San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica’s farmers markets are full of fascination

By Daniela Garro Blair

Waking up every Saturday or Sunday morning to go do some shopping has something special to it. It’s not any type of shopping, but to buy fruits and vegetables at one busy place everyone knows of. 

Going to la feria del agricultor (farmers market) in Zapote, there are so many things people don’t notice. Every Saturday and Sunday the feria goes on with so many characters and different personalities you never would have guessed. Driving on the road and hearing el guachimán (guard) calling out to you to park on the sidewalks and having your dad imitate him in so many ways! Listening to their Tico accent and looking at their waving hands calling out to you.

As you walk in the aisles, you hear the people calling out to you to buy their products, screaming out their promotions: “¡Tres por uno!” (Three for one!), “¡Venga, le damos 1,000 el kilo!” (Come, we give you the kilo for 1,000!) or simply “Limones frescos, pase, tenemos limones frescos” (Fresh limes, come on by, we have fresh limes).

You also have the dog imitator who, as you walk by with your dog, barks as if he were one. You just laugh as you hear him. 

You can walk by all the tents and find something interesting in every aisle. There’s the “singer” – you would laugh to hear him sing. You would think he’s crazy as you hear him imitate Ricky Martin or Chayanne. You should also see the sellers’ faces. They want him to stop.

At this market, you hear wonderful typical music followed by Costa Rica’s most famous instrument: the marimba. You hear its fantastic melody about a block away, and sometimes the sellers even dance to its rhythm. They’re followed by everyone clapping and throwing change in the pocket hung up on the side of the instrument.

Just like any other country, Costa Rica celebrates its traditions, including la feria. You can eat typical food in the food stands after doing your shopping. You can enjoy the nice decorated stands and small gifts the Costa Rican people have prepared for you.

You will also find people selling lottery tickets. You can get your lucky number for just ₡1,000, there on every corner and persuading you to buy. 

Other than fruits and vegetables, you have people selling clothes, shoes, flowers, jewelry and everything you can imagine.

If Costa Rica’s people were always like this, we’d be surprised to know that nothing has changed for a long time and that you can find a smile on them and on you at la feria. 

It’s amazing how much you can learn, in just one place.n

Daniela Garro Blair, 14, from Curridabat, is a student at Colegio Calasanz Hispano-costarricense in San Pedro.

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The Tico Times welcomes submissions for the Young Writers column from writers 17 and younger. Submissions should be a maximum of 500 words and may be emailed to Weekend Editor Meg Yamamoto at Accompanying art or photos are welcome. Please include a brief bio indicating the writer’s age, nationality, school and place of residence.

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