Ruins of Ujarrás

Central Valley & Highlands

The village of Ujarrás was damaged by an 1833 flood and then abandoned. All that remains are the crumbling walls of Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Limpia Concepción, a 1693 stone church once home to a miraculous painting of the Virgin. According to folklore, the relic refused to be moved, forcing clerics to build a church around it. But after floods and earthquakes, the painting conceded to move to Paraíso, leaving the church ruins in a rambling park.

Every year, usually on the Sunday closest to April 14, there is a procession of 3000 to 4000 people from Paraíso to the ruins, where Mass, food and music help celebrate the day of La Virgen de Ujarrás. The church’s grassy grounds are a popular picnicking spot on Sunday afternoon, but go in the middle of the week and chances are you'll have them all to yourself. There are restroom facilities in the park.

To reach the village, turn left off the main road at the 'Ujarrás' sign and wind about 1km gently downhill, passing the well-signposted Restaurant La Pipiola en route.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Central Valley & Highlands attractions

1. Mirador de Orosi

1.67 MILES

Heading south from Paraíso toward Orosi you'll hit Mirador de Orosi, a big green space with a jaw-dropping scenic overlook complete with BBQ facilities,…

2. Dreamer’s House

2.16 MILES

This artisanal woodworking studio is run by Hermes and Miguel Quesada, sons of renowned Tico carver Macedonio Quesada. The brothers maintain the campesino…

4. Iglesia de San José Orosi


Orosi is one of the few colonial-era towns to survive Costa Rica’s frequent earthquakes, which have thankfully also spared the photogenic village church…

5. Lankester Gardens

3.65 MILES

The University of Costa Rica runs the exceptional 11-hectare Lankester Gardens, started as a private garden by British orchid enthusiast Charles Lankester…

8. Las Ruinas de la Parroquia

6.21 MILES

This now-ruined church was built in 1575 as a shrine to St James the Apostle. It was destroyed by the 1841 earthquake, rebuilt a few years later and then…