A USER GUIDE: the top 10 must see museums in San Jose, Costa Rica

1        THE GOLD MUSEUM
2        THE MUSEUM OF COSTA RICAN ART
3        the JADE MUSUEM
4        THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF CONTEMPORARY ART AND DESIGN
5        THE costa rican NATIONAL MUSEUM
6        THE CHILDREN´S MUSEUM
7        THE PEACE MUSEUM
8        THE COSTA RICAN JEWISH COMMUNITY MUSEUM
9        The Postal, Telegraphic, and Philatelic Museum (STamp Museum)
10      the Musem of forms, spaces and sounds


The Gold Museum (Museo de Oro Pre-Colombino)

The Gold museum houses one of the most extensive collections of Pre-Columbian gold in the Americas, and is the pride of Costa Rica. Included in the price of admission is access to a numismatic museum displaying very rare currency in the way of coins and bills some of which date back hundreds of years.

Location
San Jose, 5th street, between central and 2nd avenue
Hours
Monday to Sunday 9:30 am to 4:30pm

Entrance Fees
Foreigners $9 (Foreign students with ID card $5)
Contact
(506) 2243.4202


The Museum of Costa Rican Art (Museo de Arte Costarricense)

Situated in La Sabana Park, which is just West of downtown San Jose and inaugurated in 1978 features artists from Costa Rica, as well as other parts of the world, and it is ideal for all ages and wallets as it is free on Sundays.

The building in itself is a work of art in terms of design and architecture. The structure, once the terminal of the previous international airport, before it was moved to Alajuela, is situated in Sabana Park, just minutes from downtown San Jose. Inside, the museum contains over 3,000 items that are housed on a permanent basis, as well as special exhibits and events that fill its galleries. Artists representative of Costa Rica and re-knowned abroad such as Zuniga, and Amighetti among others inspire visitors, and make for a wonderful early morning or afternoon get away.

Location
42nd street, San Jose, La Sabana Park, adjacent to the renovated national stadium.
Hours
Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 4pm, Sunday 10 am to 2 pm. Closed Monday

Entrance Fees
Foreigners $5 for adults, $3 for students with ID card
Contact
(506) 2256 -1281


The Jade Museum (Museo de Jade)

Situated on the 1st floor of INS (National Insurance Building), an imposing structure, the museum has the world´s largest collection of Pre-Columbian jade, some of which date back to earlier than 500 BC. The museum has 5 main gallery areas, and recent renovations have improved the lighting to better showcase the exuberant shades of green that some of the pieces contain therein.

Location
San Jose, Avenida 7, between Calle 9 and 11, 1st floor of the Instituto Nacional de Seguros (INS)

Hours
Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 3:30 pm, Saturday 9am to 1 pm. Closed Sunday

Entrance Fees
Foreigners $8

Contact
(506) 2287.6034


The National Gallery of Contemporary Art and Design (Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporaneo)

This auspicious gallery incorporates the architecture of the old liquor factory between Parque España (Spain Park) and the adjacent National Library. The galleries are composed of an intricate series of theaters, libraries, art galleries and more. The emphasis is on trends in Costa Rican art, design and architecture.
Location
San Jose. Old Liquor Factory, 3rd Avenue, between 15th and 17th street
Hours
Monday to Saturday 9:30am to 4:45pm. Closed Sunday

Entrance Fees
Adults $3. Children free. Free Entrance for all on Monday.
Contact
(506) 2257.7202 / (506) 2257.9370


The Costa Rican National Museum (Museo Nacional de Costa Rica)

The Costa Rican National Museum although not the largest in terms of size, has a display that is very carefully thought out in terms of showcasing the timeline beginning with Pre-Columbian art, to Colonial, Industrial, and then more recent collections. The National Museum is located in the old fort where bullet holes dating back to the revolution of 1948 still remain. From an observation deck located within the compound, you can enjoy great views of San Jose.

Location

San Jose, 17th street, Between Central and 2nd Avenue
Hours
Tuesday to Saturday  8:30am to 4pm, Sunday 9am to 4pm. Closed Monday

Entrance Fees
Foreigners $7 (foreign students with valid ID $4)
Contact
(506) 2257.1433


The Children´s Museum (Museo de los Niños)

The Children´s Museum, interestingly enough was first housed in what was once San Jose´s main jail. Renovated since, it is now a museum offering world class galleries and more hands-on exhibits that focus on contemporary concepts in the way of technology, science, culture, literature and much more. For the kids, there is a fun house with an earthquake simulator. Not to mention a part of the museum that showcases what life was like for some of the previous residents housed therein, making the little ones think twice. The museum is great fun for you and your family or better half to enjoy.

Location
San Jose, 4th Street, north of 9th Avenue
Hours
Tuesday to Friday 8am to 4:30pm, Saturday and Sunday 9:30am to 5pm. Closed Mondays

Entrance Fees
1100 colones or appx. 2.20 for adults and 800 colones or appx. $1.50 for children
Contact
(506) 2258.4929


The Peace Museum

Situated in Av. 2, Ca. 13, this museum is run by President Oscar Arias´ Foundation for Peace and Humanity. Oscar Arias was President of Costa Rica from 2006 – 2010 and was a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987. And, in 2003 he was elected to the Board of Directors of the International Criminal Court´s Trust Fund for Victims.
Location
Situated in San Jose, Av. 2, Ca. 13
Hours
8am to 12pm, 1:30pm to 4:30pm

Entrance Fees
modest fee
Contact
(506) 2257.5011


The Costa Rican Jewish Community Museum

Situated in the Western suburb of Rohrmoser, just a few minutes West of La Sabana Park, this museum houses a treasure trove of photos, documentary films and more, and is free. Appointment only.
Location
Situated in the Western suburb of Rohrmoser, a few minutes West of La Sabana Park
Hours
Appointment only

Entrance Fees
Free
Contact
(506) 2520.1013


The Postal, Telegraphic, and Philatelic Museum (stamp museum)

The Postal, Telegraphic, and Philatelic Museum is a diamond in the rough, and is situated in downtown San Jose in the main post office on Calle 2, Avenidas 1/3. The post office dates back to 1911 and is set against exquisite Corinthian pillars that adorn the façade. The museum is located on the 2nd floor and features some of Costa Rica´s oldest postage stamp collections, early phones dating back decades, philatelic history displays and much more. The tickets are a mere .35 cents and are actually in the form of a prepaid postcard.

Location
Edificio Postal (Calle 2, Avenidas 1/3), the main post office
Hours
Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm

Entrance Fees
.35 cents in the form of a prepaid postcard
Contact
(506) 2223.9766 ext. 219


The Museum of Forms, Spaces and Sounds (Museo de Formas, Espacios y Sonidos)

The Museum of Forms, Spaces and Sounds opened its doors to visitors in April of 2002. The museum is located in San Jose in what was once the Atlantic railway station (built in 1908). All forms of sculptures in stone, and wood as well as scale modes, musical instruments and much more make up the unique displays and exhibits.
Location
San Jose.  3rd Avenue.  Between 19th and 21st Streets. Padeo de las Damas. Near the National Park
Hours
Monday to Friday  9:30am to 3pm
March to December closed Saturday and Sunday
January and February closed Sunday and Monday

Entrance Fees
modest fee
Contact
(506) 2222.9462 / (506) 2223.4173 / (506) 2256.1281