Time of year
Paul S wrote a review Jan. 13
New York City, New York31 contributions
The National Museum, situated in a former military fortress, starts with an incredible butterfly garden, offering great opportunities for photos of the beautiful species Costa Rica offers. The museum's permanent exhibit offers an honest and comprehensive timeline of the country's history, from Pre-Columbian through modern day Costa Rica, with English labels for every piece. Unfortunately the Pre-Columbian portion was closed during our visit, but the rest of the exhibit really built on the colonial history of the Americas I learned in school, and helped me understand how Costa Rica became the nation it is today. A trip to the museum is absolutely worth it just for this exhibit if you have any interest in Costa Rica's history and culture. The special exhibits on nocturnal animals and birds' nesting habits were interesting, but a bit lacking in substance and attention to detail in some respects (e.g. the english translation for one animal was actually for another creature - the spanish label seemed to be correct, however).…
Date of experience: January 2021
Paris1221 wrote a review Dec. 2020
Virginia Beach, Virginia243 contributions71 helpful votes
Our favorite part was the butterfly garden. Most amazing blue butterflies we have ever seen!!! The rest of the museum was ok. Many exhibitions being repaired and not much to see.
Date of experience: December 2020
Myo M wrote a review Sep. 2020
Coquitlam, Canada19,064 contributions615 helpful votes
Organized into about 4 big rooms (or 4 "general sections" of the museum's interior) is the "comprehensive timeline" of Costa Rica from the pre-Columbian period to the colonial period to the early-republic period to the modern period (each period in each of the 4 rooms to visualize through such displays as pottery artifacts, info signs, historic photos & some 3-D models), and yes it's just well laid out to easily follow that timeline by a "counter-clockwise walk starting to the right" directly after the ticket entrance (which is not at the front but at the back of the Museum where once inside the entrance is a "rectangular-shaped" area of the museum grounds with rooms right around). And apart from the above-ground, there's also the underground part of the Museum with rooms kept pretty much as they were when this museum building was the "military fortress" called Bellavista (and with nice info signs down there to get some sufficient knowledge about that old fortress, and yes also with some "pretty small" jail cells kind of fascinating to see!). And yes, also somewhat of an interesting sight at this museum is not indoors but outdoors on the museum grounds which is that of a "rock ball" (one with really "quite a significant" size & which as seen in some of the historic photos displayed right in this museum has existed since the time of the fortress). Overall, although not as much in physical stature as the great national history museums visited prior to this (namely those in Santiago, Rio de Janeiro & Bogota with considerably more displays due to their sizes), I left this museum "pretty much" as impressed as those due to its thorough & organized coverage of the national history in the 4 big rooms (as mentioned above). Not itself in a "vibrant area" of the city, but there's one such area at just about a 10-minute walk from this museum (in the "opposite direction" from that to its front face) where there are sites such as Teatro Nacional (with a theater guide on a worthwhile tour to see its "elaborate interior") & Catedral Metropolitana (for a nice walk around inside although just one "fairly plain"); and also in that area are 2 "pedestrian streets" (maybe more) each lined with various establishments including Mercado Central (just a "superb place" for souvenir shopping & meals at mini-restaurants inside that big indoor market).…
Date of experience: January 2020
1 Helpful vote
Mike M wrote a review Sep. 2020
Edinburgh, United Kingdom246 contributions79 helpful votes
A bit of a faff to get your tickets. The building is beautiful and the displays are lovingly shown. The information is concise and meaningful, but it's all a bit boring and repetitive.
Date of experience: September 2020
cvtmuench wrote a review Apr. 2020
Mesa, Arizona224 contributions108 helpful votes
Good to visit for Costa Rican history... which is mostly about coffee. They did have these interesting spheres that no one seems to know from where they came.
Date of experience: January 2020