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Overview

Costa Rica's most rugged quarter, the southern zone is a tryptych divided into the truly off-the-beaten-track Talamanca massif; the broad, agricultural Valle de El Géneral; and the rainforest-backed coast. Astounding variety marks the zone. Much of the Talamancas remains inaccessible, but the trail to the top of Cerro Chirripó, Costa Rica's highest mountain, is well-trodden from the delightful village of San Gerardo in the midst of coffee country. The Valle de El Géneral is a place to pass through en route to the rainforests of the Osa Pensinsula. Here, Corcovado National Park is the most complete rainforest experience ...

Costa Rica's most rugged quarter, the southern zone is a tryptych divided into the truly off-the-beaten-track Talamanca massif; the broad, agricultural Valle de El Géneral; and the rainforest-backed coast. Astounding variety marks the zone. Much of the Talamancas remains inaccessible, but the trail to the top of Cerro Chirripó, Costa Rica's highest mountain, is well-trodden from the delightful village of San Gerardo in the midst of coffee country. The Valle de El Géneral is a place to pass through en route to the rainforests of the Osa Pensinsula. Here, Corcovado National Park is the most complete rainforest experience in the country, and easily accessed on trails from Drake Bay or Puerto Jiménez — both draw folks who like off-beat adventure. Drake Bay is a sportfishing center, too, as is the desultory port town of Golfito and laid-back Playa Zancudo. Nearby Pavones is renowned for the longest wave in the world - a kilometer ride at times — and is a renowned hangout for the unpretentious surf set. Nature lovers should head to Wilson Botanical Garden, in the mountains near the agricultural town of San Vito, or Los Cusingos — both offer fabulous birding.

Christopher Baker
About the Expert

Christopher P. Baker has authored guidebooks to Costa Rica, California, and various Caribbean islands for Frommer's, Lonely Planet, and National Geographic, among others.

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Christopher Baker for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    There is no real dry season, although December-April is somewhat drier