San Jose Sights

Museo del Oro Precolombino (Pre-Columbian Gold Museum)

  • C. 5, Avdas. Central–2 Map It
  • San José
  • Fodor's Choice

Fodor's Review

This dazzling, modern museum in a three-story underground structure beneath the Plaza de la Cultura contains Central America's largest collection of pre-Columbian gold jewelry—20,000 troy ounces in more than 1,600 individual pieces—all owned by the Banco Central (the country's central bank) and displayed attractively in bilingual exhibits. Many pieces are in the form of frogs and eagles, two animals perceived by the region's early cultures to have great spiritual significance. A spiffy illumination system makes the pieces sparkle. All that glitters here is not gold: most spectacular are the various shaman figurines, which represent the human connection to animal deities. One of the halls houses the Museo Numismática (Coin Museum), a repository of historic coins and bills and other objects used as legal tender throughout the country's history. Rotating art exhibitions happen on another level. For an extra $7, you can take a guided tour via an app you download at the museum on your smartphone. However, the exhibits are well marked, both in English and Spanish, so there's little need for the app.

Sight Information

Address:

C. 5, Avdas. Central–2, eastern end of Plaza de la Cultura, San José, 10101, Costa Rica

Map It

Phone:

/2243–4202

Sight Details:

  • $11, includes Museo Numismática
  • Daily 9:15–5

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