The capital of Costa Rica is San Jose, (aka; Chepe) and this cosmopolitan city contains a wealth of culture and art from different periods during the history of the country. Most of Costa Rica’s historical treasures are displayed in a variety of museums, exhibits and libraries for all to enjoy, every week, all year long.
Here’s a list of the places and their locations that are scattered in and around San Jose.
Costa Rican Art Museum: An exquisite collection of select paintings and sculptures by national artists since the 1950’s. While visiting this museum, do not miss the “Sala de Oro,” containing architectural treasures from colonial periods. It is located in the original building of La Sabana Airport, and their hours of operation are from Monday to Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Museum of Art and Contemporary Design: Here you will find educational displays related to contemporary art and design. There is a library with more than 150 videos about contemporary art and design. Guided tours are offered that explain the exhibits, along with workshops, seminars and conferences. This facility is open Tuesday – Saturday, from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm.
National Museum: This is a large archaeological collection displaying the countless legacies of the ancestors of the Costa Ricans. Here you can enjoy temporary exhibitions and collections such as:
- Archaeological: a collection of 45,000 pre-Columbian objects of stone, ceramics, gold, and jade.
- Artistic: paintings, sculptures, and sacred art. As well as coins, paper currency and medals.
- Historical: documents, stamps, textiles, weapons, antique furniture
- Herbarium: consisting of species of plants, insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish, as well as rocks and fossils from around Costa Rica.
Museum Mercadito Chietón Morén: This exhibition represents each of the country’s communities in an open environment that will eventually be expanded and enriched by displays from additional communities. Admission is free and it is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 10 am to 6 pm. It is located on the southeast corner of the National Museum, 25 meters to the south.
Jade Museum and Pre-Columbian Culture: located on the west side of the Plaza de la Democracia and the Abolition of the Army in San José. It contains a large collection of archaeological pieces made of jade, ceramics, rocks and other materials made by the pre-Columbian Indians. It is open Monday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Children’s Museum: This is an “Interactive Museum” dedicated primarily to the interests of children, including a modern collection of technological advances and educational aspects of science and research. It is a place where children and adults can learn while exploring the exhibits. It is the first of its kind in Central America and has 32 interactive exhibits that were created to develop educational, cultural, recreational, artistic and scientific activities for children. It is located inside the Costa Rican Center of Science and Culture, on 4th Street, north of 9th Avenue and is open Tuesday to Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm, Saturday and Sunday 9:30 am to 5 pm. Closed Mondays.
Pre-Columbian Gold Museum: This museum contains one of the most beautiful collections of indigenous artifacts made of gold. More than 2,000 gold objects display the valuable artistic and archaeological treasures that show the great formal and symbolic wealth that the Costa Rican natives created. It is located below the Plaza de la Cultura, and open Monday to Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm.
Museum of Numismatics: This facility contains a collection of old paper currency and coins from around the world that were donated by the Central Bank of Costa Rica. It is located next to the Gold Museum, and open Monday to Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm.
La Salle Natural Science Museums: This is a collection of preserved animals in recreated scenarios of their natural environments, along with archaeological pieces and mineral artifacts from around the country. It is located in the old La Salle School, in Sabana Sur, and open Monday to from Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sundays and holidays: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Women’s Museum of Costa Rica: This is a non-profit association, created to raise awareness and show the creations of artists, both locally, regionally and in the universal order on the theme of women. It was created in 2009, as a result of the Ph.D. thesis of its founder, Claudia Mandel. It is located in San Pedro de Montes de Oca, and to visit, you must make an appointment by sending an email to; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rafael Ángel Calderon Guardia Historical Museum: This museum highlights the historical significance of the life and work of Dr. Calderón Guardia during his tenure as President of the Republic from 1940 to 1944. It also has art exhibitions and the Enrique Guier Sáenz library. It is located in Barrio Escalante, and open Monday to Saturday, from 9 am to 5 pm.
The writer, Tom Rosenberger has lived and worked in Costa Rica since 1993 and from his travels throughout the country, he has acquired a wealth of knowledge about enjoying life in Costa Rica. If you have questions and would like to contact Tom click here.