Located inside the old Bellavista Fortress, the Costa Rican National Museum has a display that is very carefully thought out in terms of showcasing the timeline beginning with Pre-Columbian art, to Colonial, Industrial, and then more recent collections. Bellavista Fortress, a crenallated, ochre colored building that was built in 1917 and was originally a military barracks. You will see many bullets lodges in the exterior walls of the building dating back the country’s 1948 civil war. Within the compound there is the observation deck overlooks amazing views of San Jose.
Vision and Mission:
This museum has the vision to become a leading museum in the national environment which investigates about and protects the cultural and natural heritage. It is developed to spread the knowledge about cultural and natural heritage of the country to all the society so that people come to know the culture perfectly and can enjoy, preserve their cultural value and tradition and also to strengthen the diversity of the cultural identity.
This national museum is working to spread the Costa Rican culture and natural heritage to the national and foreign public and to improve awareness of protecting those heritage. It is always making investigation so that it can ensure the protection, conservation and rescue the natural heritage and culture of the country to safeguard the historic memory of the Nation and can introduce it to the generation after generation.
This museum offers specialized services for the researchers and the students of natural history, anthropology, and archaeology. Personnel or museology researchers of the museum also have these specialized services.
While visiting this museum, you will get opportunity to watch a huge collection of bird skins, about 662 of the species in the country and among those the oldest one is of a thrush, Wood Thrush, dating from 1847. There are also the skeleton collection represents some 343 species of birds and the oldest one is of the yellow-throated finch. The collection of nests are represented 146 species of birds Costa Rica and the clutches of eggs comprise about 21% of the country’s species.
This museum has the collection of mammals consists of 1735 specimens. This collections is consists of skins and skulls, single skins and skulls without skin. There are represented 154 species of mammals of Costa Rica.
The Anthropology and History Department has a significant collection of human remains recovered from archaeological excavations carried out in different parts of the country. Here you will find the oldest collections from sites in Jicaral Rule of Puntarenas, and Nacascolo in Carrillo, Guanacast of 500 BC.
This museum also has the collection of metal objects such as gold, copper and guanine and these objects represents the archaeological contexts of the country.
Flora and Fauna:
You will also come to know about the flora of the country by observing the collection of flora found in archaeological contexts. Here you will see the sample of palms, beans, two varieties of corn and grasses, among others, and a small reference collection of modern seeds. Here you will also find a collection of tropical fauna of the country. You will see tools for hunting and fishing, bones of the wild animals and many more.
In this museum you will find many other things to see such as the vehicles and objects related to transport people and cargo. all goods related to sports, recreational or leisure activities, furniture, art collection including handicraft, painting, sculpture etc.
The Costa Rican National Museum (Museo Nacional de Costa Rica)
San Jose, 17th street, Between Central and 2nd Avenue
Tuesday to Saturday 8:30am to 4pm, Sunday 9am to 4pm. Closed Monday
Foreigners $7 (foreign students with valid ID $4)