My Favorite Shops
For the best, most diverse selection of Costa Rican souvenirs there is a well-known place called the MERCADO MUNICIPAL DE ARTESANÍA. Any taxi driver will know exactly where that is.
My buddy Marco Salazar is in booth #76. He has the most unique items that are affordable and make excellent gifts for your friends and family back home or for yourself. He sits there all day and makes by hand, chains from a big roll of metal. Then he attaches in a unique way, semi-precious stones. His stuff is beautiful. If he had a separate shop in a mall he could easily charge 10X what he charges in his little booth at the Mercado. I buy earrings and necklaces from him whenever I go down to San Jose. I buy them as gifts and then keep them myself (don't judge me!).
Anyway, that's my best suggestion. If you mention my name, he'll give you a little discount on his already reasonably priced treasures.
When you're downtown you might also want to see the National Theater. It's a gorgeous old building and is worth a looksee. It's a functioning theater, used for concerts and shows of all kinds all the time. It's beautiful and all done in French design. I'm not sure how that came about, but still it's very beautiful.
And as long as you're downtown, if you don't mind a million different smells colliding in your nose (meats, herbs, fish, leather goods, vegetables, etc) go take a quick walk through the Central Market. And of course if you have time you can go in and check out one of the museums downtown. My limit for museums is 59 minutes. Their pre Colombian gold museum is nice as is their art museum.
Ok, that's all for now. Don't do anything I've mentioned above the first week after surgery. When you feel totally up to it in your second week, pick one thing and go do it. Don't do more than one thing in a day in the second week post op. Your brain will tell you, "sure, go ahead, see everything today because you're feeling up to it now!!!" But trust me, even if you feel up to it, after about an hour or so out on your feet doing something, you will get tired and need to sit or lie down. That's why I really recommend that you bring your driver in with you so you can hold on to him if necessary and he can lead you back to the car and take you right back to your recovery place.
Ok, so I lied. I had more to say. But I swear I'm done now. I just want you to go and have the best experience ever. But I want you to do it safely always keeping in mind that you just basically came out of major surgery. Don't forget that the whole time you're down there, ok?