The Jade Museum (Museo del Jade) proves to Costa Rica visitors that this small Central American country is as rich in its history and cultural offerings as in biodiversity. The museum, located in the Costa Rican capital of San Jose, showcases more than 1,000 years’ worth of artifacts from Mesoamerica dating from 500 B.C. to 800 A.D.—including pre-Columbian jade, wood, and ceramics—in a renovated space.
A visit to the Jade Museum sheds light on pre-Columbian societies and traditional Costa Rican culture. Thanks to its central location in downtown San Jose, the Jade Museum can easily be added onto any city tour. Explore its collection of 7,000 artifacts on your own or go with a guide for a more comprehensive experience.
Things to Know Before You Go
- This site is a must-see for history buffs.
- Children under 12 receive a reduced rate of $2.
- Plan to spend roughly two hours exploring the five floors of displays.
- Engaging kid-friendly activities include an excavation role-play and giant puzzles.
- The museum offers a souvenir shop, restaurant, and cafe; take your drinks to go while you tour the exhibits.
How to Get to the Jade Museum
The Jade Museum is located on Central Street in San Jose, just down the road from the National Museum of Costa Rica and two blocks south of the famed National Park, so it’s easy to visit while you’re exploring downtown. Multiple bus lines stop within a few blocks of the museum, and the Museo stop on the Tren Urbano rapid transit system is a five-minute walk away. Transport by taxi or private vehicle is also available.
When to Get There
The Jade Museum is open year-round from 10am to 5pm, including weekends, but it’s best to confirm opening hours during the many national holidays. Thanks to one of the largest collections of pre-Columbian artifacts in all of Central America, the museum can attract crowds. Save time waiting in line by booking tickets ahead or exploring as part of a tour. Otherwise, expect the largest crowds during Costa Rica’s high season, which runs from late November through April.
You may want to brush up on your Spanish or download a translation app before visiting the museum, as much of the information is presented in Spanish. If you need a place to start, remember that jade is pronounced "ha-day," the Spanish word for gold is oro, and pre-Columbian is precolombino.