Santa Cruz, Cartago

Costa Rica River
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Nestled along the Central Valley in the province of Cartago, the small town of Santa Cruz is near some of the most pristine natural areas and historic monuments in the country. Santa Cruz is roughly 19 kilometers away from the beautiful city of Turrialba. Within a short drive of Santa Cruz, travelers can experience some of the country's most unique and often untraveled sites.

Turrialba Volcano National Park may be one of the least visited in the country, but its lush forests and towering summits are truly sights to see. On a clear day, hikers who climb to the top of Turrialba Volcano may see stunning views of the Caribbean coast and panoramic views of other volcanoes in the distance and 3,900 acres of mountain rain forest. This volcano has not erupted since 1866, but fumarolic activity is constant.

Much of the national park consists of primary and secondary forest, which makes it a great place for wildlife viewing and hiking. Some of Costa Rica's most beloved creatures - including vivid toucans, boisterous howler monkey and gentle coati - reside in this park.

Turrialba is a very small community. However, there is plenty of activities and attractions in this city. Baseball is big in this town due to the fact that Rawlings balls - used in Major League games - are manufactured here. As its location is near the Rios Pacuare and Reventazon, Turrialba is also known for its outstanding white water rafting. Adventurists and novices alike will love the world-class rafting and kayaking available in this region, and there are many tour companies that provide day trips to choose from.

A visit to this region is not complete without seeing the nation's first capital, Cartago. As one of the oldest communities in Costa Rica Cartago boasts ancient historic sites that are still viewable today. The city is also a great place for travelers to get a quick escape from the hot weather of Costa Rica, as its high elevation lends to a cooler and breezier climate than many others. Cartago is home to several churches, parks and unique architecture, although some structures have been destroyed during earthquakes over time.

With amenities and natural resources within arm's reach in Santa Cruz, travelers can break away from the traditional tourist destinations and explore the rich culture and wildlife of Costa Rica's Central Valley.