Culture Vulture in Sarchi and Naranjo
Locals come from all over the country to buy fine Sarchi furniture for their homes. They decorate their yards with a traditional hand-painted oxcart. There is a wide range of working souvenir and oxcart factories. You will be spoiled for choice with arts and craftsmanship in this charming town. With a day-trip from San José, you can learn about century old traditions. Come and shop-till-you-drop, all in one place, Sarchi.
The Joaquin Chaverri Oxcarts Factory in Sarchi is a great place to visit. You will learn all about this traditional form of transport used to carry sugar cane and coffee across the country. The Costa Rica Oxcarts are still painted by hand to this day. You can see artists at work on the intricate and colorful designs. If you decide to enjoy a delicious lunch in the ‘Las Carretas’ Restaurant on site, you can have a try at painting one of the vibrant patterns yourself in the artists’ studio. At the bottom of this picturesque property, you can observe the age-old methods. These carts are built with wooden wheels and burning hot metal seals around their edges. There is a gift shop filled with everything from local wooden crafts to jewelry, coffee, leather, and t-shirts. No doubt the Chaverri Oxcarts Factory is a fascinating and fun place to visit.
A Step Back In Time
Another ideal stop on your family vacation when you visit the famous Sarchi, home of craftsmanship, is the Eloy Alfaro Factory. Like stepping back in time, as you enter the property you cannot miss the ramshackle wooden factory established in 1923. With two floors balanced precariously over one another, all of the machinery is powered by a huge water mill inside.
Incredibly, the water pours down the mountain behind and turns this giant wheel. In fact, that is the same way it has for almost a century. Also, watch as the workmen make the oxcart wheels. They don’t use a drop of glue, nails or bolts. The Alfaro Factory are proud to have made the largest oxcart in the World, weighing one and a half tons, standing famously in Sarchi’s town square. Theirs are some of the most striking designs in town, and their brand new gift shop is full of handcrafted treasures.
Crazy About Coffee
Sarchi and its surroundings have a lot more to offer than just oxcart factories. Set amongst flame-colored Poro trees, and the rich green towering eucalyptus, are thousands of hectares of coffee plantations. Bought by the Germans fleeing the First World War who exchanged their knowledge of designing machinery for land, these coffee corporations are part of Costa Rica’s greatest export economy. In the peaceful town of Naranjo is the renowned Espiritu Santo Coffee Tour. Indeed it offers a fascinating look into the entire process of producing coffee. From the planting of seedlings to picking the beans, laying them to dry in the sun, or toast in a hi-tech machine; this well-organized tour is eye opening. All in all a great place to stop for breakfast and learn about the golden crop of Costa Rica.
Sarchi only adds to these beautiful cities.