Museums of Costa Rica

The capital City of San Jose has several high-quality interesting museums. Visiting these museums usually only cost a dollar or two with substantial discount often available to students with identification. Since many museums are in the same city, more than one can be visited on the same day and can be accessed easily on bus or by taxi.


(Teatro Nacional, Photo Source)

Costa Rican Art Museum

The Costa Rican Art Museum opened in 1978 in the beautiful terminal building of the old airport which has a gorgeous neocolonial architecture of 1940. Inside this museum you will find a delightful and permanent display of Costa Rican Nationalist art from the Nineteenth and twentieth Centuries with over 3200 pieces on display. This museum is located on the east end of the Sabana Park.

Jade Museum

In this museum you will find one of the most comprehensive collections of pre-Colombian jade with all its shades of green splendor with the addition of ceramics, stone and some gold miniatures.  The impressive quantity and quality of the jade in the country is attributed to trade, since the country lacks jade mines.

Pieces that date as far back as to 500 BC to 800 AD will offer you a long a colorful look into Costa Rica’s past.  The museum lobby has an excellent look of the central valley. It is located on the 11th floor of the INS building (the National Insurance building) on avenida 7, Calle 9-11.

National Gallery of Contemporary Art and Design

This gallery is located on the west side of the National Library, just across from the National Park in downtown San Jose.  This complex of libraries, theaters and galleries emphasize current trends in art and design.

Entomological Museum

This museum has an extensive display of insect life of Costa Rica; it is located in the basement of the School of Music building on the University of Costa Rica campus in San Pedro (4 kilometers east of downtown San Jose). Here you will find more than one million species on display including a large collection of rare butterflies and other insects.

Children’s Museum

This museum has a permanent exhibit in the old Penitentiary building. Inside the colorful museum you will find dozen of excellent exhibits on outer space, Earth, Costa Rican culture, landscapes and ecology, plus many other areas of interest for children and young-spirited adults. Among other things you will be able to discover the power of electricity through a series of hands-on demonstrations, feel the force of an earthquake through a simulator and explore a funhouse where nothing is what it seems, plus dozens of other topics.

This museum is located on Calle 4, Avenida 9.

La Salle Museum of Natural Sciences

In this museum you find one of the most comprehensive displays of the world on natural sciences with over 18,000 specimens. The exhibits are divided into four areas: paleontology, archeology, zoology and malancology  (study of mollusks).

It is located southwest of La Sabana Park.

Gold Museum

This museum is located under the Plaza de la Cultura, is perhaps the most famous museum, housing over 20,000 troy ounces of pre-Columbian gold figures.  Thanks to the cavernous and dark building design, it offers and incredible contrast with the brilliant gold figures of animal life.

The museum also holds over 2600 figures and a collection of rare coins and bills.

National Museum

This museum offer visitors with exhibits on pre-colombian art, indigenous culture in Costa Rica, and colonial life in addition to exhibits on Costa Rican history, archeology, geology, and historical documents.

This museum is located in the old Fort, and you can see the bullet holes from the 1948 revolution still marking the walls. It is recommended the view of San Jose from the observation deck of the building.

The museum is located on Calle 17, Avenida 1-2.

Museum of Criminology

This museum displays portraits and items related to the Legal Sciences and the Supreme Court and contains a collection of weapons and drug paraphernalia displayed in an educative manner for children.

The museum is located in the Supreme Court building

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