Tourist Attractions in Costa Rica

Information about the main tourist attractions, places of interest and sights to see in and around Costa Rica...

Casona de Santa Rosa: Located in the Guanacaste Conservation Area, the Casona de Santa Rosa is a historic monument on the site of the Battle of Santa Rosa of 1856. Although the battle itself lasted a mere 14 minutes, it is a matter of great pride in Costa Rica as it was here that 9,000 Costa Rican civilians met and defeated an international army of mercenaries, led by American lawyer William Walker, looking to convert Central America into slaving territory.

Surrounded by tropical dry forest, the building itself is a reconstruction of the original, and now houses a museum detailing the history of the battle. It recently underwent structural refurbishments and reopened for visitors in March 2013.

  • Tel: 2666 0630

National Theater: Situated in downtown San José, the National Theater of Costa Rica plays host to national and international music, dance and drama performances. It is also a major tourist attraction in the city.

In 1888 a series of earthquakes destroyed the capital city’s Municipal theater. This replacement theater was built with the funds raised by the creation of a coffee tax and then later by a tax on importation. Many Costa Rican people still feel a sense of ownership of the theater as a result. The National Theater took eight years to build, and has been a great source of national pride since its opening in 1897.

Cartago Ruins: The city of Cartago was the first Spanish settlement in Costa Rica, established by the Spanish conquistador Juan Vásquez de Coronado in 1563, and it was also the country’s first capital city. The city was almost destroyed several times by the activities of the nearby Irazú Volcano, however, and in 1823 San José became the country’s new capital city.

The ruins found in the city’s central park, known as “Plaza Mayor” are actually ruins of an unfinished building, which was badly damaged by the earthquake of 1910.

Metallic Building: Built in the same era as the Eiffel tower at the end of the 19th century, this was one of three experimental buildings in the city built entirely out of metal. It was pre-fabricated in Belgium before being shipped in several pieces and constructed in San José. It is now home to the Buenaventura Corrales School.