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Cartago Travel Guide, Costa Rica

Cartago is situated around 25 kilometers from the east of the capital of Costa Rica, which is San Jose. A forty-minute bus ride from the capital city will lead you to Cartago.  With an elevation of about 1,435 m above sea level, Cartago is where you can find the Irazú Volcano. Cartago, which is currently the capital of the Cartago Province, sits on an area of 152.68 square kilometers which includes seven districts namely: Oriental, Cocidental, San Nicolás, El Carmen, San Rafael de Oreamuno, Dulce Nombre, and San Francisco. San Nicolás, which can be found at the west side of Cartago, is considered to be the main entrance to the city.

 Compared to its neighboring towns, Cartago’s weather is observed to be cooler and drier making it a wonderful place for tourists to visit. The city is estimated to have around 160,000 inhabitants.  

Cartago is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Costa Rica. It was established in 1563 by Juan Vasquez de Coronado. At that time, Coronado was a Spanish Governor and conquistador famous along the banks between Rios Coris and Purires.

 During its time, Cartago is considered to be one of the wealthiest cities in Costa Rica. It boasts of rich and green land.

Cartago’s fine history is also a notable asset for Costa Rica. The city’s monuments date back as far as the 16th century. Cartago was once recognized as one of the finest colonial cities in terms of architecture.

One of the first churches in Costa Rica was actually built in this city, the Iglesia del Convento which was built in 1635. Over the centuries though, the church suffered from damage caused by earthquakes and had five rebuilding attempts since then. It was eventually abandoned in 1910 but still remains as one of Costa Rica’s national monuments. Much of the architecture in the city was ruined in 1732 by the eruption of the Irazu Volcano.

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