Mountain Peaks Region
Rushing rivers, lush valleys, and mountains blanketed in emerald vegetation define Costa Rica’s Mountain Peaks Region. From San Jose, the scenic Interamerican Highway gradually climbs over the Talamanca Mountains, crossing the Cerro de la Muerte before steeply descending into a river valley. Spanning the Talamanca Mountain Range, this region encompasses San Gerardo de Dota, Chirripo and Los Quetzales National Parks, and ends at the mini-metropolis of San Isidro del General.
Birding is very popular throughout the cloud forest highlands of Los Quetzales National Park, San Gerardo de Dota and along the Cerro de la Muerte. In addition to trogons, woodpeckers, warblers, and hummingbirds, the region is renowned as a breeding hotspot for the dazzling resplendent quetzal and boasts a number of cozy, family-run lodges that cater to nature enthusiasts.
Situated 7200 feet above sea level, San Gerardo de Dota has cool temperatures and miles of enchanting trails that can be explored on foot or by horseback. The area also attracts anglers who fish for rainbow trout, on the fly or with lures, in the pristine Savegre River.
Accessed via San Gerardo de Rivas, Chirripo National Park boasts Costa Rica’s highest peak at 12,533 feet. The hiking trails are good, traversing glacial valleys, fern groves and paramo. The summit can be reached in less than two days (reservations are recommended at the base camp) and temperatures can drop below freezing.
The small city of San Isidro del General holds its own, more urban charm, offering a range of amenities as well as a selection of wildlife centers, a canopy tour and daily excursions to Chirripo Mountain. Here, tourists can enjoy rural tourism initiatives – the best way to experience authentic, traditional Costa Rica. The town is also an interior gateway to Dominical and the southern Pacific coast, which is just one hour away by car.