The display of gold — 1600 pieces — at the Museo del Banco Central de Costa Rica, commonly known as the Gold Museum, dazzles kids. The museum’s collection of pre-Columbian gold is one of the world’s largest. Older than pirates’ booty, the pieces date from 300 to 1500 A.D. Among the striking items are pendants and collars the size of Frisbees. We created our own treasure hunt by searching for golden frogs, bats, birds and other animals. We did the same for pre-Columbian jade animals at the Museo de Jade (the Jade Museum). If you have time for just one museum, go for the gold.
Take teens interested in art to two of San Jose’s noted art facilities. Along with performance space, the Centro Nacional de Arte y Cultura (National Center of Art and Culture) primarily exhibits work by Costa Rican and Central American artists. The much smaller Museo de Arte Costarricense (Costa Rican Art Museum) displays work from some top Costa Rican artists.