Community and Lifestyle

Things to do in Los Chiles, Costa Rica.

The town is small enough to travel around by foot, but it has all of the necessities, including a nice supermarket and ATM, a sizable police force, and a hospital. The town is compact but cozy. In terms of restaurants, Soda Juanita and Soda Pamela are the main hangouts and often compete with one another for the most patrons. Restaurante El Parque is a great place to get a morning cup of coffee.  All of the residents look forward to getting together to play or watch a “mejenga,” a soccer match in the Central Plaza and to celebrate at the annual Green Macaw Festival.

Although it’s considered a “city” with all town necessities, life is quite rural in Los Chiles. People work on farms or in tourism, transporting people by small motorized boats between Costa Rica and Nicaragua (It’s a scenic one hour trip!)  The area by the docks gives a “France-in-the-tropics” feeling that is unique to Los Chiles.  A company called Heliconia Tours gives tourists and locals the chance to rent boats to explore the area on their own. They often see Howler Monkeys along the riverbanks and have the opportunity to fishing along the river.

There are some incredible sights to see in the region.  Cano Negro is a watery marshland reserve and a birdwatcher’s paradise. Many endangered animals call the reserve home, including cougars, tapirs, jaguars, and Geoffroy’s spider monkeys.  In the driest seasons, the lake looks more like a series of little lagoons, in which one can spot storks, spoonbills, and cormorants. This national park is unique in that it can be explored by boat only.

The Solentiname Islands are found in the nearby Lake Nicaragua. These islands are home to mainly fishermen and artists, and some amazing paintings are created there. The islands are archaeologically important, as petroglyphs were found there.

The Fortress of the Immaculate Conception is found about 3 miles into Nicaragua, on the shared San Juan River. It was created in 1675 to defend against pirate attacks, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site worth exploring.



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