Things to Do in Cartago

Top Things to Do in Cartago

Things to Do in Cartago

Top Attractions in Cartago

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From quick jaunts to full-day outings.

What travelers are saying

  • SusanJoseph
    Seattle, Washington11 contributions
    We took the river trip through the Pacuare Lodge. Our 2 guides were so competent. They guided us in a way in which we felt completely safe and cared for. The river was challenging and beautiful.
    Written 19 October 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • LolaGo1
    Washington DC, DC5,801 contributions
    I took the 7:30 am electric train ride from San Jose to Cartago. The Train Station in San Jose is Estacion Atlantico located near the National Museum. The ride took about 50 minutes, then a short walk on Avenida 10 from the Train Station to the Basilica.

    Both the outside facades and inside decorations are beautiful. I was able to take many pictures because there was no mass going on when I arrived. The running Spring waters are located towards the back of the church. I saw locals filling up their containers with this water and using their palms to drink it. I did the same!

    In front of the church, folks are putting up the Christmas tree and some other decorations.

    Highly recommended to visit and pray here. Train rides for 65 y/o and olders are FREE! Train services back to San Jose start at 3:45 p.m. After I finished visiting Cartago’s attractions, I took the 12:30 p.m. Lumaca Express bus for 680 colones. Note that the Bus Station is located next to the Train Station.
    Written 28 November 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • BellDavid
    London, UK78 contributions
    This is a wonderful garden founded in the 1920s by an Englishman who fell in love with plants and Costa Rica.It is lovingly maintained by the University of Costa Rica and features a spectacular collection of orchids. It must be one if the best botanical gardens of its size in the world.
    Don’t forget also to visit the basilica in Cortago which is a remarkable blend of several different architectural traditions.
    Written 25 January 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • hirshcashdan
    San Pedro de Atacama, Chile42 contributions
    Savegre Hotel has extensive private grounds with several, graded trails, though strangely the shortest one is not the easiest. The environment of the hotel itself is beautiful with many flowered plants in all the areas around the main building and the cabins. This attracts many birds and you hardly need to go any further! Viewing the quetzals involves getting up pre-dawn and being driven to a suitable by expert guide Marino who has eyes for spotting birds you just would not credit. He found us both male and female as well as several other lovely birds. The hotel is efficient and helpful but it is large and the atmosphere feels a little formal, Our cabin was big with a humungous sized bed (great if you don't want to be friendly in the night!). At night it i cold and there is a wood fire laid ready for you to strike a match (matches and firelighters provided) but regrettably the wood provided was not dry enough to take so we had to make do with the small electric heater, Meals are all buffet style with masses of choice, generally tasty but you may need to experiment to find what you really like.
    Written 23 February 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Laurie S
    Cartago, Costa Rica121 contributions
    What a beautiful location. Make sure to bring bug spray, rain gear and maybe a swim suit. . Pull up and there is a nice picnic area, We hiked or walked depending on how you look at it, down to a river and followed all the paths. Such a great, untouched place. There is a cabin one can rent for the night, not sure how you go about doing it, but it did feel like staying there might be a bit of an adventure but in a totally great way.
    Written 28 September 2018
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Kaela
    Seattle, WA1,104 contributions
    We love visiting “creepy” places so this was a must do for my group when visiting Costa Rica. About 30-45 min drive outside San Jose, this abandoned location was spooky and really interesting to walk around. We learned at the National Museum that they used to treat tuberculosis here, but it’s been abandoned for decades. We were the only visitors on this rainy day which added to the ambience.

    Walking around I couldn’t help but feel like this experience could be so much more with some restorations and work put in. My friend (a San Jose local) said they are starting the process to restore and spruce it up a little, which is encouraging. The empty halls are interesting in their own right but I would have loved to get a more in depth history on the rooms or the people who lived and worked there. As other reviewers said it reminded me a lot of Alcatraz and I think the location would benefit hugely from an audio tour or live guide. The admission charge of around $2 US per person could be upped a LOT with a little bit of TLC and this could be a real live tourist attraction. The only downside to that would be increased traffic in my opinion, since the emptiness really added to the whole experience. Overall my group loved it and were happy to have stopped - I look forward to seeing what this area could become in the future.
    Written 13 June 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • LolaGo1
    Washington DC, DC5,801 contributions
    This attraction is about 10-15 minute walk away from the Basilica. Along the way are private homes, restaurants shops, McDonald’s , Burger King, etc.

