Cartago, Costa Rica – Travel Guide for Nomads and Expats

Last updated: 2021
All prices are listed in US dollars
Cost of living metrics are based on minimum living expenses for one person

Cartago is a midsized city but big by Costa Rican standards. In fact, it’s among one of the largest cities in the country. Cartago is very close to San Jose, located only about 25km away. Like most of Costa Rica’s larger cities, Cartago is often skipped by tourists in favor of the jungle or beaches. It’s nice place to enjoy some time, and a relatively underrated city.

POPULATION: 160,000

 

WEATHER IN CARTAGO

16°C to 25°C. A fairly comfortable temperature year round; can see a lot of rain during the winter months.

 

BEST BARS & NIGHTLIFE IN CARTAGO

 

SAFETY IN CARTAGO

Safer than nearby San Jose, but it’s still a good idea to remain vigilant. Same old stuff. During the day it’s fine, during the night, opt for a taxi rather than walking.

 

MUST DO

The Basilica is Cartago’s main attraction. It’s an impressive church.

 

RENT AN APARTMENT IN CARTAGO

$600/month in rent is doable in Cartago. We don’t suggest trying to rent something much below this figure.

 

COST OF LIVING IN CARTAGO

Although a midsized city, Cartago is not that cheap. You’ll find grocery, restaurant and entertainment prices run high relative to other Latin American destinations. We recommend a minimum budget of $1700/month.

 

JOB OPPORTUNITIES IN CARTAGO

There isn’t much for a foreigner to do here in terms of work. English levels are rather high, so even finding an English teaching position may prove difficult.

 

IS THERE UBER IN CARTAGO

Yes, UBER operates in Cartago.

 

THINGS TO DO IN CARTAGO

There’s a local train (an anomaly in Costa Rica) between San Pedro and Cartago that takes about 40 minutes.

 

IS CARTAGO A GOOD PLACE TO LIVE?

For the expat looking for a few more big city amenities than they’d find in a small beach or jungle town, but aren’t up for the hustle of San Jose, Cartago is a sound choice.

 

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