|Moderate Hikes||Easy Access||Authentic Costa Rica|
|Whitewater Rafting||Boutique Lodges||Birdwatching|
The region around volcán Turrialba and Tapantí-Macizo de la Muerte National Parks and the Orosi River valley was the hardest one to leave off of the list of the top ten best destinations in Costa Rica.
Peeking above the clouds Turrialba is visible from the central valley around San José but best visited from the valley on the south side. It rises to nearly 11,000 feet where tropical cloud forest vegetation replaces the rainforest. A network of trails that are open when the volcano is quiet skirts the rim and leads down into two of the craters but recently high levels of activity have kept visitors up at the mirador most of the time.
The lost hikes at Turrialba are amazing but there’s so much to see and do there’s no reason not to visit just because the trails are closed. Head down the road to Tapanti or down the Pacuare River – one of our “Best Trips Ever”
White Water Rafting the Pacuare & Beyond
One of the premier rivers in the world, the Pacuare, drains this region and a couple of tour companies offer two day rafting trips with overnights in remote jungle camps in road-less pristine rainforest that can only be reached by the river. The Pacuare isn’t the only great river in the region either. The Ríos Reventazón, Pejibaye and Grande de Orosi have some sections of excellent class II through IV white water rapids to explore on one day rafting trips.
Orosi and Tapantí National Park
Orosi is a quiet little coffee farming town that’s recently been “discovered” by tourism and hotels, lodges, restaurants and tour offices are being added all the time. The two main attractions in the area (other than quaint little Orosi itself) are rafting on the lower sections of the Río Grande de Orosi or walking and hiking along the same river near its source in Tapantí-Macizo de la Muerte National Park above the town.
Other Attractions in the Turrialba & Orosi Region
On the way from San Jose to Orosi, Lankester Botanical Gardens has one of the best orchid collections in the world and just outside Turrialba C.A.T.I.E (Tropical Agriculture Research and Higher Education Center-Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza) is a fascinating place to explore tropical agriculture. A sugar cane processing plant on the other side of Turrialba offers tours where you can see tropical agriculture in action.
The largest archaeological site open to the public in Costa Rica is Guayabo National Monument half an hour or so from downtown Turrialba. There are no huge Mayan pyramids but they have excavated and interesting system of canals and aqueducts as well as the foundations of an ancient village. There’s a small interpretive center, campground and nature trail at Guayabo.
What NOT to Expect in the Turrialba Volcano & the Orosi Valley
Public Bus Access to the Parks
The national parks are a little more difficult to visit than some of the others in Costa Rica. A few lodges offer tours, but there is no public bus access near the park entrances and most visitors arrive by private vehicle. A car will do to visit Tapanti because the entrance road is paved, but a good 4WD is required to drive the rugged road to Turrialba National Park.
Turrialba Volcano National Park is Currently Closed
Due to High levels of volcanic activity the park was closed to visitors late in 2014 and is not expected to reopen until at least 2016.