The two-story subterranean Pre-Columbian Gold Museum presents the history of Costa Rica through the lens of Pre-Columbian artifacts and icons, showing the story of fallen civilizations and the emergence of modern life in Central America. Even more than exhibits of gold artifacts and coins, the museum offers insight on the complex relationship between people and gold. Viewed chronologically, you will see how indigenous people worked in new metallurgy techniques as the technology developed, creating increasingly sophisticated objects. Buy tickets in advance to avoid lines and guarantee admission.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Pre-Columbian Gold Museum is an ideal destination for history lovers.
- Signs in both Spanish and English easily guide guests through hallways filled with rich history.
- The museum is wheelchair-accessible.
- An admission fee is required; discounts are available to students, and children under 12 are free.
How to Get There
The Pre-Columbian Gold Museum is located underneath the Plaza de la Cultura near Avenida Central and Calle 5 in the center of San José. Walking is one of the best ways to get around the compact city as traffic can get chaotic and parking can be difficult to find. Public buses are plentiful and inexpensive. Be aware that drivers don’t often speak Spanish and accept only local currency. The closest stops are Sabana Estadio and Barrio Luján, on opposing corners across from the theater.
When to Get There
The museum is open daily from morning until evening. Come early in the day to beat the crowds. Check the calendar for exhibits. Peak season in Costa Rica is from mid-December to April during the dry season. Come in March for the annual International Festival of the Arts when the capital city transforms into a giant stage with live concerts and festivities, organized by the National Theatre.
Shiny New Renovation After an intense renovation, the museum reopened in 2019, with additional exhibits and an overall revamp on the discussion around significance of the objects. Exhibits now take a deeper look into the link between the past and the present, reflecting on the ramifications of migration, mining, metallurgical production, the ancestral and current worldview of indigenous people, the human relationship with nature, and the historical impact of the colonization and conquest.
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- Plaza de la Cultura
- National Theater (Teatro Nacional)
- Metallic Building (Ed)ificio Metálico)
- Jade Museum (Museo del Jade)
- Yellow House (Casa Amarilla)
- Morazan Park
- National Museum (Museo Nacional)
- San Jose Central Market (Mercado Central)
- Braulio Carrillo National Park
- Children's Museum (Museo de los Ninos)
- Costa Rican Art Museum (Museo de Arte Costarricense)
- La Sabana Park
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- Orosi River Valley (El Valle del Rio Orosi)