Welcome to Cuapa

This, of course, turned out to be true, which is why pilgrims descend on the Virgen de Cuapa Santuario for a week each May. The grounds, surrounded by magnolias, mango trees and boulder-strewn rangeland, include two shrines, a replica statue and a small amphitheater. Pilgrims are welcome to sleep here on May 8 to commemorate the first apparition. Sunday services are held at 11am weekly.

The leafy parque central is set on a hill just above downtown, across from the Catholic church, where Martínez is now laid to rest beneath a marble stone in the chapel floor.

Cuapa’s other big draw is El Monolito de Cuapa, a massive stone dome that rises from a hillside savanna. If you walk from town, it will take about two hours to reach the peak. Or you could drive to the base and scramble up the back until you reach the top (10 to 20 minutes).

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Cuapa in detail