Costa Rica Expat City Guide

Cartago, Costa Rica

Cartago, Costa Rica, was established by Juan Vasquez de Coronado in 1563 and was the first genuine Spanish settlement in the country. Located at the eastern edge of the Central Valley, it served as the capitol of Costa Rica until a dispute prompted the capitol’s move to San José in 1823. The province is famous for its abundant ecological diversity and dense tropical rainforests along the mountain ranges near the Irazu and Turrialba volcanoes. With volcanic soils and a temperate climate, it comes as no surprise that agriculture constitutes a significant portion of the economy, with the province being a major supplier of agricultural products to the region and country as a whole. The colossal Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles, home of the famous Black Madonna statue (La Negrita), is a popular tourist and pilgrimage site that holds immense importance for Catholics across the region. The province boasts dozens of popular tourist sites in addition to this. Cartago is also home to the Costa Rica Institute of Technology, one of the most significant schools of engineering in Central America. The city has been damaged by earthquakes numerous times over the years, and volcanic ash has damaged crop lands but not the city itself.

Cartago Location

Map of Costa Rica

Cartago Climate

Climate Type: Tropical Monsoon / Subtropical Highland

Due to its classification as a tropical monsoon region and its higher elevation of 1,220 meters (4,000 feet) above sea level, Cartago experiences notably cooler weather than most places in this climate classification. This makes it an ideal location for expats who do not enjoy the heat or humidity prevalent in beach communities. While usually overcast yet comfortable, temperatures can range from 15.5 °C (60 °F) to 25 °C (77 °F), with lows reaching approximately 14 °C (57 °F) and highs reaching approximately 26.5 °C (80 °F).

Cartago Weather

Cartago, CR
11:12 am
weather icon 26°C | °F
L: 25° H: 27°
few clouds
Precipitation: 0 inch
Visibility: 10 km
Sunrise: 5:13 am
Sunset: 5:51 pm

At a Glance

Population: 160,457 (2017 data)

Popular Expat Neighborhoods: Cartago, San Rafael, Tres Rios, Agua Caliente, Turrialba, El Guarco, Paraíso, La Unión

Largest Regional City: Cartago

Vibe: city, agricultural, locals town 

Distance to Nearest International Airport: Juan Santamaria International Airport – 43 kilometers (26.75 miles) – approx. 1 hour without heavy traffic


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