Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

Orosi Valley  

Sundial: 761
State/Province:  Cartago Country:  Costa Rica
Dial Type:  Obelisk or Vertical Gnomon Condition:  Excellent
  Latitude and Longitude: 9° 46.921' N  83° 50.058' W
Location: Access: This is a private dial. See below for access details.
  • Private residence, Pondorosi Lodge, built on a former coffee plantation on Gavilan Hills overlooking Orosi Valley, a historical region of Cartago. An English-speaking guide José-Alfredo Jiménez provides a coffee tour and can include the dial in the itinerary by request. Contact at 011-506-8377-6745 or He offers transportation services as well.
  • A 25 foot long point-in-space or nodus dial. The horizontal dial face is cuartilla (crushed stone). The 8 AM - 4 PM hour lines are red adoquines (bricks) and the noon hour line is lodged between gray adoquines. The dial equinox line is a row of gray adoquines. Solstices are identified by the curve formed by the tips of the hour lines. The gnomon atop a 1.8 m high vertical rod is a 21 cm diameter sphere, hand carved out of gabbro, a rock formed from molten magma. It is a replica of bolas de piedra (stone balls) created a thousand years ago by the local Diquis indigenous people and discovered in 1930.

    As of 2020, this is the southernmost sundial in the NASS registry. It is curious that so few dials are built in the intra-tropical regions because at these latitudes, dials of this type can be easily designed using free software and inexpensively constructed. In addition to the time of day, the dial shows the change of seasons passing the equinoxes and the limits of the solstices. The design also shows zenith days when the sun culminates directly overhead on April 14 and August 27, casting only a perfectly round shadow of the bola at local solar noon. This only occurs in areas between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn.

General Information:
  • Owner: Mark Jensen
  • Designer: Mark Jensen
  • Builder: Crew Chief Norlan Ruiz, Germán Chavarría, Alí Chamber
  • Construction Date: March 2012
References: Web Links:
  • Orosi Valley is considered by guidebooks to be the most beautiful valley in Costa Rica.

Last Revised: 2020-01-25 12:26

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