Museo Nacional de Costa Rica
Plaza de la Democracia
Between the national museum and the Museo de Jade is the stark Plaza de la Democracia, which was constructed by President Oscar Arias in...
Museo de Jade
Reopened in its brand-new home in mid-2014, this museum houses the world’s largest collection of American jade (pronounced ‘ha -day’ in...
Costa Rica's congress meets in this grand structure in the center of San José.
El Lobo Estepario
This artsy dive attracts some of the top local talent for live music gigs.
Touristy but fun, this bustling eatery maintains a calculatedly rustic atmosphere, with picnic-style tables, mounted bull’s heads and...
Calle 17 btwn Avs Central & 2 · interesting places nearby
Museo Nacional de Costa Rica information
Entered via a beautiful glassed-in atrium housing an exotic butterfly garden, this museum provides a quick survey of Costa Rican history. Exhibits of pre-Columbian pieces from ongoing digs, as well as artifacts from the colony and the early republic, are all housed inside the old Bellavista Fortress, which served historically as the army headquarters and saw fierce fighting (hence the pockmarks) in the 1948 civil war.
It was here that President José Figueres Ferrer announced, in 1949, that he was abolishing the country’s military. Among the museum's many notable pieces is the fountain pen that Figueres used to sign the 1949 constitution.
Don’t miss the period galleries in the northeast corner, which feature turn-of-the-20th-century furnishings and decor from when these rooms served as the private residences of the fort’s various commanders.