Cartago Travel Guide

  • Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles
    Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los...
    by theo1006
  • Renaissance front of Ujarrás church
    Renaissance front of Ujarrás church
    by theo1006
  • Spillways of Cachí barrier
    Spillways of Cachí barrier
    by theo1006

Cartago Things to Do

  • Jardín Botánico Lankaster

    The Lankester Botanical Garden is named after Charles H. Lankester. He was a British naturalist who in the 1940's created a garden on his farm for the study of epiphytic plants. In 1973 his heritage was turned into a research centre of the University of Costa Rica.The garden's focus is on orchids, of which there are over 18,000 specimens of more...

  • Irazú volcano

    With 3432 m Irazú is the highest active volcano of Costa Rica. It is actually a couple of hundred m higher than the (dormant) volcanoes we climbed in Java, Gunung Lawu and Gunung Merbabu. But whereas reaching the summit of these latter takes a hike of 6 to 8 hours, you can drive all the way up Irazú volcano. There is a parking very near the summit...

  • Orosi river valley

    The most popular thing to do near Cartago city is a visit to 3432 m high Irazú volcano. But once you are in the area there is more. With our rented car we made the round trip of the Orosi river valley, said to offer the most beautiful vistas.The round trip starts at Paraíso south-west of Cartago. Going clockwise we stopped at the lookout...

  • Orosi river barrier at Cachí

    An obligatory stop on the Orosi valley round trip is the concrete arc dam at Cachí. Here the road passes over a steel bridge at the downstream side of the dam. Walking the bridge we looked down in the deep canyon that channels the outflow of the dam. The upper Orosi River Valley receives an average annual rainfall of 700 cm, making it one of the...

  • The ruins at Ujarrás

    The ruins of Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Limpia Concepcion lie at the bottom of Orosi valley. Driving east from Paraíso to Cachí our first view of the ruins was from high up. To reach them we took the turnoff back west down into the valley.The original church on this site was built between 1575 and 1580 and constructed of adobe, sticks and...

  • The Santa Cruz de Turrialba road

    We recommend to take this road #230 to or from the Guayabo archeological monument, via Santa Cruz de Turrialba. It leads several kms through hillside forest, and across Guayabo river over a bridge only suitable for passenger cars. Heavy trucks have to ford the river.Directions: See tip Guayabo archeological monument.

  • Guayabo archeological monument

    It was raining when we visited this major archeological site of Costa Rica, even though it was dry season, and it shows in our photo's. It is said that these structures were inhabited from 1000 BC through 1400 AD, with perhaps a peak of 20,000 people by 800 AD. In 2009 they were declared a World Heritage Engineering site. The reserve's area is 232...

  • Jardin Botanico Lankester

    This garden is run by students of the university of Costa Rica. Their mission is to preserve to epiphytic flora, emphasising on orchids. Beside the orchids the garden host other important plant collections, patches of natural secondary tropical premontane forest, bamboos, cactusses, a butterfly garden and facilties intended for botanical...

  • Volcán Irazú

    At 19 kilometres north of Cartago you cannot miss the highest active volcano in Costa Rica: the Volcán Irazú. This volcano has an altitude of 3.432 metres above sealevel. At this height you have a great view of the crater of the volcano that has a diameter of 1.050 metres and is about 300 metres deep.The climb up the volcano is already fantastic....

  • Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los...

    The most famous landmark in Cartago is the "Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Angeles". This church can be found just east of the town centre at the end of a big square. The reason why this church is so famous and important can be found inside. Here lives "La Negrita"; a small statue of the Black Madonna. This "Negrita" is the patron saint of Costa...

  • a little leaf...

    anyway the path to the crater is a perfect example of equatorial forest, telling you the different plants with little signs under them.and when it begins to rain, you realize that the words you read on school books about "the equatorial forest being characterized by a unique season, warm and humid" is exactly so, and it's an unusual, funny even...

  • volcán Iratzú

    the lunar landscape of the volcán Iratzú seemed really charming as I had been said... for what I could see under the fog...the entrance for not resident is 7 US$ and for the parking you are asked 500 colones (when I was there 1US$ = 380 colones ).and if you haven't a car of your own, from San José you can find everywhere offers of day tours to this...

  • insidee...

