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Costa Rica Attractions / Central Region / Cartago


Costa Rica - CartagoThe city of Cartago is located about 25 km (16 miles) east of Costa Ricas capital San José. The city was granted a coat of arms by King Philip II of Spain in 1565 and was the first capital of Costa Rica until 1823, when Republican leader Gregorio Jose Ramirez  moved the capital to the bigger city of San José.
Every year, thousands of pilgrims travel to Cartago from all over Costa Rica to visit the church, the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles, on the holiday of the “Virgin of the Angels” (August 2nd). The church has a statue of a Black Madonna known as La Negrita, who supposedly had great healing powers. The sick come to visit the statue in hope of a miracle from La Negrita.
The central park in Cartago includes the "ruins" of the main church of Cartago (the "parroquia" of Santiago Apóstol), about five block west from the basilica. Despite their beauty, they are not real ruins but an unfinished building, which was badly damaged by the 1910 earthquake and then interrupted.

The province is known for its rich ecological diversity and dense tropical rainforests along the mountain ranges near the Irazu and Turrialba volcanoes. The rich volcanic soil is ideal for growing the main produce of the region such as onions, potatoes and tomatoes.
Distance from San José center: about 23 km (about 14.5 miles) / 30 minutes


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