Historical Monuments and Sites of Interest

Historical Monuments of Costa Rica

During my two extensive trips to Costa Rica I visited many sites of interest and some were historical monuments. There are about a dozen I can remember, but I’ll pick the best, most memorable, most famous eight,  just because a dozen takes a while to type.

1. Museo Nacional de Costa Rica

This museum is the largest museum in Costa Rica. The building was actually the Bellavista Fortress built in 1870. This fortress was used in the 1948 civil war. You can even see bullet holes in the wall! This museum is actually my favorite. It looks grand on the outside and it has amazing old artifacts and items from the war. In general, it has pre-Columbian artifacts from the aboriginal people, old clothing, antique furniture, religious art and black and white photographs. You’ve got to visit this place.

2. Museo de Oro Pre-Columbino

This museum is a two in one visit. It’s artifacts are mostly pre-Columbian gold jewelry, a valuable bunch and the second largest collection in Central America as well as the largest collection in Costa Rica and the pride of the Ticos. Inside there is the Museo Numismatica, the national coin museum. Basically, this museum focuses on shiny things.

3. Atlantic Railroad Station (a.k.a. The Museum of Shapes, Spaces and Sounds)

Yes, this museum actually used to be a estación de ferrocarril, a railroad station. This station was built in 1871 and was used to trade with European markets until 1890. Later on, trains on this railroad were used less and less because there was less to do with the European market and so closed down.After closing down the government carefully preserved the items and stores and trains on he station and arranged and cleaned the area so it became like a museum, then opened it to the public as a museum. Take some black and white photos here and post it on Facebook– it makes you look like a classy photographer.

4. National Park of Costa Rica

This National Park contains the National Monument of Costa Rica. This monument was dedicated to the people who did heroic deeds during the 1856-1857 war against the Americans. The showcases in the monumental building show the history of Costa Rica and all the hard times with writing and artifacts. A true HISTORICAL monument.

5. Cartago City

Yes, a whole city is a historical monument! Cartago city was the first capital of Costa Rica, the predecessor of San José. It is 24 kilometers south of San José and was found in 1563. Cartago city was found by Juan Vasquez de Coronado. It was an unfortunate city and was always attacked by earthquakes. Soon, the whole city was destroyed and abandoned in 1823. The city had beautiful stone bridges, wooden houses, and a huge Romanesque cathedral. In 1910 an immense earthquake ravaged Cartago and destroyed the cathedral, and now the whole city was turned to a walking road winding around the ruins of the cathedral and the city.

6. The Guayabo National Monument

This monument is on the slopes of the Turrialba volcano. It is the most significant archaeological site in Costa Rica. It is actually the ruins of a city abandoned in 1400 AD of 49 acres and 20,000 people. There were houses, bridges, and more in this site. Similar to Cartago.

7. The Dr. Maria Eugenia Bozzoli Museum of Indigenous Cultures

This museum is in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqiu. This monument has information on the indigenous people of Costa Rica. The indigenous people make up 40,000 out of 4,000,000 people. This museum has artifacts from the Maliku, Boruca, and other tribes. In the center of the museum theres is also a large, lovely botanical garden filled with the medicinal herbs that the indigenous people used. Don’t steal any, you’ll get caught.

8. Museo de Arte Costarricense

This is the perfect place for art lovers! It used to be an old airport, but after the new international airport built in San José, it was changed into a museum filled with pinturas and esculturas– the finest collection of art in costa rica!

Sites of Interest in Costa Rica

Okay everyone, historical monuments and sites of interest isn’t that different, so though there should be a lot more for sites of interest, I only have ten. This is why everyone should leave some comments giving suggestions–hint hint. I hope you like what I have right now though, they aren’t bad places to visit.

Here goes.

1. The Central Cathedral

This cathedral is located in Alajuela. The cathedral is connected to a foresty area, and that’s what brings the tourists. The architectural design of the cathedral isn’t that great, so most people go just to get a good look of the forest and parrots and sloths residing in it.

2. Juan Santamaria Park

This park doesn’t seem like much of a park. It’s named after the famous Tico folk hero, Juan Santamaria, and what’s left is a nice walking path and a building from the 1860s with old cannons. Nearby there is the Juan Santamaria International Airport, and a museum. Visit all three.

The Statue of Juan Santamaria


3. Poas Volcano National Park

This volcano is pretty dangerous. It is still active you know. I guess that’s why it’s such a popular place for tourists. At night the hot lava is beautiful sight, and in the daytime you can take a tour to the summit where you can see freshly made craters.

4. Lankester Botanical Gardens

These gardens really are lovely. If you’d like a nice relaxing stroll in a beautiful garden full of songbirds, trees, orchids, and other plants, this place is for you.

5. Arenal Volcano

Yes, Costa Rica has many volcanoes, and this another famous active one. Once again this beautiful volcano gives you nice red lava to look at. There are guided tours all over the Arenal Volcano, and if you take a full guided tour you’d be taken to a place called El Mirador to look at the volcano from close, but not too close. If you go on a full tour you’d stay the night, and El Mirador gets pretty chilly once the sun sets, so I recommend a jacket.

6. The Fortuna Waterfall

This just might be the most popular place for tourists. It’s a lovely waterfall, but what’s great about it is that you can swim in he deep pools and streams flowing from it and see the waterfall from close up. Once again, the full tour requires you to stay the night, so a jacket would be needed here as well.

7. Cauhita National Park

This national park focuses on its beautiful marine life. This place is probably the best to snorkel and scuba dive in in Costa Rica, and you can see thousands of species of tropical fish and a beautiful coral reef.

8. Corcovado National Park

This national park focuses on it’s thick forests. It really is a lovely place, the air is fresh, you can see an interesting assortment of plants as well as fur different species of monkeys, hundred of birds, and tons of endangered wild cat species.

A wildcat found in Corcovado National Park


9. Manuel Antonio National Park

This is the paradise and home to squirrels and white-faced monkeys as well as sloths, iguanas, toucans, and bats. Basically, it’s like the national jungle. Oh, and by the way, you aren’t allowed to feed the monkeys.

10. Monteverde and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserves

This might be the most famous place to visit in Costa Rica, though it is last on my list. Trust me, the numbers on this list isn’t in any special order. This is another, large beautiful jungle with tall trees and winding vines. But unlike other national parks and reserves, there aren’t many mammals, mostly songbirds and amphibians.

There. My list is finally done.


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  1. San Jose (Costa Rica) Tourist Attractions / Travel Guide / Tips / Blog - April 23, 2014

    […] Historical Monuments of Costa Rica […]

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