Fodor's Expert Review La Carreta
The world's largest oxcart, constructed and brightly painted by longtime local factory Souvenirs Costa Rica and enshrined in the Guinness Book of World Records, can be found in Sarchí's central park. The work—locals refer to it as simply La Carreta (the Oxcart)—logs in at 45 feet and weighs 2 tons. Since no other country is attached to oxcarts quite like Costa Rica, we doubt that record will be broken anytime soon. Oxcarts were used by 19th-century coffee farmers to transport the all-important cash crop to the port of Puntarenas on the Pacific coast. Artisans began painting the carts in the early 1900s. Debate continues as to why: the kaleidoscopic designs may have symbolized the points of the compass, or may have echoed the landscape's tropical colors. In any case, the oxcart has become the national symbol.