Costa Rica: Irazu Volcano, Cartago and La Casona del Cafetal
Today, I am traveling with Expediciones Tropicales Costa Rica. Our one-day tour includes Irazu Volcano National Park, Orosi Valley and Lankester Gardens.
Irazu Volcano (3,432m) is an active volcano and a popular destination. Its last eruption was in March 1963, when President John F. Kennedy was visiting Costa Rica. Today, it was hard to see the craters because of the clouds and rain.
The plant with big leaves is called Poor Man’s Umbrella.
We are on top of the volcano. It has several craters, we were supposed to see two of them:
After visiting the volcano, we drove to Cartago, the second-largest city in Costa Rica, the oldest settlement in the country and its religious center. Pilgrims from all parts of Costa Rica and neighbouring countries come to the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de los Angeles each year on August 2. The pilgrims are called Romeiros, just like the ones in the Azores.
The basilica was built in 1639 and was partially destroyed by an earthquake. The basilica has since been restored and constitutes a unique mix of colonial architecture as well as 19th century Byzantine style, the current building dates back to 1939.
The Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels is consecrated to the Virgin of Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles, a small representation of the Virgin Mary carrying the infant Jesus, said to have been discovered by a peasant girl in Cartago. Tradition claims that the little girl found the small statue on a rock and took it home. The next morning she found that the statue was not there but back at the rock, so she took it to the priest and he locked it in a small box. The next morning the statue was back at the rock. During the construction, the church was destroyed by earthquakes so many times, it was finally decided to move it to the location where the statue was found and they were able to finish construction. Many people think that the earthquakes were signs that the Lady of Los Ángeles wanted the basilica built there.
Owing to the dark complexion of the stone statue, she is sometimes affectionately called La Negrita or Reina de Cartago (lit. Queen of Cartago). The original statue is kept in a golden shell inside the basilica. An official decree declared the Virgin of the Angels the official patron of Costa Rica.
After the spiritual part of the trip, it’s time for lunch. La Casona del Cafetal is an amazing place to have lunch. It is a coffee plantation located in the heart of the Orosi Valley by the lake Lago de Cachi.
We were offered many Costa Rican dished and coffee from the plantation:
The views from the garden were breathtaking:
Notice the orange trees on the other side of the lake, they are called Poro Tree. There is lots of them in this region.
Guru Sloth reminds us:
We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.