Visiting Sarchi, Costa Rica
If you’re looking for a great day trip from San Jose, Sarchi is a great option. It’s about 30 kilometers northwest of Alajuela and it neighbors Grecia. Locals come from all over the country to buy fine Sarchi furniture for their homes. They decorate their yards with a traditional hand-painted oxcart, or carretas. You will find a wide range of working souvenir and carreta factories in Sarchi. The art and craftsmanship put into the carretas is incredibly beautiful. In just a short day-trip from San José, you can learn about century old traditions and leave with great memories and even better souvenirs.
Joaquin Chaverri Oxcarts Factory
The Joaquin Chaverri Oxcarts Factory in Sarchi is a great place to visit. You will learn all about this traditional form of transport used to carry sugar cane and coffee across the country. The Costa Rica Carretas are still painted by hand to this day. You can see artists at work on the intricate and colorful designs. If you decide to enjoy a delicious lunch in the ‘Las Carretas’ Restaurant on site, you can have a try at painting one of the vibrant patterns yourself in the artists’ studio. At the bottom of this picturesque property, you can observe the age-old methods. These carts are built with wooden wheels and burning hot metal seals around their edges. There is a gift shop filled with everything from local wooden crafts to jewelry, coffee, leather, and t-shirts. No doubt the Chaverri Oxcarts Factory is a fascinating and fun place to visit.
Eloy Alfaro Factory
Another ideal stop on your family vacation when you visit the famous Sarchi, home of craftsmanship, is the Eloy Alfaro Factory. Like stepping back in time, as you enter the property you cannot miss the ramshackle wooden factory established in 1923. With two floors balanced precariously over one another, all of the machinery is powered by a huge water mill inside.
Incredibly, the water pours down the mountain behind and turns this giant wheel. In fact, that is the same way it has for almost a century. Also, watch as the workmen make the oxcart wheels. They don’t use a drop of glue, nails or bolts. The Alfaro Factory are proud to have made the largest oxcart in the World, weighing one and a half tons, standing famously in Sarchi’s town square. Theirs are some of the most striking designs in town, and their brand new gift shop is full of handcrafted treasures.
Espíritu Santo Coffee Tour in Naranjo
In the peaceful town of Naranjo is the renowned Espiritu Santo Coffee Tour. Indeed it offers a fascinating look into the entire process of producing coffee. From the planting of seedlings to picking the beans, laying them to dry in the sun, or toast in a hi-tech machine; this well-organized tour is eye opening. All in all a great place to stop for breakfast and learn about the golden crop of Costa Rica.
If you’re looking for cultural souvenirs to take home, look no further than Sarchi. You can find handmade furniture, dishes, jewelry and utensils all over the little town. The artistry that goes into the crafts is astounding and will certainly be some of the most unique and traditional Costa Rica souvenirs that you will find.
Dining in Sarchi
You’ll definitely want to try a traditional casado or some gallo pinto in Sarchi. You’ll find several good options if you’re looking for traditional Costa Rican food. Try Restaurante la Fina or Soda la Puerta del Sol, for example. You can also find pizza at the Pizzeria Pomodoro or Mexican food at MASQSABOR.