Orosi is a town in the province of Cartago and is located at a modest 40 kilometers from San Jose. It is oldest Catholic Church that is still running in Costa Rica. The Orosi Valley is notable for its lush vegetation and incredible scenery. Make sure to take in as much of the history as possible by seeing some of the sites below during your stay! After passing through small, colorful towns, rickety bridges over the snaking river, and hills covered in coffee plantations, you reach the Tapanti National Park. Covering several thousand hectares of rainforest and protected wildlife zones, many endangered animal species can be found here. Tapirs, wildcats, and white-faced monkeys are some of the most sought-after sightings here. Orosi is an interesting and varied destination for the lovers of nature, culture and history.
Rafting river Reventazon
Rating is one of the top activities in Costa Rica. But for those who need a little step up before heading in the more famous and challenging waters like the stunning Pacuare river, Reventazon is a great choice. Reventazon is perfect for first time rafters. The waters aren’t too rough, especially when you visit during the dry season!
You have probably heard that Costa Rican coffee is one of the best in the world! This is no lie and you have to make sure to try a cup while you are here. The Orosi Valley is most notable for its coffee plantations and production. So, for those of you interested in the history and methods used in producing Costa Rican coffee, take a coffee tour in the Orosi Valley!
Mirador de Orosi
You don’t have to drive far from Cartago before you reach the beautiful Orosi Valley with the River Reventazon carving its way through the valley. On your way from Cartago, you pass by the Mirador de Orosi, a park with a panoramic overlook over the Orosi valley. It also has walking paths, a playground, picnic tables and BBQ grills. The Mirador de Orosi is the perfect location to spend a relaxed afternoon and enjoy one of the most wonderful views in the country. Look down across the sweeping hills as birds of prey circle the skies above. The Orosi Valley is full of historical, cultural, and natural wonders. It truly gives you an insight into the real Costa Rica.
The scenic Cachi Lake
Once you have explored the National Park and its many trails, you can head back to the road that passes around the outside of the vast Cachi Lake. It is covered in lily pads and the water is usually not used for sailing or swimming, but the birds and animals it attracts make it very scenic. Along the road are numerous local eateries, including the fabulous Montaña de la Trucha, where you catch your own trout before eating it served fresh with patacones! After lunch, you can make your way to the impressive Cachi Dam, where the wobbly bridge may have your nerves on edge as you look down into this deep canyon.
The Catholic Church
The Iglesia de San Jose is truly a national landmark. Built in 1743, this is the oldest church still in use in Costa Rica. Here you’ll find a small museum which houses some interesting Spanish Colonial artifacts and religious art. The paintings, the altar and the colonial architecture of this church take you back to another time. In front of the church, you’ll find a soccer field. Generally, it is filled with Costa Rica’s partaking in the national pastime. With its beautifully manicured gardens and simple interior, it has character and charm which makes it extremely special and worth visiting.
The Ruins of Ujarras
The ruins of Costa Rica’s oldest church are found near the town of Ujarrás. Built in 1693, the church is surrounded by gardens and is a popular place for locals to relax and enjoy a Sunday afternoon. The tranquil gardens and crumbling walls make for a very romantic spot. It is the perfect end to a day full of variety, adventure and natural wonders. Here you’ll find Señoras selling local delicacies. For example “arepas”, “choreadas”, “elotes”, etc. A small river flows through the gardens and chayote farms, while kids and families play in the large open field surrounded by mountains. The Ruins of Ujarras are so impressive and they make one reflect on the passage of time and how settlers arrived here hundreds of years ago.
Tapanti National Park
Sometimes referred to as Orosí National Park, Tapanti National Park is home to nearly 45 mammal species. You can find white-faced capuchin monkeys, resplendent quetzals and other unique animals here. This rainforest region has a lot of unique species of vegetation. In fact, in 2009 they discovered three new species of Lepanthes orchids. Part of the Orosi River runs through this park and there are countless paths to take for hiking and finding spectacular views. A steep track leads you past a variety of short hiking trails and up to the spectacular waterfall viewpoint. The trails vary from clambering over huge tree roots in the hills through the jungle. You can also walk on flat paths next to the fast-flowing river. It is well-equipped with restrooms, barbecue stands, and a small restaurant. This is a great place to see the area’s lush vegetation and natural surroundings.
Casa del Sonador
Casa del Sonador is a woodworking artisan studio in Orosi and is run by Hermes Quesada. He is the son of a well-known carver in Costa Rica. At Casa del Sonador, religious figures are made out of coffee-wood branches and some are available for purchase. Macedonio Quesada, a famous sculptor and artist lived and worked here until he passed away in 1995. Now his sons carry on the tradition, bringing life to pieces of coffee roots and wood from the area.
Guayabo National Monument
If you are up for a 48 kilometer drive, the Guayabo National Monument is an absolute must-see. This Pre-Colombian archaeological site is believed to once have been home to around 10.000 people! Why they left the area is still a mystery. Theories include volcanic activity or perhaps even the plague. A visit to these ancient ruins should definitely be on your list.
Visit between December and May: This is the dry season. The safest time to try rafting and the best weather to enjoy some views!
Prepare for rain and humidity: The weather in Orosi is slightly more humid than San Jose. Even during the dry season, there can be quite a bit of rainfall. Perhaps not ideal for some travelers but it surely makes the surrounding areas wonderfully lush!
Rent a car: There are a lot of location to discover in the whole valley. If you rent a car, you can easily combine all of these and even visit the historical town of Cartago on the same day!