The Ruins of Ujarras is the site of Costa Rica's oldest church named Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Limpia Concepción. The Spanish colonial church was built between 1575 and 1580 during early colonial times. Today, only the crumbling walls remai.
Local legend has it that a painting of the Virgin was found in a box by native Huetar Indian fishermen who brought it to the village, and a church was thus built on this site by the locals to commemorate the Virgin.
Another version of this tradition is that an Indian fisherman found a box containing the image of the Virgin Mary and the Spanish Colonial church was thus built around that image as it could not be moved elsewhere. Over the years, it is believed that the spirit of the Virgin Mary cautioned locals of a devastating flood and performed several miracles for the villagers. It is also said that when the English pirate Henry Morgan attacked the village in 1666, the Virgin Mary came to their rescue to repulse the attack.
Today, the ruins are surrounded by a beautiful garden where locals tend to enjoy Sunday afternoons amid the deep-rooted past of their town. The church’s grassy grounds become then a popular picnicking spot. Tip : go in the middle of the week and chances are that you will have them all to yourself.
Furthermore, every year, usually on the Sunday closest to April 14, there is a procession from Paraíso to the ruins, where Mass, food and music help celebrate the day of La Virgen de Ujarrás.