I saw Jesus in the market!

San Jose Travel Blog

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I was born and raised in Guayaquil, Ecuador. I've traveled to several places in Latin America (LA) and all the capitals seem the same to me. That is why I made a true effort to skip San Jose. Unfortunately, the travel gods were not on my side and made me stay a night in Costa Rica's capital.

Granted, I am not giving San Jose a fair chance and spending one night here is not going to make me an expert. But from what I can tell, San Jose is just your typical LA capital. It has it share of colonial houses, the streets were small, some smelled really bad, and the traffic was horrible. But I did see a side of Costa Rica I was not expecting...a flair for diversity and knowledge.

We had most of Saturday to play around in San Jose and we decided to play in the 'Mercado Central'. The market had a bit of everything: meats, seafood, chicken, crafts, clothing, etc. The dense air inside the old walls makes on wonder how many people have wondered these tiny halls. Vendors greeting visitors with a warm smile as you walk through their shops, then you hear them giggle and you realized that you have walked by that vendor at least three times before. It is easy to get lost inside mercado central... all halls look the same and all vendors seem to sell the same product. But then you feel brave and take the risk of going into the heart of the mercado...you decide to go to the 'corazon de Jesus' (Jesus heart). Jesus is located in the middle of the market next to the meat stand. It is a georgious statue that is taller than most people. Its colorful wardrobe and rosy cheeks makes one wonder why would they place it in the meat aisle? But very little makes sense here and one must just go with the flow.

While mercado central is your typical LA market, it was very interesting seeing a market with full services restaurants inside. There is nothing better than walking next to a seafood stand full of fresh fish, shrimp, and octopus and then sitting down to eat a ceviche. You know is fresh when you can smell the fish stand next to you! The people inside the food stands were friendly and funny (like most people in CR). The would yell across the aisle to order food or to get the check. As the noise in the market increased so did the laughter from patrons entretained by the latest political gossip. This was more than a market to these people... this was their oasis from chaos and panic outside these walls.

Mercado Central is a great place to visit, it makes see life from a different perspective.However, I must warn all you travelers out there... this is dangerous place and you will probably get robbed if you walk around with a fanny pack and a camera.


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photo by: Isoinspira