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. Its 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 Isidros
secrets love living here. The climate is considerably warmer than that of San Jose, which suits some folks just fine,
and the pace far slower.
Located on a wide ridge, not far from the high peak of Cerro Chirripo, 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
Chirrip 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 isnt surprising that the members of the North American
community use it as their social focal point as well. The open-air restaurant of Hotel Chirripo faces the park, and
at any given time you can count on at least some of the tables being occupied by English- speaking patrons.
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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