When Cato the Elder said that in his opinion Carthago should be destroyed, we can safely assume he was not talking about Cartago in Costa Rica. Whereas the Romans finally did destroy Carthago and rebuilt it afterwards, the Cartago we visited today has only one enemy: earthquakes.
As the car is still in the workshop, we headed out on public transport. The route between San José and Cartago (about 45 minutes) is operated by several bus companies – and there is no such thing as a national public transport provider. You just go to the bus stop, hope it to be the correct one and wait for a bus to turn up. We hopped on the bus to Cartago and paid €1,50 for both of us (one way).
We arrived in Cartago and went for a walk in the small town. We started off by visiting the ‘Ruinas de la Parroquia de Santiago Apostol‘. Many attempts have been made to build a church here, but frequent earthquakes have finally put an end to these efforts. What is currently standing are not ruins of an old church but the first part of constructing a new church which was stopped in 1910. According to local legends you can see a headless priest wander around on foggy nights.
The ‘Basilica de Nuestra Senora de los Angeles‘ is the main attraction in town. In August, it attracts 2,5 million people who come here on a pilgrimage. It was significantly quieter today! At the back of the church there is a small fountain where locals queue up to fill their bottles with water from the rock where a statue of the Virgin Mary mysteriously reappeared (or so they say).
We had lunch in town and enjoyed the sunshine on the main square. We then headed back to a bus stop and returned to San José for an afternoon of reading, relaxing and planning the next days. Unfortunately Costa Rica is quite expensive and we may have to limit our stay here to stay on budget.
Bus stop, wet day, she’s there, I say
Please share my umbrella
Bus stop, bus goes, she stays, love grows
Under my umbrella