If you’re looking for the best Costa Rica tattoo shops let us be your guide. Costa Rica is known for its beautiful natural scenery, surfing, and also its coffee. But Costa Rica has more than its fair share of renowned tattoo artists too. Tattoos are really popular with those that fancy coming back from vacation with a more permanent souvenir. Who needs postcards and keyrings? Some people travel abroad specifically to go to a famous tattoo shop or artist. After all, you can’t take a tattoo back, so it’s worth investing extra effort into.
But what should you look out for when getting a tattoo in Costa Rica? First of all, you should search for a reputable tattoo artist. The best tattoo shop probably won’t be down a dark alley with windows so dirty you can’t see through them. The best tattoo artists get booked up fast so you will need to make an appointment. Wherever you go, check it is hygienic with proper sterilization practices. All needles should be individually sealed and opened in front of you so you know it is clean! Dirty needles can pass on Hepatitis C and HIV. Not the kind of souvenir you want to come back with.
If you are in Costa Rica on vacation, then think about how having a new tattoo will fit in with your plans. A new tattoo needs care, and you won’t be able to go swimming or expose it to the sun for a few days after. Have an idea of the tattoo design that you would like. “Pura Vida” may be the catchphrase of the country and a popular tattoo request, but do you want it on you forever? Take care of any possible language barriers before you arrive, and make sure the phrase you want to have tattooed on you forever, means what you think it does. And don’t go drunk! Reputable tattoo artists won’t tattoo anyone under the influence but if you end up down that dark alley, well…
If you’re set on getting a tattoo in Costa Rica, then reviews are a good place to start, along with samples of previous work, and this article. We are going to look at tattoo artists around San José in central Costa Rica, so let’s get straight to the point.
Nueva Orden Tattoos
First on our list of Costa Rica tattoo shops is Neuva Orden. Choose the tattoo artist that suits you the best in this popular tattoo shop. With different artists to work with, you’ll be able to find one that truly gets your style. This is really important when choosing a tattoo artist. Many of them are super talented, but finding one who specializes in the style of tattoo you want can take it to another level. Nueva Orden tattoo shop sometimes has guest artists who travel from around the world to work there – always a good thing to see, it means other artists want to be associated with them.
They will work on any style of tattoo: from mini tats to sleeves and full-body art. Previous clients love the clean studio and the friendly customer service. You can park outside if you have a car, and Nueva Orden tattoo shop is open every day of the year. You can easily make appointments via their Facebook page. Check out their Instagram @nuevaordentattoos.
Address: Pan American Hwy, San José Province, San Pedro, Costa Rica
Stattoos Tattoo Piercing Shop
This next tattoo shop has over twenty-four years of experience with tattoos, and body piercing too. They are open from 10 am every day including Sunday. They have five locations in Costa Rica – San Pedro, Escazú, Moravia, Rohrmoser, and Barrio Escalante. With no less than thirteen tattooists to choose from (location dependant), you are bound to find someone with the right style right for you. Their studios are cool, with walls jammed with trendy artwork. Almost boutiquey in style, clients love the vibe in this place, and the creative tattoo work.
The shop is clean and adheres to strict hygiene standards. Some customers have had problems with the tattooists not being available when they arrive for their appointment. Could this be down to the language barrier? Maybe – not everyone here speaks English although some of the employees do. If you have an appointment here it might be worth confirming it before you set off. You can walk in off the street, you don’t necessarily need to make an appointment in advance. Check out their Instagram @stattooscr.
San Pedro Address: Los Yoses (next to Bar Río), Costa Rica
Next on the list is Retro Tattoo. Retro has been in business in Costa Rica since 2002. As well as tattoos they can do body piercings. They are one of the few Costa Rica tattoo shops that also supply equipment to other studios. Retro Tattoo is open for all your tattoo needs seven days a week from 10 am (12 pm on Sunday). English is spoken here so there shouldn’t be anything lost in translation. If you are looking for design inspiration or advice about cover-ups they are easy to talk to.
Retro Tattoo is approved by the Costa Rican Ministry of Health so you can rest assured that their hygiene is up to standard. Whatever style of tattoo you are looking for can be done, and they say that lettering is one of their specialties. Check out their IG @retrostudio.tk.
Address: Boulevard Avenida 4ta, Costado Norte Del Colegio De Señoritas, 2do piso, San José, Costa Rica
Tattoo Arte Primitivo
This Costa Rica tattoo shop has more than twenty years of experience in the body art industry. It is open six days a week (closed Sunday). They claim to be pioneers of the tattoo world. Some clients have traveled for hours to get a tattoo done here so they must be good! There is wheelchair access, something not all of the tattoo shops have.
The professional and highly trained tattooists here will be able to help you with any kind of tattoo. Clients like that they listen to what you want and love the fact that they will guide you with alternative suggestions if they think it would be better. Although they offer body piercing as well, tattoos seem to be their forté. You need to pay a deposit of ¢20,000, about US $32, to make an appointment. This is taken off the price of the tattoo.
Address: Calle 65A 11501, San José, San Pedro, 11501, Costa Rica
New Skull Tattoo Studio
People have been getting tattoos done at New Skull since 2006. They pride themselves on being leaders of their field, always striving to learn. Visiting artists are welcomed and New Skull provides a friendly environment for customers looking for high-quality body art. They formed the Paradise Tattoo convention that has been running annually since 2012. Providing a chance for other tattoo artists around the world to collaborate, and proving that they are passionate about the business.
Due to their success, they opened a second shop in Costa Rica, in the Hereda area. Between the two locations, you can choose the tattoo artist that most gels with your design ideas. They are open all day, six days a week. Check out their Instagram @newskull506.
Address: 203 Lourdes, San José Province, San Pedro, Costa Rica
Coki Jara Tattoo
Coki Jara has been in business, tattooing people in Costa Rica for over twenty years. They are also certified by the Ministry of Health meaning they must follow strict hygiene guidelines. They have six tattoo artists working here, all specializing in different styles. Some have worked doing tattoos around the world, so they bring a little extra flavor to the board. Whatever you want doing, from mini tattoos to big tribal designs you’ll find an artist here to turn your design into a reality.
Previous clients like the attention to detail, particularly on intricate designs. Coki Jara is known for professional and friendly customer service as well. If you don’t have a design in mind, the tattoo artist will create one for you. Check out their Instagram @cokitattoocr.
Address: Calle 73 Lourdes, San José, San Pedro, Costa Rica
Amunet Tattoo Studio
The last one on our tattoo shop search is Amunet Tattoo. A professional tattoo shop that prides itself on unique and personalized designs. It is located inside the Santa Ana shopping center. The prices for a tattoo with an artist here start at ¢40,000 which is approximately US $55. This may not be the cheapest you can find in Costa Rica, but you should focus on quality rather than price.
They’ll design intricate blackwork, lettering, caricatures, and even 3D designs. Whatever you like. Whatever style you prefer. Previous clients love the high standard of work and the brilliant customer service. They love the fact that time is taken to make sure you get exactly what you are hoping for. This is what Amunet prides itself on – quality and uniqueness. By the way, you may even get coffee and cookies if you ask nicely. Check out their Instagram @amunettattoostudio.
Address: Santa Ana Centro, San José, Costa Rica