Named for a Huetar chief who lived here at the time of the conquest, Orosi charmed Spanish colonists in the 18th century with its perfect climate, rich soil and wealth of water – from lazy hot springs to bracing waterfalls. So, in the typical fashion of the day, they decided to take the property off Orosi’s hands.
Though the village of Paraíso isn't all that its name implies, it does lead to the wonderful Valle de Orosi beyond. About 5km west of Paraíso on the road to Cartago (look for a blue sign with an image of an orchid), the University of Costa Rica runs the tranquil 11-hectare Lankester Gardens.
Orosi to Paraíso
From Orosi, a scenic loop circles the artificial Lago de Cachí. The lake was created following the construction of the Represa de Cachí (Cachí Dam), which supplies San José and the majority of the Central Valley with electricity. About 3km past the dam, you'll find the town of Ujarrás at the foot of a long, steep hill.
Parque Nacional Tapantí-Macizo Cerro de la Muerte
Protecting the lush northern slopes of the Cordillera de Talamanca, this 580-sq-km national park is the wettest in Costa Rica, receiving an average of 8000mm of precipitation per year. Known simply as Tapantí, the park protects wild and mossy country that’s fed by literally hundreds of rivers.