In the Town of San Ramon
Aside from its poets, the massive Church of San Ram¨®n, built in a mixture of Romanesque and Gothic styles, is the city’s claim to fame. A 1924 earthquake destroyed the adobe church that stood there, and the replacement took a quarter of a century to complete. To ensure that the second church would be earthquake-proof, workers poured the concrete around a steel frame that was designed and forged in Germany (by Krupp). Beyond the formidable facade is a bright interior. The Parque Central across street is a good place to relax and people watch after visiting the church and the shops around the area.
San Ramon Feria (Farmer’s Market) is on of the best in the country and is open from Friday noon to Saturday noon. The array of fruits and vegetables is amazing. Try one of the hand made tortillas at the end of the first aisle – made while you wait. The cut flower selection is wonderful and very inexpensive – Marlena (first stall on the left on the second aisle) is our favorite!
Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens – driving time about 1-1/2 hours
Po¨¢s allows you drive within 300 meters of the rim, where a short walk takes you to the very edge of one of the world¡¯s largest active craters (1.5 km wide). The sulfuric pool frequently changes colors and emits a geyser up to 200 meters into the air.
La Paz is a popular nature and wildlife park, north of Vara Blanca, with the largest butterfly garden in the world, enclosed in a huge cage in which butterflies flutter freely. There¡¯s also a hummingbird garden, a rainforest wildlife exhibit, and orchid houses, all accessed by trails that lead along the river to four waterfalls. There is a viewing platform at Templo Falls, and continuing down the path, you take a metal staircase on the cliffside to the Mag¨ªa Blanca (the largest cascade), Encantada, and La Paz falls. It¡¯s a daunting climb back. A short distance further downhill, at a tight hairpin bend in the road, is La Catarata la Paz¡ªthe ¡°Peace Waterfall¡±. There are birding tours led by Dr. Aaron Sekerak, author of A Travel & Suite Guide to Birds of Costa Rica.
National Arts & Crafts Street Market – Driving time about 1-1/2 hours
This market offers regional arts and crafts such as clothes, paintings, hammocks, jewelry, native musical instruments, ceramics and wooden crafts.
Some artists sell from their own stall and many are collective works, and there is a great variety (there are almost 100 stalls) and the prices are good.
Zoo Ave – Driving time about 1 hour
This splendid zoo covers 59 hectares of landscaped grounds and is a wildlife rescue center for injured and confiscated wildlife. The fantastic bird collection (the largest in Central America) includes dozens of toucans, cranes, curassows, and parrots, and a veritable Pantone chart of more than 100 other Costa Rican bird species. Zoo Ave is one of only two zoos in the world to display resplendent quetzals.
Macaws fly free. You¡¯ll also see crocodile, deer, turtles, ostrich, tapirs, peccaries, pumas, and all four species of indigenous monkeys in large enclosures.