Despite the name,...

    In the nicest of the many stores south of town, you can wander through the workshops and see the artisans in action. Despite the name, offerings extend well beyond oxcarts, and Chaverrí is a good place to buy wooden crafts of all kinds. Chaverrí also runs a restaurant next door, Las Carretas, which serves a variety of local food all day until 6 pm and has a good lunch buffet.

    Main Rd., 2 km (1 mile) south of Sarchí, Sarchí, Alajuela, 21202, Costa Rica
    2454–4411
  • 4. Feria del Agricultor

    Market

    Grecia’s covered weekend farmers’ market is one of Costa Rica’s liveliest and best. It runs Friday afternoon and evening until 9—fairy lights...

    Grecia’s covered weekend farmers’ market is one of Costa Rica’s liveliest and best. It runs Friday afternoon and evening until 9—fairy lights sparkle during the evening hours—and starts up again at 5 the next morning, winding down around noon. Fresh produce is yours for the buying and, if you time it right, homemade tortillas and cinnamon rolls too.

    Grecia, Alajuela, Costa Rica
    -2494–7360
  • 5. Cerámica Las Palomas

    Large glazed pots with ornate decorations that range from traditional patterns to modern motifs are the specialties here. Flowerpots and lamps are also common works...

    Large glazed pots with ornate decorations that range from traditional patterns to modern motifs are the specialties here. Flowerpots and lamps are also common works here, and the staff will happily show you the production process, from raw clay to art.

    Santa Ana, San José, 10903, Costa Rica
    2282–7001
  • 6. City Mall

    Central America's largest shopping mall weighs in at 330 stores and is most notable for its indoor snow-themed amusement park....

    Central America's largest shopping mall weighs in at 330 stores and is most notable for its indoor snow-themed amusement park.

    Radial Francisco J. Orlich, Alajuela, Alajuela, Costa Rica
    4200–5100
  • 7. Congo

    Congo offers a good selection of wood carvings and ceramic bowls and vases made by local artisans. It's a small four-store chain....

    Congo offers a good selection of wood carvings and ceramic bowls and vases made by local artisans. It's a small four-store chain.

    Autopista Próspero Fernández, Escazú, San José, Costa Rica
    2201–8017
  • 8. Feria

    On Saturday morning starting at 5, Heredia's open-air feria, a lively farmers' market, stretches for almost a kilometer (½ mile) along Avenida 14. Things start...

    On Saturday morning starting at 5, Heredia's open-air feria, a lively farmers' market, stretches for almost a kilometer (½ mile) along Avenida 14. Things start to wind down around noon.

    Avda. 14, Heredia, Heredia, 40101, Costa Rica
  • 9. Feria del Agricultor

    An abundance of locally grown fruits, vegetables, flowers, and even livestock is for sale here at San Ramón's farmers' market. The livestock adds to the...

    An abundance of locally grown fruits, vegetables, flowers, and even livestock is for sale here at San Ramón's farmers' market. The livestock adds to the fun and the atmosphere, and the fresh produce is yummy—it's a great place to buy fresh tortillas made by hand.

    800 m west of cathedral, San Ramón, Alajuela, 20209, Costa Rica
  • 10. Goodlight Books

    One of Costa Rica’s largest used-book stores stocks around 9,000 volumes, and a huge number of those are in English. It’s also a great place...

    One of Costa Rica’s largest used-book stores stocks around 9,000 volumes, and a huge number of those are in English. It’s also a great place to hang out for coffee and baked goods.

    Alajuela, Alajuela, 20101, Costa Rica
    2430–4083
  • 11. Multiplaza

    Costa Rica's most upscale mall—think Kenneth Cole, Giorgio Armani, Oscar de la Renta, and many of their Costa Rican counterparts—looms over the highway with its...

    Costa Rica's most upscale mall—think Kenneth Cole, Giorgio Armani, Oscar de la Renta, and many of their Costa Rican counterparts—looms over the highway with its 194 stores between Escazú and Santa Ana.

    Caldera Hwy., between Escazú and Santa Ana, Escazú, San José, 10203, Costa Rica
    4001–7999
  • 12. Paseo de Las Flores

    This airy, pleasant, and huge shopping mall with 320 stores is on the main road south of town. It has a branch of almost every...

    This airy, pleasant, and huge shopping mall with 320 stores is on the main road south of town. It has a branch of almost every international fashion boutique, as well as a multiplex cinema and a wide choice of cafés and restaurants.

    Heredia, Heredia, 40101, Costa Rica
    2261–9898
  • 13. Plaza de la Artesanía

    Sarchí's answer to a shopping mall gathers a dozen artisan and souvenir shops under one roof. Expect to find oxcarts, the town's signature symbol, and...

    Sarchí's answer to a shopping mall gathers a dozen artisan and souvenir shops under one roof. Expect to find oxcarts, the town's signature symbol, and everything else imaginable. If you can't find it here, it probably doesn't exist in Costa Rica.

    Sarchí Sur, Alajuela, 21202, Costa Rica
  • 14. Sibö Chocolate

    Get to know a bean of another kind during a private tasting at the workshop of the country's best artisanal chocolate makers. It starts with...

    Get to know a bean of another kind during a private tasting at the workshop of the country's best artisanal chocolate makers. It starts with an informative talk about the historical and cultural significance of the cacao bean, includes a demonstration of tempering chocolate by hand, and ends, of course, with a sampling of exquisite chocolates made from 100% organic cacao. Tasters can also stay for an elegant lunch on Sibö's pretty terrace. Reserve 48 hours in advance.

    Heredia, Heredia, 40601, Costa Rica
    2268–1335
  • 15. Volcán Poás National Park Visitor Center

    The park's visitor center has a well-stocked shop that sells nature-themed T-shirts, cards, and posters. A portion of the profits goes to support conservation projects....

    The park's visitor center has a well-stocked shop that sells nature-themed T-shirts, cards, and posters. A portion of the profits goes to support conservation projects.

    Poás Volcán National Park, Alajuela, 20801, Costa Rica
    2482–2424

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