La Carpintera Peaks are visible from the road that links San José to Cartago. The mountains in La Carpintera Protective Zone were formed 2.5 million years ago when a small volcano folded sedimentary rocks of the Miocene Period into layers and elevated the terrain 1,870 meters above sea level, dividing the Cebntral Valley into an eastern and a western sector.
The terrain is rugged on the slopes and gentle and rolling on the wide summits. They are carpeted with a thick forest that is wreathed in epiphytes and combed by the trade winds and passing fog. Some of the species that grow in the area are white sapote, growing stick, yos, cypress and ash. At Coris de Cartago, at the feet of la Carpintera Peaks, there are hot springs that are rich in sulfur and calcium. They can also be found at San Antonio de Desamparados, along the east-west fault that also gives rise to other headwaters at Orosí and the river Navarro.