Updated: Jan 28
About a 15 minute bus ride away from the centre of Grecia, Sarchí is most famous for its artisanal handicraft. The town provides much more than that though! The botanical garden 'Else Kientzler', its church, the butterfly garden and the views of the mountains make Sarchí a great place for a day visit. In this post you'll find the highlights of this small, but worthwhile to visit town.
How to get to Sarchí? Take a bus with the direction Sarchí / Naranjo from the Tuan bus station in Grecia, only two blocks away from Mangífera hostel and step down at the football stadium of Sarchí.
Start your day here! The best time to visit the garden is during the morning, when the new butterflies are 'born' out of their cocoon. You can watch them drying their wings and take off for their first flight.
Although small, the butterfly garden 'Mariposas Sarchí', is a nice place to visit. The staff is enthusiastic to tell you about the different species of butterflies, search for caterpillars and cocoons or pick up the butterflies gently to show you the amazing colours of their wings.
Mariposas Sarchí is a great for butterfly lovers and photographers, since you can get really close to them. Maybe you'll even be able to photograph the famous Blue Morpho butterfly with open wings! There are dozens of them feeding on the banana en flying around in the garden.
Have you noticed the way the butterfly in the first picture down here as an ultimate way of camouflaging itself? The pattern on the lower part of the wing resembles like a birds eye and the upper tip of it's wing looks exactly like a snakes head! This is a smart way of scaring off hungry predators.
Fabricas de Carretas
The next stop is a visit to one of he artisan factories around town. Sarchí is one of the few places where you can still witness the old-fashioned way of handcrafting 'carretas', or oxcarts. In the old days, the oxcarts were used by farmers as a way of transporting their goods across the country. Farmers started to paint their oxcarts to distinguish them from those of other farmers in the region. Nowadays the oxcarts are mostly made for decoration, because of the particular and colourful way the traditional oxcarts are hand painted. There are two interesting factories in Sarchí to visit. Fabrica de Carretas Joaquin Chaverri and Fabrica de Carretas Eloy Alfaro. During a visit to a factory, you get explanation about how these original, wooden oxcarts are cut, build and painted. The oxcart wheels are the most complex parts of the oxcarts to build.
Nowadays the factories also create other artisanal wood craft, like plates, bowls and souvenirs that you can purchase in the souvenir shops around town.
Around Sarchí, you'll find several of these colourful, hand painted oxcart wheels. For example, in front of the souvenir shops.
In the central park of the town, there's a gigantic example (the biggest in the world) of a traditional oxcart: 'La Carreta'. The picture down here shows you the painting on one of the wheels of 'La Carreta'.
Botanical garden Else Kientzler
If you love tropical plants and landscape architecture, you'll feel at ease at Else Kientzler. This garden has several sections with different types of vegetation. It's bigger than you think at first sight! It's a very lovely place to roam around in the shade, sit down on one of the benches and spot the birds, butterflies and insects feeding on the flowers and fruits.
To get to the entrance of the botanical garden, you need to walk about 1,5 kilometre north from the bus stop at the football stadium in the centre of Sarchí. On the way, there are some small supermarkets to buy a refreshment or snack.
Church of Sarchí
On the way back from the botanical garden to the centre of the town, you can easily pass by the twin tower church of Sarchí. The church has already had many different colours. Recently, the church got painted again, both on the inside and outside. This time with particular details that resemble the artisanal hand and wood craft.
It's a great way to finish your visit to Sarchí with a stroll through the park in front of the church or enjoying an ice cream.