In addition to being the largest and oldest higher education institution in the country, the University of Costa Rica has been characterized by its cultural and political life and by being a place that has taken the lead in aspects related to environmental protection and recovery of the country’s historical heritage. Thus, in several of its campuses, the university community and its neighbors enjoy a series of social, cultural, artistic, sports and recreational activities in the different theaters, museums, cinemas, gardens, sports facilities, and other spaces that make life in the university something beyond just attending classes.
The University Cinema of the University of Costa Rica offers a varied program that, in addition to being an open and free space for entertainment, allows for the development of a critical view regarding the so called seventh art.
Among other activities, it organizes film forums, round tables, and samples of international movies, with similar projects in its various campuses like Occidente, Guanacaste and Atlántico. There is also a cinematographic cultural projection project for the elderly.
The Cinema intends to create a video library with an extensive and varied repertoire allowing for greater access to less known high quality productions, both national and international.
The University Cinema is free, and it makes its presentations in the Alberto Brenes Cordoba Auditorium in the School of Law. During the months of January, February, and March, taking advantage of the dry season, films are projected outdoors at the Plaza 24 de Abril.
Since 2009, the University Theater (TU) of the University of Costa Rica has had its own facilities with a capacity of around 300 people where they set up performances. The theater is located in front of the southern façade of the Saprissa Building, on the road that runs perpendicular to the Calle de la Amargura.
The University Theater was founded in 1950, and it is a professional theater and center for stage production, creation, and experimentation, which encourages individuals to look for new ways of expression and for the transformation and renewal of theatrical language.
Since its beginning, the Theater has had valuable contributions from foreign directors, actors, professors, and special guests, coming from countries like Spain, Uruguay, Peru, the United States, and Iraq, who have contributed with their experience to the professionalization of the TU.
The group makes national and international tours, participates in congresses and festivals in America and Europe and in other specific activities that include radio programs and theater workshops. It promotes the Teatro del Sol, an experimental workshop for students and graduates from the School of Performing Arts. Its creation dates back to 1997, as support to interpreters, directors, musicians, scene technicians, and authors, which later became a collective that generates new values within the Costa Rican theater movement.
Since its creation in 1996, the Theater has also become a stage available for the presentation of contemporary dance, theater, and music shows performed by university and independent groups, in order to promote the setting up of different artistic disciplines and to promote creation and experimentation in these areas. The facilities are located in the Saprissa Building, across from the Carlos Monge Alfaro Library.
The Planetarium is a cinema that consists of a circular room, with a semi-spherical domo-like screen where the stars, planets, and other celestial bodies are projected. Thanks to a simulation projector located in the center of the room, visitors enjoy a show of beauty and realism. These and other features make the movies projected have an engulfing effect that turns them into a whole new sensory experience.
The Planetarium organizes exhibitions and “telescope days.” In addition, they offer the following regular presentations at the cinema:
The Planetarium is located in the Ciudad de la Investigación of the University of Costa Rica. For further information about presentations, exhibitions, telescope days, and courses, contact the Planetarium, call 2511-2580, or write to in . fo@planetario .ucr.ac.cr
The effort to create a university museum is the University’s response to the trustworthiness received from the Costa Rican society for it to custody and preserve part of the cultural and natural heritage, both tangible and intangible, of the country.
The collections are presented in temporary exhibits of insects, bacteria, rocks, pottery, works of art, musical scores, photography, trees and orchids, among others, in different spaces of the Institution. Additionally, it offers a permanent exhibit called Geo-tour: a Short Walk through a Long History organized by the School of Geology.
For further information, contact the Museum+UCR, call 2283-9705, write to mu or seo@ucr. ac.crucrm , or visit the facilities located in Sabanilla, Montes de Oca, from La Paulina Drugstore, 25 meters west, 25 meters north and 175 meters west, house #13. useo@gmai l.com
The Insect Museum of the University of Costa Rica has a collection of about a million insects gathered through several research projects. It intends to show its visitors the biological diversity of the country, as well as the importance and the benefits of insects for the environment.
The Museum offers an exhibit room with samples of insects and their corresponding explanatory cards and a narrator. There is also a virtual gallery.
Currently, the museum is visited by students from schools and high schools in order to learn about the biological diversity of the country.
Over 100 international specialists collaborate with the museum.
The University of Costa Rica offers a variety of concerts by individual singers, camera groups, workshops, choirs, symphony orchestras and bands, both national and international, with children, youngsters and adults from the School of Musical Arts and the Basic Stages of Music Program of the Regional Campuses.
Their presentations take place in a traditional space called Tuesday Evenings in Room 107, recently named Sala Maria Clara Cullel Teixido, to honor such talented Spanish soloist and piano professor who developed her career in Costa Rica. In addition, there are special concerts in the lobby of the School of Musical Arts as well as outdoors.
The program called Cultural Mondays for All of the School of Humanities and the Vice Presidency of Social Affairs is a space that promotes the dissemination of art through manifestations like music. It has modalities such as Youngsters in Campus, which invites high-school students from different institutions of the country to show their skills.
Additionally, during the traditional University Week and Welcome Week, the university community and the general public enjoy outdoor concerts by different types of artists and bands performing many different kinds of music.
Throughout the year, the administrative buildings, museums, and libraries become art galleries hosting the most varied engravings, drawings, oil paintings, aquarelles, sculptures, photographs, pottery, and innovative projects with mixed techniques.
