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The town of CARTAGO is a classic Costa Rican experience, with a history steeped in natural beauty and national significance.

Once you’ve paid a visit to Cartago, it’s easy to see why its riverbank setting was chosen as the first capital of Costa Rica in 1563. It was recognized by the Spanish governor for its grandeur and beauty, but alas, nature has a way of taking its course. Today, Cartago is a destination for its Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles, its rich organic coffee, and the expansive- and potentially explosive- Parque Nacional Volcán Irazú.

If it weren’t for an eruption of the Irazu Volcano in 1723 that nearly demolished the town, chances are that Cartago would still be considered the capital instead of San Jose (which wasn’t established until 1823). But who can say? These things happen when you live in paradise!

A visit to Cartago will take you back in time. In the 15th century, it was chosen as Costa Rica’s first capital, but fate had other plans. Visit the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles, whose original structure dates to the 1550's and is one of the most important religious sites in Costa Rica. If you're looking for adventure, check out Parque Nacional Volcán Irazú or ride a horse around a coffee plantation in San Carlos while sipping on a cup of fresh-brewed coffee picked that morning. Only an hour away from San Jose or Alajuela (which also has some nice attractions), Cartago is a destination worth exploring!


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