San Jose Museums
(San Jose, Costa Rica)
Like most South American capitals, San Jose offers a nice selection of museums covering the city's past, with a further selection close by, in Heredia. The Gold Museum ranks as one of the best exhibitions in San Jose, with its 1,000-year-old gold works from pre-Columbian times, but the displays at the Jade Museum are equally worth your time.
If you are travelling with young ones in tow, the popular Children's Museum will keep them busy for hours with its hands-on activities. Also suitable for families holidaying in San Jose is the INBio Park, a fascinating pavilion-covered area of forest demonstrating Costa Rica's different ecosystems.
Children's Museum (Museo de los Ninos)
Address: Antigua Penetenciaria, Calle 4 and Av. 9, San Jose, Costa Rica, CR
Tel: +506 258 4929
Designed with kids in mind, this delightful museum is filled with interactive exhibits to keep young ones entertained. The simulated earthquake is a hit, as is the floor where you can make music as you dance. This attraction is certainly suitable for all of the family.
Open hours: Tuesday to Friday - 08:00 to 16:30, Saturday and Sunday - 10:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, discount for children and students
Gold Museum (Museo Oro Precolombino)
Address: Plaza de la Culture, San Jose, Costa Rica, CR
Tel: +506 243 4202
This fascinating Gold Museum is known locally as the Museo Oro Precolombino and houses a large collection of pre-Columbian gold work between 500 and 1,000 years old, with more than 1,600 items on display. Visitors can read how the gold was processed and made into religious, decorative and cultural pieces. Also onsite are two other exhibits, the Numismatic Museum and a gallery featuring temporary displays. A small shop provides souvenirs if required.
Open hours: Tuesday to Sunday - 10:00 to 16:30
Address: Santo Domingo de Heredia, San Jose, Costa Rica, CR
Tel: +506 507 8107
Operated by the National Biodiversity Institute, this fun park encompasses two huge pavilions housing exhibits on Costa Rica's biodiversity. Trails mimicking rain forests, tropical 'premontane' forests and dry forests make for wonderful hikes, while the butterfly garden and lagoon are also highlights. INBio Park covers an area of 20 acres / 8 hectares and features English-speaking guides, with tours lasting in the region of two hours.
Open hours: daily - 08:00 to 18:00
Admission: charge, discount for children under 13
National Museum (Museo Nacional)
Address: Calle 17 / Avenida 2, San Jose, Costa Rica, CR
Tel: +506 257 1433
Occupying an old fort that played a part in the 1948 revolution, the National Museum features a number of highlights, including a peaceful butterfly garden and a vast collection of stone spheres found in the Diquis Valley, along Costa Rica's Pacific coastline.
Open hours: Tuesday to Sunday - 08:30 to 16:30
Jade Museum (Museo del Jade)
Address: Avenida 5-7, Calle 11-13 bis, INS building, San Jose, Costa Rica, CR
Tel: +506 223 5800
Explore hundreds of items made from what was at one time the most valuable commodity in the region - jade. Some of the artefacts on display at the Museo del Jade are more than 2,000 years old, including jade pendants and many beautiful ornaments.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 08:30 to 15:30, Saturday - 09:00 to 13:00
Admission: charge, children under 12 free