One essential stop on your Costa Rica vacation is in the city of Cartago. Cartago, the oldest city in Costa Rica, is filled with history and culture, and sits at the foot of the Volcano Irazu.
Cartago was the first Spanish settlement in Costa Rica, settled in 1563 by Juan Vasquez de Coronado. Cartago actually was the capital of the country until the capital was moved to San Jose in 1823.
The city is home to the principal church of the country, the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles. The church has an interesting history, as it houses a small black statute known as “La Negrita,” which Costa Ricans claim has healing powers. People from all over the country make an annual pilgrimage on August 2, walking for many miles to this church to pray for a miracle from La Negrita.
According to folklore in Costa Rica, the statute was found in 1635 by an indigenous girl, and the rock upon which the statute was found is today a part of the basilica.
In addition to the church, Cartago is home to several ruins, including the Santiago Apostol Parish Ruins, located in Plaza Mayor. Cartago is also home to several other historical buildings worth visiting, including the Maria Auxiliadora church and the site of the first Central American Supreme Court.
Just to the north of the city is the active Volcano Irazu. This volcano, which is also a national park, provides beautiful scenery from up high above. In addition, to the south of Cartago is the Chirripo National Park, which contains the highest peak in Central America, and is a popular spot for serious hikers.
You can visit all the historic and interesting site of Cartago in less than one day, so be sure to plan time for this city during your vacation in Costa Rica!
Contact US for more information about your trip!
Leave a Comment