    The gardens are beautiful, shrubs are well-maintained , 2 small fountains are running and several pieces of artworks are on display. Behind these ruins is a public park with a beautiful statue of Independence, shops, pigeons, benches with people resting and people-watching.

    Note that there are some Christmas decorations at the walls of the ruins and the park itself.
    Written 28 November 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Alejandra S
    6 contributions
    Amazing place. They have all type of roses which make the experience vey unque. Very firendly staff who are willing to provide you with all the necessary information.
    Written 28 August 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • LolaGo1
    Washington DC, DC5,801 contributions
    I enjoyed my short visit here, admiring the beautiful plants and flowers of the garden, the sounds the small fountains make, and the playful hanging art works. Trully, it is a nice place to sit down and relax, take some selfies, etc
    Written 28 November 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Serge Arias
    Cartago, Costa Rica43 contributions
    Great birding, local gourmet meals, and a true experience for the ones expecting privacy and high standadrs.
    Written 21 August 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • sueanncanny
    Cartago, Costa Rica249 contributions
    It is really majestic and one of the stops too visit while in coast a Rica on the August 2nd the coasran Ricans will travel from their homes to the church. The people that live in Cartago take the bus to San Jose and walk to the church. It is something to see.
    Written 21 July 2016
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Deborah C
    York, UK83 contributions
    A couple of hours out of the capital and easily reachable by bus or train from central San Jose. Either way c£2, the train slightly quicker but both journeys as interesting. We walked first of all to the old church which was really informative, then to the main cathedral, although out of respect we didn't go right in as we were wearing shorts and we remembered in some countries this is frowned upon. Then up to the Lankaster Botanical Gardens.... this IS A MUST and is only c3km out of the town by Uber (taxi) costing about $4. We then got an Uber back to the train station. This dropped us right next to the Cortago Market. This was a 'wow moment' seeing all the colourful fruit and veg on display. The locals are really friendly and even shared a mobile phone screen with us so we could watch segments of the World Cup.
    Written 13 December 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • taem111
    Newport, VT109 contributions
    The building itself preserves the look and feel of its original use (heavy barred cells which have been converted to music practice rooms offices and lavatories. the exhibit spaces are open, well lit and uncluttered. I will say that one of the rooms should be dedicated to orthopedic surgeons, since the floor is well enough polished to present a challenge to old folk such as myself. No fractures however. There were multiage stringed instrument practices under way which gave a cheerful feel that this was not a museum where you would be shushed for talking in a normal voice. The exhibition, mainly sculpture was intriguing and the permanent mural in the downstairs space covering centuries of CR history is worth looking at. Outside, there was a collection of about a dozen welded steel scultures by a local artist set in a carefully manicured well worth an hour's visit.
    Written 1 December 2018
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Fess S
    Tucson, AZ338 contributions
    Turrialba Volcano

    Cartago

    Awesome view in early morning

    788245216

    I had to first register (although tripadvisor won't let me put the national park webpage) so find them on facebook and ask them to send you the link in how to pay. They will send you a confirmation email and then you need to pay it at the bank (if you are a foreigner) and then email them the confirmation. It was easy although a bit of a pain and when I was at the volcano I did see a couple who had just showed up.

    I slept 200 meters away at a super lodge that charged me as a single just 12,500-Albergue Cortijo El Quetzal 8822-4918. I can't believe it was so cheap and you would need 4X4 for the last bit down their driveway otherwise park on the top and walk. The cabin had a full kitchen, wifi, 2 stories, hot water and very nice host- although bring your own food.

    I did the first tour at 6:00am to be the weather although the guide said it can vary at any time of the day- but our weather was perfect so going first thing is probably a good idea. There were only 3 in this group and the rest much bigger groups- I went on a weekend.

    The walk with a guide is really pointless as there is a road all the way to the top but that is the only way. I really enjoyed the trip.
    Written 8 May 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • TortuosoTraveler
    Mexico City, Mexico336 contributions
    The place is beautiful and like all Costa Rica, very green and pleasant. It is important to mention that More than ruins is a parochial temple that was never finished for different reasons and now it is only the vestige of a construction, however it is a must stop in many of the tours and it will not take much time, so if You see it as part of a tour, take it and enjoy it.
    Written 26 February 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Cartago Attractions Information

Attractions39
Attraction Reviews1,953
Attraction Photos2,234
Local TimeSaturday 4:50 AM