Costa Rica has a range of supermarkets which you can find nearly everything you need. However, there are a few things to know before you grab a shopping cart which you can read in this post to help you navigate getting groceries in Costa Rica.
Wherever you are in the country, there will be a supermarket, mini market or convenience store where you will be visiting.
What You Need to Know About Grocery Stores in Costa Rica
I personally love visiting supermarkets in foreign countries as it is a fun way to get insight into local life. Visiting grocery stores in Costa Rica is also a great way to see the cost of living if you are thinking about moving to the country.
Costa Rica has full service markets, mini markets and convenience stores
Supermarkets are locally owned in Costa Rica, however we do have Walmart and they bought out several previous chains: Mas x Menos, Maxi Pali and Pali.
In Costa Rica, there are full supermarkets that have a variety of fresh produce, meat counter, home goods, a deli, frozen food section, bakery, alcohol, etc. Then they have pulperias, abastecedores and mini supers which are like mini grocery stores with basic items, snacks, some home and personal goods and a small produce section.
Nearly all gas stations have their own convenience store with snacks and basics. Some of them may have a hot food counter with hot dogs, empanadas, etc.
Most grocery stores take USD and Costa Rican colones
Most grocery stores in Costa Rica take both USD and Costa Rica colones. Likewise, you can pay with credit card. For the small local owned mini markets, it is best to pay with credit card or Costa Rican colones. Read more about handling money and Costa Rican currency here.
If you pay in USD, they will use the exchange rate of the day and give you your change back in Costa Rican colones. Since the supermarkets give you your change back in local currency, this is a good way to get some Costa Rican colones without having to make an extra trip to the bank. However, something important to know is that the exchange rate fluctuates daily. The supermarket should have the exchange rate posted somewhere near the register so you know which rate they use. You can also ask the cashier.
Tourist tip: If you are at a smaller market, always ask for the exchange rate and calculate your change before you leave if you pay in cash. Some may try to pull an exchange rate of 500 to 1 which will make you lose out a LOT. Read more about tourist scams in Costa Rica to stay safe.
Not all supermarkets have the same quality, carry the same items or have the same prices
Despite the many supermarkets and grocery stores in Costa Rica, not all of them carry the same items, have the same quality or have the same prices. Whenever I need to do a big shopping trip, I normally have to visit at least two different markets to get everything I need.
For example, Auto Mercado, a Costa Rican owned store is well known for being a high end supermarket with higher quality items, a bigger range of foreign products and a wide selection of high quality produce. They also have conveyor belts, air conditioning and misting machines, a few things that are not super common in other grocery stores in Costa Rica. Their prices are normally a little bit more expensive in touristic areas such as Herradura, Tamarindo and Playas del Coco. They have a sister market called Vindi which is a smaller version.
Pali, a budget supermarket is a small and basic market. The few times we have been to a Pali were not very pleasant, as they were messy and the workers were very slow. Maxi Pali, the bigger version of Pali is a full service supermarket with clothes, home goods, electronics, food, pet supplies, OTC medicines and cleaning supplies that have a higher level of service. Many Maxi Palis also have their own pharmacy inside the market.
Then there are the middle-high range supermarkets like Mega Super, Super Compro, Perimercados or Mas X Menos which have pretty much everything, are usually fairly clean and have a decent selection of produce.
You can find American brands and foreign brands and they are more expensive
The middle to high end supermarkets in Costa Rica do carry a good amount of American brands but they are more expensive. Anything they have to import will be a lot more expensive because of the high sales and import tax.
For example, a bottle of Hawaiian tropic sunscreen is around 9,000 colones ($17 USD) when in the US, you can buy it on Amazon for around $9-10 USD. This why we recommend bringing sunscreen and mosquito repellent. American brands like Neutrogena, Head & Shoulders, Pantene and Dove are more expensive. This also goes for food. If you see American brands like Doritos, Jiffy and Prego, they will be more expensive in Costa Rica.
Instead of buying only foreign/American products, you can save some money by purchasing the local brands instead. The cost can be around half of the imported products, so if you want to save money traveling in Costa Rica, then buy local brands. Personal tip: in case you need shampoo/conditioner/hair products, the Bioland line is my favorite.
