Orosi River Valley (El Valle del Rio Orosi)
Orosi River Valley (El Valle del Rio Orosi)

Orosi River Valley (El Valle del Rio Orosi)

Cartago, 30203

The Basics

The Orosi River Valley is an easy day-trip from San José. Most half-day tours include a stop at Lankester Botanical Gardens, which has over 800 species of orchids, bromeliads, and other tropical plants, and the 17th-century Virgin of the Angels Basilica. Following the gardens, head to the quaint village of Orosi along the Reventazón river, to admire the colonial artifacts and religious paintings inside the 18th-century Iglesia de San José de Orosi.

If you have more time, full-day trips tack on a tour of Irazú Volcano National Park to see Costa Rica’s highest active volcano and its enormous Diego de la Haya crater, which changes color from green to red depending on the minerals present. Or, experience this beautiful countryside on a guided bicycle tour, which is available no matter your skill level.

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Day Trip from San Jose to Irazu Volcano National Park, Cartago City and Orosi Valley
Day Trip from San Jose to Irazu Volcano National Park, Cartago City and Orosi Valley
$139.00 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Perfect day trip from San Jose with a lot of variety!!
Ricardo was our amazing host for the Irazu tour. We picked a day with a bad accident in San Jose and traffic was crazy. As a result, the company split our group so as not to delay the tour. Two of us were lucky to get a private tour with Ricardo. We started with a beautiful drive up to the Irazu volcano and National Park through beautiful countryside and farmland (once you escape the city). The park is at high altitude and even in the sun it was cold - definitely requires a sweater/coat and ideally long pants. There is no ‘Green lake’ in the crater these days - just the volcanic ash/rock and grass growing in one of the 3 craters - but great views. The next stop is the old capital city of Cartago with its stunning Catholic church. Spectacular detail inside which is a stark contrast to the clean, white, Byzantine exterior. Lunch was in the Orosi valley which we stopped to take photos of on the way down and on our return. Stunning orange blooms on the poró trees made the views even more beautiful. Great lunch - a very traditional Costa Rican dish of rice, vegetables, and plantains with fish, chicken or steak. The plantain ceviche starter was my favorite part and the Cas fruit juice was really good. Final stop was the Lancaster Botanical Gardens - home to an array of plants including a phenomenal collection of or bids (Which Lancaster devoted his life to study and preserve). A great day trip and you won't go wrong if you get Ricardo - he is a wealth of knowledge on CR history, geology, and plants.…. The list goes on!
Susie_S, Feb 2024

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Orosi River Valley is an ideal destination for lovers of history, culture, and secluded rural areas.
  • Tours may depend on clear and dry weather.
  • Remember sun protection and appropriate clothing for hiking and walking into houses of worship.
  • Hikers should have a moderate physical fitness level.
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How to Get There

Orosi River Valley is located about 40 miles (64 kilometers) southeast from San José. Drive for about an hour or take a bus to Cartago, approximately 5 miles (8 kilometers) north of the valley, where a second bus will take you to the entrance. Mountain biking the way from San José takes about 8 hours round-trip, including time in the valley.

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When to Get There

The valley is a beautiful place to visit any time of the year. Peak season in Costa Rica is from mid-December to April during the dry season. Book the refugios well in advance. During the rainy season, from May through November, the paths may be a bit muddy, though the countryside is especially green.

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The Ruins of Ujarras

At the mouth of the dam-created Cachi Lake, are the crumbling stone remains of Costa Rica’s oldest church, Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Limpia Concepción. Damaged and subsequently abandoned by a flood in 1833, the 1693 church was once the home of a miraculous painting of the Virgin now housed in Paraíso. Come in April when a procession of thousands of people make their way from Paraíso to the ruins.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are the nearest attractions to Orosi River Valley (El Valle del Rio Orosi)?