National Theater, San José

4.5 out of 5 stars 20 Reviews

2nd Avenue, 3rd and 5th Street (506) 2221-3756
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  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    Teatro Nacional

    by grandmaR Updated Aug 29, 2015

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    On Monday, one of the things we did was a tour of the National Theatre (which was being renovated, so it wasn’t really a tour, and we didn’t pay for it because the guard at the entrance wasn’t there) and had lunch there ($12.91 for 2 including tip). I didn't take many photos because everything was shrouded with dust cloths. A photo of the front of the theater as it was then is in the Intro.

    A revisit in 2015 - This time the theater was restored and in operation Bob bought tickets. We didn't wait for a tour - just went around by ourselves. We got two stickers to stick on ourselves and the receipt the guard at the door took. They asked us if we wanted to go the 2nd floor, and not knowing if we did, I said yes. So they took us around to a cubbyhole in the wall and there was a small elevator which the guy activated and we went up to the second floor. We looked around. We were allowed to take photos without flash.

    We did find the erroneous banana painting that we had been told about (photo 2). The paintings were done by Italian artists who didn't really know anything about Costa Rica or bananas. The bananas are growing pointed down on the stalk instead of as they really grow pointing up. Also the stalks (which are very heavy) were not carried across the chest as in the painting.

    Address: Avenida segunda entre Calle 3 y 5

    Directions: Distrito Catedral, San José, Costa Rica.

    Phone: (506) 2010-1100

    Website: http://www.teatronacional.go.cr/

    Entrance between pineapple topped posts Banana painting Stage from second floor box Bob buying tickets Ground floor seating
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  • JessieLang's Profile Photo

    Teatro Nacional

    by JessieLang Written Mar 28, 2015

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This beautiful building (1500 capacity) is their pride and joy. It was built by the government in 1897 with money from coffee taxes, and no expense was spared. There is marble and gold plate everywhere. The chandelier can be lowered to change bulbs, and the seats can be unfastened and raised to turn the theater into a ballroom. There are some “widow boxes” that are entered from outside and have screens on them. The president has a box is in the middle tier (center back) without screens.

    The lobby ceiling contains a colorful mural by Aleardo Villa, an artist from Milan, entitled Allegory of Coffee and Bananas. They liked it so much that it was featured on the 5 Colon banknote, but they eventually realized that it cost more than that to reproduce all the colors. (That bill is no longer in circulation, but you can buy it on the street as a souvenir—for a lot more than 5 colones!)
    Admission - $5

    Doorway Lobby Upstairs Lounge
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  • jorgejuansanchez's Profile Photo

    Teatro Nacional

    by jorgejuansanchez Written Jul 14, 2014

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is a most remarkable building, constructed at the end of the XIX century to show the improving economy of the country thanks to the export of coffee. Marble was brought from Italy, glasses from France and precious woods. Its interior shows many pretty statues, some of them representing classic works of Spanish dramaturgos (Calderon de la Barca) and an alegoria to the coffee production.

    Address: downtown San Jose

    Directions: ask the local people, everybody knows

    Teatro Nacional
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  • ZeekLTK's Profile Photo

    Teatro Nacional de Costa Rica

    by ZeekLTK Written Mar 8, 2012

    The National Theater of Costa Rica is also located right in downtown San Jose. It is housed inside a very nice building and they put on shows from time to time. Unfortunately we weren't able to take in any during our visit, so I'm not sure about the pricing.

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  • dustmon's Profile Photo

    Teatro Nacional

    by dustmon Written Dec 14, 2011

    Gorgeous building--when we visited they were having a young ballet troup practicing on the main stage when we peeked inside---we had lunch at the cafe on the left (great people watching of Central Park if you get a window table)---ask to use the toilet and you can slip past the guard and peek inside the theater. They had a wonderful creche outside for the Christmas season....

    Address: Central Parque

    Website: http://teatronacional.go.cr

    Teatro Nacional creche in front yard
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  • a005116's Profile Photo

    Teatro nacional

    by a005116 Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The nacional theatre on the 'plaza de la cultura' is for me, the most beauitifull building in the country. If you're spending a day in the capital, not passing by would be a mistake.

    The concerts and drama's performed are an inexpensive and a good alternative to a 'cinema-evening'. Note that the're no performances in a great part of february and march.

    In the building you've a verry nice athmospheric, but unfortunately expensive bar where you can enjoy a Costa Rican Coffee. Just in front of the theatre you also have the terrace of the 'gran hotel'. Neither cheap, but it is the only (nice) terace of the country and the view on the theatre is also admirable.

    Directions: Plaza de la cultura

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  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo

    National Theatre

    by Jim_Eliason Updated Nov 22, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This theatre was built in 1897 and is considered as San Jose's Architectural gem. It was designed by Belgian architects and decorated by Italian artists. With its 1,000 seating capacity, it is still being used today for performances which can limit your ability to visit inside.

    Address: Plaza de la Cultura 2nd Ave and 5th Street

    Phone: 506-221-1329

    Website: http://www.1costaricalink.com/costarica/costarica-7.htm

    National Theatre National Theatre National Theatre
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  • Kindra's Profile Photo

    Catch a performance at the Teatro Nacional

    by Kindra Updated Nov 14, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Teatro Nacional is a beautiful old building just off Avenida Colon in downtown San Jose. You can take tours to see the exquisitely decorated and restored rooms of the Theatre or even better, sneak a peak while visiting the theatre for one of the shows. The opera festival is August 4-11 followed up by the music festival. Plays, musical groups and dance troups often visit the Theatre.

    Directions: Downtown just off of Avenida Colon. Any taxi driver will know this major landmark.

