krystal walking through trail in san gerardo de rivas

San Gerardo de Rivas: Unlock the Best Things to Do in Costa Rica’s Breathtaking Talamanca Mountains

Welcome to San Gerardo de Rivas, a charming town located in Pérez Zeledón, Costa Rica.

Nestled in the Talamanca Mountains, this quaint village is a popular destination for travelers. If you are looking to explore the great outdoors and rich biodiversity of the region, check out these recommendations.

Photography: Krystal Zuniga

As you make your way to San Gerardo de Rivas, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the mountains and lush forests. The town itself is small but full of character, with colorful houses, friendly locals, and a laid-back atmosphere that will make you feel right at home.

view of the mountain of san gerardo de rivas
Photography: Krystal Zuniga

Visit the Chirripó National Park

One of the main attractions is the Chirripó National Park, which is located just a few kilometers from town. This park is home to the highest mountain in Costa Rica, and offers a variety of hiking trails through the park’s forests, rivers, and waterfalls.

Photography: CRC Chirripó

For this trip, we couldn’t visit Cerro Chirripó. Instead, we hung around town and walked on the trails of the hotel we stayed at called Chirripó Art, which has a beautiful trail next to the river.

Hot Springs

After a long day of hiking and exploring the area, be sure to check out the local hot springs Aguas Termales GEVI. They are known for their healing properties and are a popular spot for relaxation and rejuvenation. In addition, there are several hot springs in the place, each one with its atmosphere.

Bird Watching in San Gerardo

There are a lot of incredible places to bird watch in San Gerardo. One of those places is Cloudbrigde Nature Reserve, a private nature reserve area that’s home to over 200 species of birds. Visitors can take a guided tour of the reserve and learn about the birds that call this area home as well as the efforts being made to protect and preserve their habitats.

Besides that, you can find other amazing places where you can observe the birds and enjoy delicious coffee and dessert. Garden House Bird Observatory & Coffee Spot is a place dedicated to promoting wildlife conservation through photography in the area.

San Gerardo´s Bird is also a beautiful spot to visit. Rolando Zúñiga, owner of the place and tourist guide, can offer you a unique experience from the terrace of his house or a walk through the garden. The birds can be observed just a few meters away, and it is a paradise to see hummingbirds.

San Gerardos Birds Photography by Rolando Zúñiga

Stay in the middle of the mountain

Chirripó Art Hotel offers a unique experience, combining quality accommodations on a private oasis, delicious cuisine, and Costa Rica’s nature. Additionally, this hotel is inspired by the spectacular riverfront along the Chirripó Pacífico River, surrounded by pristine secondary rainforest and verdant mountain peaks.

casita of chirripo art hotel
Photography: Krystal Zuniga

If you decide to stay here, your Casita features a private terrace, garden, and a trail with waterfalls to enjoy the peaceful nature that surrounds you. In addition, you can observe over 230 species of birds have been identified, among dozens of wild orchids, butterflies, and more.

Eat at local restaurants

When it comes to food, San Gerardo de Rivas has plenty of options to satisfy your hunger. Local restaurants offer a variety of traditional Costa Rican dishes, such as gallo pinto, casados, and ceviche alongside international cuisine. Be sure to try the local coffee, which is some of the best in the country.

Right next to the sports plaza of the town, you can find Robino’s Foodies. This restaurant offers different options of food. You have to try this gourmet food while watching the birds in the lush mountains of Chirripó valley.

As well, just 5 minutes driving from San Gerardo, you’ll find Batsù Gastropub at Cannan. This is one of our favorite spots (ever). The food is delicious, service is amazing and they offer different shows and live music on weekends. Is a must-to-go restaurant.

burger of batsu gastropub in cannan of rivas
Photography: Krystal Zuniga

How to get to San Gerardo de Rivas?

You can do it by car or by bus, along the San Isidro/Rivas national highway, which connects with the Inter-American Highway, to the southeast of the San Isidro de El General Cathedral.

By car

For those who travel by car from San Isidro del General to San Gerardo de Rivas:

  • At the first traffic lights you come across, 500 meters south of the Cathedral of San Isidro del General, Pérez Zeledón, go up the hill on the left; At the top of the hill, turn left again and from there to Rivas, on the main road.
  • In Rivas, 100 meters after the school, turn right and from there to San Gerardo de Rivas, with no chance of getting lost.

By bus

By bus, from San José to Pérez Zeledón, you can use some of the companies that provide their transportation services:

  • MUSOC /GAFESO: Tel: 2771-0414 / 2771-3829
  • TRACOPA: Phone: (+506) 2290 1308

Then, to travel from San Isidro del General to San Gerardo, the terminal is located in the Mercado Municipal de Pérez Zeledón, two blocks south of the park.

  • Hernández Solís SA: Tel: (506) 2771-2314

In conclusion, San Gerardo de Rivas is a wonderful destination for travelers, looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and connect with nature. With its stunning scenery, friendly locals, and abundance of outdoor activities, this hidden gem is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Costa Rica.

If you want more information about guide tours, lodging, food, and others, you can consult the Consorcio Rural Comunitario of Chirripó at the number (+506) 2742-5200 or the email

Let’s go!

Author: Krystal Zuniga
Date: February 15th, 2023

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