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The rich cultural, historical and artistic legacies of Costa Rica are well preserved in its museums. The highest concentration of museums is within the capital city, San Jose. Due to Costa Rica's high standards for education, their long history of peace, and their continual investment in conservation of culture, Costa Rica is home to a relatively large number of museums.


Visit some museums to get acquainted with Costa Rica's rich cultural, artistic, and historical legacies, a tour through downtown of many Museums in San José is the best way to get started.

Popular San Jose Museums:

  • Museo de Jade Jade Museum is located in the National Insurance Building (INS) in downtown San José.  This  museum displays Native Indian jewelry and jade that predates colonial times.  This museum houses one of the most extensive collections of jade in the western hemisphere.

  • Museo de la Moneda (Coin Museum) is located under the Plaza de Cultura and  shows an assortment of coins from the colonial period to modern times.

  • Museo de Oro Precolombiano (Museum of Pre-Columbian gold) also located under the Plaza de Cultura, houses several exquisite gold pieces suspended in the air. The collection of delightful jewels depicts numerous animals - frogs, birds, snakes, insects, crocodiles, lobsters and even sharks. The Museo de Moneda, or the Coin Museum, is located in the same building, and its exhibit includes information on coins, as well as interesting samples. This collection is noted as being quite impressive on an international level with over 1600 unique pieces dating back to 500 to 1500 A.C.

  • Museo Nacional or (National Museum) is located on the Avenida Central of San Jose and is a great choice if you are interested in Pre-Colonial artifacts. The archaeological room offers several Indian artifacts made of stone and clay, such as pottery. The colonial room presents facts about the Spanish conquest and also some examples of religious art brought by the Spaniards. Previously the building was a fort and it is marked with bullet holes from the Civil War in 1948, a reminder of the violence endured before the nation began its current peaceful path.  The rooms show multiple Indian artifacts made from clay and stone and also presents informative facts about the Spanish conquest.

  • Museo de Ciencias Naturales (Natural Science Museum) is situated in La Sabana and sponsored by Colegio La Salle. This museum features incredible fossilized remains of animals, including a half opened baby dinosaur egg. They also host an incredible collection of butterflies.

  • Museo de Arte Contemporaneo (Contemporary Art Museum) located in the old national liquor factory, is an amazing place that also features live performance art events.

  • Museo de Arte Costarricense (Costa Rican Art Museum) is located in the “Sabana” in the old location of the International Airport, a magnificent building that holds fine exhibitions of paintings and sculptures.

  • Museo Criminológico (The Criminology Museum) is located in downtown San Jose. This is one of the most unique museums in all of Costa Rica, and are host to several bizarre pictures and even body parts.  Besides these grotesque artifacts, there is a narration of the history of criminology and law enforcement in Costa Rica.

  • Museo de los Niños (The Children's Museum) is located in the heart of San Jose and is a great day trip for kids that provides them with a dynamic experience. The building itself is attractive for children, because it resembles a giant yellow castle.  Negotiations are under was to provide some new interactive exhibits and planning a major expansion.

Other Museums in San Jose:

  • Museo Histórico Tecnológico del Grupo ICE / Historical Technology Museum

  • Museo del Deporte / Sports Museum

  • Museo Regional de Perez Zeledón / Archaeological and Historical Museum

  • Museo de Formas Espacios y Sonidos

  • Museo de Zoologia - Escuela de Biologia, University of Costa Rica

  • Entomology Museum - is located in the basement of the University of Costa Rica's music school.

  • Museo de Insectos de la Universidad de Costa Rica (MIUCR) (The Museum of Insects at The University of Costa Rica)

  • Museos de Numismática, Jaime Solera Bennett / Numismatic Museum

  • Museo del Colegio Superior de Señoritas / Women's Education and History Museum

  • Museo Dr. Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia / Historical Museum

  • Museo Filatélico y Numismático de Costa Rica / Philatelic and Numismatic Museum

  • Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo (Museum of Contemporary Art and Design)

  • Museo Homenaje Joaquín Garcia Monge / Historical Museum

  • Museo Para la Paz

  • Museo Regional de Arte Costarricense / Regional Costa Rican Art Museum

  • Karen Mogensen Fischer Museum, Montezuma

Museums in Alajuela

  • Insect Museum, Poás Volcano National Park / Parque Nacional Volcán Poás

  • Juan Santamaría Museum, Alajuela

  • San Ramón Museum/ Museo de San Ramón, San Ramón

  • Religious Art Museum/Museo de Arte Religioso de Nuestro Señor de la Agonía

  • Grecia Regional Museum/ Museo Regional de Grecia

Museums in Cartago

  • Orosi Church & Religious Museum, Orosi/ Museo de Arte Religioso San José de Orosi.

  • Museo Etnográfico Elías Leiva

  • Museo Natural del Indio Kurieti

  • Museo del Sitio de Guayabo de Turrialba

  • Ecomuseo de Turrialba

  • Museo de Nuestra Señora de Ujarrás

  • Museo de Biología Marina

Museums in Heredia

  • Museo Zoomarino

  • Museo de Cultura Popular, Barva

  • Jewels of the Humid Tropics Museum / Museo Joyas del Trópico Húmedo, Santo Domingo de Heredia

Museums in Guanacaste

  • El Mundo de la Tortuga, Las Tortugas, Playa Grande

  • Museo Regional del Sabanero

  • Museo Histórico Casona de Santa Rosa

Museums in Puntarenas

  • Ecomuseo de Abangares

  • Museo Histórico Marino de la Ciudad de Puntarenas

  • Museo Comunitario Indígena Boruca

  • Museo Comunitario Indígena de Térraba

Museums in Limon

  • Museo de Culturas Indígenas Doctora María Eugenia Bozzoli, Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí

  • Museo Regional de la Provincia de Limón

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