Travel the scenic Pan American Highway, journeying through the small towns of San Ramon and Naranjo, towards lively San José.
On the way to San José, you’ll stop at Sarchi, home of Costa Rica's famous oxcart painting tradition. It was here that, more than a century ago, primitive local artists began painting and decorating their traditional oxcarts in intricate, colourful designs.
The Eloy Alfaro Oxcart Factory is the country's only oxcart factory whose machines are powered by a water wheel. The idea for this unique factory began with Eloy Alfaro, known fondly as Lolo, began creating oxcarts in 1923. At that time, it was the only means of transporting the precious coffee to the port for exportation. He later expanded his workshop to include the production of furniture and handicrafts. In July 2006 the world's largest oxcart was built in Eloy Alfaro's workshop. It is 42 feet long, 12 feet high and weighs more than 1½ tons. The oxcart is now on display in Sarchi's central park.
Leaving Sarchi, you’ll make another stop at Grecia's metal church, so-called because it's made entirely of pre-fabricated red steel plates, for a memorable photo stop.
Upon arrival in San José, you will have an hour to enjoy a regional luncheon buffet accompanied by traditional Costa Rican music, at Valle del Sol, a private colonial estate that boasts beautiful gardens and a relaxing waterfall.
Afterwards, your scenic drive around this cosmopolitan capital continues, taking in the Metropolitan Cathedral and the incredible National Theatre, considered to be the most beautiful building in the country. Enjoy its ornate 19th Century, neoclassical architecture, elaborate murals, and gilded baroque fixtures, before visiting the National Museum. Your guide will point out the bullet riddled stone walls, as well as the vast collection of archaeological and historic artefacts, including a display of replicas and original pieces from the city's Gold Museum.
Your return journey to Puntarenas includes a drive though San José’s exclusive tree lined Rohrmoser district, La Sabana Park and the famed Opera House, including a brief photograph stop at the National Museum for an up-close look at Costa Rica's past.
This excursion operates by coach and on foot. The drive between Puntarenas and San Jose is approximately two hours. Tour sequence may vary to avoid overcrowding. No flash photography allowed at the theatre. Please, bring a light sweater as it may get cold on the coach. There is a staircase in the theatre's foyer.