Pilgrimage to Cartago moves into high gear this weekend

This is a big weekend for the annual romería or pilgrimage to Cartago.

Tuesday is a national holiday in honor of  Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles, who is represented by a small statute in the basilica in Cartago.

For some this will be a four-day weekend with Monday being considered part of the holiday.

Various police agencies are swinging into action full force today. The Fuerza Pública even plans to put 125 students from the Escuela Nacional de Policía along the major roadways.

Officials also are praying that the Turrialba volcano does not rain ash on the pilgrims. If it does, the Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias has a plan. But the best advice from the emergency commission is to put a wet cloth across the mouth and nose. In addition to ash, the volcano produces acidic gas.

More than 270 traffic officers will be on duty, too, mostly along the Florencio del Castillo highway between San José and Cartago and other main roads leading to the basilica.

Expats would be wise to avoid that area for the next four day. At the very least, the main highways will have one lane reserved for pedestrians, and Sunday vehicles might be detoured away from routes leading to Cartago altogether.

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