Central Market: colors and flavors since 1880

by | January 18, 2018

From the 1850s, and until 1872, the Main Square or Plaza Mayor (now Central Park) became the focus of the commercial activity in San José every Saturday. People from all walks of life came to buy and sell products from all over the country. Even the mass was held right on the market!





The other market squares


Other “plazas” also held market activities on Saturdays: in the National Liquor Factory Plaza (current Parque España) the cattle market was held, especially cows and oxen, but also some pigs, horses and mules. The Plaza del Mesón (current Braulio Carrillo Park, in front of La Merced), Plaza de la Artillería (current Central Bank) and the Plaza Nueva, also held commercial activity on Saturdays.


By 1868 the fencing of the Central Park and the inauguration of the city aqueduct gave a new urban use for this space and thus, the Saturday market became inconvenient. This is how, in 1872, the market was moved to the Plaza de la Artillería and in 1873 the decision was made to build a market building so San José neighbors would have a place to shop every day and not only Saturdays. The site chosen was Plaza Nueva, where by 1880 the Central Market of San José was completed. Its narrow alleys full of sodas (small family restaurant), herbalists, greengrocers, coffee roasters, bars, saddle shops, souvenirs and ice cream shops still keep the history and culture of our capital while offering an experience full of smells, colors and incredible flavors.

Declared heritage in 1995, “El Mercado” continues to be a vibrant place, full of stories, colors and magic flavors. Wanna learn more? Join us in our Carpe Market tour.