Community and Lifestyle

Community and Lifestyle in San Isidro de El General, Costa Rica.

As the largest town in southern Costa Rica, San Isidro de El General has modern supermarkets, strip malls, and restaurants that line its handful of bustling streets. Many visitors are surprised to see a few fast food restaurant names they're used to seeing back home a treat that kids especially appreciate. Thanks to its sizable population, the town is home to a public market where locals can find low-cost produce and truly traditional meals. Meandering through the surrounding hills will lead to lots of hidden gems nature reserves, family owned farms, mountaintop restaurants, and quaint hot springs are just a few attractions in the area.

Few tourists visit this area, though those who do generally come for one of two reasons:  to spot the elusive resplendent quetzal, Costa Rica's national bird, or to prepare for a climb to the summit of Costa Rica's tallest mountain, Chirripo. The resplendent quetzal is a vibrantly colored bird most known for its long tail feathers, which can grow as long as 3 feet on males. It is a rarity to see the bird in other areas of the country, but just north of San Isidro de El General bird enthusiasts spot them regularly, of course with the help of a local expert and guide.

Any Costa Rican who has reached the summit of the daunting Chirripo Mountain will tell you of his or her journey with extreme pride. Travelers and nationals who make the trek often go through physical training and make reservations many months in advance a limited number of daily spots sell out quickly.

A drive to the coast takes just about half an hour from San Isidro, and the first destination one reaches is the mellow beachfront town of Dominical. Much less crowded than the more well-known surfing spots to the north, only die-hard surfing fans come to face the notoriously harsh waves here. Driving either north or south along the Costanera Sur Highway will take you to countless beach towns of all sizes. Black sand beaches with aquamarine waters, coral reef lined coastline with sea caverns, just offshore islands with exotic aquatic life these all make for fantastic day trips from San Isidro de El General.

At about an hour's drive away, the unassuming mountain village of Ojochal is home to an innovative culinary scene that is generating lots of buzz and excitement. From French fusion to Mediterranean to Moroccan, you'll find some of Costa Rica's most unique and delicious!meals in Ojochal.


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