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Ciudad Quesada (San Carlos)/Costa Rica

Introducing Ciudad Quesada (San Carlos)

The official name of this small city is Ciudad Quesada (sometimes abbreviated to ‘Quesada’), but all the locals know it as San Carlos, and local buses often list San Carlos as the destination. It’s long been a bustling ranching and agricultural center, known for its talabaterías (saddle shops), where a top-quality saddle can cost US$1000. Get a sense of that at Feria del Ganado (cattle fair and auction), which is held every April and accompanied by carnival rides and a tope (horse parade).

Although San Carlos is surrounded by pastoral countryside, the city has developed into the commercial center of the region – it’s gritty and quite congested. Fortunately, there’s no real reason to enter the city, except to either change buses or visit one of the area’s hot springs, which are on the outskirts of town, and referred to locally as ‘El Tucanito’ (El Tucano is the name of the most expensive resort in the area).

As the regional market town, you’ll find plenty of ATMs, internet cafes, groceries and shops around Parque Central.