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Museums of Costa Rica List of Museums in Costa Rica - Costa Rica Travel Guide and Travel Information

Travel Guide - Costa Rica


Museums in Costa Rica

Costa Rica museums have inherited a rich and diverse cultural heritage, tangible and intangible, whose purpose is to display and educate present and future generations about our past and present.

The most notable collections include gold, jade, pre-Colombian ceramics and stone pieces, colonial religious art, contemporary art, and natural history.

Costa Rica possesses an important group of museums dedicated to collecting, preserving, and displaying the cultural heritage, and imparting our values. They are located throughout the country and uphold the legacy, which reflects the contributions of the indigenous, Afro-Costa Rican, Asian, European, and Central American populations.

The museums go beyond just collecting, by categorizing and searching for meaning of the past and the present in a didactic way. This allows Costa Ricans to face the future with a sense of identity, community, importance and a complete concept of sustainable human development. In addition, it gives foreign visitors a first-hand look at the towns of yesterday and today that make up our country.

At the end of the last century, a movement arose among some towns to have their own museums. This number of towns has increased.

These are known as community museums and reflect the will of the communities to recover, preserve, share, and communicate the importance of their cultural aspects, whether they be traditions, customs, or local folklore.

These museums have arisen in small towns with a large cultural mix and a rich history and that have shown their commitment to recovery, revitalization and sharing of their traditions, as well as the improvement in the quality of life of its inhabitants.

The most notable community museums are the Abangares Mines museum, the Indigenous Boruca museum, and the Chortega Ceramics museum in San Vicente, Nicoya. These museums are educational, respresentative, and integrating tools within the community, with the goal that the cultural and natural heritage of the local area be respected, valued, and admired as a product of social history to be shared with visitors.

National Museum of Costa Rica

Central avenue and Second, 17th street, on Cuesta de Moras (Moras Hill), next to Plaza de la Democracia.

TEL: 2257-1433 / 2257-1434

The old Bellavista Barracks, today the Nacional Museum, houses natural history, Pre-Colombian gold, and native archeological collections. Its walls hold more than 120 years of history where you can learn about the abolition of the military in 1948 and the opening, in 1910, of the national herbal exhibit and its hundreds of collections.


  • Tuesdays to Saturdays, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Sundays, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Closed Mondays

Sor María Romero Museum

Second avenue and Fourth, 32nd street, Don Bosco quarter.
TEL: 2222-0581 / 2222-1271 FAX: 2223-2258
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Here lives the memory of the spiritual Nicaraguan woman from the Instituto de las Hijas de María Auxiliadora (Children of Maria the Provider Institute), who worked for the good of the poor and the needy people in Costa Rica.
This museum takes us through the work of the Blessed Sor María, who started her social efforts in the house of María Auxiliadora (Maria the provider).


  • Mondays to Saturdays, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Santa Ana Agricultural Technology History Museum

2 blocks north of the Santa Ana Institute (Liceo de Santa Ana), on Calle Ross.
TELS: 2233-6701 / 2256-0012 FAX: 2223-1817

The Agricultural History Museum is made up of: the mansion, the Mill, Coffee processing plant and the Exhibition Room.
The tour takes one back to the end of the 19th century, with levers, coffee storage bins, and agricultural machinery of the time. The exhibition illustrates the history of agriculture in the Central Valley with patios and walk paths.


  • Mondays to Fridays, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Saturdays and Sundays, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Museum of Stamps and Currency, Costa Rica

2nd street, between First and Third avenue. Second floor of the San José Central Post Office
TEL: 2223-9766 ext. 204 / 205   FAX: 2223-6918

The creation of this museum was meant to share and display the country’s Mail process, showing the growth of the various communication systems used since 1849. The museum’s primary activities include stamp collecting courses and advice to stamp collectors, as well as preserving and classifying world stamp collections.


  • Mondays to Thursdays, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Museum of Contemporary Art and Design

Third avenue, between 15th and 17th street, National Cultural Center,
Old National Liquor Factory.
TEL: 2257-7202   FAX: 2257-8702

This museum is dedicated to spreading and promoting the most recent trends and dynamics within the world of contemporary art and design in Central America, as well as its ties to relatively similar movements in the Latin American and International realm.


