Pre Columbian Gold Figure at the Gold Museum
Pre Columbian Gold Figure at the Gold Museum

One of my favorite things to do when I'm out and about in Costa Rica is to take tours of the museums in the capital of San Jose. Sure, you could say that a museum is the last place you'd expect to find a tree frog like me, but I love learning more about Costa Rica's history and culture! Although all the museums in San Jose are interesting, the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum at the Plaza de la Cultura is one of the best. Come with me on a tour of this fascinating museum!

Principal hall of gold inside Gold Museum
Principal hall of gold inside Gold Museum

Stepping back through Time

Costa Rica's Numismatic and Pre-Columbian Gold Museum boasts one of the largest collections of gold artifacts in Latin America. These ancient objects chronicle the history of the tribal peoples and civilizations that once inhabited the country. Some of these artifacts are more than 1,500 years old, and the collections on display at the museum reveal Costa Rica's fascinating past.

One of my favorite exhibits at the museum is Costa Rica's first coin, the Media Escudo. Although it's not very big, this is perhaps one of the most important objects in the museum. Minted in the early 1800s, the Media Escudo marks the point at which the country's economy progressed from the exchange of precious stones and gold objects to a more modern form of currency.

Pre Columbian Gold Pendant
Pre Columbian Gold Pendant

Socially significant

The Pre-Columbian Gold Museum has far more than just coins. Many of the artifacts on display hold unique social, tribal and historical significance. For example, you can see all sorts of unusual objects throughout the museum, including jewelry, handcrafted religious icons and statuettes, and animal figurines - including one that looks a lot like me!

These artifacts tell us a lot about how gold was seen as a representation of social status in the pre-Columbian era, and the collections on display reveal the complex relationship that the tribal peoples had with nature. As you walk through the museum, you can see how the metallurgy skills of the pre-Columbian Costa Ricans incorporated new techniques as technology developed, producing increasingly sophisticated objects that demonstrate a high level of craftsmanship and precision. You'll also see how the changing political and social attitudes of the times reflected the types of precious artifacts that were produced, providing you with a unique glimpse at the evolution of an entire culture.

The Numismatic and Pre-Columbian Gold Museum should be on anyone's to-see list when spending time in the capital of San Jose. This fascinating museum has so much to see and do, so make sure you leave enough time to wander through the exhibits and learn more about Costa Rica's history!

Main access to Gold Museum in Costa Rica
Main access to Gold Museum in Costa Rica