Few foreigners live in Cartago, but a lot of Costa Ricans live in the area who commute to San Jose due to the excellent bus service between the two cities.
Real Estate prices in Cartago are cheaper compared to the rest of the Central Valley, however, not a lot of foreigners reside there due to the cooler climate and its more rural.
Prices in real estate in Cartago can be as much as one third lower than other areas but this can vary.
Cartago is a city with a pleasant mix of agricultural market town, shopping center and lively student hub, with some historical homes and school buildings.
The picturesque Ruins of La Iglesia de la Parroquia (the unfinished church was repeatedly destroyed by earthquakes, including the 1910 earthquake that levelled the city) lie at the city's heart in Plaza Mayor. 5 blocks east, La Basilica de Nuestra Senor de Los Angeles, rebuilt after the 1926 earthquake, has charming domes, faux-finished wood interior, and fine stained-glass windows.
The Irazu Volcano, looming 3,432 meter over the city, has great views of both coasts on clear days but often rains after noon, so get there early and bring rain/cold weather gear. Irazu last blew its top in 1963, forming a second crater, and still rumbles occasionally.
Nestled beneath towering Irazu Volcano, just half an hour south-east of San Jose, Cartago is the country's oldest city, serving as the capital until 1823, and home to Costa Rica's national religious shrine, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels, Patron Saint of Costa Rica.
The cathedral is the destination of the annual pilgrimage in honor of the Virgin of Los Angeles. The pilgrimage takes place every August. Literally millions of people make the journey every year, usually starting from San Jose, although there are always a few devotees that walk all the way from Guanacaste or the Southern Zone.
Compared to other areas in the Central Valley, the weather in Cartago is a little cooler and it rains a bit more due to its higher elevation. However, the air is much cleaner and it boasts some spectacular views.