Coming Out of the Valley, Heading for the City — Costa Rica, 2020

Dos Rios can be a seductive and edenic paradise. Every day is a little different. Every day brings something new and fascinating. There’s always something new if you go out on the trails. There’s that wasp nest under the tabacón leaf, with the most peaceful little polistes family you ever saw, a family worth watching for multiple times every single day. The swimming holes in the rivers are glorious. Why go anywhere else?

Why go anywhere else? Because anywhere else is interesting, too. I love going in to the near city of San Isidro de El General (Perez Zeladon), which is “the” commercial center for Costa Rica’s Southern Zone. It’s a whole different trip. People tell me I need to take more photos of people, so in addition to some shopping, I’m going to do some shooting.

Soon after the daily ritual of “the tea and the toast”, I get in the car and go. Down the hill. Over the bridge. Out on the bumpy gravel road, and up, up, up. There are still patches of morning mist and fog. They lift up, and dissipate in the strong tropical sun.

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The countryside surrounding Dos Dios is still given over predominantly to cattle.

The road ascends through pasture. Hundreds of hectares of pasture.

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One of the bigger landowners runs too many cattle per hectare.

The results of which you see in his sadly eroded pasture.


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I reach the tar road, turn left, and make a brief stop at the Los Chorros lookout point.

The mountains to the north are breathtaking.

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Onward. I pass over the heights, and start the descent into the Rio General valley. At another lookout point stop I stop, to take in the morning view. Directly below is the Rio General. Fields fill the flood plain, where orange-flowered poró trees are in full bloom.

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Far down to the south, there’s a fire. Fires, actually. Smoke billows upwards, then spreads over the cool morning air that still fills the main valley. What the source is I don’t know, but it could well be agricultural — perhaps the burning of sugar cane fields before harvest. .

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At this lookout comes my first glimpse of San Isidro. The central cluster of light-colored buildings stands out, as do the spires of the cathedral, which you can find with a careful look at this next photo.

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The mountains in the distance are the Talamancas.

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The Talamancas extend southeastward into Panama.

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These are some of the highest mountains in Costa Rica.

One of these years I’ll have to go visit some of those foothill towns over there.

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I get back in the car and continue down, into town.

Sorry, I’ve no photos to offer of this part of the trip.

I’m traveling solo, and there’s something urging me on.

I’m hungry!

Café, pan, gallo pinto, y huevos revueltos are on my mind.

I arrive, park the car at the cathedral “parqueo”, and walk to the mercado central.

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