Nestled in the mountains is the sweet town of Sarchi. Sarchi is known as the artist town of Costa Rica. It is famous for souvenirs and wooden furniture.
Sarchi was first known for making furniture, specifically the traditional leather and wood rocker that is a necessity for everyone to have on their porch! The town is still famous for the quality wood furniture that is still being made by the same families.
Most of the souvenirs tourists buy are made in Sarchi. There are several souvenir shops, the oldest of the stores belongs to the Alfaro family. You can visit their workshop which is run by electricity they produce from a water wheel that is still used today.
You can see local artists painting artwork and ox carts right in front of you in souvenir shops. You can see the classic style of Sarchi painting everywhere in town, including on their bridges and light posts.
Sarchi is also known for repairing and making the ox carts that were used to haul coffee and other agricultural products. Each farmer had a particular pattern and color for their ox carts so they could be recognized. Today you still can see ox cart wheels everywhere, buy them as souvenirs or even get an ox cart “bar” for your patio!
The central park of Sarchi is a cool shady place to eat an ice cream cone and watch the world go by. The park features the world’s largest ox cart and the church which was built in 1949 and has gorgeous architecture.
Living in Sarchi is a small town living without a doubt. There are three grocery stores, banks, pharmacies, butcher shops, banks, and all the amenities you would expect in a small town.
The Los Bajos del Toro area is nearby for hikers and waterfall enthusiasts.
Naranjo is less than a half an hour from the SJO airport. The exit from the Pan Am highway into downtown is a quick 2-kilometer drive.
Although it is close to the airport and the capital San Jose, Naranjo is like stepping back in time. The bustling town has one of the best indoor markets in the Central Valley with lots of fruit and vegetable stands as well as butcher shops, health food stores, coffee shops as well as a bar and restaurant! As with all indoor markets in Costa Rica the bus station is also there so it is the hub of the town.
The church in Naranjo is actually a basilica and is painted beautifully, there is a grotto and a beautiful park next to it.
Naranjo is most famous for coffee, some of the best coffee in the country comes from these mountains. The Coope Naranjo is one of the biggest in the country.
Naranjo has the Espirito Santo mountain which is a public park with the ruins of a lookout and trails to bike and hike on. It also has a great coffee tour.
Naranjo is becoming very popular as it is a little further west of Grecia with the same weather. Properties here offer gorgeous views and lots of agriculture.
Grecia is undoubtedly the new hotspot for retirees and digital nomads.
It is a moderate-sized town that retains the small-town feeling. Agriculture is big here, there are hundreds of acres of sugar cane as well as coffee. You will find yourself going back in time, the locals are friendly, and always eager to help.
Grecia boasts a public hospital, and all of the private clinics that surround hospitals here, with laboratories and specialists who speak English.
With one of the best farmers’ markets in the country, you will be drawn every Friday or Saturday to find fresh fruits, veggies, local coffee, homemade breads, tortillas, and other local goodies. There are a couple of sodas (small restaurants) and coffee shops. Many ex-pats meet for coffee before or after their shopping to talk about their adventures in Costa Rica.
Shopping doesn’t stop at the farmers’ market. There are 5 large grocery stores in Grecia, and a huge indoor market that is open 7 days a week. Plenty of department stores, hardware stores, lawyers, pharmacies, and all other amenities exist here for your convenience.
Grecia is still affordable and many of the properties for sale offer gorgeous views of the central valley and gardens around the homes. The higher you go in altitude the cooler it gets so you can truly find your perfect spot here. The caliber of homes in Grecia is impressive, it is home to many ex-pats and retired Costa Ricans as well.
Grecia has several parks, including Bosque del Nino, Los Chorros waterfall park, and lots of small private waterfalls and walking roads to enjoy the beautiful nature that abounds here.