Located about 40 mi/65 km northwest of San Jose, Sarchi enjoys a lovely setting amid mountains and valleys planted with pineapple, sugarcane and coffee.

The town is Costa Rica's center of crafts and fine furniture manufacturing, and the presence of numerous, active artists' cooperatives helps ensure that shops feature a range of unusual gifts and artwork unavailable elsewhere in the country. You can watch artists paint colorful designs on the country's trademark oxcarts, which originated there and now come in all sizes.

On your way to Sarchi from San Jose, stop in Grecia to visit the town church, which was imported from Belgium in 1890, plus the World of Snakes, displaying dozens of snake species.

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