A main town in El Valle del General, San Isidro del General (Pérez Zeledón) is located 120 km southeast of the capital city San Jose
, and 29 km northeast of Dominical
in Puntarenas province. A prosperous agricultural town, San Isidro de El General is a key transportation and farming center in the valley, and is the largest town in this region. Lying just a few minutes away from the Pan-American Highway on the slopes of the Talamanca Mountains, this tiny town is a great stopping point for tourists on the way to Quepos
, the Chirripo National Park, the Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio
, or if you are traveling to Panama.
While traveling en route to San Isidro del General (Pérez Zeledón) on the Pan-American Highway, one has to pass the dangerous and treacherous Cerro de la Muerte or Mountain of Death. The highest point in Costa Rica at an altitude of over 3,300m (10,824-ft.), this mountain pass offers spectacular views of the surrounding areas and valley below. Do remember to carry a warm jacket for this trip as the weather here can get very chilly. This pass is named ‘Mountain of Death’ because previously many travelers lost their lives trying to climb over the mountain with its dense fogs, heavy torrential rains and steep cliffs.
A three-hour journey by road from San Jose, driving to San Isidro del General (Pérez Zeledón) can get cumbersome as many sections of the highways have potholes. Plus, one can also encounter mudslides from time to time. It is best to travel by bus and enjoy the breathtaking and stunning views of the Talamanca Mountains along the way.
Being an enjoyable family trip offering, do try and visit San Isidro del General (Pérez Zeledón) in the beginning of February when the annual cattle show and fair take place. Also going on during this period is the colorful Fiesta of the Diablos in the Boruca Indian village of Rey Curre that lies a few kilometers south of town. This festival is a great place to buy traditional Boruca Indian hand-crafted masks and decorations.
Accommodations here are pretty decent and affordable with a number of hotels, restaurants and cafes scattered throughout the town. Here, visitors can sample traditional Costa Rican meals or just grab a quick bite to get them by. While stopping over here, try and visit the ancient town of Piedra del Indio or the Las Quebradas Biological Station.