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San José, Our Capital City

San José is the capital city of Costa Rica. It became a city in 1813 –205 years ago– and the capital city of the country in 1823. Those who visit this city may enjoy a wide variety of tourist attractions and a representative of culture and cuisine from all over the country.

Art and History

Visitors may learn great part of Costa Rican art and history from many places in the capital city, starting with the country’s architectural gem: the National Theater, located at the heart of San José. This place has not only been the stage for world-class music, ballet and theater performances, but the venue itself is a work of art telling the story of a coffee country that has always dreamed big.

Museum lovers may enjoy tours to the most important museums in the country. These include: the Museum of Costa Rican Art, in La Sabana, with exhibitions from the most outstanding visual artists in the country; museums run by the Central Bank of Costa Rica,underground exhibition rooms under Plaza de la Cultura with coin, natural history and other collections; the Museum of Jade and pre-Columbian Culture, on First Avenue, a tribute to the art and culture of the first settlers in our country; and the National Museum of Costa Rica, very close to the National Theater, on Second Avenue, a former fort where former President José Figueres Ferrer abolished military service with a symbolic shot at one of the walls.

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Learn more about our destinations

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Miguel Obregón Lizano National Library
The oldest books, newspapers, documents, and magazines all belong in the National Library, located on the North side of the National Park. At this wonderful place, visited by those who seek to expand their knowledge through history, you will be able to find bibliographical material of the most diverse subjects.
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Metropolitan Cathedral of San José
Located right in the heart of the city, this emblematic church holds inside its walls beautiful works of art, an impressive pipe organ, delicate stained glasses, vaults, and crypts. It has been declared of Historic and Architectonic Interest.
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Philatelic and Costa Rica’s Post Office Museum
With an impressive structure and declared a Historic and Architectonic Value Heirloom, this visited museum is located on the second floor of the central building of Costa Rica’s Post Office. It holds postage stamps collections, objects of post and communications history, and the facilities offer guided tours and leisure activities related to the post trade.
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Costa Rica Grand Hotel
Located on the pedestrian boulevard on Central Avenue, Costa Rica Grand Hotel combines its classic design with good service and comfort offered to its visitors. With coffee bars, shops, museums, book stores, and many other attractions, this place offers a great view of the National Theatre.
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La Merced Church (Church of Mercy)
An iconic temple of the capital, the Church of Our Lady of Mercy, best known simply as the Church of Mercy, receives every day a great number of visitors. Its beautiful design shows a German gothic-influenced architecture, and it is part of Costa Rica’s Historic and Architectonic Heritage.
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Central Bank of Costa Rica Museums
Its exhibition halls located under the Plaza de la Cultura (Culture Square) offer to its visitors permanent exhibitions on Archeology, Visual Arts, Numismatics, and other themes, as well as a dynamic program of temporary displays related to its collections. All of this held in its extraordinary facilities.
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Museum of Costa Rican Art
Located in La Sabana, its walls and halls are full of all kinds of activities linked to the plastic arts in Costa Rica. It gathers and holds works of art from national and international renowned artists, especially paintings, sculptures, and photography.
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Jade and Pre-Columbian Culture Museum
Located on Central Avenue, this is a space to recognize the art and culture of our country’s first settlers. This museum has allowed thousands of national and international visitors to wander its exhibition halls and have the opportunity to admire one of the richest institutional collections in America.
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National Museum of Costa Rica
Back in its day, it was an old stronghold were president José Figueres Ferrer abolished the army with a symbolic hit to one of its walls. It is located on Central and 2nd Avenue, on the West side on the Plaza de la Democracia (Democracy Square), close to the National Theatre. Nowadays, it is a space that holds many exhibitions on natural history, anthropology, and archeology, and it also offers lectures, workshops, specialized collections, and guided tours.
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National Theatre of Costa Rica
