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Cartago Sights and Landmarks Guide, Costa Rica

Cartago was the first capital of Costa Rica. As such around the town, a visitor will have the chance to see many colonial buildings. It is not very developed in terms of tourist destinations like museums, art galleries and major theatres. However, Cartago does have an exquisite landscape and outdoor adventures for tourists to visit.

In Cartago City, there are a few places which you must visit. These include the Ruins and the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles. The Ruins is a site in Cartago’s Central Park where many residents of Cartago had previously tried to build a church. However, none of the attempts were successful due to earthquakes. In 1841, the citizens tried to build a cathedral in the same spot as all of the attempts. Just as it was being completed, a major Earthquake hit Costa Rica in 1910 and destroyed the Cathedral. This was the final attempt. Now, there are just the Ruins of the cathedral which are open to visitors. It has also been said to be haunted by some.

The other must go to place is the Basilica de Nuestra Senora which has many influences of architecture including gothic and baroque styles. Inside, there are wooden columns, a colored tile floor and stained glass windows. Every year in August, Costa Ricans walk to this church as a pilgrimage to the patron saint of Costa Rica. People walk for days to reach the church from the farthest corners of Costa Rica.

Moving on to Cartago’s natural beauty, one sight to see is the Irazu Volcano (Volcan Irazu). It is the highest volcano in Costa Rica reaching an altitude of 11,260 feet above sea level. There is a road that will take you all the way to the volcano where you will be able to see the Pacific and Caribbean coasts as well as various mountain ranges. You can also stop along various vantage points where you can look onto Cartago City. The whole region is a national park. You can go to the Prusia National Park if you like to go hiking and camping.

Another place to see in Cartago is Orosi valley which is only one of the few colonial pueblos that can be seen in Costa Rica that the Spanish left. It is a small town with the church being its highlight. The church is the oldest in Costa Rica, dating back to the 17th Century and it is called the Iglesia de San Jose de Orosi. There are various small restaurants and all of the town has kept its Spanish architecture.

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