Cartago

Cartago, Costa Rica

Cartago is the country’s first capital and one of the oldest communities in Costa Rica. It was founded by Spanish settler, Juan Vasquez de Coronado in 1563. Although dubbed by Coronado as the most beautiful valley he’d ever seen, throughout history, the city would become faced with unforeseeable destruction. In 1723, the Irazu Volcano erupted and destroyed the city. In 1823, Cartago suffered from losing a civil war. In 1841 and 1910, the city experienced the ruins of two large earthquakes. And again, beginning in 1963 to 1965, Irazu erupted, severely damaging crops and contaminating air and water bodies with ash and scoria.

Although afflicted with many unfortunate events, Heredia features many important landmarks and sites to see today. The Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles is a huge city attraction, known for its religious processions and museum dedicated to the catastrophic events the city has overcome. Originally built in 1639 as a Roman Catholic establishment, the basilica is dedicated to the Virgin of Los Angeles, in which every August, about 2.5 million believers make a 22-kilometer pilgrimage to wash and drink from the rock on which legend states, a statue of Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus was discovered by a little girl. This water is thought to possess healing powers, and scientists have affirmed the water to be safe to drink, despite not having filtration or chemicals used to purify it. The basilica is open and visited year round by travelers and locals alike.

Agricultural products account for the majority of the rural area’s economy. Rich soils are perfect for producing potatoes, onions, and orchids.

Heredia is also home to the prestigious higher education institutions, the Costa Rican Institute of Technology in which students study in fields of engineering, business administration, and computer science.

Other noteworthy sites include The City Museum, The Central Market, the Casa de Cultura, and the Lankester Botanical Garden.

Basilica de los Angeles in Cartago, Costa Rica

Basilica de los Angeles in Cartago, Costa Rica

Ruinas de Cartago, Costa Rica

Ruinas de Cartago, Costa Rica