We left downtown San José very early and prepared for the infamous cold climate of Cerro de la Muerte on the way, we therefore had all our coats at hand. As we progressed along the way we enjoyed the landscapes around us, the towers of the Los Santos wind farm, then we made the necessary stop to enjoy a good breakfast and continued the journey towards St. Gerardo.
Get away from the daily hustle and bustle
Dota is the 17th canton of the province of San José and together with León Cortés and Tarrazú, they form the famous “Zona de los Santos”. It has an area of approximately 400 km2 which makes it the fourth largest canton of Josefino and is divided into 3 districts: Santa María (chief), Jardín and Copey.
TRICK: Receive our latest content in join our newsletter. Do not miss news that matters in Costa Rica. Click here.
If you want to get away from the “run, run daily” San Gerardo de Dota is one of the best places to do it. It is a place full of natural beauty and hard-working people, where you can watch birds, enjoy rivers with transparent waters and waterfalls, fish for trout, Trek in the cloud forest, visit Los Quetzales National Park … You can do a lot of activities. San Gerardo is a community located 2200m above sea level and very close to Los Quetzales National Park, practically hidden along the valley of the Savegre River.
The quetzal, for its exotic beauty, is one of the most striking birds in the world. It is possible to admire them in San Gerardo because the cloud forest is their ideal habitat and in this area also grows their main food, the “Aguacatillo” tree. Their breeding season is between April and May, so it will be easier for you to see them during this season.
Hiking in the mountains
If you are a fan of this activity, there are different routes through the forest where you can admire the different ecosystems present in this region of the country. You will find beautiful places to take photos and sit and enjoy the sounds of nature. Remember to bring something to keep warm and protect yourself from the rain, as the weather usually stays around 13C – 18C, depending on what time of year you are going. Bring something to eat and to hydrate, but remember to leave no waste.
Rio Savegre: trout fishing
This community largely extends along the banks of the Savegre River, the flow of which is clear water and generally kept at a cold temperature. In various sections of its extension you can see waterfalls and caves.
If fishing keeps you entertained, in this river you will get delicious trout. Keep in mind that the fly fishing season is from May to June and with lures from December to March. Most restaurants in the region offer dishes with this fish on their menus, in different presentations. You will have fun trying each recipe!
Los Quetzales National Park
Los Quetzales National Park was established in 2005 and covers an area of 12,355 acres. It has 3 types of forests and about 14 different ecosystems. In its trees it is possible to see a large number of species of birds, such as quetzals, tanagers, trogon and hummingbirds.
Falls of the Savegre river
The ride to the falls is beautiful. The landscape invites you to stop to contemplate it in detail and even take pictures. From the Posada de Turismo Rural Sueños del Bosque Lodge (where we stayed) to the trail entrance is about 500m above the street. On the left you will see the entrance, after crossing a bridge you will come across a trout farm and on one side is the path that will take you directly to the first waterfall. After about 40hem in this part of the country.
a few minutes walk you will see huge stones in front of you… a perfect place to take some pictures!
A little further on the trail you will see a small footbridge that spans the waterfall. You can stand on it and see the water falling. If you keep walking (this is optional, because from here the path is not in excellent condition) and go down the steps, you will be able to reach the cave made of huge stones under the waterfall. Before entering, we recommend that you be extremely careful and assess the flow of the river, so as not to put yourself in danger of seeing a head of water filling the cave.
If you continue the trail you will see a landscape drawn from fantastic books of elves and fairies. It is visible that not many people come here, because everything looks very green and whole. There is a suspension bridge that spans the river and it is quite an experience to cross it. We go further up the mountain and after going up and down a series of steps, we face an imposing waterfall. Here the weather becomes colder, so it is not recommended to bathe here, because there are dangerous currents. It has a very small space (point of view) to admire it, but it is worth getting there. Is beautiful!
Do you want to experience this adventure yourself? How to get there?
The town of San Gerardo de Dota is set along the foothills of the Cordillera de Talamanca and to get there from San José Centro you travel approximately 78.9 km along the Inter-American Highway South until you reach the next street in the soda San Gerardo (you see it on your right), where you have to turn off to start going down the mountain (literally). We stayed at the Sueños del Bosque Lodge, so we went about 9.2 km on this road.
What to bring
Sunscreen, coat, raincoat, hat, clothes that dry easily, shoes suitable for the mountains, swimsuit, washcloth, snacks and something to hydrate.
Difficulty: Medium – High (it depends on how far you want to go, some sections of the trail are damaged).
Distance: 4 km (round trip).
Parking: No. You can park on the street or leave the car in the accommodation of your choice.