Sitting along the foothills of the Talamanca Mountain Range, the small town of San Gerardo de Dota may be lacking in size, but it makes up for it in natural beauty. Travelers come here to hike through the pristine wilderness and view some of the region's most predominant flora and fauna. This quaint village is one of San Jose's finest and, while not a major tourist destination, is one of the best locations to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Map of the Area
One of the most popular reasons why travelers come to San Gerardo de Dota is the bird watching opportunities. The surrounding cloud forest is a haven for both birds and a vast variety of insect species, both of which likely go hand in hand. Tucked along the Savegre River Valley
near Los Quetzals National Park
, the community is a hot bed for avian species. In fact, roughly 200 species flock to and from the region, including tanagers, hummingbirds, woodpeckers and the famous resplendent quetzals.
Home of the Quetzal
Considered to be among the most striking birds in the world, the quetzals here nest in the nearby cloud forest and can be seen most of the year. However, they are most frequently spotted during the months of April and May, which is their breeding season. Besides the quetzal, a number of other birds found here include peccaries, tanagers, woodpeckers and hummingbirds making this area truly a birdwatchers haven.
Tropical Cloud Forest
Nature enthusiasts will love the dense cloud forests, moss-covered oak trees, tropical plants and extensive network of trails through the region. Due to the diverse eco systems of the area, travelers will find plenty of beautiful spots to snap photos or take the occasional selfie.
A paradise for nature lovers, hikers and trout fishers as well, San Gerardo de Dota is a tiny farming community that sits in the narrow valley of the Savegre River, an excellent place to catch trout. The fly fishing season out here is in May and June, while lure fishing is at its best from December to March. Sitting at an altitude of 2200 meters above sea level, this town offers tourists crisp mountain air, lush cloud forests and some of the best birding in the country, making a truly unforgettable vacation destination. This river flows into the Pacific Ocean just south of the Manuel Antonio National Park.
As the home to a large population of quetzal birds, it is only fitting that the elusive creature has a national park in its name. Created in 2005, the national park spans 12,355 acres, includes three types of rainforest and 14 different ecosystems. As a popular location for bird watching, Los Quetzales is also home to tanagers, trogons, colibri, hummingbirds and other creatures, including sloth and pumas. This park is also known for its vibrant tropical flora. This park receives an average of 79 to 188 inches of rain each year, so expect lush greenery all around.
In San Gerardo de Dota, the weather is mild and crisp, and tends to get a bit chilly at night. Travelers coming here will want to prepare for all kinds of weather. Being within the mountains and near cloud forests may lend to wet weather unexpectedly. Despite the fact it isn't a tropical oasis, San Gerardo de Dota is the perfect quiet getaway.
Getting to San Gerado de Dota
Sitting only 2 hour car drive away from San Jose
or a mere 85 km, San Gerardo de Dota is easily accessible and is a wonderful place spend a few days. Getting here is easy just take Pan American Highway south from San Jose to the Cerro de la Muerte
and make a right turn. It is the ideal base for those who want some rest and relaxation amid picturesque natural settings, while at the same time being close enough to the city.