    I have read it's the most famous church of the Central Valley if not of all Costa Rica and I can only confirm its reputation...

  • basílica...

    at Avenica 2, Calle 16 there is the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Angeles also destroyed by an earthquake but rebuilt...

  • ruinss...

    nor miss to look about in its gardens even if unfortunately only through the gates, no entrance permitted...

  • ruins...

    fog or not fog at the volcanos, stop in Cartago for a meal or a break and don't miss to "circumnavigate" the ruins of the old cathedral, las Ruinas which was destroyed by an earthquake and never restored...

  • volcán Poah...

    I hadn't much luck against the fog at the volcán Poah... the sign says: do no descend to the crater, which crater? :-P...the entrance fee is 7 US$

  • path...

    a path even too much "urbanized" for my taste but I'm not very normal ;-)... anyway look around and it's worth walking...

  • detour...

    and going back to the parking don't miss a small detour crossing the bridge which starts from the cafeteria and then immediately turning right, you find yourself on a nice forest path...

  • entr'acte...

    but a squirrel peeps out cheering up us tourists from the missing view... getting all our attention and some grapes...

  • stones...

    the rules on the entrance ticket say that "en esta Área Silvestre no se permite extrar piedras, plantas u otro recurso natural del área silvestre" but you can take all pics you want ;-)


Cartago Hotels

See all 3 Hotels in Cartago
  • Savegre Mountain Hotel

    San Gerardo de Dota, Cartago, Province of Cartago, 482-7050, Costa Rica

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Business

    Hotel Class 3 out of 5 stars

  • Hotel El Guarco

    Pan America Highway, Cartago, Costa Rica

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Couples

  • Hotel Wagelia

    Turrialba, Turrialba, Province of Cartago, 7170, Costa Rica

    Satisfaction: Poor

    Good for: Families

    Hotel Class 2.5 out of 5 stars

Cartago Restaurants

  • On the way up the Mountain

    On the way up the Mountain there are many good local resturants I would highly recomend one of these. I ate at one on the side of the mountain with killer views of the valley below and it was cheap.

  • pollo...

    as my usual between a more touristic restaurant (just nearby) and a local one, I slipped through the entrance of the local one, Pollos 98, where I had to use my very poor Spanish as nobody spoke English but the more than nice waitress made her best to understand me and with words and gestures I succeeded to order my yummy meal...

  • Cartago Hotels

    3 Hotels in Cartago

Cartago Transportation

  • To Orosí by bus

    A very nice trip from Cartago is a visit to the beautiful Orosí Valley. It can be done pretty easily because the trip by bus only takes 40 minutes (and takes you through a great landcape too).The best way to get to the Orosí Valley is by taking the bus that departs just south-west of the Church Ruins in Cartago. It is a flashy green bus, with line...

  • To San José by bus

    Cartago is located just east from the capital of Costa Rica, San José. It takes only a short busride to get there: in less then 30 minutes (depending on the traffic in the capital) you can be in Cartago already. And busses depart every day, every hour, all day long.The busses to Cartago depart at the corner of Calle Central and Avenida 3 and cost...

  • By taxi to the Volcán Irazú

    As far as I know there is only a bus to the Volcán Irazú during the weekends. This bus goes from San José and from Cartago then. But: when we visited the volcano it was a weekday so the bus was no option.Instead, we decided to take a taxi to the top of the volcano. After a short discussion with a taxidriver in Cartago we agreed on a price of 20...


Cartago Off The Beaten Path

  • Museo Volcanológico

    Some 4 km below the Irazú parking we passed by a private volcanology museum. We wanted to see it, but it was closed. However in the garden was a feeding bottle attracting humingbirds. So here are a few pics of these likeable creatures.

  • Cerro de la Muerte

    South from Cartago, the Interamericana starts to climb the mountains, till the highest point, Cerro de la muerte. If you take the small road on the right (it's well indicated), after 2 km there is a superb viewing point. It's a little bit cold, even during the dry season, and it's supposed to be the only place in Costa Rica where rarely freezes...

  • pineapple plantations

    South from Cartago, on the way to Camino Real, there are plenty of pineapple plantations. Just get out from the road and take your time to walk through the plantations.Not necessary to say, fruits are fantastic in Costa Rica. Try guanabana.


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