An abandoned hospital which was once home to tuberculosis patients and the mentally ill, Sanatorio Duran is widely considered Costa Rica’s most haunted site. Dr. Carlos Duran Cartin founded the hospital in 1918, choosing the Cartago province for its ideal combination of cool temperatures, humidity, wind, sunlight, and available drinking water needed to treat tuberculosis. However, the facility closed in the 1960s when advances in the medical field helped to diminish the prevalance of the disease.
Today visitors can wander around the property to explore all the buildings and rooms, including those where patients slept. The hospital was the site of many deaths, and consequently has become the source for much documented paranormal activity. These include reports of hearing the groaning noises of ill patients, witnessing a monk ghost trying to cure patients, feeling cold breezes prior to seeing apparitions of a monk and child, and seeing two shadowy figures at the foot of the doorsteps leading to the main building. The site’s notoriety as a haunted hospital was increased even further in 2010 as it was the filming location for the comedy/horror mockumentary _El Sanatorio_.
Although it is safe to say that most visitors leave the buildings without seeing a ghost, many report an unsettling experience from being in an abandoned hospital where so much physical suffering took place. Definitely a creepy attraction, the Sanatorio Duran is an important historical site regardless of whether or not it is haunted. The hospital’s setting on a beautiful area of the Cartago mountainside and the presence of a nearby mirador offering amazing views of the site are other reasons why visitors find it a worthwhile activity.
The Sanatorio Duran is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., seven days a week, and admission is 1200 colones (approximately $2 USD) per person. The site is located 18 miles north of Orosi (a 45 minute drive) and is a recommended stop for those on their way to Volcan Irazu.