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For a tourist who is spending some time in San Jose looking for touristy things to do, the best recommendation we have is to see is the Plaza de la Cultura area which is home to the National Theater and the Pre-Colombian Gold Museum.
What is good about going to the beautiful Plaza de la Cultura is that it is the central square around which pedestrian life in San Jose flows. There’s a snazzy Starbucks nearby, watch the street performers, passing families and see the National Theater for either a performance or a tour. The best the city has to offer is all within 2 minutes walking of the main attractions.
So we’ve seen some impressive gold museums and national theaters before, what is so great about these? They are manageable and not boring. The Pre-Colombian gold museum stands out because its collection is around 1600 pieces spread out over 3 floors. It goes from the most ancient artifacts of man shaped gold from times where very little is known, all the way to the modern currencies and coins of Costa Rica. The theater is one of the most ornate and handcrafted wonders in architecture we’ve ever seen.
A student entry costs around 4 US dollars and a regular entry around 7 US dollars.to the Gold Museum. It is possible to pay with a credit card or local currency. The entrance usually includes free access to any visiting exhibitions too. The National Theater is open for guided visits only on certain afternoons when there is not a performance. Cost of entry is around 10 USD.
If you are fascinated by the country of Costa Rica as many are, the Gold Museum is really the best access you can hope to have into its ancient history. There were not ancient empires here, but still the metalwork, shamanism, and techniques of greater civilization arrived even to this mostly wild and uninhabited place. That’s the story the museum tells.
The national theater is a testament to the skilled craftsmanship that is prized in Costa Rican culture and also the strong emphasis placed on the arts and culture in a land that prizes peace and progress. Head to the Plaza de la Cultura, it is a great way to be a tourist in San Jose.