Tip: Many supermarkets have a dedicated day where they offer discounts. For example, Auto Mercado has Wednesdays as the Dia de la Feria where many products are on sale. Mega Super has different promos everyday. However, many supermarkets require you to be a member in order to get the discounted prices.
24 hour supermarkets in Costa Rica are not common
Most supermarkets in Costa Rica close by 8 PM. A few close at 9 PM/10 PM.
Some supermarkets have a pharmacy but not all
In Costa Rica, not all supermarkets have their own pharmacy. The only one I’ve been to that has their own pharmacy is the Walmart, Mas x Menos and Maxi Pali. You can find basic over the counter medicines in all supermarkets in Costa Rica.
Hard to find vegan/vegetarian friendly options…
…in some supermarkets. I’ve been able to find veggie options in the Auto Mercado supermarket. They have tofurkey, vegan eggs, cheese and they also carry the Beyond line. So this is a good supermarket to go to if you are vegan. (Read more about eating vegetarian/vegan in Costa Rica here.)
Some common vegetarian/vegan items you can find in many supermarkets in Costa Rica are almond/soy/rice/oat/nut milk and box tofu. You may be able to find more options in San Jose since it is the city.
You can also find gluten free items in Costa Rica. Some of the higher end supermarkets may even have a dedicated aisle to them. My friend who has Crohn’s disease had a much easier time buying snacks and finding things to eat in Costa Rica. If there isn’t a dedicated section, many grocery stores in Costa Rica will still carry gluten free products. Look for the label “libre de gluten.”
There are organic markets in Costa Rica
This is kind of more common in touristic places like Nosara, Tamarindo, Samara, Santa Teresa, San Isidro de el General where there is a more of a holistic community of foreigners. You can find local artisan products there.
You can find all basic cuts of meat in Costa Rica
In Costa Rica, there are the basic cuts of meat for beef, pork and chicken. Only some stores have a seafood section (or they have a frozen seafood section) and it’s hard to find things other types and cuts of meat like ground chicken, ground pork and turkey products in most supermarkets.
Remember that all the names of the cuts will be in Spanish so it will be handy to write them down if you’re looking for a certain one like lomo (tenderloin), costillas (ribs) and entraña fina (skirt steak).
Cost of Groceries in Costa Rica
Here is a list of how much groceries cost in Costa Rica. Prices vary depending on where you are going. Touristic destinations and coastal areas tend to be more expensive than the inland cities.
The prices below (listed in USD and CRC) are just to give you an idea of how much basic items cost. For 2 people living in a touristic area of Costa Rica, groceries are usually the biggest chunk of our monthly budget. Our average monthly budget for groceries in Costa Rica is around $600 USD for 2 people and 4 large dogs. Dog food and dog supplies are expensive in Costa Rica unless you get the very cheap, not good quality stuff.
Prices are always quoted in Costa Rican colones at the supermarket. These are average prices in 2022.
Average Estimated Costa Rica grocery prices
- 1 kg white sugar: 850 CRC ($1.24)
- 2 kg brown sugar: 1875 CRC ($2.73)
- 15 limes: 2600 CRC ($3.76)
- 1.5 kg yellow onion: 2300 CRC ($3.33)
- 1 kg broccoli: 3300 CRC ($4.80)
- Can of OFF! Deep Woods Mosquito repellent: 6675 CRC (~$9.77)
- 1 loaf of white bread: 1800 CRC ($2.63)
- 2 liter of ginger ale light: 1500 CRC ($2.17)
- 1 liter of 0% milk: 1250 CRC ($1.82)
- 1 kg tomatoes: 2800 CRC ($4.08)
- 1 kg carrots: 650 CRC ($.94)
- 1 kilo of ground beef: 15-20%: 3950 CRC ($5.78)
- 1 kg boneless chicken breast: 4500 CRC ($6.54)
- 30 eggs: 4100 CRC ($7.59)
- 6 rolls of toilet paper: 2000 CRC ($3.30)
- 1.8 kg of white rice (local brand): 1750 CRC ($8.56)
- 800 g raw black beans: 1550 CRC ($2.25)
- 123 ml Colgate toothpaste: 2600 CRC ($4.29)
- 6 pack of Costa Rican beer (Imperial): 4620 CRC ($6.73)
- Grand Old Parr Whisky: 31,400 CRC ($51.80)
- 1 kg flour: 1085 CRC ($1.58)
- 24 pack of water: 8390 CRC ($13.84)
- 1750 ml bottle of water: 1000 CRC ($1.65)
- 900 ml soybean oil: 2300 CRC ($3.34)
Something to note that if you are renting a vacation rental or want to drink a lot of alcohol during your trip, stop by the duty free store in the airport before you leave and buy alcohol there when you land. It’s a lot cheaper and you can find a good variety of hard alcohol. Tourists can buy up to 6 liters of alcohol per person at the duty free store in the international airports.
