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Central Valley Sights

Las Ruinas

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

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

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Sight Details:

  • Free
  • Weekends 8–4


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What's Nearby

  • Restaurants
  • Sights

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