to a friend!

Sala de Exhibiciones Temporales

Armadillo shaped pot
1000 - 1300 d.C


The Central Bank of Costa Rica concerned about the cultural and archaeological heritage of Costa Rica, formed the collection of pre-Columbian gold between 1950 and 1974. At the same time boosted its collection of coins and began to acquire works of national art. Initially created a public gallery in the main building of the Bank, but when the collection grew, it was decided to build a museum exclusively designed to house these collections.

Between 1978 and 1982, in San Jose was built in the permanent collections of the Banco Central de Costa Rica in the underground building in the Plaza de la Cultura. In this way the city had a new space for museums and exhibitions. The investment that the country made in this work, is only comparable to the National Theatre building nearly a century before.

On 15 September 1985, reopened in this new venue, the Museum of Pre-Columbian Gold Alvaro Vargas Echeverría and in 1990, on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the Central Bank, opens its doors Numismatic Museum, which is designated the name of Jaime Solera Bennett.

In order to more efficiently manage its cultural work, on November 10, 1993 through the 7363 Law establishing the Foundation for Managing the Central Bank Museums. Since then a qualified interdisciplinary team of professionals works hard to offer new and varied exhibits to the public visiting the institution. Research, technical publications, activities, workshops and concerts for the public are also part of the offer of this Cultural Centre always seeking excellence through education.

On September 14, 2002 was reopened with a new exhibit, the Museum of Pre-Columbian Gold. For its part, the Numismatic Museum reopens after a total refurbishment, the November 1, 2005, with the exhibition "Del Real al Colón: History of Costa Rica currency."


Pre-Columbian Gold Museum has an extraordinary collection of gold objects that reflect the worldview, social structure, and the goldsmithery of the current pre-Columbian peoples of Costa Rican territory.

The exhibit illustrates the use and function of parts, technology, and the relationship with nature and everyday life of these groups.

The collection consists of 1600 pre-Columbian gold pieces dating from 500 to 1500 a.C. The Gold Museum is divided into two levels:

a) The introductory area on the second floor of the building, which interprets the sociocultural evolution of pre-Columbian cultures. This space is also considering the development of metallurgy in Costa Rica, its stages and styles.

b) Exhibition pieces of gold (third floor). In this part you can see the different uses and meanings of objects of gold. Visitors can watch a video introduction to the collection.

In Costa Rica, the archaeological evidence points to the emergence of the first metal objects circa 400-500 a.C. The manufacture of metal objects reached its peak after 700 a.C and to the Spanish contact.

The collection of pre-Columbian objects made of ceramic and stone is composed of parts that come from different geographical regions of the country, dating from the year 300 b.C to European contact in 1502 a.C.

Exhibición de Oro Precolombino

Colgante en forma de ave
700 - 1550 d.C


"Del Real at Colón": History of Costa Rica currency is the new permanent exhibit at the Museum of Numismatics, established in 1990 under the name of Jaime Solera Bennett, who was noted for his corporate work and as President of Costa Rica Central Bank. This exhibit shows the evolution of the various means of change from 1502 to present, in a very dynamic way.

The tour begins with a discussion about money and its use, and then point very interesting aspects of the history of currency, such as the use of barter, the use of metal coins, which had its beginnings in the colonial period-, the use of foreign currencies and coffee and banana coins called boletos (tickets), issuance of notes of different banks to the structuring of the Central Bank, the symbol shown on the coins and bills, and other interesting topics.

The numismatic collection began in the 1950s and has about 5000 objects, including coins, bills, coffee tickets (boletos), dies, documents and photographs. The first numismatic exhibition took place in the Central bank of Costa Rica, in 1971, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Independence of Costa Rica.

The collection of bills has more than 800 copies issued by different banks and the Government, from 1858 to the present. It has the peculiarity of containing the most important group of notes with serial number 01 of banks like Anglo Bank, Bank of Costa Rica, Banco Internacional, Banco Mercantil, Banco Comercial, Banco Central de Costa Rica. This has been possible thanks to a donation from the private collection of Mr. Jaime Solera Bennett, made by his family in 1997.

The Museum offers an interactive area to promote the collecting of banknotes and coins and a video called Paper Passions and Silver.

The numismatic collection of the Museum of the Central Bank has a strong representative sample of different issues of coins and notes made in Costa Rica. It also contains about 1,700 tickets (private coin used to pay especially agricultural workers in the coffee) that allow us to complete the picture of the money supply in this country, through history.

As a coins concerning, the collection consists of about 1,200 examples, dating from 1516 to the present. Contains currencies used at the time of the conquest and during the colonial period such as the "excelentes", "escudos" and "silver reales", and "onzas de oro"; coins from the Republican period, among which we find "escudos" and "onzas de oro", "silver reales" and "gold pesos"; and as part of the recent monetary history, the "Colón", established in 1896 as the official currency. Complementing this collection a substantial number of planchet, tests and trials that led to the coins that circulated in this country, and dies (steel parts made to engravings on the coins).



Every day from 9:15a.m. – 5:00p.m.

Juanuay 01, Easter week: Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 11th, May 01, July 25, August 02, August 15, September 15, Second Wednesday of December, December 24, December 25 and December 31.

Ticketing Hours
9:15a.m. – 4:30p.m. Access to the Museum 30 minutes before closing (Eviction of the rooms 10 minutes before closing)


Bajos Plaza de la Cultura, Avenida Central y 2dª, Calle 5.
Provincia: San José.
Telephone: (506) 2243-4202.
Fax: (506) 2243-4220.
Correo electrónico: museoro@racsa.co.cr.


$9.00 adults

$5.00 students


Museum admission is free in the following cases:

  • For all Costa Ricans visitors and residents on Wednesdays and during cultural festivals.
  • Children under 12 yeras old
  • Costa Rican Gold citizens and residents
  • Costa Rican Students and residents member of indigenous communities.
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