Best Grocery Store in Costa Rica
Although there are many difference supermarket chains in Costa Rica, you won’t find one in every single city. For example, we love the Fresh Market but it’s only in San Jose, Heredia and Cartago. BM is a local chain that is concentrated in the South Pacific of Costa Rica (San Vito, Uvita, Palmar Norte, Quepos, Rio Claro, etc.).
Generally, the best grocery stores in Costa Rica are Auto Mercado, Mega Super, Fresh, Perimercado and Maxi Pali. These supermarkets normally all have the same quality, cleanliness and high level of customer service in all their locations. I would say the exception are Mega Super and Maxi Pali, we have been to some which are very slow and some which were disorganized.
There is Walmart in Costa Rica in Liberia, Perez Zeledon, Ciudad Quesada and in the central valley (San Jose, Heredia, Alajuela, Cartago). It is nearly exactly the same as the Walmart’s in the United States except they are not as big but they do have food, clothing, pharmacy, home and garden, pets, etc.
Costa Rica Farmers Markets
If you get a chance, we highly recommend checking out a local farmers market in Costa Rica (called feria in Spanish). They usually have excellent local produce for good prices and it’s a fun cultural experience. Read more about Costa Rica farmer’s markets here.
Read more posts about Costa Rica below!
Things to do with kids in Costa Rica
There are Amazon affiliate links in this post.
We will be staying at an AirBnB in La Fortuna that has a full kitchen. Which supermarkets would you recommend in that area?
Our La Fortuna guide has a list of different markets and shopping in the area
We are flying into Costa Rica on Sunday. I was trying to find info about buying coffee when I came across this article. I will definitely bookmark your blog as this is a great article!
We are flying into Liberia and staying near Coco beach.
Do you know where I can get the freshest coffee beans from one of the best brands without going to a plantation?
I love Sun Burst coffee, they have a shop and small roastery in the Do-It Center like 15 minutes from Liberia on the way from the airport to Coco. They have ground and whole, organic and lots of different options.
Hi there, do you know where I can find grass fed beef, real grass fed butter, raw cheese, pasture raised eggs? I’m in Guanascate area near Tamarindo
There are ferias on Saturday mornings in Tamarindo, maybe you can check with the vendors there to see if anyone sells that or knows. I think the big white truck might have some stuff
You can look in Google Maps for supermarkets nears where you’re going, they have a button specifically for groceries
If you want to do a big shopping when you land, Walmart and the Plaza Rosa Supermarket is a full service market with everything in Liberia. There are a lot of supermarkets in Coco, Huacas and Tamarindo that are also very big (Maxi Pali, Mega Super, Auto Mercado, Super Compro)
Can you order ahead online??
Some supermarkets do offer online order option, I have seen Automercado offer it on their website
Diana Doeing says
Hello. Do you have a list somewhere of the specific grocery stores in each city that you recommend? We are traveling from Liberia airport to Playa Flamingo. Should we go out of our way to the Super Jumbo or walmart in Liberia or stop in Playa Coco at the Auto Mercado there? Or simply use the Super Massai Grocery near our condo? Thank you.
Great Blog! Very helpful info for my upcoming trip to Tamarindo in Sept 2022. Thanks Much!!
Any recommendations for buying Alcohol in a large sum? Lol. Would you say buying at duty free or is there a better/cheaper store to stop at in route from Liberia to Tamarindo? We are a big group and trying to avoid the more expensive options in the touristy area of town.
Also, do you recommend any reasonably priced drivers that do airport transportation and/or local transportation around the Tamarindo area from private villas?
Last but not least, nightlife. Tell me about the best clubs, bars and lounges in Tamarindo. I’ll be celebrating my 33rd birthday! We’d love for y’all to come out and celebrate with us!!!
