Cartago Travel Tips
Historical Ambiance at Cartago Vacation Rentals
Cartago is a historical delight and those that love to immerse themselves in history and culture will thoroughly enjoy visiting this destination. The city of Cartago was Costa Rica’s first capital city and founded by Spanish colonist Juan Vasquez de Coronado in 1563. Although it was almost completely destroyed by the eruption of the Irazu Volcano in 1723, it remained Costa Rica’s capital for another 100 years before this honor was moved to the modern day capital of San Jose. The entire city of Cartago is a World Heritage Site. The beautiful architecture and old world charm transports you into the past as you meander through the streets.
Sights to See near Cartago Villas
Perhaps the best way to get oriented in the city of Cartago is to join a guided historical tour. In this way, you can learn about the history and culture related to the different sights. Thereafter, you can seek out specific interests and explore further on your own. The city’s largest church is the Basilica de Nuestra Senora des Los Angeles. This impressive building is home to the famous Black Madonna who is believed by the locals to have healing powers. Each year many pilgrims come to visit the statue on the feast day of the Virgin of the Angels which is August the second.
Just to the north of Cartago is the smoking Irazu Volcano. An active volcano, its last eruption was in 1963. A visitors' center is located in one of the inactive craters and a short trail takes you to the rim of the volcano’s two active craters. Irazu is Costa Rica’s tallest and largest volcano. It’s said that on a clear day you can see both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean from its summit. A second volcano is located not far from Irazu and known as Poas. Poas can be found in Costa Rica’s oldest national park and is one of the country’s most active volcanoes. The last time it erupted was in 1950 but its crater steams and bubbles on a regular basis. An observation deck has been built from where you can look down and see inside the bubbling crater.
Seasons to Visit Cartago Villas
Because of its location in the Central Valley, Cartago enjoys Costa Rico’s best climate. The dry season is from December to April and the greener, rainy season is from May to October. In general, the temperatures vary depending on if you are in the highlands or nearer to the coast. You can expect warm days with temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit at the coast, and slightly cooler temperatures that drop to around 55 degrees Fahrenheit at night in the highlands. Most visitors come to Cartago in the dry season as the temperatures are mild and it’s easier to get around in the dryer conditions
Traveling to and Around Cartago
The city of Cartago is located close to San Jose which is the gateway to the rest of the Cartago province. The Juan Santamaria International Airport is also known as simply San Jose International Airport. It is a short 40-minute drive by car from the city of Cartago. Most North American and European carriers have regularly scheduled flights into San Jose. The airport also hosts other regional airlines from South America. Because it is so centrally located, the Juan Santamaria International Airport is the perfect travel hub into the region. Even the furthest attractions and cities are within a six-hour drive of the airport.
Local tour companies can provide transfers from the airport to most major tourist areas. Taxis provide service for shorter distances within towns and cities. If you want to explore independently, you may consider renting a car. This is often considered the best way to travel around as it is quite affordable and gives you the opportunity to get a more authentic experience of the country.