Cartago was founded in 1563 by the conqueror Juan Vasquez de Coronado, it was the first formal town in Costa Rica. Located 22 km out of San Jose, Cartago was the capital of Costa Rica between the years 1574 to 1824 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. Also at the Orosi Valley is possible to found the ruins of one of the oldest of colonial times churches, the Ujarras Church built between the years 1575 and 1580.
As well on the way you can observe the Cachi Danm used for hydroelectric power generation. Cartago has a humid, tropical climate. In Cartago, we find two mountain ranges: the Central is where we find the Irazú Volcano which is easy to visit and offers amazing views. As well you can find the Turrialba volcano, active massive showing eruptions constantly. 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 in the country with 3.432 meters over sea level. Several rivers nurturing the basins of others, like Chirripo, Reventazon, Sarapiqui, and Grande de Tarcoles are born here. As well this province offers a soil rich in nutrients of which the agricultures take advantage of and are used for several crops like potatoes, carrots, onion, and many more. Another great place to visit is La Marta, this refuge offers you amazing rivers, flora, and fauna to discover, this place is located in Turrialba. Also, it is a great place for bird and wildlife observation.
If you are looking for some adrenaline and adventure to go, in Cartago you can find some of the best rapids in the country. Take the Reventazon or Pacuare White Water Rafting trips and live one of the most exciting adventures you can have in life. Or take a hike by some of the national parks you can find here. Visit the Tapanti National Park, part of the International Park La Amistad, shared between Costa Rica and Panama.
Certainly visiting Cartago can be a great experience where you will learn about everything. Here you can discover about or aborigines, the way of life and more, as well discover volcanoes and colonial churches. Visit extraordinary national parks full of nature, try typical food and make new friends.
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