I’d buy your alcohol at duty free, I believe the limit is 6 bottles per person (or 8, can’t remember exactly), that’ll have the best prices
You can check our Tamarindo Costa Rica post for more details on the town
This is a fantastic article. The price comparisons are very helpful. Do you know if any supermarkets in San Jose area sell refrigerated tofu? (Not the vacuum sealed kind that is shelf stable; I’m looking for the kind that’s fresh and has to be refrigerated.) Thanks!
I have bought them at Pricemart (memebership store only like Costco so you can’t shop there if you’re not a member), maybe you can try Fresh Market – that one tends to have more products of that kind.
Thanks so much for the quick reply. I checked the Pricemart website in Santa Ana and they do have it and it’s very reasonably priced. I can’t believe how reasonable the Pricemart website prices are compared to the website for Auto Mercado. My family eats it every day so this will really save me money when I’m there. Really appreciate your help!
We will be driving from SJO to Manuel Antonio area. As far as I can see on the map, there are some Walmarts and Auto Mercados along the way. What would be your preference between Walmart and Auto Mercado in terms of variety and quality of products?
Walmart here is bigger in the sense that they have a clothing section, sports, home goods, etc.etc. if that makes a difference to you but both are full service supermarkets
We are going to Manuel Antonio in early December. Can you give me general idea about wine and beer prices?
Are there dedicated liquor stores?
Any tips on where best to buy?
Thank you very much.
Hi Nader, you can find liquor stores and then wine/beer/hard liquor are sold at supermarkets too.
Thanks for sharing. I will be there this month celebrating my birthday. I was going to Belize first but changed my mind at the last minute. We will stay in San Jose. We are looking to jet ski one day and atv another day. Do you think it’s best to purchase excursions online from trip advisor or wait until we get to our hotel?
I want to go out at night. Are there any bars or clubs that play hip hop and r&b? What do they do for Halloween? Should we convert money or just use our credit cards?
Thanks sorry for so many questions. I am use of just paying for a trip that others in the group put together. This time it’s just me and my spouse traveling.
For anything you have thats a “must do” I would recommend to pre-book to save your spots.
Costa Rica doesn’t really celebrate Halloween but with more foreigners living here, you can find some places offering Hallowwen parties, to be honest I am not sure if in San Jose they do but you can ask around to see. You can read more about Handling money in Costa Rica in this post.
Colleen Malloy says
We are arriving on Dec. 24 – are grocery stores open in San Jose on this holiday?
Yes, they may have limited hours but will be open
I am wondering if any grocery stores offer curbside pickup.
We are staying in Playa Grande and flying into Liberia.
The Auto Mercado on the way to Tamarindo does!
Penny Ure says
our family of 20 people will be flying into Liberia- staying in Orotina. would you advise us to purchase groceries in Liberia or San Jose?
Either location, whichever is more convenient for you guys – just keep in mind we don’t have 24 hour supermarkets so depending on when your flight lands, you can see which destination is better for timing wise.
Matt P says
Hi there! Thank you so much for all the super helpful info in this blog–it’s truly amazing! Question about grocery stores…do you know of any that carry a good selection (or any) organic produce? Thanks!
Hi Matt, they don’t really have like an “organic” section for produce in supermarkets here, there’s not really like a separation between organic and non-organic
Hi, great blog! We’re planning to stay in Jaco for a month. Does Walmart (from San Jose area) deliver to Jaco? Are there any alternatives to Amazon? So we can buy something only and get it delivered within a few days?
I just checked the Walmart Costa Rica website but unfortunately they don’t do home delivery to Jaco, they do have Liberia and various locations in San Jose but it looks like Auto Mercado in Herradura does offer express and pick up.
Mary Lou says
Hi, we stay in Jaco every year for the about a month. We shop at the Mas X Menos there and have found it to be more than adequate and clean. There is also a bakery across the street from it.
Diane F. says
Hi There – We are in Playa Potrero for the month of January with our two adolescent boys. They are eating us out of house and home! Wondering if there is somewhere cheaper to buy food than the SuperMercato here in Potrero? We don’t have a car but know a driver but then wondering if that would negate any savings?
Also, since we are here for a month what would be the top things you’d recommend us doing during our stay. We are thinking of one “adventure” per week…. We are mostly here to get out of the cold while we are all working or going to school online.
