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How to get there?
From San Jose, take the route #2 on the Pan-American Highway, in direction to Cartago, passing by the Ochomogo Hill, and then go downhill until you get to Cartago downtown.

Cartago was the capital of Costa Rica in 1823. This city has many national parks and also old buildings that are known for their amazing beauty.

Cartago is located at the base of the Irazu Volcano. The center of the city has a great commercial development as well as old, historical buildings and the second most important university of Costa Rica, the Instituto Tecnologico (Technological Institute). It has suffered three major earthquakes; the most devastating one took place in May 14th, 1910.

The famous Basilica of Our Lady of Los Angeles is found here, and has Roman, Arabic and gothic architectural influences. In the main altar you can see the image of the Virgin with baby Jesus in her arms, which appeared to a woman centuries ago, and she took her home and kept it. However, the image reappeared 5 times in the same place where it was originally found, same spot where the church was built.

The stone on which the image was found is now located in the Nazareno crypt and underneath it, theres a spring of healing, holy water. Due to the strong earthquakes that have destroyed the city of Cartago, this is the fourth built temple.

The San Luis Gonzaga High School was founded in 1842, in honor to the youth patron who died victim of an outbreak while he helped out those who were sick. The Pirie Building was the former house of Dr. Jesus Jimenez, which was later transformed into a clinic. Currently this is the Culture House of Cartago. Dr. Jimenez was Costa Ricas ex-president, Well-Deserving of the Country and also father of Free and Compulsory Education.

In this city there are other important historical sites like the Ruins of the Apostle Saint James, which are remains of several temples that were once built, but due to the devastating earthquakes Cartago has suffered, they were destroyed. This church was originally built in honor to Spains patron saint.

The Ruins of Ujarras is a National Monument located in the road that goes to the lake of Cachi. It was a colonial temple named Church of the Immaculate Conception for the Rescue of Ujarras, which was built between 1681 and 1693, and abandoned in 1833. Every year, pilgrims come to this church in April 16th. You can visit these ruins any day, and there is no entrance fee.

There are some buildings that have survived as time passes by, like the church of Orosi, an old adobe convent that is nowadays a museum that displays altarpieces, furniture, silverware, sculptures, paintings and a Franciscan cell. There is also the church of Quircot, historical heritage.

Ghost stories haunt the Dr. Carlos Duran Sanatorium, located in Prusia, 18 km from the Irazu Volcano. This hospital was created with the purpose of isolating all those who were infected with tuberculosis. It was later turned into a prison. In 1973, it was closed because of the damages it suffered after an eruption of the volcano.

Among its natural interesting sites, there is the impressive Irazu Volcano (3.432 m), the largest and highest active volcano in Costa Rica. It expels gases and ashes and also causes earthquakes. This magnificent and natural phenomenon also has a turquoise-water lagoon and some dunes. The eruption of 1963 disturbed for almost two years the populations of Cartago and San Jose. 

The Turrialba Volcano National Park is also in Cartago and has a crater that is 50 meters deep. It has recently showed volcanic activity so currently it has no public access. This city also includes the Tapanti National Park and the Guayabo National Monument, the largest archaeological site found in Costa Rica, which is very important and has roads, mounds and bridges, among others.

You can also visit the Lankester Botanical Garden, known internationally for its orchid collections. It is an investigation, conservation and display center managed by the University of Costa Rica.

Accommodations and gastronomy
Cartago has many typical Costa Rican food restaurants, usually in the surroundings of tourist attractions.

In the center of the city you can find the most common fast food chain restaurants. There are no luxury hotel chains or 5-star hotels; however, there are many options of places where you can stay, like bed & breakfasts, which include services and amenities for everyone.

In Cartago downtown you can find rooms and hostels, as well as apartments for backpackers.

There are hotels away from the city that offer services such as yoga sessions and hot stone massages. They also arrange tours to different interesting sites and attractions. Here you can also find hostels and lodges.

1910 Restaurant (Costa Rican)
300 meters east from the intersection of Cot-Pacayas, Oreamuno, Cartago. Its on the way to the Irazu Volcano.

Located in one of the most beautiful zones of Costa Rica, surrounded by mountains and picturesque views, 1910 enjoys attending its clients with a (...)
Where to go?
Irazu Volcano National Park
The Irazu Volcano National Park has four craters, 2 main craters (the main crater and another one (...)
Turrialba Volcano National Park
The Turrialba Volcano National Park is part of an area that is completely covered by virgin (...)
Quetzales National Park
Los Quetzales National Park has three life zones or different types of forests, 14 ecosystems and a (...)
Tapanti National Park
The Tapanti National Park protects a great variety of ecosystems like moors, peats, swamps, (...)
Guayabo National Monument
This monument is part of the Central Mountain and Atlantic Slope cultural regions. It reflects the (...)
Los Santos Forest Reserve
Los Santos Forest Reserve is located in a very important area for hydrographic basins (rivers (...)
Pacuare River Forest Reserve
The Pacuare River Forest Reserve protects forests typical of the Atlantic zone. It also has a (...)
Social Club of Cartago Historical sites
This club was very selective when admitting people in. It has a neo-classical style and is (...)
Main Square of Cartago Historical sites
If you look around when youre at this square, you will only see a monolith and people walking (...)
Remains of the Parish of Apostle Saint James Historical sites
Between 1577 and 1580, the Franciscans raised a straw ranch that served as parish. Years after (...)
Padre Peralta School Historical sites
This work was guided by the carpentry teacher Jose Ramon Garcia. The institution exists since (...)
Los Patios Balneary Historical sites
The patios where the people from the coffee mill of Alvaro Esquivel dried the coffee used to (...)
School of Orosi Historical sites
By the middle XVIII century, the Franciscans started their instructional process with the (...)
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San Jos (Downtown & East Side)
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San Jos (West Side)
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Valley of Orosi
The peaceful Valley of Orosi offers many natural and tourist
October comes with tribute to Guadalupe Urbina
Octuber 01, 2012

The event where Urbina will share the stage with 21 musical artists is taking place at the event room Palo Blanco in Cartago
Peach palm delights arrive to Tucurrique
September 28, 2012

The XIX National Peach Palm Fair gathers more than 125 farmers and offers activities for everyone, like concerts, dances, typical bull rides, the tour of the peach palm and a lot more
VIII Dance Festival arrives to Cartago
August 16, 2012

The event will promote and strengthen the process of dance creations and will offer the audience a varied repertoire of this type of scenic art
Release your adrenaline at Explornatura
May 21, 2012

Flying through the trees, descending waterfalls, climbing rocky walls and walking across the mountain are part of the attractions you can enjoy at Explornatura
Concherias arrives to Heredia and Desamparados
April 18, 2012

Around 60 artists will participate in this project, among directors, actors, dancers, musicians and designers, who are part of this multidisciplinary show
Participate in the Continental Week of Community Live Culture
April 16, 2012

The activity consists of introducing the different cultural dynamics, because culture changes in every country
Celebrate the National Parks Day in Costa Rica
March 27, 2012

The main objective of the celebration is to project the need to preserve and use rationally part of the forests, wetlands and wildlife the country has
Costa Rica wins again the award to the best stand in Germany
March 19, 2012

The graded aspects to give the award were design, use of technology, service and the activities arranged to attract the visitors to the stand
Celebrate the World Water Day at the FIA 2012
March 18, 2012

Workshops will try to spread and strengthen messages on water conservation
Costa Rica is the fifth most ecological country in the world
March 08, 2012

One of the aspects that contributed with the choice was that the country produces very low levels of carbon dioxide, which affects in global warming