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Costa Rica has done an amazing job positioning itself as an ecotourism destination.  So, naturally when you think about art, design or culture, Costa Rica does not pop up immediately. However, art in Costa Rica has had an important resurgence in the cultural and daily spectrum in recent years.


We invite you to learn more about how to incorporate art into your next visit to the country. Or, if you decided to move in and live a Pura Vida life, we will tell you all about the activities you need to attend to enjoy art in Costa Rica.


Museums: a mirror to the art in Costa Rica


The country has an approximate of 39 public museums.  These museums have different approaches that include culture, history, art and science.  Out of this number, 19 are located in San José.


If you are looking to know more about the main artists in Costa Rica history, we recommend you visit the Museo de Arte Costarricense.  With more than 1,700 art pieces of Costa Rican artists, the museum tells the history of art in Costa Rica since the second half of XIX century.  The museum also has a permanent exhibit of international artists and one dedicated to Juan Manuel Sánchez with a collection of 4,000 pieces.

Museo de Arte Costarricense- Art in Costa Rica

Museo de Arte Costarricense. Image by CRHoy

If you are more interested in the contemporary scene, you will enjoy a visit to:


Our province of Guanacaste has 7 museums, of which the Museo Islita de Arte Contemporáneo and the Eco Museo San Vicente of Guaitil Pottery have the purpose of empowering their communities to create art and rescue local traditions.


Art Festivals: experiencing art in motion


The art festivals are a great way of translating the sometimes confusing and even boring concept of art to everyone: kids, teenagers, adults, locals, tourists, you name it.  They are also great spaces to build culture and a great way of having fun.


Here are some of the most important festivals or events you can attend every year:



Festival of Arts

This program started in 1989 with the Festival San José por la Paz (San José for Peace). Some years later, the Ministry of Culture and Youth decides to keep organizing each year a Festival of Arts alternating the International Festival one year and the National Festival the following year.


These events bring together the best national and international artists and present a great diversity of artistic expressions. Groups of modern dance, folkloric or popular; music in general; theater for adults, youth and children; street shows; art installations; intervention of public or architectural spaces; visual arts, film and multimedia; make up the agenda of the Festival.

FIA - Art in Costa Rica

FIA 2012. Image by La Republica

In 2018, the International Festival or FIA will be celebrated in April.  It will bring together more than 700 national artists, 458 international artists and 18 guest countries in 7 venues.



Tamarindo Art Wave

In Guanacaste, the Tamarindo Art Wave celebrated its second edition this year and flooded the small and tourist coastal town with art.

Tamarindo art Wave - Art in Costa Rica

Tmarindo Art Wave. Image by Jonathan Cooley / TicoTimes

During three days, locals and visitors of the touristic surf town of Tamarindo experienced concerts, food, paint, photography and more.  Recognized Costa Rican artists like Manuel Obregón, Debi Nova and Sonámbulo were part of the Festival´s agenda.


All types of workshops, artisan fairs, and art exhibits could also be enjoyed every day.



Furthermore, some other activities organized throughout the year are:

  • In Guanacaste you can also enjoy GuanacasteArte
  • In San José the agenda includes TransitArte, the Art City Tour, Amón cultural, Graffiti Festival, Chepe Danza, International Film Festival, among others.


As you can see, Costa Rica can also be enjoyed as a vibrant art destination. Art in Costa Rica is expected to keep growing as each year more and more activities are added to the cultural scene.  We encourage you to come visit our country, stay in one of our breathtaking residences and discover the art in Costa Rica.


Featured image by Tico Times