Thanks so much for your help! Diane
You can check out the Super Compro in Huacas, that supermarket is more of the local market and they have all the basics but Guanacaste and that area in general is expensive for groceries, especially for items besides basics (rice, beans, tomates, onions, lettuce, things like that). There is also a small local farmer’s market in the Huacas corner that you can check out too for produce.
You can check our Things to do in Guanacaste post for ideas of things to do and day trips from Potrero. Since you don’t have a car, you’ll have to book tours or you can rent a car for a few days at a time.
Sayda Robles says
Hi Sammi Pura Vida
Estamos organizando un viaje familiar a Costa Rica en los proximos meses; nos vamos a hospedar en Costa Ballena, Uvita Puntarenas, nos pudieras recomendar almacenes para compras de despensa que esten cerca de esa area. Hay un Pricemart cerca? es posible que te permitan la primera visita complementaria. Nuestras nececidades es para un grupo de 25 personas entre adultos y menores.
Hola, no hay Pricemart en Uvita pero el supermercado en este region se llama BM. Hay dos grandes en Uvita.
Ricky Windhorst says
Greetings, I love your blog. My wife and I have been to Costa Rica about 10 times since 2003. You blog is dead on accurate, one thing you might want to let people know that the cheapest place to buy liquor is at the Duty Free Store at the Airport in San Jose. You will need your passport but they box it up and you can carry it out to your destination. Thanks again!
You can wear shorts, no problem. It will be hot. Wear mosquito repellent!
Pamela Duncan says
We are touring around the country & doing some trips in La Fortuna – sky trek, ziplinning & sky bridge walk and also river boat tour. We are visiting in April. Is it ok to wear shorts to these trips or should long trekking type l trousers be worn. Thanks in advance. Your blog is fantastic.
Hi – any recommendations on the area around Las Catalinas? Groceries, restaurants, things to see?
Las Catalinas is still developing with lots of construction and is pretty small, the beaches are beautiful though but for the bigger supermarkets, I would go to the Maxi Pali/Mega Super in Villarreal. The restaurant at the Las Catalinas Casa Chameleon hotel is great.
Kim EVANS says
Is it safe to eat the produce? Do you have to wash it really well? I would be afraid at farmers markets that cats might pee on produce. Or they were washed in unclean water.
Yes it is, it is recommended to wash it before eating. At the farmer’s market, they generally do a good job of keeping it clean unless you’re in like a super rural remote area but you will need to wash it beforehand. I have not heard of anyone seeing cats pee on the produce to be honest…
Yes, everything is pretty expensive in Manuel Antonio due to how touristic it is. Quepos is a bit cheaper.
Hi, headed to Manuel Antonio in a few months and have rented a villa. Will we be able to purchase liquor, beer & wine in regular grocery stores? Is it safe to drink the alcohol?
Yes, you can find liquor stores and buy alcohol in supermarkets.
I’ve heard the groceries are really expensive in MA/Quepos. Is that true?
Yes. very expensive so factor that into your holiday. Bring your sunscreen ….and a lot of it. It’s very expensive and essential here.
Therese Johnson says
Hi, We are off to Costa Rica next month. I have read your tips and they are great.
My question is what kind of milk do they sell? I drink skim milk in Canada?? 🙂
They have 0% and skimmed milk here!
Lori Bennett says
Hi! Love your blog–it is so helpful! It has become our go-to source for our upcoming trip! My friends and I have rented an Airbnb for 3 months starting 1/21! We like our evening cocktails are wondering if it would make sense to buy hard liquor at the Duty free at the airport when we arrive? We are thinking about cost and availability! Thanks!
Duty free is cheaper, I believe the limit is 6 bottles per person (that’s what the lady told me last time I bought from duty free last year, it might even be 8) which is pretty good I would say!
Hello! We are coming back to CR, first visit to Tamarindo though! Which grocery store would you recommend for the best prices?
Thank you and pura vida!
For in Tamarindo town proper, Vindi is good quality. Super Pura Vida is another one. I don’t recommend SUper Compro, their quality is not good. The supermarkets in Tamarindo proper is more expensive so if you have a car, you can go to the Maxi Pali outside town on the road to Huacas for more and cheaper options.
I have 5 hours to kill in Liberia airport. Are there grocery/stores nearby that I can buy Costa Rican goodies from to bring home?
