Don't Miss It!
Not to be overlooked while in pursuit of Chirripo, Cloudbridge Nature Reserve and the charming traditional villages of San Gerardo and Canaan are wonders in their own right. Start your day in Cloudbridge Nature Reserve where the wild & pristine Chirripo River rushes down from the cold highland Talamancas. This treasure of a private nature reserve is adjacent to the largest protected area in Central America and offers several scenic trails through lush primary and secondary forest and along rivers and waterfalls. The highland birding is world class. Monkeys, tapirs, quetzales, peccaries, tayra, jaguarundis are possible sightings. Cloudbridge Reserve is a gem, not to be missed, and they ask only your thoughtful donation to their good works as your entry fee .
No visit to San Gerardo is complete without hiking the local paths and byways on what we fondly call the "Art n' Culture Tour". We'll provide a treasure map for your self-guided 3-7 hour walk through forest, along scenic ridge lines & quiet country roads, past exquisite gardens and local swimming holes. Take a dip in the rushing rivers, chance upon a local futbol match, meander and explore the many micro-businesses each town has to offer. Friendly San Gerardans are good communicators, eager to try their English, and truly appreciate any effort you can make at Spanish. There are several eateries and points of interest along the route including bakeries and cafés, brew pub, gelateria, chocolatier, cheese maker, butterfly garden, botanical garden and trout fishery. Casa Mariposa will gladly help you plan your day out 'on the towns' or we can arrange a horse tour of the area.
Some Chirripo Valley Points of Interest
The Garden House Bird Observatory on the way to Cloudbridge Nature Reserve offers an afternoon coffee with the local birds.
Jardin de los Colibris (Hummingbird Garden) Trail is located just opposite the Garden House. This short & lovely trail leads past impressive rock features to a stream and on to quiet bird watching perches. The thoughtful plantings attract an astounding variety of hummingbird and other species. Your donation is appreciated.
Local folk artist, Carmen Monge, displays her portraits of "the old way of life" in Costa Rica at Arte Mia. She and her daughters also craft original and lovely souvenir items for all budgets.
Be sure to plan a visit to the Queso Canaan dairy for home-made Swiss-style cheeses and yoghurts. Next door you'll find the Samaritan Chocolate organic chocolate artisan who also makes delicious vegan and rich dairy ice creams.
Across the street is Bastu Gastro-Pub. Yes! And the Batsu beer is first rate-- As is the bread they bake at the adjacent La Estrella Bakery (on weekends). Batsú is the weekend musical venue--open mike on Friday nights.
Close by is the new Dome Butterfly Garden. A tranquil meditation garden full of flowers, fish ponds, butterflies, dragonflies and a place to witness the mystical emergence of butterflies from their chrysalides.
Take in a home-made gelato, a yoga class or a concert at the lively Café Alegria adjacent to the Butterfly Garden.
The village of Chimerol, a few km down the way, hosts a very small & very local Farmers' Market on Wednesday mornings. Meet local producers & enjoy the fruits of Chirripo Valley: local coffee, produce, crafts, baked goods & foods.
San Gerardo village boasts a wonderful botanical garden and restaurant called Jardines Secretos. The plant collections are stunning and chef Shirley cooks up the best traditional cuisine around.
Just up the road is the Gourmet Restaurant featuring a Costa Rican fusion menu using fresh and locally sourced products.
Heading home to Casa Mariposa, you'll pass the rustic local watering hole-- Roka Dura Bar as well as Robinos Café for fresh pastries and homemade pastas. And don't forget to visit the family-owned Cocolisos Trout Farm Restaurant for the best fresh-caught trout lunch you've ever had,
Don't miss the valley for the mountain!
Arte Mia - part of the Cultral Hiking Tour, Carmen Monge"s one of a kind art is not to be missed
Cloudbridge Nature Reserve- A beautiful 600 acre reserve, Cloudridge has miles of free trails with several natural waterfalls and a research facility.
Quesos Canaan Artisan Cheese- A local swiss cheese shop. Shop the aged cheeses, or ask for a tour of their process.
The Chirripo Race - A four day festival during the second week of February that includes a race up Chirripo, food, and a lot of culture.
Chirripo- The tallest mountain in Costa Rica, boasting an elevation of 3820 metres, many of our guests hike to the peak and enjoy a beautiful sunrise.
Truchero Cocolisos - Trout Farm and Restaurant. Catch your own fresh trout! and enjoy the gardens while they cook
Craft beer! Live music!
Garden House Bird Observatory Cafe
Smoothies, Coffee, Bread, and more... While surrounded by an ever changing species of birds!
Fine Chocolate made right here!
A beautiful collection of tropical species. Wander the gardens and stay for lunch!