Cartago Province, Costa Rica
Cartago, Costa Rica is a small and peaceful province located in the central valley of Costa Rica, bordering the provinces of San José and Limón. It is a visually stunning province with a cool climate and 8 cantons teeming with vast sugar cane fields, extensive coffee plantations and rich farm lands.
Cartago was formerly the capital city of Costa Rica until 1823, when the capital was changed to San José, making it the wealthiest province in colonial tradition.
The province of Cartago is also famous for its beautiful Basilica of our Lady of the Angels, an amazing Byzantine style church where, according to Costa Rica’s religious community, an image of the Virgin Mary miraculously appeared to a young girl in 1635. Each year on August the 2nd, thousands of people, not only from Costa Rica but from around the world, still peregrinate to honor the virgin of ‘Los Angeles’ and to render homage to wishes answered and unanswered.
Other locations in the province of Cartago that are well worth the visit are the ruins of the old “Parroquia” in downtown Cartago. These ruins are surrounded by a nicely conserved park in the middle of town, the city market, with all its delicatessens on display, and the weapon’s barrack, best known as the ‘Cuartel de Armas’. The province of Cartago is known for its historical significance, and for being the country’s religious shrine, as well as for its captivating natural beauty.
The main natural monuments in the province are:
Irazú Volcano National Park (Parque Nacional Volcán Irazú)
Tapantí National Park (Parque Nacional Tapantí)
Guayabo National Monument (Monumento Nacional Guayabo)
Turrialba Volcano National Park (Parque Nacional Volcán Turrialba)
Death’s Hill (Cerro de la Muerte)
Lankester Botanical Gardens (Jardín Botánico Lankester)
Orosi Valley & Cachí Reservoir and Dam
On a clear day, the splendorous Orosi Valley, along with its flowing river can be visible from the top of the Irazú Volcano. The Orosi River flows out of the Talamanca mountains and Tapantí National Park, through the valley and into a lake which was formed by the construction of the Cachi Dam.
One interesting attraction between the village and the dam is La Casa del Soñador (The House of the Dreamer), a small house made of coffee trunks, each one sculpted into unique forms and figures.
The road around the south side of this artificial lake will take you through the village of Cachí and to the dam. Continuing across the dam, you will get to the village of Ujarrás, known for its ruins, dedication to coffee production and beautiful gardens.