Getting there & away
While Cartago may not be a hotbed of excitement, the surrounding areas provide plenty to do – from botanical gardens, serene mountain towns and organic farms to an active volcano – all easy to reach via local buses and never more than an hour or two away. Most buses arrive along Avenida 2 and go as far as the basilica before returning to the main terminal on Avenida 4. The following buses serve area destinations.
Finca la Flor de Paraíso US$1. Take a La Flor/Birrisito/El Yas bus from in front of Padres Capuchinos church, 150m southeast of Las Ruinas. Get off at the pink church in La Flor; the entrance to the finca is 100m to the south.
Paraíso & Lankester Gardens US$0.50, depart from the corner of Calle 4 and Avenida 1 hourly from 7am to 10pm. For the gardens, ask the driver to drop you off at the turnoff – from there, walk 750m to the entrance.
Orosi US$0.75, 40 minutes, depart hourly from the corner of Calle 4 and Avenida 1 from 8am to 10pm Monday to Saturday. The bus will stop in front of the Orosi Mirador.
San José US$0.50, 45 minutes, depart every 15 minutes from Avenida 4 between Calles 2 and 4, north of Parque Central.
Turrialba US$1, 1½ hours, depart from Avenida 3 between Calles 8 and 10 (in front of Tribunales de Justicia) every 45 minutes from 6am to 10pm weekdays, 8:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm, 3pm and 5:45pm weekends.
Volcán Irazú US$4, one hour, depart only on weekends from Padres Capuchinos church, 150m southeast of Las Ruinas. The bus originates in San José at 8am, stops in Cartago at about 8:30am and returns from Irazú at 12:30pm.