  • Mondays to Saturdays, from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Mondays free
Museum of Costa Rican Art

Paseo Colón, 42nd street, La Sabana Metropolitan Park.
TEL: 2222-7155   FAX: 2222-7247

The majority of its plastic art is from national artists from the 19th century to the present. It is a place that stimulates critical thinking around national plastic art within an international context. It is located within the old international airport built in 1940.


  • Tuesdays to Fridays, 9:00 a.m. a 5:00 p.m.
  • Saturdays and Sundays, 10:00 a.m. a 4:00 p.m.
  • Sundays free
Inbio Park

4 blocks north and 2 ½ blocks west of the Shell gas station, Santo Domingo, Heredia.
TEL: 2507-8107

This extraordinary theme park offers an interactive experience with nature where the biological richness of Costa Rica is displayed and the importance of its conservation emphasized. Visitors will be able to observe different animals, orchids, heliconias and bromelias, and enjoy the butterfly garden, aquarium, and learn about farming and its crops.


  • Tuesdays to Sundays, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Last admission at 4:00 p.m.
  • Closed Mondays

Calderón Guardia Museum

Eleventh avenue, between 25th and 27th street
TEL: 2222-6392 / 2255-1218   FAX: 2257- 2396

This museum seeks to preserve, recover, and make people aware of the legacy of social reform achieved from 1940-1944 by the distinguished countryman Dr. Calderón Guardia, one of the most important political leaders of the country. It has four historical rooms, which recreate the life and work of the ex-president, and an art gallery for temporary exhibits.


  • Mondays to Saturdays, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Central Bank’s Museum of Gold and Currency

Below the Plaza de la Cultura, San José.
TEL: 2243-4202   FAX: 2243-4220

This underground cultural center offers five different exhibitions including the Museum of Pre-Colombian Gold, and the Currency Museum, with its collection of bills, coins, coffee tokens, die stamps, and other documents and photographs. There are three temporary exhibit galleries that offer visitors the chance to learn about visual arts, archaeology, and Costa Rican history.


  • Mondays to Sundays, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

ICE’s Museum of the History of Technology

4 blocks north of ICE’s Central Offices in Sabana North
TEL: 2220-7656 ó 2220-6387   FAX: 2290-4896

The goal of ICE’s Museum of the History of Technology is to inform the public about the history and evolution of electricity and telecommunications services, highlighting the contributions of ICE in the technological and socio-economical development of the country.


  • Mondays to Fridays, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Jewish Community Museum of Costa Rica

Israeli Zionist Center, adjoining the National Water and Sewer building, in Pavas.
TEL: 2520-1013

This museum offers a walk through history within the Jewish community in the country. You can learn about their migratory journey to America, the Holocaust, their religious traditions and artifacts, among other exhibitions.


  • Mondays to Fridays, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • Except Wednesdays, from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • by appointment

Insect Museum

Lower level of the School of Musucal Arts, University of Costa Rica, Rodrigo Facio University Square, San Pedro de Montes de Oca.
TEL: 2207-5647   FAX: 2207-5347

The main objective of the Insect Museum is to inform the public about the country’s biodiversity as well as show the importance and benefits that insects offer the environment. There is an exhibition room which displays insect samples with information cards and guided tours.


  • Mondays to Fridays, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

La Salle Natural Science Museum

1 block south of Channel 7, entrance of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Sabana South.
TEL: 2232-1306   FAX:  2232-5179

This museum has more than 70,000 samples on display, in areas such as paleontology, geology, malacology (some 14,000 samples), invertebrates (a unique butterfly collection with 8,400 samples), fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals. A trip through this museum is worth the experience.


  • Mondays to Saturdays, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Sundays, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Jade Museum

Lower level of the National Social Security Institute, 9th and 11th street, Seventh and Ninth avenue.
TEL: 2287-6034   FAX: 2255-3456

The Jade Museum looks after, preserves, and displays the largest Pre-Colombian jade collection in the Americas. It has a modern exhibition floor plan that also includes artifacts made of ceramic, stone, bone, shell, wood, and other materials in its permanent as well as its temporary exhibition rooms.


  • Mondays to Fridays, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Saturdays, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Children’s Museum

Costa Rica Science and Culture Center, 4th street, Ninth avenue, the Old Penitentiary Building.
TEL: 2258-4929   FAX: 2223-3470

Popularly known as the Children’s Museum, this beautiful structure, dating back to the beginning of the 20th century, was inaugurated in 1994. It is the first interactive museum in Central America with themes related to sciences, history, technology, and arts. You can also find the National Art Gallery, the Youth Knowledge Complex, and the National Auditorium.


