Continue past the dam into the small hamlet of Ujarrás, then follow the signs to the site of the romantic ruins of Costa Rica's first church. An unlikely Spanish victory in 1666 over a superior force of invading British pirates was attributed to a stop here to ask for God's protection and blessing. The church was constructed in thanksgiving to honor of the Virgin of Ujarrás. The church, together with the surrounding village, was abandoned in 1833 after a series of earthquakes and floods wreaked havoc here, in the lowest point of the Orosi Valley. (Those who lived here at the time resettled at the site that would become the present-day town of Paraiso.) Today the impressive, often-photographed ruins sit in a beautifully maintained park with lawns, flower gardens, and a pretty picnic area. A final, scenic 6-km (4-mile) winding drive to Paraíso from Ujarrás completes the road that loops the valley. Visitors fill the site on weekends, but on weekdays you'll likely have the place to yourself.
In a small park, 1 km (½ mile) from Restaurante Típico Ujarrás, Orosi, 30204, Costa Rica