Cultural activities: Museums in Costa Rica
There are over a dozen interesting museums in San Jose. Most of these museums are free to enter, while some charge a small admission fee (do not forget to bring your student card!). Take your time to learn about the nation's history and what makes Costa Rica so unique. We have set aside the most popular museums:
- The Costa Rica National Museum is the perfect place to find a wide variety of displays on Costa Rica’s history and culture, starting in the pre-Columbian times up to the present. Thematically organized are artifacts related to Costa Rica’s geological, colonial, archaeological, religious and modern history. The museum is located in a fortress that was built in 1917 and which originally functioned as military barracks. You will still see traces of the many bullets lodged in during the country’s civil war in 1948.
- The Jade Museum (Museo de Jade) is home to the largest collection of American jade in the world. Moreover, this outstanding museum displays stoneworks, ceramic exhibits and gold pieces, all arranged according to the specific cultural region from where they came. Located in the city centre of San Jose in the Plaza de la Democracia, a visit to this museum can be well combined with other cultural activities or shopping.
- An extraordinary collection of gold objects is exhibited in the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum. In this collection the world view, social structure and traditional gold-working techniques of the Pre-Columbian inhabitants of Costa Rica are reflected. The exhibition demonstrates the use and function of the pieces, the technology of their fabrication and their relationship to the natural world and the daily life of these societies. The collection includes 1600 pieces of Pre-Columbian gold work that date from 500 AD to 1500 AD.
- Are you interested in the Central American War and especially the National Campaign 1856-1857 filibuster against the invasion of Costa Rica by the United States? The Juan Santamaria Museum is the only one specializing in this subject, and is built around the national hero Juan Santamaria. He was a humble soldier who is known for having “saved the nation” in 1856. This museum holds exhibits, it organizes regular cultural events like performances in the auditorium and promotes cultural development through educational services.
- The building of Museo de Arte Costarricense (the Costa Rican Art Museum) is a work of art in itself. Over 3,200 national treasures from the last two centuries are on a permanent display in this art deco museum. The remaining side galleries are filled with travelling exhibits. In the backyard you will find a garden of sculptures with works from Francisco Zuniga, Jorge Jimenez and others. The Sabana Park is close by, so be sure to combine culture with a pleasant walk around lush nature.
- Museo de los Ninos is not just for children, people from all ages are entertained and educated in the 40 interactive rooms. Each of these rooms represents a different topic; kids and adults can learn about Costa Rica, the human body, the universe, nature, animals, ways of transportation, radio, electricity, archeology, recycling, Egyptian culture, television and other topics. Special activities are organized on celebrations like Children’s Day, Christmas and other holidays.