The Orosi Valley, located southeast of Cartago, probably is one of the most outstanding and scenic valleys of Costa Rica. Admire the steep gorges leading to an artificial lake formed by the Cachi Dam on which you can drive. The lake is the starting point of the Reventazon and Pacuare Rivers, some favorite for the fans of white water rafting; it makes an ideal day trip while staying in the capital of San Jose.
The town of Orosi has an old Spanish colonial church and convent that were built by Franciscan monks in 1743; the oldest active church of Costa Rica! Another lovely town, Ujarras, is beautifully located on the banks of the lake. There it is vital to visit the ruins of the oldest church of Costa Rica, the Ujarras Church, built in 1693; they are rare in this country! The museum displays artefacts and religious relics. The gardens are peaceful and idealistic, a good place to reflect on life and to relax.
Cachi, another unspoiled, quaint town, is another interesting place to see, and on your way, don’t miss La Casona del Cafetal, a fantastic lake front restaurant where you can enjoy an excellent Sunday brunch. Also visit the House of the Dreamer, La Casa del Sonador, gallery and home of late artist sculptor Macedonio Quesada. His sons have carried on the family’s tradition, working, training and selling their carved figures.
The jewel of the Orosi Valley however has got to be the Tapanti National Park, which is actually a Wildlife Refuge and Rainforest Reserve. Enjoy thousands of acres of natural beauty including rare primary rain and cloud forests, a true paradise of untouched beauty less than an hour’s drive of San Jose. There are many trails and some picnics areas located by the entrance. The parks’ treasures include many endangered species such as the ocelot, the tapir, the jaguarondi, the small tiger cat, the jaguar and the paca. Toucans, monkeys and many other animals are abundant.
The Orosi Valley also has an abundance of hot springs, of which two with public thermal bath located in Orosi.
It is easy to get to the Orosi Valley; once in Cartago, follow the indications to Paraiso and then on to Ujarras. Follow the road around the lake, going through Cachi, and then Orosi. Enjoy one of Earth’s most precious secrets.