  • School year: Tuesdays to Fridays, 8:00 a.m. a 4:30 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday, 9:30 a.m. a 5:00 p.m.
  • Vacation months: Mondays to Sundays, 9:30 a.m. a 5:00 p.m.

Museum of Native Cultures

Dr. María Eugenia Bozzolli. Sarapiquí Neotropical Center, La Virgen,
Sarapiquí, Heredia
TEL: 2761-1004   FAX: 2761-1415

The Sarapiquí Neotropical Center was born with the idea to create a place to help spread nature conservation and eco-development, along with sustainable tourism, education, and scientific research.


  • Mondays to Saturdays, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

San José de Orosi’s Religious Art Museum

Next to Orosi Church, Paraíso de Cartago.
TEL: 2533-3051

The museum is in the old Franciscan monk monastery dating back to 1743. Here you can find paintings, a tomb, religious objects and images from the Colonial period, which is still used for special occasions. The place offers a beautiful panoramic look at the history of Catholicism in the Orosi valley.


  • Mondays to Sundays, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Museum of Popular Culture

Santa Lucía de Barva, Heredia, 1 block north of Musmani, 6 blocks east,
1 block north and 6 blocks east.
TEL: 2260-1619

The Museum of Popular Culture deals with present day traditions. It researches, recovers, preserves, and communicates the traditions of present-day Costan Rica popular culture in the Central Valley in a traditional building.


  • Mondays to Fridays, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Saturdays, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Sundays, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m

Juan Santamaría Museum of Cultural History

Third avenue, 2nd street and central (one block north of Central Park), Alajuela.
TEL:  2441-4775 / 2442-1838

The museums collections are made up of materials that relate historical aspects of the Central American war waged against the filibuster invaders between 1856-1857: visitors can see oils, portraits, documents, weapons, and various objects linked to this heroic exploit.


  • Tuesdays to Sundays, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Closed Mondays

Omar Salazar Obando Regional Museum

University of Costa Rica Regional Office in Turrialba
TEL: 2558-3615

The rooms of this museum look to preserve the native roots of the area by means of an archeological display of the area, which shows the way of life of the first inhabitants of Turrialba, as well as information about the Guayabo National Monument. Also on display are ceramic and lithical figures including scrapers, chisels, knives, etc.


  • Mondays to Fridays, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Our Lady of Ujarrás Museum of Religious History

North end of Paraíso church, Cartago.
TEL: 2574-7376 / 2574-7065

This museum looks to maintain and recover the customs and traditions that have characterized the Paraiseña community. Behind its doors lies the entire history of the area, from its Pre-Colombian beginnings, its colonization, and discovery of the Virgin Ujarrás, to its subsequent move to Paraíso and development that the town has undergone since then.


  • Thursdays to Saturdays, from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Sundays, from 2:30 p.m to 6:00 p.m.

Puntarenas City Historical Museum

The old police station building, Plaza Puntarenas .
TEL: 2661-5036 / 2257-1433 / 2256-4139
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Located in the old police station, this museum displays the natural beauties of the port area, the richness of its history, and the charm of the Puntarenas people. The different displays of natural history, archeology, and history tell the story of the way of life that this region has experienced for thousands of years until the present.


  • Tuesdays to Sundays, from 9:45 a.m. to 12:00 m.d. and from 1:00 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.

  • Closed Mondays

Turtle Museum / John H. Pipps Biological Center of the Caribbean Conservation Corporation

John H. Pipps Biological Center of the Caribbean Conservation Corporation in Tortuguero.
TEL: 2709-8091
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This research center has created a place to educate the population about everything related to different turtle species that come to the country, as well as the diverse flora and fauna in Tortuguero.


  • Mondays to Saturdays, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Sundays, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Cacao Museum

Cahuita, Limón, 3 miles before Hone Creek.
TEL: 2756-8186   FAX: 2750-0408

The Cacao Museum blends in with the Cahuita landscape in the heart of the Southern Caribbean. This particular exhibition recreates the story of this fruit and the zone that produced it. You can also enjoy the delicious cacao flavor made here, in an environment similar to that of the early 20th century surrounded by an exquisite display of local flora and fauna.


