Orosi River Valley (El Valle del Rio Orosi)
The Orosi River Valley is an easy day-trip from San José. Most half-day tours include a stop at Lankester Botanical Gardens, which has over 800 species of orchids, bromeliads, and other tropical plants, and the 17th-century Virgin of the Angels Basilica. Following the gardens, head to the quaint village of Orosi along the Reventazón river, to admire the colonial artifacts and religious paintings inside the 18th-century Iglesia de San José de Orosi.
If you have more time, full-day trips tack on a tour of Irazú Volcano National Park to see Costa Rica’s highest active volcano and its enormous Diego de la Haya crater, which changes color from green to red depending on the minerals present. Or, experience this beautiful countryside on a guided bicycle tour, which is available no matter your skill level.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Orosi River Valley is an ideal destination for lovers of history, culture, and secluded rural areas.
- Tours may depend on clear and dry weather.
- Remember sun protection and appropriate clothing for hiking and walking into houses of worship.
- Hikers should have a moderate physical fitness level.
How to Get There
Orosi River Valley is located about 40 miles (64 kilometers) southeast from San José. Drive for about an hour or take a bus to Cartago, approximately 5 miles (8 kilometers) north of the valley, where a second bus will take you to the entrance. Mountain biking the way from San José takes about 8 hours round-trip, including time in the valley.
When to Get There
The valley is a beautiful place to visit any time of the year. Peak season in Costa Rica is from mid-December to April during the dry season. Book the refugios well in advance. During the rainy season, from May through November, the paths may be a bit muddy, though the countryside is especially green.
The Ruins of Ujarras At the mouth of the dam-created Cachi Lake, are the crumbling stone remains of Costa Rica’s oldest church, Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Limpia Concepción. Damaged and subsequently abandoned by a flood in 1833, the 1693 church was once the home of a miraculous painting of the Virgin now housed in Paraíso. Come in April when a procession of thousands of people make their way from Paraíso to the ruins.
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- Rescate Animal Zooave
- Poas Volcano National Park
- La Sabana Park
- Costa Rican Art Museum (Museo de Arte Costarricense)
- Children's Museum (Museo de los Ninos)
- San Jose Central Market (Mercado Central)
- Plaza de la Cultura
- National Theater (Teatro Nacional)
- Jade Museum (Museo del Jade)
- Gold Museum
- Metallic Building (Ed)ificio Metálico)
- Yellow House (Casa Amarilla)
- Morazan Park