A visit to Costa Rica would be incomplete without taking the time to appreciate its thriving and unique cultural scene. Artists have long been inspired by Costa Rica’s beauty and vibrant culture, using its natural resources for inspiration and, occasionally, instrument.
If you like both art and adventure, check out the list below. Some places are off the beaten path, and some are right in the heart of the city, but they are unforgettable.
The Museum of Stone Spheres
A UNESCO World Heritage Site on the Diquís Delta is home to more than 300 stone sculptures. Colloquially known as “Las Bolas”, these spheres – much like Stonehenge – are of nebulous origin and purpose, though archaeologists have dated them back to about 600 A.D. Their mysterious nature and historical significance have even inspired modern art.
The town is world-renowned for its woodwork, leather shops, and ceramics. Located at the base of the Central Valley Mountain Range, Sarchí is also famous for its oxcarts – brightly-painted, beautifully decorated symbols of Costa Rican tradition. The oxcarts line the shop-lined streets, where you can purchase and admire any manner of artisanal crafts and furniture.
This downtown San José gallery specializes in fair trade and indigenous art of Central America. It features hundreds of unique and exceptional pieces, from tribal masks to pottery. Namu prides itself on its mission statement – “to respect and celebrate the permanence and legacy of the first people” of Central America – and its commitment to paying artists quickly and fairly. They also have an online shop with both original and replicate items.
Surrounded by 125 acres of a lush rain forest, the Monte Azul Boutique Hotel preserve sits at the base of Chirripó, Costa Rica’s highest mountain. The hotel’s artist-in-residence expertly and beautifully curates its living spaces. Monte Azul is truly an inspiring experience between the stunning natural environment and luxurious and expansive accommodations.
The Museum of Costa Rican Art
An old airport in San José’s La Sabana Park is now the Costa Rican Art Museum, which features sculptures, paintings, photographs, and more. The museum hosts Costa Rica’s most famous artist, Francisco Amighetti, a surrealist who specializes in showing the daily life of Costa Ricans.