  • Mondays to Sundays, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Monteverde Museum

Story of the Quakers and the Bat Jungle Paseo de Stella, 1 ½ blocas west of CASEM, downtown Monteverde, Costa Rica.
TEL: 2645-6566   FAX: 2645-9999
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Located in the heart of the Montverde community, the center has various attractions like the bat exhibit, an art gallery, a restaurant, and chocolate shop, an auditorium, and the Monteverde Museum, where you can find information from geology, pre-Colombian history, to the arrival of the Quakers and tourism development.


  • Mondays to Fridays, from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Indigenous Boruca Community Museum

Indigenous Boruca Land,
Buenos Aires, Puntarenas.
TEL: 2721-2533   FAX: 2730-0259

The Boruca community has retained, in the middle of the hills of the Brunqueña Line, all of its history and traditions, supported by the rich artistic heritage of its artisans. The museum, located on a genuine Boruca ranch, displays the work of hundreds of years of traditional craftsmanship. The drums, carved masks and multicolored fabrics take one through the history of our country’s Southern Pacific.


  • Mondays to Saturdays, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Pacific Marine Park

Tourist walkway, 5 blocks east of the Cruceros port, Puntarenas.
TEL: 2661-5272   FAX: 2661-0633
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When visiting the Pacific Marine Park, you will find animals on exhibit and under the Conservation Program, such as crocodiles, turtles, pelicans, among others. In addition, you can experience the aquarium with 22 tanks displaying different types of marine animals; among them pufferfish, anemones, crabs, star fish, toadfish, clown fish, catshark, etc.


  • Tuesdays to Sundays, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Santa Rosa Mansion History Museum

Santa Rosa National Park, Guanacaste.
TEL: 2666-5051
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The Santa Rosa Mansion History Museum tells us of the most relevant facts of the history of the Santa Rosa Estate, like the famous battle of 1856 against the filibusters. Likewise, you can enjoy the Guanacaste Conservation Area exhibition room.


  • Every day, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

La Chácara Estate Museum

3 blocks west of the UCR office, Liberia, Guanacaste.
TEL:  8350-1627 / 2666-8238
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The museum is in the mansion of the present day estate which reflects the architecture and traditional Guanacaste style of these types of houses. Here you can see furniture and kitchen utensils and farming techniques of the era, as well as other instruments and photographs.


  • Mondays to Saturdays, from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Eco-museum of the Abangares Mines

Abangares mountain range, Guanacaste.
TEL: 2662-0310   FAX: 2662-0310
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The Eco-museum of the Abangares mines was founded in 1991 with the intent of sharing the history of the mining period and recovering the native culture of the area. Upon entering, you will find a display of machinery used in the extraction and melting of the gold. In addition, you can observe an open air exhibit where you can still witness the various objects that the miners used in the past.


  • Tuesdays to Fridays, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Lord of Agony Religious Art Museum

5 blocks east of Liberia’s Central Catholic Church, Guanacaste.
TEL:  2666-0518 / 2666-0494
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This museum intends to recover and revitalize the cultural heritage and Liberian religious traditions, especially those that are held around La Ermita and Los Cerros quarter of Liberia like Holy Week, the Holy Rosary, wakes, the dwellings and the Passing of the Child (Pasada de Niño). Its structure reflects the most traditional and native Guanacaste architecture of the Colonial period.


  • Mondays to Sundays, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

San Vicente de Nicoya, Chorotega Ceramic Eco-Museum

Next to the San Vicente de Nicoya Sports Complex, Guanacaste.
TEL/FAX: 2681-1583

The San Vincente community, together with the Peace Corps, has been behind this community museum since 1992. The main purpose has been to recover the Alfarera traditions of the area, which dates back hundreds of years. You can take pleasure in learning about the shops and settlers of this cultural jewel.


  • Every day, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Open-Air Contemporary Art Museum of Punta Islita

Punta Islita, Nandayure, Guanacaste.
TEL: 2290-4259 / 2661-4044   FAX: 2232-2183
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Created in 2003, a group of urban artists made more than 15 works of art on houses, the community center, the forest, and the town plaza. The institution has a social concept of art and creative thought as a tool for sustainable development. It also seeks to develop an artistic exchange with a group of some 50 local artists.


  • Open 24 hours. Tours given from 8:00 a.m. a 3:00 p.m.