Going to a feria, a local farmer’s market, is a weekly highlight for all of us who live in Costa Rica. Heading out to peruse the fresh, organic and local-grown produce – which actually also includes meat, fish and a lot of home-made delights – is not just your average shopping trip but a bona fide social and cultural event. And that’s even without considering the amazing savings. In Costa Rica, where fresh vegetable sell at the local market for $2 a kilo, following a healthy organic diet based on fresh produce is so easy and enjoyable, that for many it’s one of the primary reasons they love living here.
Costa Rica Farmers Markets
Anywhoo. It dawned on us that you need not live in Costa Rica to enjoy a day out at a local feria. Even if you’re just visiting for a week or two, you’ll no doubt enjoy discovering all the amazing and exotic produce grown in the country. And besides, every market boasts its fair share of sodas (food stalls) selling local Tico dishes so if you feel the hunger pangs screaming for your attention, you’ll certainly be able to satisfy them abundantly.
Have we enticed you to fit in a visit to a feria during your trip? Then check out Costa Rica’s best farmers markets and come see how lucky we are to call this place home. And keep in mind that although the largest markets are found in the largest cities and towns, every town boasts a weekly produce market so ask around and you shall find!
It stands to reason that farmers go out of their way to travel to the capital to sell their weekly spoils. San Jose has several excellent produce market, including the Mercado Central on Avenida Central which is actually a great place to buy local souvenirs as well. But for a thoroughly delicious and less touristy treat, head to the Organic Farmer’s Market in Aranjuez on a Saturday morning. Growers come here from all over the country and you’ll get to see what wondrous produce is in season during your visit.
San Isidro de El General
The Feria del Agricultor in San Isidro de El General (about 80 miles south of San Jose) is one of the largest farmer’s markets you’ll find and although prices are a little higher than elsewhere, it is a well-organized, clean and incredibly well stocked. Held at the Fairground in Santa Cecilia, the San Isidro markets comprise over 200 stalls and are best visited at the crack of dawn on a Thursday. We love these markets because they seem to be way off the tourist path although expats have certainly caught on and as Western start appearing, more and more vendors are joining the tribe. Wonderful!
Held along Routa 243 about half way between San Isidro and the west coast, the Feria Tinamastes is a fab alternative if you happen to be in the area on a Tuesday instead, headed towards Dominical. This market may be way smaller but it’s oh-so cool and chock-full of superbly delicious home-made foods, as well as a bevy of fantastic fresh produce.
Over in Tamarindo, along the Pacific coast in Guanacaste, you’ll find a weekly mecca brimming with fruits, vegetables, ice cream, smoked cheese, spices and a host of exotic food. Also held on a Saturday (from 8am to 1pm), the Tamarindo Feria is a huge hit so head here early as stalls empty out in a jiffy. You’ll find stalls setting up early on Calle Tigris. Oh…and bring some extra cash: the hand-made jewelry and artefacts are a stunning surprise!
If you’re heading north out of San Jose, then don’t miss your chance to drop into the Saturday feria in San Ramon, a lovely old town in the splendid Alajuela province. At these markets you’ll experience a totally different vibe, and get a taste for the real country life. Farmers bring not only their produce but also their wares and cattle to sell at the weekly market, and the whole town is buzzing in anticipation. The town itself is a delight to explore on foot and nearby cloud forests means you could be out in the wilderness in no time at all. After your morning shopping spree, naturally.
Ready to explore more of Costa Rica’s best farmer’s markets? Then head down here already! We have a fantastic array of adventure vacation packages on offer and will be delighted to show you some of our many hidden spots around this beautiful country. Contact us for more info.