San Isidro de Coronado
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San Isidro de Coronado is a somnolent country town six kilometers northeast of the San José suburb of Guadalupe, and about four kilometers east of Highway 32. The Gothic Parroquia de San Isidro church is impressive. A fiesta is held here each February 15.
The Instituto Clodomiro Picado (tel. 506/2229-0344, www.icp.ucr.ac.cr, 8 a.m.–noon and 1–4 p.m. Mon.–Fri.), the “snake farm” of the University of Costa Rica, about one kilometer southwest of Coronado, is dedicated to snake research. Although a museum and serpentarium have been planned, at last visit no progress had been made.
A turnoff from the Guadalupe–San Isidro road leads east, uphill to Rancho Redondo, scenically hoisted on the lower western flanks of Volcán Irazú, northwest of Cartago. The dramatic views are some of the best in the highlands, and very quickly you find yourself amid cattle and pasture.
El Tronco Adventures (tel. 506/2245-1340, www.eltroncoadventures.com) specializes in guided hikes and horseback rides in a private cloud-forest reserve on the northwest slopes of Irazú; trips include transfers from/to San José.
Hotels and Restaurants
Hotel Zurquí (tel. 506/2268-8856, www.hotelvillazurqui.com, $70 s/d cabins), set in lush gardens off Highway 32 just 500 meters south of the tollbooth, makes a great base from which to explore Braulio Carrillo National Park. It has 35 standard rooms plus cabins with fireplaces, all with cable TV. The setting is marvelous and the accommodations are charming.
The U.S.-run, Texan-themed Lone Star Grill (tel. 506/2229-7597), one kilometer east of the church in San Isidro de Coronado, offers “A Taste of Texas”—including “the best fajitas south of the Río Grande”—with Texan-size margaritas. Choose from charbroiled meats, salads, burgers, soups, and delectable desserts.
Getting to San Isidro de Coronado
Buses marked Dulce Nombre de Coronado depart for San Isidro de Coronado from Calle 3, Avenidas 5/7, in San José.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Costa Rica, 8th Edition