San Isidro del General


At first glance, this town would seem to be a rather unusual place for North Americans to choose as a place for residence or retirement. There is nothing spectacular about San Isidro del General; it is an ordinary, small Costa Rican city. It’s neat and orderly, with the ubiquitous mountain views common to most other parts of the country. Few vacationers visit San lsidro, and those who have passed through the town may get it mixed up with one of the half-dozen other San Isidros in the mountains. But those North Americans who have discovered San Isidro’s secrets love living here. The climate is considerably warmer than that of San José, which suits some folks just fine, and the pace far slower.
Located on a wide ridge, not far from the high peak of Cerro Chirripó, the town enjoys a continuous breeze that keeps the air clear and aromatic with flower-blossom perfume. Daytime temperatures are pleasantly warm for my taste (maybe hot for some folks), and evenings are tempered by cool air flowing down from Chirripó Peak. Although San Isidro is not as serene and idyllic as some other Costa Rican towns, once you are away from the main square—and the inevitable cars, motorcycles, and trucks circling in search of a parking space—the pace slackens to a very peaceful stride.
Like most older Costa Rican towns, San Isidro features a main square in its center, the usual well-kept park. Since the park is the social gathering place for local residents, it isn’t surprising that the members of the North American community use it as their social focal point as well. The open-air restaurant of Hotel Chirripó faces the park, and at any given time you can count on at least some of the tables being occupied by English- speaking patrons. a nice hotel is Talari Mountain Lodge just 5km north-east of San Isidro el General.
Real estate and rentals are exceptionally inexpensive here. Since it is off the ordinary tourist routes, with no beaches and lacking in discos and other flashy attractions, San Isidrois likely to remain inexpensive. On one visit I talked with an American who had just completed building a small, two-bedroom home and was eager to find a tenant. He was offering to rent it for almost nothing just to have someone to take care of it while he returned home.
Several North Americans have taken advantage of the climate and low-cost real estate, living on small farms on the outskirts of town or along the highway toward the beach at Dominical. The views along this road are absolutely spectacular, with neat, prosperous- looking farms and picturesque homes in the mountain valleys below looking like toys along a model train set. At the time of a recent visit, one American from Texas, who was married to a Tica woman, operated a motel, restaurant, and bar on the highway, midway between San Isidro and the ocean.

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