Costa Rica

Cartago, Province – Costa Rica

San JoseHerediaAlajuelaGuanacastePuntarenasLimonCartago


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.


This interior province consists primarily of the Reventazón River valley and the surrounding high mountains to the north (Irazú and Turrialba Volcanoes) and south (Cerro de la Muerte and Mount Chirripó) and is situated practically entirely on the Atlantic side of the continental divide. Therefore, the moisture brought in by the trade winds directly affects most of the province, although the city of Cartago itself is in the rain shadow of the 3,432 meter high Irazú Volcano and as a result is one of the driest parts of Costa Rica, after the lower portions of Guanacaste province. The overall high elevation of Cartago province and frequent cloud cover combine to impart relatively cool temperatures throughout the year


The city of Cartago was first established in 1563 by the Spanish conquistador Juan Vásquez de Coronado. The original village was situated between the Coris and Purires Rivers, several kilometers to the southwest of the present day city. This location proved to be poorly chosen, however, since the settlement was flooded so often that it came to be known as the “City of Mud,” and in 1572 was transferred to another site closer to what is now San Jose.

About two years later, the population was again transferred back to the current site of the city of Cartago, which remained the capital of the province of Costa Rica throughout the colonial period. In 1823, two years after independence from Spain, the country’s governmental seat was moved to San Jose and Cartago was left to develop as a provincial capital of the new republic.

National Parks:

1) Irazú Volcano National Park
2) Tapantí National Park
3) Guayabo National Monument
4) Chirripó National Park
5) Braulio Carrillo National Park

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