After workaday Cartago, the verdant VALLE OROSÍ, occupying a deep bowl just 9km to the southeast, is a veritable Garden of Eden. Passing through Paraíso, the road drops down a ski-slope hill to the pretty villages of Orosí and, on the other side of Lago Cachí, Ujarrás, each with their own lovely church; annoyingly, although they lie less than 8km apart, no bus runs between them, so without your own transport you’ll have to backtrack to Paraíso. Southeast of these lies the little-visited Parque Nacional Tapantí-Macizo Cerro de la Muerte, a wildlife-rich park that’s one of the closest places to the capital for rainforest hiking.