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Must do, near San Isidro

St. Thomas
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Must do, near San Isidro

We (2 couples, mid 40's) will be spending a week in a friends villa near San Isidro. He has made some recommendations, but we are looking for some input on things to do. Should we rent a car, or hire a driver? We have transportation arranged from the airport already. How far to the best beaches? We plan on doing a horseback riding tour into the rain forest. How close to the nearest zip line tour? Where would we find some kind of night life? Casino? Restaurants? Any other info would be appreciated.

1. Re: Must do, near San Isidro

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Removed on: 7:04 am, February 17, 2007
Tampa, FL
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2. Re: Must do, near San Isidro

I think it is a fairly safe guess that the San Isidro being referred to here is the San Isidro that is 3 hours south of SJ on the PAH. While it is true there are many examples of different places in CR having the same name, the only other San Isidro I can think of is San Isidro de Coronado which is just east of SJ past Moravia and I can't see why anyone would refer to staying there rather than just saying the "central valley near SJ". So you might lighten up on znmagg a little. OTOH, I would have to agree most of the questions presented display a reall lack of research. Volumes have been written on whether to hire a driver or rent a car and that really comes down to a personal preference. As to how far the beaches are, look at a map. The public bus takes about an hour to go from San Isidro to Dominical which has nice beaches and there are many nice beaches south of that. A private car could probably do that even quicker but much would depend on exactly where this friend's villa is located. Is it already going down partway on the Dominical side, or is it north or south on the PAH? And exactly how far out? It seems this would be a question that the friend could answer better. CR is an agrarian country and horseback riding can be done just about anywhere. Zip lines can be done near Dominical at Hacienda Baru (http://www.haciendabaru.com/tours.htm). In fact, you can find a lot of other information on things to do and places to go in that area at www.dominical.biz. San Isidro has its own websites too but not being as much of a gringo tourist destination it is in spanish (www.perezzeledon.net or www.guiapz.com). BTW, San Isidro is better known by its local "nickname" - Perez Zeledon or someitmes simply as Perez or PZ, so you might try that in your future searches as an alternative to just San Isidro. As for nightlife, La Cascada, 1 block west of the park, has Karaoke on Thursday and Saturday nights (if you can sing in Spanish) but thats about it. You get the picture. Casinos? LOL, you can forget about anything like that. San Isidro is a nice but very sleepy little blue-collar/agricultural hub city. Dominical probably has much more of the type of nightlife that you might be interested in. Restaurants? I'm sure there are some good ones. I've only tried a few. Chirripo wasn't too bad. Cascadas also came highly recommended, but I found that to be a disappointment.

3. Re: Must do, near San Isidro

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Removed on: 7:06 am, February 17, 2007
New York City, New...
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4. Re: Must do, near San Isidro

Seemed like a perfectly reasonable question to me. It's San Isidro... not exactly the darling of guidebooks. Fear not, there's beautiful off-the-main-circuit (yeah!) stuff in the area. Do rent a 4x4, though, as things are spread out and the back roads can be rough. You might as well get it at the airport and drive down unless you arrive late in the day. The drive down is gorgeous (during the day) as you wind up and over the Cerro de la Muerte pass in the mountains.

There's not much of interest in San Isidro itself, basically an agricultural center and transport hub for the surrounding area. You'll have a few restaurants there and at night some bars, other shops and good supermarkets and the central market. I've passed by a more upscale hotel on the southern outskirts of the city that advertised a casino, but I haven't been.

San Gerado de Rivas is about a dozen miles north of San Isidro. This is the tiny base village for the Chirripo hike, a strenuous overnighter that is worthwhile if you're up for it, but even if you don't do that hike, you should visit. Adjacent to the Chirripo trailhead at the end of the road is the private Cloudbridge Reserve (www.cloudbridge.org), well worth a visit for shorter beautiful hikes in cloud forest and other habitats. You can grab a bite at one of the lodges in town and just enjoy the scenery. On a farm above the road there's a hot spring you can visit for two or three bucks. No, it's not Tabacon -- just a simple hot spring piped into two small pools. But it's relaxing and low key after some nice hikes and chances are you'll have it to yourself.

Back up the Interamericana Highway toward Cerro de la Muerte is the Avalon Biological Station. I'm not a birder, but enjoyed the area anyway. Nobody's there! Dr. Skutch, the bird guru of CR who wrote the thick book you may have seen on the shelves at B&N also has a sanctuary near San Isidro, but I've never been.

About a 45 minute drive swooping down to the Pacific Ocean is Dominical, that Prolijo mentioned above, an off-the-beaten path (sorta, at least for now) beach village popular with the backpacking surfer set. It's beautiful here. Along this road is the Nauyaca Waterfalls -- very nice. The Baru Wildlife Refuge is near Dominical. A little bit south west along a great road is Uvita and Ballena National Park, also worth a visit.

About a 2 hour drive each way, you could even do a day trip to Manuel Antonio National Park (well worth it).

5. Re: Must do, near San Isidro

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Removed on: 7:08 am, February 17, 2007
Tampa, FL
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6. Re: Must do, near San Isidro

It looks like someone woke up on the grumpy side of the bed. All I said towards GriegoGringo was he MIGHT want to lighten up a LITTLE. I don't think that was so harsh. OTOH, he was the one tearing zmnmagg a new one. And now he goes off on me.