Located in the heart of San José, it is considered to be the most important cultural emblem of the country. This place has not only been a scene for top performances in music, dance or theatre, but it is also a great work of art in itself; it tells the story of a coffee country who has always dreamed big. This theatre is regarded as the architectonic masterpiece of the country.
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National Theater Melico Salazar
Located on 2nd Avenue, on the North side of the Central Park, this theater is nowadays considered as one of the prime Historic and Architectonic Heritage icons of Costa Rica. In addition to seeing plays, you will be able to get to know the history and explore the corners of this beautiful building in one of the guided tours offered to visitors.
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Biblioteca Nacional Miguel Obregón Lizano
Capital San José 2 Los libros, periódicos, documentos y revistas más antiguas tienen su lugar en la Biblioteca Nacional, ubicada al costado norte del Parque Nacional. En este maravilloso lugar podrá encontrar material bibliográfico de los más variados temas, visitados por quienes buscan en la historia enriquecer sus conocimientos.
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Catedral Metropolitana de San José
Capital San José 2 Se ubica justo en el centro de la ciudad, esta emblemática iglesia cuenta en su interior con hermosas obras de arte, un imponente órgano tabular, finos vitrales, bóvedas y criptas. Fue declarada de Interés Histórico Arquitectónico.
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Museo Filatélico y de Correos de Costa Rica
Imponente en su estructura y declarado Reliquia de Valor Histórico y Arquitectónico; este visitado museo se ubica en el segundo piso del edificio central de Correos de Costa Rica. Con colecciones postales, objetos de la historia del correo y comunicaciones, en sus instalaciones se brindan visitas guiadas y actividades de esparcimiento relacionadas al oficio postal.
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Gran Hotel Costa Rica
Ubicado en el bulevar peatonal de la Avenida Central, el Gran Hotel Costa Rica combina lo clásico de su diseño con el buen servicio y comodidad que ofrece a sus visitantes; entre cafeterías, tiendas, museos, librerías y otras atracciones importantes, éste ofrece una espectacular vista al Teatro Nacional.
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Iglesia de La Merced
Capital San José 2 Templo icónico de la capital, la Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de La Merced o más conocida como la Iglesia de La Merced recibe cada día una gran cantidad de visitantes. Su hermoso diseño muestra una arquitectura de influencia gótica alemana y es patrimonio histórico-arquitectónico de Costa Rica.
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Los Museos del Banco Central de Costa Rica
En sus salas de exhibición subterráneas ubicadas bajo la Plaza de la Cultura, ofrecen a quienes los visitan, exhibiciones permanentes sobre Arqueología, Artes Visuales, Numismática y otras temáticas; sumado a un dinámico programa de muestras temporales relacionadas con sus colecciones, todo esto albergado en unas extraordinarias instalaciones.
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Museo de Arte Costarricense
Localizado en La Sabana, presenta en sus paredes y salas todas aquellas actividades ligadas con las artes plásticas de Costa Rica. Se congrega y muestra obras de los artistas plásticos nacionales e internacionales más connotados; principalmente en pintura, escultura y fotografía.
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Museo del Jade y la Cultura Precolombina
Sobre Avenida Central, acá se da un reconocimiento del arte y la cultura de los primeros pobladores de nuestro país. Este museo ha permitido que miles de visitantes nacionales y extranjeros visiten sus salas de exhibición, teniendo la oportunidad de admirar una de las colecciones institucionales más ricas de América.
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Museo Nacional de Costa Rica
En su momento un antiguo fortín, donde el presidente José Figueres Ferrer abolió el ejército con un simbólico golpe a una de sus paredes; está ubicado en la avenida Central y Segunda a un costado este de la Plaza de la Democracia, muy cerca del Teatro Nacional; es ahora un recinto que expone una amplia muestra de exhibiciones sobre historia natural, antropología y arqueología, además ofrece charlas, talleres, colecciones especializadas y visitas guiadas.
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Teatro Nacional de Costa Rica
Ubicado en el corazón de San José y constituido como el centro cultural más importante del país; este lugar no sólo ha sido escenario de presentaciones de primer mundo en música, danza o teatro, sino que todo él es una obra de arte; que cuenta la historia de un país cafetalero, que siempre ha soñado en grande. Es considerado la joya arquitectónica del país.
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Teatro Nacional Melico Salazar
En avenida Segunda al costado norte del Parque Central, es considerado en la actualidad como uno de los íconos patrimoniales histórico-arquitectónicos de Costa Rica. Además de asistir a obras teatrales, aquí podrá conocer la historia y los rincones de este bello edificio en las visitas guiadas que se ofrecen a todos los visitantes.
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