The world-class Museo del Oro Precolumbino (tel. 506/2243-4202, fax 506/243-42202243-4216 for tickets, www.museosdelbancocentral.org , 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, $69), in the triple-tiered former bank vaults beneath the plaza (the entrance is on Calle 5), is the highlight of the Museos Banco Central de Costa Rica, run by the state-owned Banco Central. The more than 2,000 glittering pre-Columbian gold artifacts displayed weigh in at over 22,000 troy ounces.
Highlights include displays on early metallurgy and a gold-adorned, life-size cacique (chieftain), plus there’s a large collection of pre-Columbian metates and more. A collection of old coins is displayed in the adjoining Museo de Numismática (Numismatic Museum), while a small exhibit hall features works from the bank’s art collection.
A self-guided audiotape tour costs $2. Guided tours are given with one week’s notice ($35, 1–15 people). Bring identification for entry.