Discover the Beauty and Attractions
of Perez Zeledón in Southern Costa Rica
We had the opportunity to meet with Lic. Rodolfo Herrera who is a principal Attorney and Notary Public with the firm of Herrera & Asociados and on a more personal note, we wanted to have him tell us about living in Perez Zeledón which is a beautiful and generally unspoiled but lesser-known area in the Southern part of Costa Rica. It is inland but less than an hour away from the beautiful beaches of the South Pacific and has a lot to offer to both the visitor as well as to those looking for a place to call home.
Lic. Herrera, please tell us what in your opinion are the must-see activities in this area?
Possibly one of the most impressive places to visit is the Chirripó National Park area which is over 500 square kilometers of land and has as its´ most prominent feature, Cerro Chirripó which at an altitude of 3,820 m above sea level, the highest mountain in Costa Rica. At its highest point on a clear day, you can see both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The climb up from basecamp can take from 6 to 9 hours depending on your physical condition and allows you to see how the vegetation changes form as you climb. At times snow has fallen on the highest parts. Another must-see is the sugar cane plantations along with a visit to a local farm so you can see the process and the final products including sugar for export. You can see sugar mills that where operated by hand and later using horsepower. Tours of the local high altitude coffee plantations, both large and small, allow you to see the production process and how various coffees are mixed to regulate the acidity and produce export quality world class gourmet coffee. Another excellent attraction is the large Farmer´s market which offers a large variety of fresh natural products but also includes artisanal products such as kombucha, falafel, goats milk products and others made by immigrants to Costa Rica of various nationalities who now live in the local area and add to the cultural variety of our beloved area.
Lic. Herrera, please tell us about the actual pluses of living in this unique location.
Perez Zeledón is in a privileged location which has great weather year-round, and you are also very close to the beaches of the South Pacific such as Dominical, Uvita, Ojochal and the amazing Osa Peninsula. You can also go from here to the border with Panamá and take advantage of the duty-free zones. Reaching here is a great adventure as you have two different routes to choose from: You can the Pacifica Fernandez Coast Highway which starts in Puntarenas and heads South to Jacó, Parrita, and past the Quepos/Manuel Antonio beaches continuing toward Playa Dominical where you can take the turn and head inland and upward and reach Perez that way. A second way and my favorite is to go via the Cerro Bella Vista also popularly known as the Cerro de la Muerte, the hills of death, named as such based on legends of many farmers who traversed it on foot and died from the extreme cold which they were not accustomed to. This highway comes from San José, past Cartago and heads up into the mountainous areas where at one point you are just 500 meters below the height of the Chirripó highest point and at certain times of the year you can see icing on the vegetation and at night the sky is so clear and free of light contamination that you can see a myriad of stars and even satellites going by! Also. at certain spots you can see the oceans in the distance and experience a variety of micro-climates. You can also see a variety of animals along this road, and I have seen on various occasions large tapirs. I also have a memory from many years ago of going with my father and seeing something fall from a tree, as we looked closer it turned out to be a puma the size of a great dane which then proceeded to cross the road. So, as I mentioned it can be a very adventurous route and has several interesting businesses along the road including one that has many hummingbird feeders just outside its windows and you can see all types and sizes of these birds. So those are some of the reasons I consider Perez such a special place and since it is located far from the capital city and surrounding areas, our crime rate here is very low and we get our water from high altitude springs which makes it very healthy and good tasting. As you can see, I love living here and recommend it to all.