Costa Rica News – The small and quaint town of Sarchí is famed throughout Costa Rica for its brightly colored, intricately constructed crafts. It’s found in Alajuela with a backdrop of coffee plants and it’s the single best location for picking up hand crafts and original artwork.
Both foreigners and locals alike travel to this charming artisan town to purchase goods and souvenirs. Although the panoply of handiwork is far reaching, including rocking chairs and chests, dressers and desks, masks and jewelry, the most well known is the oxcart.
The signature souvenir is a mini hand painted oxcart. These originated back in the middle of the 18th century. Other handicrafts are also available. There are chess sets, salad bowls, sandals, and the famous rocking chairs. No porch is complete without one of those!
Besides buying artwork and supporting locals you can do a few other things in the area. Sarchi Norte has one of the most beautiful churches in the country with gorgeous vaulted ceilings made of Costa Rican hard wood. There is a botanical garden called Else Kientzler Garden which is great for bird watching and walking through 3 kilometers of a botanical maze. There is even a portion specifically designed as a trail for the blind. Another available activity is horseback riding with Rancho Amalia. Prices are very reasonable, around $15.
If you would like to see how the oxcarts are made there is only one factory left, Taller Eloy Alfaro. You are able to wander around on your own to watch how they are made. The tools are powered by an old waterwheel. There is a restaurant upstairs. Other notable restaurants include Helechos, La Troja del Abuelo, and Las Carretas.
Buses leave from downtown San Jose every 30 minutes so there is no reason to miss out on this unique experience. You can find the bus on Calle 18 between Avenidas 5 and 7.