The exhibits and workshops organized by the Exhibit and Plastic and Curing Assistance Project are related to the production of plastic arts, involving artists and academicians from the university and the communities.
Additionally, the program supports the regional university museums and other university entities and contributes with them through plastic and curing assistance.
The Universidad de Costa Rica has a sports complex that is open to the university community and the neighbors of the counties of Montes de Oca and Goicoechea. The complex is surrounded by beautiful green areas and optimal facilities to practice different disciplines like swimming, running, volleyball, basketball, tennis, and softball. This space also hosts the iconic Estadio Ecológico, home of the Soccer Team of the University of Costa Rica.
The Ecological Stadium has a natural grass field and a synthetic running ring where high-performance sports enthusiasts train. It is surrounded by vegetation and trees that provide shade to the public that attend the matches. In order to facilitate the access to the place, the Institution offers an internal bus service that takes users from the Rodrigo Facio Campus to the Sports Facilities – going through the Ciudad de la Investigación – and vice versa.
For further information about the use of the Sports Facilities, contact the Office for Health and Wellbeing or call 2511-2940.
Located in the facilities of the Saprissa Building in San Pedro, Montes de Oca, the University Gym offers weight lifting, aerobic exercises, spinning, and other physical fitness activities.
For further information on how to use the University Gym, call 2511-4192 or visit the facilities located across from the Carlos Monge Alfaro Library in the Saprissa Building.
The Regional Museum of San Ramón is a non-profit museum of the University of Costa Rica that encourages the population to promote, conserve, and value its natural and cultural heritage, through research, dissemination, and education in order to contribute to the integral development of the region and the country.
It started in 1986 as a University Community Outreach Project (TCU) in the Occidente Campus of the Institution. It currently has a Natural History Hall, a Literature and Regional Identities Hall, and a Center for Child and Youth Literature. It also offers temporary exhibits, concerts, recitals, retreats, a souvenir shop, and free Wi-Fi.
The museum hosts a great variety of courses, workshops, and activities for children, youngsters and adults. Among others, there are oleo and metal craftwork courses, poetry, painting and aerobic exercise workshops, Pilates and popular dances, as well as forum to discuss different topics of interest.
Since 1995, the Regional Museum of Turrialba, Omar Salazar Obando, has been seeking to rescue the indigenous roots of the county. This Museum of the University of Costa Rica constitutes a poly-functional cultural bridge with the community of Turrialba where manifestations of all types of art with university students and neighbors from the region are developed.
It owns an archaeological exhibit about the livelihoods of the first populations of Turrialba, including a collection of ceramic lithic figures that contains scrapers, chisels, and knives, among others.
The museum has vast information about archaeological sites in the region, like the Guayabo National Monument, offering pictures, reproductions of the original drawings that can be seen on the roads, and a model mirroring the site. It also presents different thematic exhibits in its room for temporary events.
Among other services, the Omar Salazar Obando Museum offers guided visits through its permanent and temporary exhibits, workshops for children, theoretical-practical courses about the indigenous origin of the community and publications.
The Museum is located in the Atlantic Campus in the city of Turrialba. For further information, call 2511-9282.
The Lankester Botanical Garden of the Universidad de Costa Rica is a center devoted to the investigation and preservation of orchids. It is one of the most productive research units of the University; it is rich in scientific publications and has become an international point of reference for the study and preservation of orchids and neo-tropical plants.
It was in the 1940s that British naturalist Charles H. Lankester, interested in the cultivation and study of epiphyte plants in Costa Rica, started the creation of a private garden in his farm. Lankester discovered hundreds of species of animals and plants, including 103 species of orchids. After his death, the University of Costa Rica received his farm as a donation, in March 1973, with the commitment to transform the site into a botanical garden.
Every year, the Garden is visited by hundreds of people interested in orchids and tropical plants like bromeliads, cacti, succulent plants, heliconias, and bamboo and palm trees. It contains one of the richest orchid collections of the world used by botanists to study the features of plants in order to classify their diversity.
In its souvenir store, the Garden offers botanical literature, arts and crafts, plants, souvenirs and products inspired in the plants. Additionally, it publishes the scientific journal Lankesteriana. There is also a herbarium in the Garden for online consultation.
The Lankester Botanical Garden is located in Cartago, on the road to Paraiso, kilometer 3, from the Western face of Campo Ayala, 500 meters south and 100 meters west (see map). It is open to the public every day from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., but visitors can remain in the Garden until 5:30 p.m.
With an extension of 8,000 hectares, the Alberto Manuel Brenes Biological Reserve is a wildlife area located in the northwestern section of the national territory, in Los Angeles, eighth district of the County of San Ramon. It is jointly managed by the Central Volcanic Mountain Range Conservation Area of SINAC and the Occidente Campus of the University of Costa Rica.
The reserve was created with the support of the University and leaders from San Ramon interested in the protection of the natural heritage.
The high level of rainfall in the area, together with moderate temperatures and heavy clouds, results in three types of tropical forest: premontane wet tropical forest, premontane very wet tropical forest, and low montane wet tropical forest.
The Biological Reserve of San Ramón provides excellent opportunities to implement research projects by national and international researchers. It also houses comfortable teaching facilities. Over 40 scientific articles about different topics like ecology and biological diversity have been published by the research community visiting the Reserve.