Unfortunately not really, there isn’t anything at the airport, just the airport. Liberia city is about a 15 minute drive from the airport so you’ll need to taxi there.
Will I find places/stores in the Liberia City town proper? Maybe have a good lunch too. Any recommendations?
Liberia does have restaurants, shops, supermarkets, etc. We don’t really eat too much in Liberia but have gone a couple times to Marisquería Sabor Porteño.
Daisy Karasek says
Do any of these supermarkets deliver? We are arriving on Dec 24th and would like to have somethings ordered in advance.
I think I saw Auto Mercado does but not sure if it’s all their branches, it may only be in San Jose.
Enjoy reading the blogs here and certainly is helping for our soon to be trip.
We will be staying in Potrero for our vacation and doing tours from there (some overnight).
how is the grocery shopping and stores for linens (towels, sheets)
we also love our fresh veggies and fruits
There are some small supermarkets in Potrero, there is a big Super Compro in Huacas or you can go to the Auto Mercado/Maxi Pali/Mega Super near Tamarindo.
rebecca pender says
looking for info regarding ….
** having a chef or caterer cook a traditional Costa Rica meal for 8 adults in our rental home.
**transportation for 8 adults – shuttle services, taxis, ( we will be staying near Jaco)
**tours and activities — beaches, hiking, zip lining
Hello Rebecca, we just sent you an email.
I recently saw on national news that Costa Rica has been added to the growing list of countries serving tainted alcohol. Was advised to get what you drink at duty free shop at airport. I was wondering if this is a concern in the common resort areas or more remote areas. Also, do you advise drinking only bottled water ?
Hi Deb, the tainted alcohol is what they call here “Guaro” and it’s super duper cheap booze (almost like moonshine) that are really unknown. They have already recalled the bottles, but they aren’t brands that resorts would serve. What I have heard is that sadly it has been all alcoholics or homeless people who have died drinking it because it’s that cheap. Stick to brands you know and/or duty free.
Thanks for all this great information. Do the supermarkets in San Jose sell the freezable cold packs that you can put in a cooler? We are bringing a collapsible cooler with us and would like to buy some once we get there if possible. Thanks!
I am honestly not sure and I wouldn’t count on all the supermarkets. All of them sell ice but to be honest I haven’t seen the freezable cold packs.
Emily Armstrong says
Your blog is so helpful! Do you know if any grocery stores in San Jose do delivery (like instacart in the US)? Thanks!
Hi Emily, I think auto Mercado does! And I have heard a market called Minys does as well.
Hi! We live in Samara. Do you know of a store in Liberia that sells just nuts? Someone told me about it but we don’t know where it’s at. Thank you!
Hi Crystal, honestly I don’t know of any, maybe try to ask in the Samara Facebook or Tamarindo chit chat FB groups.
We are going to Costa Rica on Tuesday and wanted to get snacks for the day trips. I’m assuming the brands will be unfamiliar. Do you have recommendations on snacks/brands that will seem familiar to kids from the US?
Hi Michelle, actually you can find a lot of US brands here for snacks. Lays, Doritos, Pringles, Cheetos, Wheat Thins, Snyder Pretzels. They’re just more expensive than the local ones but we actually have a lot of US brands in the supermarkets.
I am headed to uvita, costa rica in a week and i was wondering if you know if i can get Titos vodka in Costa Rica?
Honestly I don’t think so… maybe ask Mosaic Wine Bar, they work with a lot of wine and alcohols and may know!
Roxanne Devaney says
I’m glad I found your blog, it’s great and full of wonderful information. My Husband and I are going to be in Playa Flamingo for two months, leaving next week. We do have a friend there who will pick us up at the airport and take us shopping, etc. which is so helpful. We are going to rent a car when we want to explore. My husband is brining a travel scooter as he has a bad back. So I was thinking of buying a bicycle! And when we leave I’ll either donate it or sell it. Just wondering what my best options might be? Wondering if I order it from a big chain and have it delivered if that is even an option….any advice?
Hi Roxanne, in the Flamingo area, I would actually check on FB in like the Flamingo or Tamarindo Garage sales to see if anyone is selling a bike locally, since you’re here for 2 months you don’t need a brand new one (those are pretty expensive too) so you can see if anyone is selling a used one, but if you’d like a newer one, I am not positive if there is a bike shop in Flamingo but there is one in Villarreal. Or ask any of the tour operators around there to see if you can rent one for 2 months.
