One does not have to be rich to enjoy midyear vacation that begins Friday, according to the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo.
The tourism staff compiled a list of free or low-cost options for tourists, including the Mirador de Orosi and the Mirador de Ujarrás. Both overlooks provide commanding views of the Costa Rica countryside.
The latter also is near the Ruinas de Ujarrás. The church that is now ruins was built in 1693 in honor of Nuestra Señora de la Limpia Concepción del Rescate. The story is that the Orosi valley was invaded by pirates, and locals prayed to the Virgin who caused the invaders to leave.
There are picnic facilities here, fresh water, handicapped access and rest rooms.
All three sites are in the Paraíso de Cartago area east of San José.
The tourism institute also suggests Playas de Doña Ana at the mouth of the Río Barranca just 10 kilometers from Puntarenas. There is a restaurant here, changing rooms for swimmers and other amenities. There is an admission, but it is just 1,500 colons for adults and 500 for children. Parking is 1,000 colons, less than $2