500px Photo ID: 76842259 - Museo Del Jade, San Jose, Costa Rica

Michael B. DeWitt / 500px

Museo del Jade

Top choice in San José

This museum houses the world’s largest collection of American jade (pronounced ‘ha-day’ in Spanish), with an ample exhibition space of five floors offering seven exhibits. There are nearly 7000 finely crafted, well-conserved pieces, from translucent jade carvings depicting fertility goddesses, shamans, frogs and snakes to incredible ceramics (some reflecting Maya influences), including a highly unusual ceramic head displaying a row of serrated teeth. Interesting indigenous history is on display, too. The museum cafe, Grano Verde, serves sandwiches, salads and smoothies.

Children aged five and under have free entry to the museum, and many of the interactive displays are designed with them in mind. Buy a three-museum pass (US$33; covers this one, Museo de Oro Precolombino y Numismática and Museo Nacional) to save money if you plan to visit all – it has no expiration date.