Great article/blog ! wish i had gotten it before going to Costa Rica in December over New Years. Our driver from the airport was to stop at a grocery store so we could pick up provisions and he took us to a Pali….it was awful !! so we ended up having to go to a little convenience store up the street during the week to keep picking up things during the day (which was pricey for sure !!) I will save this for next time and send on to anyone I know is heading to Costa !! thanks, I enjoy your blogs very much
If you buy the big bottles of beer, the 750 ml bottles, you can return them to the store and trade it in. The cans they don’t take, but those big bottles they do. You can read about beer in this post here: Costa Rican beer
There are no shared shuttle options from the airport to Hermosa, and transportation options are limited for this route. A private shuttle is $50 for 1-4 people, taxis do tend to charge a bit more (around $60 and I’ve ever heard 65 which is ridiculous). There is a bus but it only runs like 3 times a day and it’s not a guarantee that it will go past the airport so the best option is private shuttle or taxi.
For hiring a driver to national parks, I’d book a full tour as it will include the roundtrip transportation, bilingual guide, meals, entrance fees and refreshments (depends on the tour). If you hire just a driver, the price will be pretty much like booking a tour but you will have to arrange everything yourself still. On a tour you’ll have a guide who takes care of everything and they’ll share information about the national parks, flora and fauna, etc.
If you need recommendations for the shuttle or booking tours, let me know as we work with companies in that area.
I really like your blog. We’ll be in Playa Hermosa from Feb1-15. Several questions:
1. Grocery Stores – you don’t mention Luperon; it’s supposed to be cheaper than AutoMercado.
2. Beer – are there deposits on bottles and cans that you get back if you return the empties? (We drink a lot of beer.) Imperial a good brand – like a lager?
3. Transportation from LIR to our rented condo in Playa Hermosa. Shuttle prices are outrageous for a 20-minute ride for two people and taxis are said to be even higher. What do you recommend?
4. How would we go about hiring a driver to take us to a couple of the nearby National Parks?
Thanks a lot for any advice you can offer.
we will be in Escazu for 3 weeks starting next week – is there good food shopping there? We have a full kitchen so plan to eat at “home” some of the time
Hi Hanne, you can find everything in Escazu, supermarkets, local markets, everything!
Escazu has one of the largest best Farmers markets in CR on Saturday right downtown by the main square. Amazing selection of fruits, veggies, cheese… there is also a Pali, and Auto Mercado, MazxMenos. We shopped at the little Chinese owned grocery stores on the main street also, and the local bakeries.
Hi guys! We’re heading to Nosara after we fly into San Jose, and we’re wondering if it’s worth stopping in the city to buy the essentials – toilet paper, bread, etc.
Hi Sam, there are supermarkets in Nosara where you can buy essentials like that. Even though there isn’t a huge supermarket like the ones in San Jose, there are what we call “pulperias” and those are small markets with essentials plus snacks and some food.
Your blog has been so helpful in planning our trip. My family of 5 will be going to La Fortuna to start out our trip for a few days. We are planning to do a lot of hiking and exploring. I was hoping to stop by a grocery store after we pick up our car and pick up some items to keep in our room and pack in our day bags. Maybe even make some easy lunches. Which store would you recommend? Also is water always so expensive? What would you recommend to keep our Hydro Flasks full?
Hi Mary! There are a lot of supermarkets in La Fortuna, each of them all carry the same thing pretty much. I wrote a small section about shopping in our guide here: La Fortuna
Water is always around those prices in all the supermarkets, my recommendation is that you can actually drink tap water in most places like the city (La Fortuna included) but if you have a sensitive stomach or don’t react well, we recommend purchasing the water filter tablets or a steripen which will sterilize water quickly and is super usefl.
