Cartago Province, Costa Rica

Cartago was the capital of Costa Rica until 1823 when this title was transferred to the city of San Jose. It is a relatively small province, with barely 3.124 km/2 and almost 35 000 inhabitants. It is perhaps Costa Rica’s most important area in matters of colonial art.

The best example is the temple of Orosi, dating back to 1743, a historical jewel that was witness to the birth of a nation. Cartago has a humid, tropical climate. In Cartago, we find two mountain ranges: the Central is where we find the Irazú and Turrialba volcanoes. The Talamanca mountain range is the other great mountain formation of the province. The imposing Cerro Chirripo, the highest point in Costa Rica, is located here, at 3.600 meters above sea level. Cartago is a land of traditions and religiosity.

In the north, we find the national monument of Guayabo, located on the outskirts of the town of Turrialba. Here visitors may admire the enigmatic constructions, dating back to Precolombian times. It’s one of the largest archeological areas discovered in the country. Mounds, bridges, plazas, and highways, as well as an aqueduct that is still working, are some of the remains of ancient cultures.

Pilgrimage to Our Lady of the Angels Basilica at the center of the city of Cartago is the most important religious activity of Costa Rica. Celebrated each August 2nd, here attend millions of people from all around the country. Nevertheless, the main attraction of Cartago could be the Irazú volcano. This is a splendid giant which still remains active, whose five craters gather thousands of tourists yearly.

Irazu Volcano is the highest altitude in the country, 3.432 meters. Several rivers nurturing the basins of others, like Chirripo, Reventazon, Sarapiqui, and Grande de Tarcoles are born here.


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