Costa Rica Coffee Guide

PHOTO REPORT: Cementerio General: An open-air museum in San José

October 22, 2013

The first president of Costa Rica, some of the country’s most important artists, scientists and politicians, and even a North American in charge of finishing the construction of the Atlantic railroad all rest at Costa Rica’s biggest cemetery, the Cementerio General.

Located on San José’s southern edge on Avenida 10 between calles 22 and 24, the cemetery was built in 1845 and occupies 80,662 square meters of land.

Considered an open-air museum, it has the biggest collection of funerary art in the country including statues, tiles and stained-glass windows. Some mausoleums display a mix of neocolonial and neo-Gothic architecture.

Cementerio General 2

A lawyer, teacher and politician, Mauro Fernández is one of Costa Rica’s most important historical figures. His mausoleum has an inscription by poet Isaac Felipe Azofeifa calling Fernández the best mind of the 19th century.


Alberto Font

Cementerio General 3

Carlos Manuel Echandi Lahmann was one of Costa Rica’s most prominent 20th century surgeons.


Alberto Font

Cementerio General 4

The Sociedad de Beneficiencia Española mausoleum is one of the biggest in the cemetery and was built for the Spanish community in Costa Rica by architect Luis Llach in 1924. It features white and gray marble and uses neoclassical architecture.


Alberto Font

Cementerio General 5

An underground section of the cemetery offers niches for rent.


Alberto Font

Cementerio General 6

An example of neo-Gothic architecture contrasts with the city’s modern buildings.


Alberto Font

Cementerio General 7

Mausoleum of Costa Rica’s 16th president, Rafael Iglesias Castro (1898-1902).


Alberto Font

Cementerio General 8

The cemetery also has sculptures.


Alberto Font

Cementerio General 9

Created in 2001 by Costa Rican artist Mario Parra, a bust of Costa Rica’s first constitutional president, José María Castro Madriz (1848-1849).


Alberto Font

Cementerio General 10

A North American citizen, John M. Keith, was charged with finishing Costa Rica’s Atlantic railroad. He married a Costa Rican woman and was buried at the Cementerio General.


Alberto Font

You may be interested

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for Wednesday, September 23
Costa Rica
5487 views
Costa Rica
5487 views

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for Wednesday, September 23

Alejandro Zúñiga - September 23, 2020

Costa Rica announced 21 new coronavirus-related deaths over the last day for a total of 781, according to official data…

Costa Rica’s Playa Hermosa named as World Surfing Reserve
Costa Rica
11828 views
Costa Rica
11828 views

Costa Rica’s Playa Hermosa named as World Surfing Reserve

Alejandro Zúñiga - September 23, 2020

Save The Waves Coalition has named Playa Hermosa in Garabito, Puntarenas as a World Surfing Reserve (WSR), the non-profit announced…

Costa Rican Presidency makes its case for IMF loan
Costa Rica
835 views
Costa Rica
835 views

Costa Rican Presidency makes its case for IMF loan

Alejandro Zúñiga - September 23, 2020

The Costa Rican Presidency hopes to generate internal support before its planned negotiations for $1.75 billion from the International Monetary Fund…