FYI, the same thing I said about San Isidro del Coronado applies to any San Isidros near Heredia, Grecia, Alajuela, or Fortuna. They are tiny villages on the nearby outskirts of a much larger hub and I think it very unlikely anyone would refer to staying NEAR there when it would be so much more natural to just refer to the largest town in their respective areas. Only San Isidro del General is a real local point of reference. And Josh also made a good point that if all of what I just said was not enough, the forum section this was posted in should have been a good clue.

Secondly, others can ridicule my posting style all they want, it doesn't bother me. Read my handle. It is spanish for "longwinded one". GG's post may have been more succint, but it was still all just wasted space since he didn't even attempt to really answer the question. My posts may go into excessive detail but many people seem to appreciate my erring on that side. And those that don't are free to use the scrollbar that is at the right side of each page. I won't be offended if they choose to skip my pearly words of wisdom.

Mr JG added a lot of good information. I had seen about that casino/hotel near San Isidro and frankly forgot all about it. However, I wouldn't expect anything anywhere near like Las Vegas or even Branson, Mo. (to say the least) and will stick with my original assessment that this area is far from being any sort of nightlife hotspot. You also probably want to avoid driving any distances on the local roads late at night. However, by day it is really a beautiful area and the suggestions Josh made are only a start. For example, there are also many troutfishing lodges and spots in the nearby mountains. The Cerro de la Muerte is one of the best spots in CR for spotting the elusive and beautiful quetzel. Josh mentioned Ballena Nat'l Park but he left out what Ballena means. It is spanish for whale and that park is great place to try and spot migrating humpbacks. And isn't there an indian festival coming up around this time of year at the reservation that is a few km's down the PAH from PZ?

Oh, but I'm sorry, there I go, running on and on again.

7. Re: Must do, near San Isidro

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Removed on: 7:07 am, February 17, 2007
St. Thomas
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8. Re: Must do, near San Isidro

GriegoGringo,

If I had known there was more than one town named San Isidro, I would have been more specific. The only maps I've seen has only had San Isidro del General, north of Dominical, which is near where the villa is located. I'm not sure which part of town it is in. Now that you've informed me of my ignorance, I'll try to do better. Of couse, I didn't mean to offend you with such basic questions, but apparently you weren't capable of answering them anyway. I guess it was easier to criticize the question, than just answer. As far as doing my own homework, I thought this was the place to ask questions. Our friend's partner is picking us up at the airport, and I will probably find out most of the things we need to know from him, on the drive to the house. I must have been crazy to try to get any other opinions. Sorry, didn't mean to waste your time. Of course you probably don't have much of a life anyway, if you're so upset that others took the time to answer.

Thanks Prolijo, and misterjosh, for your responses. You've provided some good, and much appreciated info.We leave this weekend, and I'm trying to find out as much as I can before we go. We've only known that we are going for about 2 weeks. I have been trying to get some info, but there doesn't seem to be that much available. Maybe I just wasn't looking in the right place.

Tampa, FL
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for San Jose, Costa Rica
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9. Re: Must do, near San Isidro

znmagg,

Don't feel too bad about not having been able to find too much on your own. As Josh pointed out San Isidro is not exactly "the darling of the guidebooks". However definitely check out that dominical.biz link I provided since that is chock full of lots of good info on that area. Now if you'll excuse me while I highjack your thread and feed the troll. I know I shouldn't match wits with a nitwit since it only serves at diminishing all of us but its like picking at that piece of meat that sometimes gets stuck between your teeth. Some things you just can't help doing.

GG,

You are no more sorry than I am offended for I take things from where they come and your words are obviously coming from someone with some sort of chip on their shoulder. All you're really offering here is scorn and sarcasm, not just for me but for znmagg who was just innocently asking a few questions. Its one thing to politely disagree with others or to offer divergent opinions. It is something else to attack and ridicule. If anything discourages people from posting its reactions like yours.

By are people being discouraged? You're right, I haven't noticed that. You've been here what? 2 months? And in that short time, you think you've seen a decline in posts and you ascribe it to me and the other "experts" and yet most of us have been posting for a year or more before you even got here. So why would our posts only start impacting others now? Quite the contrary. As an expert I receive daily summaries of new posts in the CR forum and if anything I've seen a big increase in posts in this section since so many experts started responding to all the questions.

In fact, there are so many posts that I can't possibly respond to even a fraction of the threads. There are still a certain number of questions that go completely unanswered. Why don't you jump in there. No one is stopping you. And even if someone "beats you to the punch", no one else is discouraging you or others from adding additional info or even offering an alternative view. Case in point, despite my "longwinded and extensive" reply, Josh wasn't discouraged at all from adding to it and quite often comes up with many things I've left out (as often do others and when they do I usually commend them). Again why didn't you just try that, instead of turning your attack from znmagg on to me?

Finally, you can try to ascribe motivations for why I and the other experts post, but that is all really irrelevant. Who cares? The point of this board is for people to be able to freely ask questions and get answers. What difference does it really make why people ask or answer as long as people get what they're looking for.

10. Re: Must do, near San Isidro

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Removed on: 7:08 am, February 17, 2007