The best museums in San Jose

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San Jose isone of the most vibrant cities in Costa Rica, which is no easy feat considering that it has to compete with towns and cities like Tamarindo or La Fortuna. The Costa Rican capital is the country’s center of culture and history, where you can learn more about Costa Rica than anywhere else. Although the natural wonders of the country are well deserving of attention, if you want to become familiar with Costa Rica’s culture, learn about its ancient or modern history, or see some of its art, then you should dedicate some time to checking out some of the best museums in San Jose.

The Children’s Museum

The Children’s Museum, Museo de los Ninos, is a must visit if you are traveling with children, but in all honesty this isn’t the kind of museum that only appeals to kids. But young travelers will definitely like the interactive displays on interesting topics such as science, astronomy, ecology or human life and communication. The forty rooms of the museums have plenty of interesting exhibits to distract you.

National Museum of Costa Rica

photo by Felipe Stahlhoefer on Flickr

The national museum of Costa Rica is located in a beautiful crenelated early 20th century building that will make you stop for a moment and admire it before you go inside. The national museum is one of the largest and best museums in San Jose and the entire country. The building used to be a military barrack, but today it is a place or art and culture. There are several interesting displays on pre-Columbian relics and colonial artifacts.

Museum of Contemporary Art and Design

If you prefer modern Central American art, you should pay a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, a museum opened in 1994 which showcases some of the most recent tendencies and freshest ideas in the world of Central American art and design. The museum has four exhibition rooms filled to the brim with exhibits from a wide range of media, from Costa Rican and international artists.

Marco Fidel Tristan Castro Jade Museum

photo by andyrusch on Flickr

Jade has been used to make decorative and ceremonial objects in many parts of pre-Columbian America, and the Jade Museum in San Jose collected some fascinating artifacts dating back to that period. Not all of the objects on display are made of jade (there are many stone tablets, ceremonial carvings, and decorative pieces dating back 500 BC-800 AD), but the jade room has some of the most interesting displays.

Museo de Formas Espacios y Sonidos

This intersting musuem located in a beautiful building dating back to 1908 hosts a variety of sculptures made of different materials, as well as a gallery that focuses on scale models of buildings, and of the ruins of Ujarras. Another exhibition room has a wonderful collection of musical instruments.

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