historical sites in costa rica

The history of Costa Rica runs from pre-Colombian times with wandering Indian tribes, to colonial disputes, to modern democracy. While the remains of indigenous tribes are few and far between, visitors can still discover relics of the past in museums and a handful of historic sites.

The nation's rich colonial history and farming traditions are still apparent in much of the architecture in downtown San Jose and rural regions like Guanacaste, San Carlos and Perez Zeledon.
The historic destinations listed below are great educational additions to any Costa Rica vacation. Nature Vacations can help you decide which might fit best in your Costa Rica vacation itinerary..

landmarks and historic sites

cartago ruins

Costa Rica's colonial capital houses ruins of an 18th century church that was destroyed twice by earthquakes during construction.


A national park preserving an indigenous mound cemetery and traditional housing.

isla san lucas

This island prison was made famous by an ex-con who wrote a novel about his experience called The Island of Lonely Men. Day trips can be arranged from Tambor or San Jose.

national museum

Once an army barracks, the bullet-riddled national museum uncovers Costa Rica's political, cultural and ecological history.