Iglesia de Cañas

Northwestern Costa Rica

An unexpected architectural landmark in this otherwise innocuous town, this Catholic church was designed by famed local painter Otto Apuy. The church (and its 30m belfry) is covered from top to bottom in psychedelic mosaics, taking the form of sinewy vines and colorful starbursts. The artwork's themes range from religious stories to jungle scenes. The church is striking from afar; up close, the intricacy and artistry are amazing.

You'll also find some intriguing sights in the plaza across from the church: a massive white band shell is set up for concerts, while a lovely statue, Monumento del Boyero (a tribute to traditional oxcart workers) is fenced off from vandals.

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