San Isidro de El General, North Puntarenas

If you find yourself passing through the small agricultural town of San Isidro del General, a district in the canton of Pérez Zeledón, stop for a moment (or longer) to enjoy the atmosphere. On the way to San Isidro del General, you’ll pass the Talamanca Mountains and see some of the most striking views in all of Costa Rica. That’s not all, though – you’ll also find some interesting Costa Rican cultural events here, making San Isidro del General a worthwhile vacation spot in its own right. Brave the Cerro de la Muerte, see the annual cattle show, and travel a few miles south to the Boruca Indian Fiesta of the Diablos to make your visit to San Isidro del General complete.

Enjoy Spectacular Mountain Views

If you are traveling to San Isidro del General from San José on the Pan-American Highway, you’ll need to get past the Cerro de la Muerte – the “Mountain of Death” – on the way. This mountain earned its name by claiming the lives of many travelers who tried to make their way over its difficult terrain in the past. No worries, though – modern travel has made crossing the mountain much safer. Instead of fearing for your life, you’ll be able to enjoy the amazing views the mountain pass has to offer. At an altitude of over 10,800 feet, this pass is the highest point the Pan-American Highway reaches in Costa Rica. Make sure to bring a sweater or a jacket – you’ll want to get out and take pictures, and the air is often cold at such a high altitude.

Enjoy the Scenery on a Bus Ride

You can drive the Pan-American Highway from San José to San Isidro del General yourself, but that’s generally not recommended. The highway is bumpy and riddled with potholes in some areas, and certain weather conditions can cause mudslides in the mountains. Instead, consider leaving the driving to an experienced bus driver. You won’t have to worry about safety on the three-hour drive, and you’ll be able to take in the scenery passing by the window with no distractions.

Immerse Yourself in Costa Rica’s Culture

Go to San Isidro del General during the month of February if you can. This is when the town holds their yearly cattle show and fair, an event that’s especially fun for kids to watch. If a cattle show doesn’t strike your fancy, consider traveling a few miles farther south to Rey Curre, a Boruca Indian village. The Fiesta of the Diablos takes place here in February every year. Making the trip down to Rey Curre also gives you a great opportunity to find some unique and meaningful souvenirs, such as traditional decorations and brightly colored masks created by Boruca Indian artisans. Other nearby attractions include the ancient town of Piedra del Indio and the Las Quebradas Biological Station.

Stop for a Meal (Or the Night)

San Isidro del General is a natural stopping point along the Pan-American highway if you’re on your way to Chirripo National Park, the Manuel Antonio National Park, the cities of Quepos or Dominical, or Panama. You’ll find plenty of accommodations here, whether you’re staying for an hour or a whole day. There are plenty of restaurants in town where you can either get a fast, inexpensive meal or try out some high-quality, authentic Costa Rican food. There are also several reasonably-priced hotels in town if you’re planning to spend the night.

San Isidro del General is a gem tucked away in El Valle del General, so don’t overlook it. If you’re just passing through, take the opportunity to stretch your legs here and explore the town a little. You might just find that you want to spend more time than you anticipated soaking up Costa Rican culture in San Isidro del General.

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