The Duran Sanatorium, It’s Haunted

The Duran Sanatorium, It’s Haunted

Duran Sanatorium.  I’d been reading about this place for months.  Now it’s time to get up close and personal….and I did.  I believe I even saw something a bit unusual there.

Well, honestly there’s a lot unusual there.  It’s old and abandoned, that’s a good starting point.

There’s no guide….no brochures. Just an elderly Costa Rican in a small shack collecting Colonos for an unstructured and unforgettable tour.

Some things I had to guess about. And then some if the rooms had signs above for what they were used for and green arrows point the way.  A bit confusing when you’re coming from the opposite way.

The car lot was in an open yard adjacent to the original building.  I mention this because it’s unique.  The parking spaces are lined with old tires buried halfway in the ground. 

The Duran Sanatorium, It’s Haunted

From the lookout above you can see the size is quite big…..the houses right behind the young woman aren’t a part of the facility but that tree directly behind her over her head is up a hill where the physician’s quarters were.  In its day I bet that it was a beautiful sight. I’ve pics of it. 

Sanatorium Duran, founded by Dr. Carlos Durán, is a beautiful abandoned hospital located a bit northeast of Cartago in Costa Rica on Mount Irazu. Originally built for Tuberculosis patients in the early twentieth century, it also housed mentally ill patients.

As medicine moved forward and TB was not the threat it once was, the hospital went from a TB hospital to being used as a mental asylum before damage to the site due to eruptions of the Irazu Volcano forced the site to be closed for good in 1973.

Walking thru the hallways that joined the various types of treatment rooms and dormitories made me think and envision what would have possibly taken place amongst those walls.  In one area, the front entrance I sensed that people were around dealing with the needs of patients, addressing the physicians and answering questions of families.  Something…….I don’t believe I would ever forget and the first I’ve mentioned of it to anyone.

The facilities were founded by Dr. Carlos Durán Cartin, who after visiting many TB hospitals abroad felt he had researched the best and used that research for the betterment of his patients in Costa Rica.  No small motivation was the fact that his daughter was stricken with tuberculosis.

The Duran Sanatorium, It’s Haunted

The ghost of a nun has been seen by some of the former inmates of the asylum after it was no longer used as a hospital, continuing her mission to help TB patients in death as she did in life.    This is where I believe I saw some movement and a definite feeling I was being watched.  These areas pictured here are unaccessible to the public.  There are multiple stairways leading to these upper floors and all are guarded by huge black gates that are padlocked from the outside…..I know, because I tried to enter.  This is the building front left in the above photo from the observation point.  I’ve goose bumps recollecting this…..

I really accidentally found this place.  Yeah, I was looking for it but there’s no signs saying, “Hey, turn this way for the Sanatorium.  I happened to stop at this observation point…..actually I passed it up and backed up to get to it.   Not knowing what it overlooked, I just needed a moment out of the car!  Stressful driving down 11,600 foot mountain, don’t forget a bit earlier I drove up this 11,600 foot monster.  When I looked over the edge, there was the sanatorium!  I checked out the pattern of the roads and sure enough, not much further down the mountain was a road (unmarked and unnamed) that lead us to the secluded former home of illness.

Here’s some of the pics of the outside;    followed by some from the inside; 

Here’s the front area where I could sense the hustle of the workforce that I mentioned earlier;  

Here’s the entrance to the ‘radiology’ department;  

Some more of wandering around the main building; 

Here’s a look at the remnants of adjacent buildings, you can let you imagination run as you walk thru these areas……   

Here’s another adjacent building that as you can see is newer than the above, it’s the dormitory area for the workers;   In this picture to the immediate left in the wash basin is dead bees.  

The Duran Sanatorium, It’s Haunted

I still have the physician’s quarter’s and the newer edition;   This is the newer edition…

And here’s the Physicians’ quarters; 

A quick look around the inside; 

Here’s an oddity…….looks to be like just a bathroom or should I say the remnant of a bathroom in a nearby field!

The Duran Sanatorium, It’s Haunted

Spent about 2 1/2 hours touring this place.  Yeah, there was a few others here and there were some people (4) that were working on the restoration project which was supposed to be off limits to me but I sort of accidentally ventured into the area…. (I’ll post some pics on my picture page later)

This was a very extraordinary place to visit….I’m not sure how sensitive some of you are to what has passed on where you walk…..I am.  And everywhere I went in this sanatorium, I sensed the people that lived and worked here.  To some this may seem eerie, to me is was just experiential.  No fear, just observation.

This pic is of renovation work

It’s hard to believe…..I actually went to this place.  I flew and drove……and everything had to be related to heights!  No drinking allowed for me…..not even a taste!!!  I had to drive all this shit!!

Still has my heart pounding!

I’ll put these and some additional pics on my pic page shortly……, so much!!!  I may revisit this as another blog because there’s more to tell and more pics to see

And there’s still some ruins to visit yet!!!!

Peace, love, and beaches,



  1. Very interesting John. Great pictures too. As I viewed the pics I kept thinking what a great film location for several movie genres.

    1. Hi Connie….
      You’re right it would be.
      Eerie feelings all about.
      Some of my pics didn’t carry the impact that the place has…..
      For instance right when I’m walking up to the sanatorium (it’s approached from the side facing the downslope) there’s this old pickup truck with a generator set behind it…this is how the place was once powered. But there was other objects (due to the rehab of the facility) in the way of getting of a really great picture.
      When you walk thru the different parts of the compound there’s a difference that is sensed in what would be taking place in each area. Cries and wailings would be real in my mind…..loneliness, empty smiles of lives that wanted a better way. And of course hopelessness.
      I’m gonna get some more of the pictures up by weeks end I’ve over 500 from here at last count.

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