San Isidro del General
- Summary: Popular base for explorations to Chirripo National Park and the indigenous village of Rey Curre.
- Landscape: City, Mountains
- Attractions: Chirripo National Park, Los Quetzales National Park
- Activities: Hiking, Indigenous Cultural Tours, Sugar Cane Tours
- Caters to: Budget Travelers, Independent Travelers, Wildlife Enthusiasts
- Quick Facts: 40 miles south of San Gerardo de Dota ; 2,317 feet above sea level ; Warm days and cool evenings ; 64-87 F
San Isidro del General Snapshot
Situated at the base of Costa Rica’s fertile Mountain Peaks region, the bustling metropolis of San Isidro del General is the gateway to southern Costa Rica. From San Jose, the scenic Interamerican Highway gradually climbs over the Talamanca Mountains, crossing the Cerro de la Muerte before steeply descending into a lush river valley that is home to San Isidro del General.read more close
Commonly referred to as Zeledon, after the county where it resides, San Isidro is the region’s largest town and a major agricultural and transportation hub. Tourists favor San Isidro as popular base for explorations to Chirripo National Park, Las Quebradas Biological Center and the indigenous village of Rey Curre. The town also offers rural tourism initiatives including sugar cane and coffee farm tours.
San Isidro del General boasts a variety of modern hotels, restaurants, and Internet cafes. Credit cards are widely accepted, and there are ATMs available in the downtown area.
Chirripo National Park
Home to Cerro Chirrpo, Costa Rica’s highest peak, Chirripo National Park is a popular destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts. The two-day trek to the 12,533-foot peak traverses glacial valleys, fern groves, marshlands and mountain paramo. Wildlife watching is excellent, as 60% of Costa Rica’s fauna live within the park, including white-faced monkeys, peccaries and the resplendent quetzal. Telephone: 2771-3155
Las Quebradas Biological Center
Less than five miles northeast of San Isidro, Las Quebradas Biological Center is a community-managed, 1,853-acre reserve that protects dense forest and a variety of plant and animal life. A two-mile hiking trail winds along the banks of the Quebradas River and through the forest. The center’s sensory and butterfly garden promises a quiet escape into nature. Telephone: 2771-4131
Los Cusingos Bird Sanctuary
Founded by Dr. Alexander Skutch, an important Central American ornithologist and naturalist, Los Cusingos Bird Sanctuary contains 190 acres of avian diversity and peaceful nature trails. Common sightings include aracari toucanets, colorful tanagers and cuckoos. Telephone: 2738-2070
Rancho La Botija
This working sugar cane plantation and coffee farm features culinary tours and a 150-year old traditional sugar cane press. Learn about local farming practices and enjoy a glass of fresh-squeezed cane juice. Swimming, horseback riding and freshwater fishing are also popular activities at the ranch. Telephone: 2770-2146
Rey Curre Indigenous Village
The nearby indigenous Boruca village of Rey Curre celebrates the Fiesta de Los Diablitos, a three-day holiday, every February. The “Little Devils” festival reenacts the conflict between the Spanish conquistadors and the Boruca. Rey Curre is also a wonderful spot to pick up traditional masks and decorations.
From San Jose, take the Interamerican Highway south over the Talamanca Mountain Range via the Cerro de la Muerte, following signs to San Isidro del General. Depending on traffic and road conditions, the journey takes roughly three hours. Mudslides and travel delays are more common during the rainy season months of June-October. Buses depart San Jose from Plaza Viquez every hour between 5:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. $5.65. 2222-2422.