Costa Rica Museums: Popular Tourist Sites
There are almost 40 different museums scattered across Costa Rica. Twenty-three of them are within the capital of the country, San José. You can find museums related to art, historical artifacts, numismatics, insects, ancient Pre-Columbian artifacts, natural history and biology, sports and technology. I have listed below several of the most popular museums and give a brief description of each. Where possible, I have included photographs to give you a sample of what you may see in each of these Costa Rica Museums.
I have included a Google street map that indicates the museum locations in San José, and have brief descriptions accompanying the map. As time progresses, I will add more museums and more photos. If anyone has any photos they would like to donate, please leave me a message!
Popular Costa Rica Museums
- National Museum of Costa Rica (Museo Nacional de Costa Rica) - exhibits ranging from pre-Columbian to cultural and political artifacts, including the mysterious spheres found in southwest Puntarenas province, cannons, jade and gold pieces, stonework, and more. This site was an army headquarters and important armed conflicts occurred here in 1931 and 1948. Bullet holes are evident on one side of the building. A photo of the front of the building is shown above.
- Children's Museum and National Gallery (Museo de Niños y Galeria Nacional) - A site of many national cultural events, this building used to be a prison. You can find paintings in the many prison cells and there are children's exhibits about geography, music and science.
- Jade Museum - This is a popular site with tourists, and with reason because it has many wonderfully worked pieces of pre-Columbian American jade on display. You need to take the elevator to the eleventh floor of the INS building. By the way, pronounce jade, ha-day when in Costa Rica.
- Gold Museum - (Museo de Oro) This museum is located beneath the pigeon-infested Plaza de Cultura, where the National Theater is located. On the upper floor, there is also a numismatic collection showing the history of the denomination of money used in this country, the colon (which comes from the Spanish name of Christopher Columbus, Cristobal Colon). On the lower level, you will find many different gold artifacts and temporary art exhibits. The tour takes about an hour or so to see everything. You can take photos, but you can't use a flash.
From the Museo Nacional
Museo de Niños
Photos from the Museo de Oro
The National Theater (Teatro Nacional)
San José and Central Valley Museums
The National Museum of Costa Rica - a great place to get an overview of Costa Rica's History.
Also called the Costa Rican Center of Science and Culture.
Pre-Columbia American Jade exhibit that is the largest of its kind in the INS, Instuto Nacional de Seguros, building.
A place to see pre-Columbian artifacts, tempary art exhibits and a history of the Costa Rican colon.
Costa Rica Tourist Resources
Art exhibits come and go in different places across the country. The province where I live, Guanacaste, has art exhibits in the Guanacaste Museum and the Casa de Gobernacion in Liberia. They come and go and show off the works of art of artists from this particular province. If happen to be in Guanacaste enjoying the beaches and the volcanoes, and you wish to see a more permanent exhibit of art from this province, you can go to the Hidden Garden Art Museum, just west of the Liberia International Airport.