You’ve traveled this far now you won’t want to miss the tallest volcano, the miracle of the Black Stone, the healing waters of the Basilica, or a fabulous afternoon of lunch and hot springs surrounded by magnificent scenery. Welcome to Costa Rica!
The tour begins when you are picked up from your hotel and taken across the Central Valley passing by scenic fields and farms. Your first stop of the day will be the Irazu Volcano, one of the five active volcanos in Costa Rica.
Irazu is the highest volcano, towering over 11,000 feet with average temperatures between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit! After climbing the steep incline, your coach will park at the top where you will disembark and explore at your leisure the half mile paved pathways circling the four craters seen from the peak.
It’s good to note that despite the cool temperatures found at this altitude, and often windy conditions, it is best to wear sunscreen even if the conditions are cloudy due to the thin atmosphere. When the clouds part you might get a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean or the Caribbean Sea.
An elusive emerald lake comes and goes depending on the amount of rainfall captured in the primary crater. Often times the dry tundra like atmosphere seems vast and otherworldly. A souvenir shop not only carries books and postcards about the area but also sells hot chocolate and coffee.
Winding back down the mountain, you’ll stop at the famous Virgin of the Angels Basilica, the iconic home of a small dark statue with a rich cultural story believed to facilitate miracles. Known by many names: the Black Stone, the Black Madonna, and officially the Virgin of Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles, the statue most affectionally known as La Negrita, has been declared sacred and decreed as the Patron Saint of Costa Rica.
The Basilica was first constructed in the 1600s at a different location but was destroyed in part by an earthquake. As a result, it was believed the earthquake was a sign that the Basilica needed to be rebuilt at the site where the statue was found, in its current location.
With fine Byzantine details, the new Basilica has become the destination for an annual pilgrimage of believers who come to express gratitude or pray for miracles. Every August masses of people walk all over the country in honor of La Negrita, many making it all the way to the Basilica, often walking the 10 miles on their knees.
Next, you’ll visit the Colonial Church of Orosi, built in 1767 and one of the oldest original buildings in Costa Rica. This Catholic Christian temple constructed in Colonial style has thick adobe walls and is the oldest church still operating in Costa Rica. Adjacent in the old convent, you’ll find the remarkable Museum of Religious Art of San Jose de Orosi featuring pre-Columbian artifacts, colonial paintings and a collection of silver.
When you leave the Colonial Church, you’ll head over to La Hacienda Orosi for a delicious mid-day meal followed by a languid soak in soothing hot springs mineral water. La Hacienda Orosi is a working coffee farm with an interesting decor of farm relics reminiscent of days gone by. While luxuriating in the luscious waters, you’ll be surrounded by picturesque landscapes as far as the eye can see.
Eventually, it will be time to return to your hotel and as you make your way back through the Central Valley, you will be filled with new memories from your eventful day.
This tour includes a bilingual guide, entrance fees, lunch plus transportation from San Jose and Alajuela. One way transportation to Irazu Volcano can take from 1 to 1.5 hours depending on traffic and the location of your hotel. Total time of all activities, lunch and round-trip transportation is typically 9 hours.