The Cartago Costa Rica Province is located in the Central Valley between fellow provinces San José and Limón.
Cartago is a nice place to live for people who work in San José. It is a quieter place to live and bus transportation into the capital is really easy!
The climate in Cartago Costa Rica is heavily influenced by its elevation and trade winds sweeping off of the Atlantic, which bring a great deal of moisture to the province. Most of the province experiences a good deal of rainfall. However, because the city of Cartago hides in the shadow of the Irazú Volcano, it experiences very little to no rainfall, making it one of the drier places in Costa Rica. During the day, the province is quite warm, but it can get cold at night. So for those visiting for the first time, make sure to come with warm clothes to wear outside at night!
Near the city of Cartago Costa Rica is the Irazú Volcano National Park, a main tourist draw to the province. Irazú is the tallest active volcano in Costa Rica, though it last erupted in 1963, blanketing cities as far as San José in volcanic ash. At the top of the volcano, on a rare clear day given the altitude, the Pacific and Atlantic oceans can both be seen! On cloudy days, there are still beautiful views from various peaks, such as a massive, green crater lake. Tour buses bring tourists to the top of Irazú, so don’t worry about hoofing it to the peak of the volcano. Most tourism in the area revolves around natural reserves, national parks, and valleys.
Part of Cartago’s rich provincial heritage is the Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels, a Byzantine church near the ruins of one of the first churches in Costa Rica, which was originally built as part of a Christianizing mission by conquistador Juan Vásquez de Coronado. Thousands of people walk great distances to the site annually on August 2nd to honor the statue of the Virgin Mary carrying baby Jesus.
Economically, Cartago is an important region to Costa Rica due to its crop output. Sugar cane fields, coffee plantations, and other lands use for farming make Cartago a mecca for food production. It borders Limón, so the coffee, sugar, and other exportable items are easy to get to the Caribbean coast for export.
The city of Cartago Costa Rica is the biggest in the province and was once the capital of Costa Rica, but is still relatively slow-paced compared to other bustling cities in the country. Other quaint towns such as Paraiso, Turrialba, Pacayas, and Plantanillo are nice locations to buy inexpensive land and retire to the Central Valley. Luxury homes can be bought for $100,000+, depending on size, making Cartago one of the more affordable areas of Costa Rica.