San Isidro el General is located 120 kms away from San Jose, in the province of Puntarenas. It is a farming and agricultural town, and the biggest of the region. It is close to the Pan-American Highway, in the Talamanca mountains, and it is right on the road to Panama and Southern Costa Rican destinations such as Quepos, Dominical, Chirripo National Park, and Manuel Antonio National Park. It is also on the road to the Osa Peninsula and Corcovado.
As you are on your way to San Isidro, you will have to pass the Cerro de la Muerte, the mountain of death! Why such a morbid name? Temperatures get very low there due to the altitude of 3,300 metres, and while the views are stunning, it is also treacherous and some people lost their lives there when they were travelling on Ox Cart, horseback or on foot! Others perished as they were trying to climb the mountain off the beaten path; torrential rains, exceedingly cold weather and heavy fog are almost constant in the area.
The journey from San Jose to San Isidro takes about 3 hours. It is good to visit in January during the cattle fair. What should not be missed however is the Fiesta of the Diablitos, in the Boruca Indigenous village of Rey Cure. This incredible festival is in memory of the battle against the conquerors. They wear the most incredible wooden hand carved masks, there is music, food and joy. It is one of the most interesting indigenous event of Costa Rica.
If you can, visit also Las Quebradas Biological Station and the ancient town of Piedra del Indio.
The whole area is a paradise for bird watchers and many rare or near extinction species are often spotted there. The resplendant and shy Quetzal has been seen by many. The Reserva de Aves Neotropicales Los Cusingos (Neotropical Birds Reserve), on the road to Buenos Aires is well worth a visit, and the International Park La Amistad is also incredibly diverse, and has the particularity of being shared by Costa Rica and Panama!
San Isidro has a nice array of affordable hotels and restaurants, and many shops where many visit to store to stock up before going on to Chirripo or other isolated destinations. You will find lots of excellent fruits and vegetables, particularly sweet and juicy pineapples.
San Isidro is located at the center of Costa Rica, it is an excellent place to be if you want to explore the surrounding areas. It is very a very Tico, pleasant and interesting town, full of diversity and culture.