Central Valley Sights

Las Ruinas

  • Avda. 2, Cs. 1–2 Map It
  • Cartago
  • Archaeological Site/Ruins

Published 06/18/2015

Fodor's Review

Churches in one form or another stood at the site of the present-day central park from 1575 to 1841; they kept being knocked down by earthquakes and reconstructed again and again. After a major earthquake in 1841, the citizens of Cartago began work on a new, Romanesque cathedral. But a devastating earthquake in 1910 ended that project, too. Is there a connection between building churches here and the occurrence of earthquakes? No one knows, but townspeople have decided not to tempt fate any longer. The ruins of this unfinished house of worship now stand in a pleasant park, and the interior has been transformed into a lush garden with fountains, a small pond, and flowers planted in the original stone pillar bases. It's a lovely contrast to the adjoining, barren concrete plaza that serves as the city's central park. Among the many legends attributed to the ruins is the gruesome story of the priest who, after falling in love with his sister-in-law, was murdered by his brother. Folks here say his headless ghost still haunts the grounds at night. Although the plaza in front of the ruins is a Wi-Fi hot spot, we recommend not pulling out your laptop or tablet in such a public place—and this has nothing to do with alleged hauntings. Your smartphone should be okay, however.

Sight Information


Avda. 2, Cs. 1–2, Cartago, 30101, Costa Rica

Map It

Sight Details:

  • Free
  • Weekends 8–4

Published 06/18/2015


Map View

Map of

What's Nearby

  • Restaurants
  • Sights

Add Your Own Review

When did you go?

Minimum 200 character count

How many stars would you give?




Don't Miss


No Thanks

Love To Travel?

Get FREE e-mail communications from Fodor's Travel, covering must-see travel destinations, expert trip planning advice, and travel inspiration to fuel your passion.

Thank You

Now sit back, relax, and check your inbox to start planning your next travel adventure.

Please tell us more about the type of travel you're interested in. Check all that apply.