Shopping is not a major reason to visit Costa Rica, but some high-quality wooden and leather handicrafts are available. San José has the best shopping opportunities, in small gift stores in the city center, an outdoor market near the Museo Nacional, and a neighborhood called Moravia in the northern part of the city, which has whole streets devoted to souvenir stores. Bargaining is possible in outdoor markets, where you should expect to pay about 80% of the first price the vendor gives. Souvenir stores usually give discounts if you pay cash.
Haggling can be done almost everywhere. Even clothing, shoe, and record stores in the mall are usually willing to give discounts of 5%-10% for cash or multiple purchases. It’s always worth it to ask politely — no offense will be taken.
Be prepared to be shadowed closely in stores — so close that when you stop to look at something the salesperson might bump into you. This is business as usual; take it as earnest friendliness (and of course, diligent protection against shoplifting). An indication that you need no help (“No necesito ayuda, gracias.”) buys you a few feet of personal space.