Hi Shawna, you can read about the four supermarkets in Coco in this post and the differences between them. We personally like Auto Mercado and Super Luperon as they are the biggest and cleanest with more selection. For car rentals, you have a lot of options whether you want to get the car from liberia Airport or to your place in Coco. We have a partnership with Adobe Rent a Car who offers free delivery to Playas del Coco and we offer up to 20% discounts and extra benefits for our readers. You can read more about renting a car in this post and get our discount here
Shawna Larade says
If flying into Liberia and driving to Coco Beach with a family of 6 (4 children and 2 adults) where to you suggest we grocery shop? Is it a good idea to bring things from Canada for the children in Costa Rica? What are car rental options like? Thank you for taking the time to create this blog. It is very helpful
Vicki L Smith-Jones says
Your blog has been extremely helpful in planning our trip to Costa Rica this week. I have clicked on a few links (World Nomad) and hope that they are working as they should for you. Your tips have definitely made our trip smoother and we have not even gotten on the plane (Seattle like you) yet!!
Hi Vicki! I’m so glad it’s been helpful and thanks for clicks 🙂 Yay Seattle! I just got back actually, had a very nice summer there!
Enjoy your blog. Lots of good information. Do any of the stores sell non alcoholic beer? If so is there a particularly good one?
Hi Kathy! They do, Imperial sells one and the can is black. I’ve tried it (I don’t drink) and it’s not bad. I’m not sure if they sell it at every single supermarket but we have found it in a few.
Are there any grocery stores in Costa Rica, specifically Limon, that makes home deliveries ? Do they have any apps to buy from?
Hi Marita, unfortunately we don’t have that yet in Costa Rica 🙁
We just returned from the Osa Peninsula and found there was a surprising number of vegetarian “fake meats” and similar items in the cooler and frozen sections at BM market. More surprising was the very high cost, but it was a break from the local foods and something familiar for the kids.
Hey Sammi, I’m moving to San José to work at one of the international schools in July and I’m coming from 4 years China. I’m not willing to give up my staple items such as rice noodles, soy sauce and hoisin, so can you reccomend any Asian grocery stores in San José, or any shops you know carry Asian staple items? I’m from Toronto so I’ll have no trouble sourcing those things at home and bringing it in, but when I run out I would love to have some options to restock.
Hi Laura, you can find basics like soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, siracha, and some noodles (buckwheat soba, stir fry) at Auto Mercado and there is a big Asian supermarket in San Jose. Their Instagram name is dondelachinita. I forget the address but it’s not in “Chinatown” (there’s nothing there, just a big red gate). I live in Guanacaste so it’s a lot more difficult to find those items but in San Jose there are Asian markets.
Mindy Duke says
What’s the average cost of wine, boxed or bottles? Do most grocery stores sell it? We’ll in CR for 2 weeks in August, SJ, La Paz, La Fortuna, Monteverde & Quepos.
Love your blog and thanks for the great information!
You can find wine in most of the supermarkets. You can find Costa Rica box wine for like… $6 (not very good) and then if you want like, nice wines, you will need to go to a liquor store or to a higher end supermarket like AutoMercado but good wine is definitely not cheap. They have wine in all the nice restaurants and in the supermarket, a nice bottle of wine maybe at least $30 or so.
Yes I have learned so much in your blog
Thanks so much very informative
Been to CR three years in a row now and will return again and again
Looking forward to the growth in the Coco area with the water making its way there
Hi David, thanks for reading our blog and glad it’s helpful!
Hello! My friend and I are so excited to go to Costa Rica and we’ve been reading all your blogs! So helpful! Just wondering, is wal-mart in Liberia not 24 hours? We are getting in late and wanted to pick up just a few things before we head to Tamarindo.
Hi Pauli, the Walmart in Liberia closes at 10 PM. There are several supermarkets in Tamarindo but most of them close by 8-9 PM. There aren’t really any 24 hour supermarkets in Costa Rica.
Hi..,really enjoying your blog and it is making me so excited about our trip to Costa Rica in two weeks time .. you have answered so many questions for usc. We are hiring a 4×4,and travelling to Arenal , Monteverde , Samara , Jaco , Uvita and Sierpe .. 16 day trip ! We will need a rest when we get home ( England ) best wishes , SANDIE
Hi Sandie, I hope you have a wonderful time in Costa Rica and glad you like the blog!
Rebecca Coutant says
Such a great post! I write a blog about Belize – Ambergris Caye in particular – and I must admit…I visit your site for ideas and inspiration. Plus…it’s just good reading! Thank you guys so much 🙂
Hi Rebecca! That’s awesome – I’ve always wanted to go to Belize (hopefully after I get my scuba diving certification). It looks gorgeous and everyone says the diving there is spectacular! I’ll check out your site for inspiration 😀