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National Museum (Museo Nacional)

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: Calle 17, Avenidas Central y Segunda | Antiguo Cuartel Bella Vista, San Jose, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
08:30 - 04:30
Open now
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Sun 09:00 - 04:30
Tue - Sat 08:30 - 04:30

This 19th-century building contains a well-organized exhibits on Costa...

This 19th-century building contains a well-organized exhibits on Costa Rica's history and culture.

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Book In Advance
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US$ 66.25*
and up
Discover Costa Rica's Capital City and Museums
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US$ 110.00*
and up
Private San Jose City Tour with Lunch
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US$ 64.00*
and up
San Jose Walking Tour including Central Market and Lunch

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 924 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 192
  • 225
    Very good
  • 78
  • 23
  • 5
A different type of museum

Costa Ricas indigenous people were neither Mayan or Incan, but rather several independent tribes. The oldest part of the building is an obsolete fort that was the barracks for... read more

Reviewed 10 March 2016
Saint Petersburg
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924 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 523: English reviews
Level Contributor
268 reviews
129 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 March 2016

For a small fee, we spent about 1.5 hours at this former fortress. Lots to see, including a great butterfly garden, many artifacts and plenty of Costa Rican history.

Thank Deb022
Saint Petersburg
Level Contributor
25 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 March 2016

Costa Ricas indigenous people were neither Mayan or Incan, but rather several independent tribes. The oldest part of the building is an obsolete fort that was the barracks for government troops and a holdout during the revolution.

Thank richardblommaert
Nashua, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
188 reviews
104 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 March 2016

In this museum, you can see displays from PreColumbian history to present day. The museum is well laid out and the exhibits are interesting. Plan to spend some time here - a lot to take in. It's well worth a visit.

Thank jam6768_290
San Jose, Costa Rica
2 reviews
Reviewed 8 March 2016

What i loved most was that the building itself not only housed the museum, but has tremendous history on its own. Originally a military fort that is still scarred with bullet holes on the walls and graffiti in the holding cells, the museum allows you the live the history you are learning about. However only a small (a little difficult... More 

Thank Taylor O
Columbus, Ohio
Level Contributor
190 reviews
103 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 March 2016

We walked passed the artisans market without getting sucked in, by some people with dogs and beyond the protesters across from the legislative building. WE had chosen to try this instead of the gold and jade museums. Go in the entrance to the right side as you are facing the building,pay the $9 to get in and head tot he... More 

Thank craigclark
Modesto, California
Level Contributor
578 reviews
252 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 536 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 March 2016

I really enjoyed my visit to this museum while staying for a few days in San Jose. To begin with, the museum is housed in a beautiful and historical building, both inside and out. The building once functioned as an army barracks, used for the training of recruits and to keep weapons. Once the army was abolished in 1948, it... More 

Thank MSWMom50
State College, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
95 reviews
60 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 March 2016

Very nice, small museum. Well put together and organized. Gives a great overview of the cultural heritage of Costa Rica. Butterfly garden is interesting as is the photo exhibit and lovely court yard on the upper level. Nice way to spend an hour or two. Within walking distance of most things and near the Government buildings, you might even see... More 

Thank Alexnana1
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
25 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 February 2016

Worth visiting to see period rooms, a butterfly garden, interior courtyard, pre-Colombian gold artifacts and poyyrty and temporary exhibits. Was lucky to also hear the national orchestra in a free concert in the courtyard. No gift shop or cafe within the grounds, but plenty of places within the complex to sit and relax.

Thank Jeff L
Knoxville, Tennessee
Level Contributor
771 reviews
344 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 187 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 February 2016

This was an army headquarters until they eliminated the army. It is a beautiful and historic building at Democracy Plaza. Interesting to see.

Thank Jotum
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 February 2016

The best parts of the museum are the butterfly garden, central garden, and the dungeon. There isn't much inside of the museum beyond a lot of repetitive pieces (lots of grinding stones). I did enjoy the transitions between the added facilities and the original facilities. Overall, for the price, I'd say this one is a skip unless you need a... More 

Thank Jesse S

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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?