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  • Photos of Turrialba
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Turrialba
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How to get there?
From San Jose, take the South Pan-American Highway on the route #2 in direction to the city of Cartago and continue towards Paraiso on the route #10. Then turn right and drive in direction to Cervantes, then pass through Juan Vias and continue until you get to Turrialba (32 km).

Turrialba is a town located in a valley, surrounded by mountain structures, volcanoes and high-altitude evergreen forests. It is home to many bird species and epiphyte plants, as well as coffee plantations and cattle.

The town of Turrialba is located at the base of the Turrialba Volcano National Park. This national park protects an evergreen forest, with trees that reach 40 m in height and are home to the yiguirro (clay-colored thrush), national bird of Costa Rica. The Rio Turrialba begins its flow from here and ends in a spectacular waterfall that is almost 100 m tall.

The volcano is currently active and releases ash and gases frequently. The residents of the surroundings had to leave their homes for some periods due to the volcanic activity.

The Turrialba Volcano is the second tallest volcano of Costa Rica. Its top part serves as a viewpoint to the dense, very humid tropical forest, as well as to the neighboring volcanoes of Poas, Irazu and Barva.

Another protected, rich area that is located in this zone is the La Marta Biological Reserve, which has a great biodiversity in its 1.500 hectares. It has a research station, where scientists and students live and work, as well as a trail system ideal for exploring the forest.

Close to Turrialba you will find one of the largest and most important archaeological sites of Costa Rica, the Guayabo National Monument. During the pre-Columbian period this zone was inhabited by a native population that was influenced by other communities that came from North and South America.

The archaeological structures found here reflect the development these natives had in engineering and architecture. There are roads that go in different directions and for several kilometers, and also stairways. The open and closed aqueducts that carry water to the storage tanks are still functioning.

Here you will find tombs and sculptures, graphic representations of carvings in rocks and monoliths, and large carved boulders that were extracted from quarries. The symbolism of the carved details remains unknown. This town mysteriously disappeared in 1400 A.D.

You can observe more archaeological pieces in the National Museum, such as a monolith with a crocodile and a jaguar on each side. There is also a circular table that is 75 cm wide and 40 cm tall, and gold, copper and pottery figures like frogs and snakes.

These discoveries were found in a small excavated spot in a total area of 20 hectares. More excavations are currently taking place, as well as the restoration of some pieces. This monument extends over 200 hectares.

Another popular tourist attraction is rafting down the Reventazon and Pacuare rivers. The Rio Reventazon is one of the largest and strongest rivers in Costa Rica, so kayaking and boating are often practiced here.

The Hydroelectric Power Plant of La Angostura opened on December 3rd, 2000, and uses the water of the Rio Reventazon to generate hydroelectric power.
The Rio Pacuare was classified as one of the top 5 rafting sites. It is 28 km long and its rapids are class III and IV. You can appreciate the exuberant flora and fauna of the tropical forest as you take the adrenaline ride down the river.

Here you can practice canyoning, where you go through canyons or rivers, by walking, climbing and descending from waterfalls. You can also take a canopy tour or go through a hanging bridge that is 40 m long.

The Waterfalls of Aquiares are also incredibly beautiful, and are located next to the lovely town of Aquiares. This waterfall is 40 m high and has a pond in its base ideal for swimming. This place is frequently visited by the residents of Turrialba, but also by canyoning lovers.

On Fridays and Saturdays the farmers of the city of Turrialba sell their crops in the Farmers Marketplace of Turrialba, which have a great quality but are sold at very low prices. It is next to the old railways of the city. Some of the products that you will find here are coffee, milk, different types of cheese, sugar cane and other agricultural products.

Only 1 km away from Turrialba downtown you will find the CATIE Botanical Garden, a scientific, educational and recreational non-profit center. It preserves 5.700 genetic samples (350 species) that show a great genetic diversity to scientists, technicians, students and other visitors.

Its objective is to teach, encourage, promote and raise awareness of the importance of the natural resources. There are exotic, fruit, medicinal and ornamental plants, among others.

In Turrialba you can also visit a serpentarium, where they also breed frog species like the poison dart frog. This place teaches its visitors about these animals and their habitats.

From Turrialba, some tours are arranged towards a private property where you can learn about the process of making coffee: first from the fruit to the harvest, then how it is ground and finally when its toasted. After the tour you can taste a good cup of coffee.

Accommodations and gastronomy
In the town of Turrialba you can find some options of places to stay that adjust to different budgets and tastes. Some hotels offer rooms with shared bathrooms at very low rates, as well as tours to different interesting destinations.

There are hotels located close to the natural attractions of the zone, which offer all types of facilities to their guests, from massages and aromatherapy to yoga lessons. These hotels are also ideal for wedding receptions and honeymoons, with special packages for couples.

These hotels have their own restaurants where they serve typical Costa Rican dishes like gallo pinto, as well as gourmet combinations of them.
In the city of Turrialba you will not find many facilities, like bank branch offices or universities. There are no hotel chains or fast food chain restaurants.

 
 
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Where to go?
Turrialba Volcano National Park
The Turrialba Volcano National Park is part of an area that is completely covered by virgin (...)
Guayabo National Monument
This monument is part of the Central Mountain and Atlantic Slope cultural regions. It reflects the (...)
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