Find hotels near Juan Santamaria International Airport that you can rest and relax at after exploring San Jose Costa Rica.
Centro Nacional de Arte y Cultura (National Arts Center)Distance from San Jose Airport: 18.6 km
Calle 13 between Avenidas 3 and 5
Museum hours: Tues-Sun 10-5
Houses the offices of the Cultural Ministry, several performing arts centers, and the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design. The latter has featured several impressive traveling international exhibits, including large retrospectives by Mexican painter José Cuevas and Ecuadoran painter Oswaldo Guayasamin.
Galería Nacional de Arte ContemporáneoDistance from San Jose Airport: 18.2 km
Calle 15 and Ave. 3
In the basement of the Biblioteca Nacional, the city’s main library. It displays many fine works of contemporary artists.
Lankester GardensDistance from San Jose Airport: 45.7 km
Paraíso de Cartago
Closed on all national holidays
There are more than 1,200 varieties of orchids in Costa Rica, and no fewer than 800 species are on display at this botanical garden in Cartago province. Created in the 1940s by English naturalist Charles Lankester, the gardens are now administered by the University of Costa Rica. There’s an information center, and the trails are well tended and well marked.
Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales “La Salle”Distance from San Jose Airport: 15.8 km
Across from the southwest corner of Parque La Sabana
Mon-Sat 8-4, Sun 9-4
This natural-history museum offers information and specimens of the animals encountered in the jungles of the country. There are stuffed and mounted anteaters, monkeys, tapirs, and many others from Costa Rica and from around the world as well. There are also 1,200 birds, 12,500 insects, and 13,500 seashells displayed.
Museo Nacional de Costa RicaDistance from San Jose Airport: 18.7 km
Calle 17 between Avenida Central and Avenida 2, on the Plaza de la Democracia
Closed Dec 25 and 31
Costa Rica’s most important historical museum is housed in a former army barracks in the castle-like ocher colored Bellavista Fortress that was the scene of fighting during the civil war of 1948. There are hundreds of bullet holes on the turrets at the corners of the building. Inside this traditional Spanish-style building, are displays tracing Costa Rican history and culture from pre-Columbian times to the present. In the pre-Columbian room, there are exquisite 2,500-year-old jade carvings. Downstairs is a spectacular insect collection sponsored the National Institute of Biodiversity.
Museo Nacional de Ferrocarril
Museo Nacional de Ferrocarril (National Railroad Museum)Distance from San Jose Airport: 5.9 km
Avenida 3,Calle 19
Tues.-Sun. 9-4:30 (call first, as these hours vary)
The museum is housed in the ornate Atlantic train station built in 1907 on the northeast corner of the Parque Nacional. Assorted memorabilia and photographs recount the century of operation of the “Jungle Train” which was discontinued following the April, 1991 earthquake.
Museo de Arte CostarricenseDistance from San Jose Airport: 15.2 km
Parque La Sabana Este (Calle 42 and Paseo Colón)
This small museum at the end of Paseo Colón in Parque La Sabana was formerly an airport terminal. Today, however, it houses a collection of works in all media by Costa Rica’s most celebrated artists. On display are some exceptionally beautiful pieces in a wide range of artistic styles, demonstrating how Costa Rican artists have interpreted and imitated the major European artistic movements over the years.