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Ujarras, Cartago

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Ruins of Ujarras circa 1693

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The small town of Ujarras is located in one of the most beautiful central regions of the country. Surrounded by the greenery of the Orosi Valley in the province of Cartago, Ujarras is a historical site, but is also not far from a few of the country's most beloved natural attractions. The town sits along the banks of the man-made Cachi Lake and Cachi Dam, created to prevent flooding and provide power to the region. While some travelers may trek to Costa Rica for its pristine beaches and untouched forests, towns like Ujarras offer a truly unique experience into the culture and history of Costa Ricans.

Costa Rica's Oldest Church

One of the main reasons why travelers come to Ujarras is the Ruins of Ujarras, which is the site of Costa Rica's oldest church. The Spanish colonial church was built between 1575 and 1580. Today, the ruins are surrounded by a beautiful garden where locals tend to enjoy Sunday afternoons amid the deep-rooted past of their town. Although now in ruins, this church is a site to see. It is also the site of a local legend. Story has it that indigenous Huetar Indian fisherman found a box with an image of Virgin Mary on it, which they were unable to remove from the location. Because of this, Nuestra Senora de la Limpia Concepcion was built on the site. Over the years, it is believed that the spirit of the Virgin Mary cautioned locals of a devastating flood and performed several miracles for the villagers.

What to do Here

Those who want to visit one of Costa Rica's most biologically diverse parks should make their way to Tapanti National Park, which is home to two life zones. Made up of 18 square miles of unspoiled cloud forest and both lower montane rainforest and pre-montane rainforest, Tapanti National Park is a great place to go hiking, swimming, bird watching, picnicking, fishing and more. This is also the site of the thysania agripina, the largest known butterfly in the Americas.

As this community is close to the Reventazon River, Pacuare River and Lake Cachi, there are many opportunities for adventure and outdoor recreation without having to go far. Travelers can kayak, fish, raft or even go repelling down a waterfall. Talk about refreshing!

Before leaving Ujarras, travelers must visit the Mirador de Ujarras. Located at the top of the valley, Mirador de Ujarras offers a stunning view of the town, Lake Cachi, the church ruins and the hilly mountainside. This is an ideal spot for picnicking with fresh, local foods.

Ujarras is a remote village in the center of Costa Rica, but many treasures and little-known attractions can be found here.