Community and Lifestyle

Community, lifestyle, and things to do in San Isidro, Costa Rica.

The major draw of San Isidro is its close proximity and access to Costa Rica's National Park: Braulio Carillo. Covering over 45 hectares, or 112 acres, this primary forested park spans along the Atlantic coast and up the volcanic mountains. From Calle Chavez, one of San Isidro's principle roads, one can access the park and rise to over 6,000 feet in elevation. In Braulio Carillo, the air is much cooler and, depending on the time of year,  can be shrouded in fog.

Featuring a wealth of wildlife, the park is home to many Costa Rica animals: howler, spider and white-faced monkeys, tapirs, jaguars, pumas, pacas, white-tailed deers, porcupines, and sloths. The park is also abundant with birds, making it a true birder's delight. Trails have been cut throughout the park, although the more remote walkways are less than ideal for the less adventurous.

San Isidro's town, like most in Costa Rica, developed around its church. Locals are proud of the history of its church, honoring a peasant worker. Stained glass windows are rich in color and the grounds are kept meticulous.  Across from the church's entrance lays a large soccer field with cement benches along its perimeter.  On Sundays, the promenade between the elementary school and the soccer field swarms with local vendors and residents at the local farmer's market.

Several Costa Rican cafés, known as sodas, serve up typical foods at reasonable prices.  Many of these establishments have been in business for years, run by local residents.  A newer facility was built about three years ago, when a local man inherited a prime piece of land from his aunt. Los Potreros, a large family-style restaurant and bar, became an instant hot spot, serving a wide variety of good food, music, and activities.  The view from this property overlooks town and a portion of San Jose's cityscape. And, on clear days, stellar sunset vistas generate ohhs and ahhs from patrons. 

Two Very Special Tours in San Isidro

Two very special tours are located within San Isidro: Sibú Chocolate and Toucan Rescue Ranch.  Both are destinations frequented by locals and tourists.

Sibú is owned by two delightful people, Julio and George, Costa Ricans with a passion for chocolate and history. Sibú was the first producer in Costa Rica of fine artisanal chocolates. Handmade on the premises from pure organic cacao and situated on a pastoral farm, the chocolate factory has expanded to include tastings and luncheons. Patrons will learn the fascinating history of cacao, from “its sacred indigenous origins to its use as a colonial currency up to the 19th Century."  Special week long tours can be arranged, visiting cacao plantations around the country.  Sibú is a do-not-miss tour, by appointment only.

Toucan Rescue Ranch, a Costa Rican foundation and USA non-profit organization owned and operated by an American woman and her costaricense partner is dedicated to assisting injured animals and birds. Toucan Rescue Ranch’s primary goal is to release these animals back into the wild is their primary goal, although there are many permanent residents of the ranch due to the severity of incurred injuries. This is a beautiful piece of paradise and there are currently 102 birds and 18 animals housed at TRR. Volunteers are encouraged and donations are always appreciated.