    Website: http://www.teatronacional.go.cr

    Teatro Nacional

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  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo

    National Theater / Theatro Nacional

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Apr 14, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Located on the south side of the Plaza de la Cultura, Costa Rica's National Theater has been the nation's architectural show showpiece and cultural temple for more than a century. The theater had it's beginnings in 1890, when a European opera company featuring the prima donna Adelina Patti toured Central America but was unable to perform in Costa Rica because there was no suitable venue.

    Wealthy coffee barons voted a tax on coffee exports to fund construction of a theater. Craftsmen were brought in from Europe were imported to build the magnificent structure with a classical Renaissance facade. The Theater was inaugurated in October 1897, with a performance of Faust by the Paris Opera and its famous Corps de Ballet.

    Statues on the outside of the theater represent Dance, Music, and Fame. The inside foyer is decorated in pink marble with allegorical figures of Comedy and Tragedy. Beautiful murals depict native Costa Rican themes. A giant crystal chandelier hangs from the ceiling.

    The auditorium floor was designed to be used as a ballroom as well as for performances by a manual winch which can raise the main floor to stage level.

    Guided Tours:
    Mon. - Fri. 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
    Saturday: 9 a.m. - 12:30 and 1:30–5 p.m.

    Admission: $3.00

    Address: Avenida 2, Calles 3/5

    Directions: In the central part of downtown San Jose, across from the Grand Hotel.

    Phone: (506) 221-9417

    Website: http://www.costaricaweb.com/tourism/teatronacional.htm

    Costa Rica National Theater Inside the National Theater Statue in the National Theater Lobby The Crystal Chandelier Costa Rica Coat of Arms in the National Theater
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  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo

    Smoking Room

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Apr 14, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Smoking Room, on the front second story of the National Theater was so opulent that I thought it deserved a tip of its own. this was the prettiest part of the theater and certainly is in indication that smoking was looked upon more favorably a century ago than it is today.

    The room has pink marble with ornate gold trim, green velvet seats, statuary, and murals of naked celestial deities on the ceiling. From the windows of the room there was a very good view of the Plaza de la Cultura, and also the Grand Hotel, across the street from the Theater.

    Address: Avenida 2, Calles 3/5

    Phone: (506) 221-9417

    Website: http://www.cocori.com/library/crinfo/theatr.htm

    The Smoking Room of the National Theater Ceiling Mural in the Smoking Room Statuary in the Smoking Room
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  • penumbra's Profile Photo

    Teatro Nacional

    by penumbra Updated Oct 4, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    For those rainy afternoons, tour the 1000 seat Teatro Nacional (National Theater). Completed in 1894 at the height of Costa Rica’s coffee and banana wealth, its stone exterior is eye-catching and its interior will take your breath away. Just stepping into the lobby with its Italian pink marble and gold trim makes you think you've stepped across the ocean to Europe. It hosts a Viennese-style café run by Café Britt, the same people that you’ll be buying souvenirs from at the airport. Enjoy coffee, tea or lunch while taking in the painted ceiling or local art exhibits.

    Address: Avenida 2 & Calle 3

    Directions: Beside the Plaza de la Cultura and across from the Gran Hotel.

    Phone: (506) 221-1329

    Website: http://www.teatronacional.go.cr/

    Lobby Teatro Nacional Entrance Caf��
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  • sean420's Profile Photo

    San Jose's most beautiful building

    by sean420 Written Sep 7, 2006

    The National Theatre is located next to the Plaza de la Cultura and the Museo de Oro Precolumbia y Numismatica (Gold museum). As you enter go to the first door to the right into the gift shop to purchase tickets to tour the building ($3). A brief overview and history of the building are given inside the theatre and then you are free to walk around and check out the beautiful rooms and murals. Cameras are allowed but no flash photography.

    Address: next to the Plaza de la Cultura

    National Theatre
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  • Sininen's Profile Photo

    TEATRO NACIONAL

    by Sininen Written Nov 6, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    In my opinion the most beautiful building in San José. I should have gone in to see what it looks like, but now it is too late to think of it! The theatre was opened in 1897.

    During the day the building is open to the public for viewing from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

    Address: Plaza de la Cultura

    Phone: 2211329

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  • Teatro National, and surrounding area

    by nautilus32 Updated Jul 29, 2005

    Very interesting place to go not to mention very beautiful. The archetecture is amazing. Although the most interesting thing to me and the people I was with was outside. There are vendors selling everything from pottery to artists who are painting right outside the theater bought a painting from a artist named montevo. Have no idea if he is still there but was very talented. Always negotiate with vendors they expect it and you can get a very good deal, knowing a bit of spanish helps. I would recommend walking around the national theater for the day very interesting there were interesting people all around, performers, and stores. Really enjoyable day was had. Would not worry about crime at all, never had any problems in the whole country.

    Address: Plaza De la cultura (south side of plaza) Av2

    Directions: Plaza de la cultura av2 between calles 3 and 5. Downtown.

    Phone: 506-221-1329

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  • mim95's Profile Photo

    Teatro Nacional

    by mim95 Updated Mar 21, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    No doubt that the National Theatre is the prettiest building in San Jose. It has a Renaissance facade with 3 statues on top. The interior is even more intriguing, decorated with life-sized statues in the marble foyer. The theatre was built in late 19th century, and its exterior is currently under renovation.

    A 1-hr guided tour of the building is available for a small fee. I would have joined if I didn't have my heavy backpack with me. You can also buy tickets for operas and symphony orchestra performances.

    Address: Avenue 2, Calle 3

    Directions: Right next to Plaza de la Cultura across from the Gran Hotel

    Beautiful interior of Teatro Nacional
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